Lessons Learned On My Back

Jan 26, 2013 by

Lessons Learned On My Back

First, get your minds out of the gutter people. Okay? M’kay …

On Sunday, January 6th, I stood up from my couch and was promptly pulled backwards and down, the result of a tweaked back muscle. I had been FaceTiming with my best friend and leaning close to the computer to see her pretty face. I got up to remove some potatoes from the oven and that small gesture was the beginning of a severe back injury that continues to challenge me even as I write this post … standing up, sitting down, standing up, sitting down.  (FYI, I almost wrote ” that continues to plague me” but that sounded too defeatist for an optimistic girl like me.)

From that small moment, a trip to the ER was born.  Speaking of “born”, not even during childbirth have I experienced that kind of pain. I mean it was breathtaking, heart arresting, word snatching, tear jerking pain. I’d never known its sort until I found myself screaming at 2:30 in the morning for assistance from my husband that neither he or Jesus himself could give. Fast forward an ambulance, some Dilauded (mmmmmmmm, Dilauded), and an MRI later, and I’m told that have a bulging disc. One that is pressing against (more like assaulting violently) a nerve. L4-L5. The beloved sciatic strands.

My wayward disc. Behave damn it!

My wayward disc. Behave damn it!

I say to the doctor, “I’m too young for this”. She says I’m actually pretty old. Apparently this type of injury usually occurs between the ages of 21-45. Lucky me, I just missed the window by a year and 23 days.

I’ve spent the subsequent days in a variety of ways. For one, I’ve been off of work and mostly on bed rest, flat on my back, pillows under knees. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s fine for all of a minute, because if you know me, I gotta move. Hard to do with back spasms. Once those started to calm, I could sit a little. Stand a little more. And walk more steps than just the perimeter of our condo. Sometimes. See, nothing is entirely comfortable right now. If I sit too long, stabbing pain. Stand too long, numbness and pain. Walk too far, I call on Jesus’ name … along with a few profanities intermingled. Don’t worry. He’s used to it.



I’m trying to learn contentment in either state.

(Wait. I need to move to my chair now. I’ve stood for too long and can’t feel my right foot.)

Okay, back to learning contentment whether in comfort or discomfort. Life has attempted to teach me that lesson in SO many, er, creative ways. Let’s face it, it’s a valuable ability to have because life is often unpredictable, unfair, and certainly uncomfortable. Lately, my yoga mat has been my teacher in that regard (not that I’ll be on that thing any time soon). Nothing like holding frog position with your knees splayed unnaturally open and thighs shaking uncontrollably to send you on a frantic search for contentment.


You’d think that would be easy for a free spirit like me to be cool with whatever. It’s not. Turns out that I do, in fact, like things a certain, reliable, steadfast way. I need it. I think …

These days of recovery, while productive, have not been ideal. Let me explain. Yes, I’ve been off work and, on the days where I haven’t been taken away on the wings of Percocet to the Bravo channel watching past episodes of Basketball Wives so I feel better about myself, I’ve actually been inundated with ideas for the sequel to my YA book, Charis. (Coming soon through Booktrope. Stay tuned.) I have!  Ideas that, to date, have alluded me. My muse can be such a bitch when she wants to be. Geesh. She’s SO sensitive. You think I have needs.

But, here I am, brimming with ideas with time on my hands and unable to write. Why?  Well, because I need certain things to be able to write, the primary of which is stillness. With my nerve buzzing the way it is, stillness has been hard to come by. I stand. I sit. I walk. I lay. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Frustrating. Until it wasn’t.

I had to adapt. I have to adapt. We all do. Life changes.

Once I made peace with having no peace, I took my sexy, slim MacBook Air and wrote in my bed, at the table, in the tub (foolish I know) and from my back flat on the floor with my knees elevated to the couch. Okay, so I admit. That one was a little awkward. Still? I wrote. This is a good lesson for me, because there will come a day when I go back to work, a day that I’m looking forward to, when the challenge will once again be how/when do I write? The answer I have today, thanks to this lovely back injury, is however, whenever I can.

(Hold on. Time to stand up.)

I guess I’m writing this to encourage you, encourage me. It’s never completely perfect, is it? Things are never exactly how we want them. Because of that, it’s so easy to put off our dreams and our goals because there’s never the right time, enough money, perfect people, blah, blah, blah.

Look, just get on with your life. Do the thing you want to do. Create the thing you want. Live the life you imagine—even if it’s within the smallest crevices of what’s left of it after you’ve given your all to others.

We get to do this once. What are you waiting for? An invitation? Well, here it is. Join me down on my back as I reach for the stars from here.

Peace and Blessings,


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