Thursday, May 19, 2011

The History of My Crippled Body

Well, for those of you who don't know, I have had 3 ruptured disks in my lower back for 6 years now (can't remember if I've blogged about this yet or not lol.)

I was at the end of my senior year in high school, my parents we're in the middle of their divorce, and I was getting ready for college classes in the summer. I had a '99 purple Plymouth Neon Expresso that I loved. The steering wheel didn't tilt so I would have so sit down sideways and slide my leg under the wheel then turn forward to get in.  I had done this a thousand times in the almost 3 years I had had that car. Then, one day towards the end of March 2005 I was getting into my car as usual...except when I got my leg under the wheel and went to turn forward...I had this horrific  feeling of paper ripping down the left side of my leg and hip. I moaned in pain but went on. It seems thinking back now that the horrible pain was instant but I actually think it took a couple days to become crippling. Either way, this is what happened next...

My mom was still working at Buehler's Buy Low as the DSD Clerk and had to be there at 4am when the trucks came in and my dad had moved out earlier in March, so I had to get myself up for school and get ready and go. My mom would usually call and make sure I was up...I'm no where near a morning person! lol.  She didn't know it for awhile, but I was unable to get out of bed the normal way. I would have to literally roll off my bed, into the floor, and work my way onto my hands and knees to pull myself to a standing position. I don't know how long this went on, but I remember one occasion specifically that really was then end of trying to ignore whatever was going on with my body...

I came home from somewhere and was getting out of my least that was my intention.  I was in excruciating pain and was unable to move to get out of the car and had to use my cell phone to call my mom in the house to come out and help me out of my car. I cried the whole way up the sidewalk into the house because I was in so much pain. I finally went to the doctor who referred me to an orthopedic surgeon, of course. This is the interesting back never hurt this first year, my hips and legs were the painful parts. My hips and legs would hurt so bad it felt like they were seizing up like full leg charlie horses X 100, and I felt like my legs couldn't work.  This interesting/weird fact led me to seeing at least 8, yes 8, different orthopedic surgeons with no answer to my pain.

I remember one ortho doctor specifically that actually suggested I was faking the pain for attention! Needless to say, my mom made sure that doctor understand that I wasn't faking. :) I finally went to the last ortho doctor who was nice enough to admit that he knew I was in pain but didn't know what was wrong with me and referred me to a spine surgeon in Indianapolis.  Which I greatly appreciated his honesty.

The spine surgeon in Indi was the first to do an MRI on my back, remember my back never hurt so the other ortho doctors never bothered to xray anything other than my hips and legs.  The spine surgeon, Dr. Sasso, found that I had 3 ruptured disks. *NOTE: I saw Dr. Sasso for the first time in April 2006...alittle over a year after I first hurt my back...I had spent that entire year sleeping in a recliner because I could no longer lay down in a bed.*  Because I was only 18 almost 19 at the time, Dr. Sasso wanted to avoid did I! So he had one of his associates do what I just found out is called a steriod nerve block...which excuse my word choice but it HURT LIKE HELL!!!!! That actually doesn't even accurately describe how painful it was; it was 10X more painful than all the pain I had felt that entire year combined.

My parents took me back up to Indi for this procedure. We were waiting in an exam room across the hall from the procedure room when we suddenly heard a woman screaming bloody murder from the procedure room! She was having the same thing I was getting ready to have! Ok, if you don't know this important fact...I am TERRIFIED of needles and the screaming woman wasn't helping me feel comfortable! I begged my parents to take me home but with some encouragement and stern words *lol* I agreed to go through with it. Normally, they don't allow anyone to go with the patient into the procedure room but the sweet doctor that was doing it realized how upset I was and let me bring my Dad with me.

Now remember how I said I had to sleep in a recliner that whole year because I couldn't lay down? Well, they made me lay on my stomach *OUCH* while they used a live xray machine to view my spine. The doctor was very nice and talked me through the whole thing while I cried and held my dad's hand for dear life.  He numbed up my skin, put a port in one of my disks, and proceeded to inject 5-6 different things...towards the end I was screaming just like the woman before me. The final injection through the port was the steriods...this hurt the most! I literally felt like a Mac truck hit me from my lower back down and had pinned me to the table! My mom busted through the procedure room door at that point because she couldn't stand to hear me scream anymore, luckily the procedure was The doctor, nurse, and my parents helped me half way sit up and get into a wheelchair.  My left side was completely numb for about an hour.

They wheeled me down to the car and got me in, and we drove back to Mt. Carmel.  The 4hours or whatever later, I was able to get out of the car on my own! I was also able to walk, bend over, dress myself, and easily go to the bathroom. You may laugh but sitting on a toilet when the nerve going down your leg/butt  is raw with pain making it awful! lol. I was fine and dandy with no back pain for the most part until Spring of 2009.

We had been living in our house for almost a year and it was the first warm day of spring...I had gotten my flip flops out to take our new puppies, Toby and Scooter, out to potty.  If you've never seen our house, we have a deep ditch in our front yard before you get to the road.  I took the boys out front and we were in the grassy area before the ditch. The boys wanted to move forward alittle so I walked forward alittle bit. The ditch didn't look deep but had a small layer of leaves on it.  Suddenly the boys saw or heard something and jerked really hard...which yanked me forward and into the ditch on my knees. I realized then that the ditch had about 2 feet of leaves on it and then about 3 feet of mud! I was stuck and my dogs had ran off down the street! I pulled my way out of the ditch as fast as I could, kicked off my flip flops, and took off running down the street for my dogs.  Toby stopped about half way up the block and then we took off after Scooter who I finally had to step on his leash at the end of the block so that I could catch him.

I called my mom when I got back to the house for help. I knew I had to do something because I could already tell my back was messed up. I was able to get a massage the next day which helped and then I began seeing Dr. Gill and getting chiropractic adjustments. For the most part, my monthly adjustments have been able to maintain my back health. I have had a handful of times that my back has gone out since then because of different things.

On April 25 this year, the day after Easter, I slipped and fell at a dog client's house.  My right leg went straight out in front of me while my left leg bent and went behind me. When I hit the ground, my upper body laid backwards. I managed to get myself up, into my van, call my mom for help, and get back to my house.  I realized when I got home that I was missing a small and huge chunk out of the side of the toe big on my left foot. My mom helped me clean up, change my soaked clothes because it was raining, and we called Dr. Gill. He luckily was able to get me in immediately for an adjustment. We determined that my left knee was not happy and that my left ankle was sprained.

I took 2 1/2 weeks off from dog walking to allow my ankle to heal and hopefully allow my back to get better. My ankle felt better and my back was decent so I went on my first walk after the slip. That night I couldn't walk. I went and got more adjustments and mentioned that my knee really wasn't feeling better. He determined that he was pretty sure I have torn my meniscus in my left knee and has referred me to an orthopedic surgeon in Evansville. We are also discussing the possibility that the adjustments may not be able to make me better this time and we may have to consider other options.

So, I have an appointment tomorrow (5/20) with the orthopedic surgeon.  We are hoping and praying that if it is torn that it is mild and only needs a knee brace and not surgery. We are also hoping and praying that the adjustments will make my back better so I don't have to have that steriod nerve block again or worse...back surgery at almost 24 *on Monday! :)* Besides the fact that we don't have health insurance, I am terrified of needles and the thought of having any kind of surgery makes me nauseas! I do not take any pain medication except Tylenol when I really need it because I don't have any prescriptions.  Your prayers are appreciated.

So now you know the story of my crippled body.  I wrote this post for 3 reasons...1)Alot of people either don't know I have all these problems or don't believe me. 2)For those who don't believe me or don't think it's as bad as you think I make it sound because I'm not old enough to be in more pain than you, here is the whole story believe it or not. You are more than welcome to come to my house and help me get around for a day and see for yourself! 3)To thank those who have helped me so much and are irreplaceable. My parents who were in the middle of a divorce at the time and still managed to care for their daughter and still take care of me today. To my new step parents who have joined in on the caring for me when needed. To my wonderful husband who met me during that year of unknown pain and has stuck with me through all that and all the pain since. He helps me walk, he puts my shoes and socks on, he helps me change clothes, he holds me when I break down and cry on the occasion from these frustrations, and even helps me when my back locks up trying to get off the toilet. lol. To my Aunt Judy and Grandma Oliver for always checking on me. To the college teachers I had that first year who never got mad when I came in late to class because I couldn't get moving quick enough in the morning or when I couldn't stay for the whole class because I was hurting too much. To Dan and Donna Garvin, my "2nd parents", for taking care of me and continuing to pray for me all these years.

That's my story. I don't want pity, I would just like understanding from some people. :)


  1. I had no idea you lived with so much pain! Prayers lifted for you !

  2. thanks for the prayers, jessica! went to ortho dr today about my knee and he said nothing is wrong with my knee, all the pain is stemming from my back. im glad, just wish i hadnt had to pay him for that little tid bit. lol

  3. I know exactly what you're talking about. Although, a little piece of advice, if you have to have surgery on your back, I would rather you went to a neurosurgeon vs. an orthopedic. Back surgery is kind of a delicate surgery with all the nerves and you want a neuro dealing with that, not an ortho. I went to Dr. Sneed in Eville and have nothing but praise for him. The rest of the docs in that practice are really good, too, from what I hear. Like I mentioned at club, expect a total year to recover. The first year I pretty much had more bad days than good, but it gets better. Hang in there and don't be nervous about the surgery. Just think of how much better you will eventually feel!! That will get you thru it! I'll be praying!

  4. First of all...Wow!Had no idea that you were going through all of this, which is a testimony to your strength! I completely agree w/ Kelly on the neuro. Pat was injured in the line of duty and had neck and shoulder pain.Because of the purpose of his injury, he went through workmans comp.The Dr. gave him some pain med. After a few weeks of things getting worse instead of better, he was finally referred to his chiro.This helped a little,but his chiro recommended him to see a neuro because he felt if it was minor, it should be better by now.So we went to a neuro in Evansville who asked if the steroids had helped at all.Pat & I blankly asked 'what steroids?'(hmmm....)So he ran some tests, found a couple bulging disks,gave Pat a scipt for steroids and sent him to a physical therapist.He still has to be careful and when it flares up, he does his exercises and takes an antiinflamitory. Hope all goes well and we will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

  5. I'm doing somewhat better after my massage on Friday. Alittle more mobile, gonna see if I'm able to drive today...haven't been able to for over a month now :( Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of pain!