Living Can Hurt

I have been in quite a lot of pain the last couple of weeks. My back has been completely spazzing out, plus there was another recurring *wink* issue. (Please note, this post talks about my reproductive system, like a lot. If that is too much for your delicate eyes, I get it. Go ahead and skip it xo)

I don’t like writing when I hurt. I don’t like doing much of anything when I hurt. Talking about it can feel like complaining, when that’s not my intention. But neither do I seek out other people’s alternative healing solutions for my highly personalized pain situation. Basically, I’m just hesitant to talk about these things. And as much as I love everybody’s input, that is not what I am looking for here. I am seeing professionals, who are helping me so this isn’t a cry for help or for ideas. I’m just sharing what I’m learning as a person, thanks to my weirdo back and hip. Thank you for understanding, and please don’t send me any suggestions.

With that preamble, I’ve been thinking about why I am hurting and why it isn’t going away, as well as what I am taking away from this process.

I’ve been working for months in physical therapy to help my core, which IS stronger. But my back pain never really goes away. It spikes at (what I thought were) random times. Jeff gave me a blessing a few months ago when it got really bad. He blessed me that a) the physical therapist would be inspired to know how to help me, and b) that I would be inspired to know what to do to help myself. Somewhere in the recesses of my psyche, I might have cocked my head at this point and wondered why my relatively-straightforward-seeming back issues would need all this hefty inspiration for creative healing.

Yet here I am, weeks and weeks later, and I’m seeing that Jeff’s words were prescient. God knew that all the usual things weren’t going to lead to me feel better anytime soon.

And so, I’ve prayed for help in knowing what I’m missing in this whole pain puzzle. Part of me wondered if I wasn’t going to get an answer. I have dear friends who deal with much more severe chronic pain and health conditions. I even asked the PT if I need to begin accepting that this is simply the way it is going to be for me, going forward.

His answer, “No.”

So that’s hopeful. We are going to keep working on a plan to restore my back to a happier place. This is reassuring to me. But still. No answers, yet.

We knew that my pain spiked during my periods, but after praying for insight, I also started to see that it peaked during ovulation as well. There was nothing random about the pain, after all. With a little bit of input from the Holy Ghost, a clear pattern emerged.

One morning as I drove Charlie to school, I had a spark of an idea: call your OB-GYN’s office and ask about options to avoid that whole monthly thing altogether.

So I called. They immediately agreed that we need to skip the entire misery cycle, considering my current state, and prescribed a continuous birth control pill. Voila! I was ecstatic.

Until. The pills made me feel like I would rather be dead. It was worse than pregnancy. I was a nauseous, miserable zombie mess. And my body didn’t instantaneously skip the cycle, so my resulting back/period pain was, I’m not kidding, a lot like labor, except without the good meds. It was the perfect storm of physically and emotionally barely holding on to the will to live.

A week into this nightmare that didn’t seem to be easing up, I had another little inspired thought: call the OB-GYN’s office again. So I did. They put me on a different pill, and I am slowly returning to the land of the living. This is an enormous blessing.

But there is still the teeny tiny issue of MY BACK STILL HURTS.

The PT modified my exercise routine to avoid overworking and stressing my core, so I have continued with this gentler workout and stretching regime. And now I am at the point where *sigh* I must be patient. Healing doesn’t happen overnight, especially my healing. It’s a convoluted, problem-solving process.

I asked Jeff the other day as I brushed my teeth, “I wonder what I am supposed to learn from this whole experience.”

I then immediately had this thought: to understand what it feels like to constantly, physically hurt, so you can have empathy for people who hurt all the time.

Why do any of us have to go through pain and misery? Why do some of us face prolonged seasons of physical suffering? I don’t have the answers.

But my wonky back has opened up a space in my life where I’m learning to receive instruction: on listening for answers, on understanding my fellow humans, and on the reordering/refining power of pain.

I’ll let you know what I find out.

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