I have something to admit: I am scared. I am scared about a lot of things – with young children I fear for their well-being and hope for their happiness every single day – but right now I am scared about what’s going to happen to me in the near future. I have actually spent a lot of time lately wallowing in self-pity, but please indulge me to do the same here…and then I need to buck up and shut up.
Let me back up. Almost 3 years ago I started getting terrible headaches. I saw a nurse practitioner, afraid that perhaps I had a tumour or something, and she assured me all was fine and that I should take an aspirin. Months later, when the headaches had not gone away (they were coming daily and were very bad), I went to see my doctor. Since then I have had to take prescription medication daily for my headaches. After a lot of tests, it was determined that I have degenerative disc disease in my neck (which is also curved the opposite way it should be), and that it is an accelerated degeneration. That is what has been causing, and will continue to cause, my headaches.
Because I also have scoliosis (a curvature of the spine), I have sought the services of chiropractors, physiotherapists, and massage therapists for many, many years. About three decades actually. However, things got particularly bad about 8 months ago. Since then I have been a regular at various medical facilities and, to be honest, I would be surprised if those who are part of my personal medical health team – my doctor, my chiropractor, my 2 physiotherapist teams, my massage therapist, my reflexologist, and my physiatrist – aren’t sick of me by now. Not a week goes by without me seeing several members of my team. Though I have loads of respect for them and think they’re fantastic, I think it might be nice just to have a week free of any kind of appointment and reminder of my messed up body.
As I have mentioned before on this blog, a good friend of mine was hit by a car and paralyzed about a year and a half ago. She spent months in a rehabilitation facility, and she told me that the majority of the people she met there with spinal injuries have the same disease as I have. That made me scared. Incredibly scared. Could I be paralyzed soon? Will I be in a wheelchair in the next few years? I have young kids with whom I barely play because I am always sore and in pain. Will I even be able to get down on the floor with them or go for a walk with them in the near future? It’s scary to think of my future. I see my friend and her new normal and she struggles every day. She is an unbelievably strong woman – physically and mentally – with incredible determination, but she faces challenges and obstacles every day. I hope I can be as amazing as she is…but I really don’t know.
And that’s why I am scared. And that’s why I crawl into bed and cry alone for hours when I hear my doctor say this is my new normal. Fear is my new normal.
But it’s okay to be afraid. I guess it’s okay to wallow every now and again too. I just can’t make THAT my new normal.