Wednesday, February 28, 2007

physical therapy has ended... and so has...

Some of you many know that I've had a back injury for quite a while. If not, now you do. After a heck of a lot of tests--5 MRIs, 2 EMGs, and 2 nerve velocity tests, and after seeing I don't know how many doctors, it was concluded that I have a herniated disk in my back and one in my neck. The one in the neck is something no doctor seems to care about but it bothers me nonetheless. The back one is causing lots of nerve pain that shoots down my leg (L5 pinched nerve). Sometimes it's tolerable and sometimes it's not. Anyway, after 8 months or so of PT the physical therapist told me she doesn't know what else she can do for me. The doctor there said the same thing and sent me packing. No nice goodbye no nothing.

This, of course, is such a depressing thing! How am I supposed to manage my pain now? Will I forever have awful leg pain episodes? Will I wake up every night in agony for the rest of my life????

There's another reason I've been depressed about this. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, part of Saturdays and Sundays are my book workdays. Book work = solitary confinement. I'm used to solitary confinement. I'm good at it. Or at least WAS. Just like something else I won't mention, people contact is something the more you get the more you want of it... at least for me. I really shouldn't go anywhere or see anyone during the day when I have a deadline. But if I have a medical REASON to leave and see PEOPLE... well... who can argue with that? It's a guilt free trip out into the world.

This may all seem pathetic to some of you but it's what I’m suffering with--pain AND now no reason to get out of the house.

Have no fear fellow readers, I've found a solution. I've joined a gym. Better yet, I'm paying for a personal trainer. I can only afford one for a month but it will be a month of getting out there!

So--am I crazy? Are there others out there like me?



Elaine Magliaro said...


I sympathize with you. When my daughter was a toddler, I had some trouble with my back so I went to a chiropractor. After my fourth treatment, I could barely walk. I had to crawl up the stairs and into bed. The chiropractor had me doing exercises. I think it was the worst thing for me. What I really needed to do was rest--no heavy lifting, no bending, no housework. I just lay around the house and read for about a week. My back felt much better after that treatment.

Are you sure you want to be going to a gym? Maybe you need to find another doctor.

Libby Koponen said...

Meghan, I sympathize: with both the solitary confinement and the more you see friends the more you want to (ever since I came back from my visits to Virgina and NM -- I stayed with old friends in both places) the solitary confinement thing, which I HAVE TO DO to write my novel, has been harder. I know what I'm missing.

As for the chronic pain...I sympathize with that as well. I wish I had suggestions...I will just say that I think the medical profession is really good with some things, not helpful with others. I had celiac disease for years and years, undiagnosed; this is an easy one compared to your problem, because the cure is really simple -- no gluten. But the point is that even when I had health insurance and was seeing a doctor, no one told me I had it, it got worse and worse and I got more and more exhausted & in pain all the time until last summer I finally figured out that I had it and stopped eating. I am a new person!

But I would never have known had I not had a stupid job selling books to libaries. One of thsoe books happened to be about celiac disease and one of my coworkers pointed out that I probably had it.

ANYWAY, I don't think the solution will be as simple in your case, but maybe there is some kind of alternate health care that could help, maybe something like rolfing??? (There's an article about that in the latest VOGUE) Or accupunture????

This all just poured out, I'm tempted to delete it but will leave it in case it's useful!


Libby Koponen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Libby Koponen said...

PS "stopped eating" was supposed to be "stopped eating gluten." Gluten is in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, most but luckily not ALL of the grains.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Libby on the alternative medicine approach. Chiropractor, massage therapist, yoga, heat and ice...but I'd want some sort of guidance. I'd look for an osteopath (a DO instead of an MD). An osteopath will have the MD *and* chiropractic knowledge.

Yes, I think you're a little crazy, in as much as I can tell from this blog; I don't actually know you. But as a creative person, that's a point in your favor. :-)

Take care of you.


John L said...

I'm a fellow illustrator, and I had the same thing -- two herniated discs in my back, shooting pain, the works. For weeks I could hardly walk. I went to physical therapy for several months, and was given some stretching exercises to do (plus some rules about sitting up straight, never slouching, etc.) It took a whole year, but I eventually got better. Don't give up, there is hope! And keep doing the stretching exercises they gave you. I'd be glad to chat about it more, if you want to compare notes sometime.

Blue Rose Girls said...

At the PT place where I go there is a whole team of D.O.s. They don't know what to do with me anymore--3 epidural shots, etc. The neurologist yesterday gave me a heavy dose of muscle relaxants, which are wiping me out. She said I could have an autoimmune disease like lupus (the previous neurologist said MS). Everything is just out of control! My solution is no more doctors. It's back to the old me--running, playing sports... maybe starting that kickball tournament I've been dreaming about! When the shooting pain comes back I can’t move then I’ll regret this decision but whatever.

anyway, what I also need to do is get face-to-face time with my friends during THE DAY... not at night at some bar. That's not healthy and I know it. The life of an illustrator/author can be hard when you don't have a significant other to see at home. The TV isn't quite the same!


Anonymous said...

I have had chronic pain from RA for years. I never took pain killers. It's a long drawn out story (maybe a memoir someday with a Tokyo twist), but suffice it to say, I am in remssion. The things that sealed it (the remission)was walking in the pool every day, stretching, walking everywhere I go, an anti-inflammatory diet (check Dr. Weil), healing sessions and gardening.
All that zapped it along with the holy water from Lourdes and daily prayer (meditation). I hope you feel better. Grieve a bit then get busy.

Anonymous said...

Me again. I forgot to mention my doctors. It goes without saying that I couldn't have made it through wihtout their help! (After they finally found out what it was!) Always start/work with doctors. Take care.