DISCLAIMER: Writing in this space is a comfort to me at a time when I really need it. But lately I have been holding myself back from writing here because I wouldn't want anyone who might be reading to think that I believe they should care about every detail of my little back saga. The fact is, I don't really believe anyone reads this, so what I write here is solely for the purpose of helping me work through things. It is not for informing the world. So, in case anyone is reading, I am not so deluded that I think this is important enough for the world to care about.
Today is the day I need to turn over a new leaf. It's time to move out of crisis mode and back into regular life mode. It's time to start doing my best with what I've got. Time to buckle down and do my work, to start cleaning the house again, to start figuring out dinners and thinking about things other than my stupid fucking back. It's time, it's time, it's time.
I went for my third opinion today. This surgeon was by far my favorite of the bunch. He didn't tell me anything I hadn't heard before. He said that I might need a spinal fusion. But he said it's also possible that the problems I'm experiencing will get better given a few months time. He said that, if at all possible, I should give it that time and see what happens. Considering how up and down my symptoms are, that's the only course of action that makes sense. I mean, this past weekend I went sailing and took a 4 mile bike ride. Things are a long way from perfect, but they are not at a level where I should be rushing into a major surgery.
But if I'm going to take this rational approach, I need to figure out a way to not go crazy, to not let my mood ride on every single fluctuation of pain, to let some things other than my back into my brain. I'm not sure yet how well I can do that, but I'm going to make an effort. Here is how I intend to do that.
- First and foremost, bring acceptance to this situation. My perfect recovery from back surgery is off. That dream is dead. I didn't have a perfect outcome. This ordeal of pain and disability is going to go on a lot longer than I had planned. It's not what I wanted, but what I want has nothing to do with it. This is what's happening, and I must accept it.
- Stop making my back the focus of my life. I don't have a choice about the pain I feel, but I can choose whether to allow it to consume me. I'm going to try to stop talking and thinking about my back all the time.
- Do as many of my normal activities as possible. Sometimes, if I'm really hurting, I need to lie down. But, for the most part, I'm going to try to do my normal activities. I'm going to run errands, clean up my house, cook meals, do whatever exercise I am able to. This isn't coming naturally to me right now, especially when I am around the house by myself during the day, so I think I will make myself a daily schedule.
- Keep trying to heal myself, and have faith and hope that things will get better. The only way I can implement any of the other parts of this plan is with the understanding that this is not a surrender. This does not mean I am giving up on my back getting better. It doesn't mean I'm resigning myself to a life of constant pain and disability. It only means I am giving my body some time to heal itself and, if it can't, I will do whatever it takes to help it along.