My New Normal

Kind of the opposite of the point I will be making.

So, last night my back was in excruciating pain and sort of turned me into a crazy person... ha ha... no, but seriously, though. It was scary!

I'll explain.

Two days ago I went running on the treadmill for 5 minutes straight for the first time in 4 years since my back surgery and I felt great! Yesterday morning I did the same. However, yesterday, unlike two days ago, I drove for three hours afterwards and I didn't have my normal pillow behind my back that I normally do, instead I had my jean jacket with buttons that pressed into my spine where the titanium screws are. Well, this caused my back to sting really, really badly and my muscles to erupt into spasms.

Not a fun thing when you are driving.

When I'm in this amount of pain all I can think is: Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Blinker On Pain Pain Pain Pain CHECK YOUR BLIND SPOT  Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain TURN Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain BREAKS!!!! Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Oooooh, I like this song! Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain CRAP THAT WAS YOUR EXIT! Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain Pain 
This is what I tell my pain.

You get the picture.
It's really quite distracting.

And when this happens I have little brain power to do much else.

So, that explains why I drove off without my Debit Card at Dutch Bros. The guy literally had to run after me before I hit the road. Thank God I had to plug something into Siri, so I was stalled at the time. Yikes... That could have been super bad. Uggghhh! 

Then on my drive up to Portland I had to pull over at a rest stop and get out of the car because I thought I was going to black out I was in so much pain. I went to the bathroom and came out into public view with out buckling my dang belt! I didn't notice this until I got to my car. *face palm*

Pain makes you act as if you are super drunk. It's the worst.

Well, long story short, I made it back safely.

I started writing this post last night with the heating pad wrapped around my back. I also took some Aleve, though, I craved something stronger.

Oh Mark... 
Anyhow, this isn't meant to be an ANGRY VENTING POST, but rather a post to let you know about my acceptance with the pain.

You see, over the years when I tell people I'm hurting due to something that normally gives me pain they feel really sorry for me, which I understand where they're coming from because they think that the surgery should have completely fixed me, but let me tell you how I see it now.

After surgery there's this thing called Post-Op which you go to every 3 months until you are all checked out for forever (hopefully). Well, on my first visit my surgeon, Dr. Ivan Cheng, told me that although he and his team fixed the majority of my problem I will still feel pain occasionally and my spine will never be completely normal. 

Here is where I wish he changed the wording of how he phrased this to me.

True, my back is never going to be normal like the majority of people's backs, however, instead of saying that my back is never going to be normal I personally think he should have said that I have a new normal to get used to now.

Here is what my New Normal consists of:

  1. Some days my back feels like a million bucks! 
  2. Some days it feels like shit. Like stabbing knives, lightning strikes, & flames engulfing my spinal cord.  
  3. I have to keep my core muscles strong or else my back will sting. 
  4. Can't sit too long. 
  5. Can't stand too long. 
  6. Long drives (2 hours) hurt. 
  7. I have to use the heating pad daily. In the morning, before bed, & before working out. 
  8. Yoga helps, especially Cat/Cow. 
  9. Sprinting is ok. Running for a long time (even 5 minutes) is not ok. 
  10. Shopping will hurt. Idling down the isles will kill you at times. So make a list and try to be as efficient as possible. 
And in the beginning all of this, except item #1 on the list would really, really frustrate me because I kept thinking about how I wasn't normal. I didn't have a normal back and that sucked big time! 

But guess what?
Being frustrated, angry, and crying about it... well, all those things take up a lot of energy and make you feel even crappier about yourself. Because there is absolutely nothing I can do about my back. I was born with it and it can't be changed. I mean, I got surgery and that changed/helped it, but like Dr. Cheng said: It's never going to be completely normal. 

So, what I've found helps best is to just let it go (I know.... I'm going all Frozen on you now), but seriously this helps so much! Now, when I'm in a lot of pain I just accept it. I don't let myself get frustrated because like I said earlier it takes up too much energy and it's not worth it. Now, I have a different outlook; instead of comparing myself to others and their painless backs I've accepted that this is my new normal. It's not a big deal anymore. I don't give it that power. I save my energy for something else... like a blog post! Haha. 

I kind of think about this new way versus my old way of thinking like that scene from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone when Harry, Ron, and Hermione get caught in Devil's Snare. Ron struggles relentlessly against it, while Hermione stays utterly calm because she knows the only way to survive it is if they just relax.

Now, let me ask you this: What is your new normal? 
What has made you super frustrated because you've just been comparing yourself to others? You don't have to answer it here, but I think it is important for all of us to think about because we all have our own versions of normal. 

Blog to you later!

I'm obsessed with this song right now. 


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