Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Journey to 80: The Beginning

So far on my blog I have been pretty closed lipped about my physical health. After sharing my journey with a fellow college friend, a godly woman and another chronic back pain sufferer, I decided that it was time to share my story.

"How are you feeling?"

"It's an 80 day!"

This is a common text that I share with two of my close friends on days when I feel like I am trapped in my 80 year old body. I skipped right past being in my late 20's to being 80! At my best, I probably feel like I am in my mid-40's; you know those years where everything begins to hurt and ache. Honestly those days I praise God that I can be up and about with my kids...enjoying sweet moments with them and not laying flat on my stomach writhing in pain.

Well I am skipping ahead of myself. Let's get back to the beginning of my story.

It was Monday, Oct. 13, 2008. Columbus Day. I was getting ready for school at the terrible hour of 5:30AM...I don't miss those early teacher mornings...when I couldn't get motivated. My stomach was so nauseous. Suddenly the suspense was killing me. It had been 2 1/2 years of waiting...could it really be happening? Yep! The two lines proved it! In June, we'd be expecting our first little one!

Nothing could have prepared me for what the next 10 months would hold. At the beginning of December, my back began to hurt... similar to what it felt like back in college after I had fallen on the gym floor on my tail bone and spent 2 weeks recouping.

I went to the chiropractor, the only thing that helped back then, and 2 weeks later I was back to feeling better.

At the end of January, we had an ultrasound. That evening suddenly there was a terrible pain down into my left leg. The chiro couldn't take any x-rays due to the pregnancy, so it was all guess work. I thought it would just go away, but several weeks later I was headed to the hospital to make sure there wasn't a clot in my leg. After I was cleared from that, I was given some Tylenol with codeine for the pain. Hating to take even an Advil for a headache on a normal day, I tried not to take any of the Tylenol because now that I was pregnant, I didn't want anything going in that had codeine in it!

The pain continued until I ended up visiting the chiro repeatedly. Most of those days I just ended up in the same pain and sometimes even worse. I had started walking so crooked. It was like my left leg grew over night and my hip was like 6-8" higher on one side. I ended up putting a lift in my right shoe to try to fix the problem.

When the chiro visits stopped helping, I resorted to acupuncture and massage therapy. Massage helped a little. Acupuncture reduced my pain. By now I was popping the Tylenol to try to endure the rest of the school year.

Many people ask how I did it. Honestly, it was many called off days. My teaching partner was amazing and helped when I needed to lay down multiple times in the nurse's office. My first grade class was amazing too. They often walked to specials classes with me watching from down the hallway. My computer was also propped up so I could stand to teach, type and check my email. When I wasn't teaching, I was resting at home.

But my full and complete answer to this question is...IT WAS ALL GOD!  God provided the people that helped me. He also has built in me such a strong will that I stubbornly pushed on. Who wants to hear the woes of a first time pregnant lady, anyways? Above all He gave me the strength to face one day at a time.

"God is our refuge and strength, 
A very present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1 (NASB)

The nights were the worst. About 1AM, I'd wake up and lay there until I couldn't refrain from using the bathroom anymore. I'd slowly get up to only get unbearable pain in my leg, hobble to the bathroom, try to bend down as far as I could and then scream in pain for the next hour until the pain made me pass out.

Towards the end of the school year, a sub was in my class more than I was. In the mornings I could barely walk and the pain was excruciating for about 30-60 min. Then it would taper off. I still walked slowly, but it was at least bearable.

This is 37 weeks. The last week of school. You can see how crooked I was standing.

I couldn't wait until my little one came out and got off of my sciatic nerve, or so several OBGYNs in my practice thought. The last three weeks I was finally out of school. I rested a lot, but my pain in the mornings was getting worse. By the last week, the pain would last about 3 hours and then it wasn't stopping.

I ended up at the orthopedic doctor by wheelchair and was miserable. Finally he talked some sense into my OBGYN to induce me. I was finally going to have some relief and my pretty baby girl in my arms. It felt so freeing. Unfortunately nothing could have prepared me for the next 4 weeks.


  1. I posted on your pinterest wall already, but wanted to let you know never have I felt more of an emotional connection to a story than I have this one. The memories of the pain have come rushing back to me as I read through your experiences and I cannot keep tears from my eyes that you had to endure such awful pain during pregnancy. Praise God for His unending grace and strength, for we would not be here today without that, would we?

  2. I remember you calling me about your back the first time. Sharing my story with you and sharing your journey has made part of this journey mean something. Praise God for His love and peace that help us endure when the fear is so overwhelming. I really hope that others will hear our stories and be encouraged. I have never seen and felt the Lord's presence so clearly than I did during those days of my life. It was a blessing directly from his hands.