Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Trading One Dream for Another

So, some of you know that I used to body build. Not professionally, but more as a hobby. I LOVED it. Nothing quite feels like the lift and burn in your body after a date with the free weights. Go heavy or go home! LOL.

At any rate, I wanted to be a personal trainer back then. I was studying for my certification and everything. Alas, that was not my true calling. Writing was. But the way I found out that it wasn't my true calling was excruciating. I tore and herniated a disc in my back. Actually, I think I herniated two discs, but one was worse than the other. L5-S1-S2. Those are my troubled children in my lower back.

I was at the gym on a pleasant Sunday morning, back in the free weights where I lived, and I was doing weighted step-ups on a bench. It was leg day. Loved leg day. I performed a rep and felt a pinch and was all like, "Okay, hmm. Am I okay? Can I continue?" Everything felt okay, so I went for my next rep. That was it. I was done. I practically fell over from the pain. I couldn't stand. I couldn't walk. I couldn't do much of anything, really, except writhe in pain and try to to spew out a string of expletives on the Lord's day and all that.

Long story, short: Personal training was off my list. I suffered through near-shock-inducing decompression treatments that left me shivering in - yes - near shock, unable to move without feeling like someone was trying to rip my spine out. My teeth chattered, my hands curled into clawed fists, my body shriveled into the fetal position, and tears poured out of my eyes. I have never known pain like that, and I hope I never know it again. At one point, I almost wanted to be paralyzed from the waist down because at least then I wouldn't feel the pain, anymore, so yeah, it was bad.

This went on for about a month as I went through daily chiropractic care and consulted with an orthopedic surgeon. I had x-rays taken, an MRI, multiple exams, and finally got cortisone shots right into the nerves. Then I had a rhizotomy, where they actually severed the affected nerves. I had to take a massive dose of methyl prednisilone before the procedure, and for three months after, I went from being unable to stop eating, to not wanting to eat anything at all, but still packed on about 10 pounds from my reaction to the meds. I was so sick.

The worst thing: I had to stop body building.

So, turns out that I have a genetic back condition they call flat back, where my spinal curvatures are more flattened, thus more pressure is put on my lower back. My favorite gym moves - dead lift, squat, military press, and lunges - were HUGE no-nos being that I had this condition. So, oops! Now I know.  And, arching my back is a big no-no, too. With this condition, I need to keep my back firmly pressed into the bench during bench press and flyes, preferably with my feet on the bench, not the floor, which would cause the back to arch as I pushed through the press.

At any rate, I always wanted to be a writer, but I figured I could have personal training as my day job while I did my writing on the side. Now, it's writing or bust. LOL. And I'm fine with that.

As far as my back story goes, I did finally get my orthopedic surgeon to prescribe back therapy. My injury had been so severe that my back muscles completely clinched up. I've had to re-teach them how to move again, but for the first time since my injury, I've gone a whole six months without my back going out. Seriously, I have cried from just this tiny, simple thing, that I can walk normally again without a limp, that I can do dishes or laundry without fearing I would re-injure myself. I can stand for long periods now, sit without pain, and I'm finally riding my stationary bike again. And tonight I did 3 sets of bench press. :) So many take these things for granted, but as one who has had to learn to live without them, I can assure you, they are HUGE, BIG deals.

Live well, and live safe. Don't take anything for granted. Oh, and eat your fruits and vegetables.

No comments:

Post a Comment