On Strange Times: Our Heroine Turns The Page

Y’all needs a status report, so here’s an update on the big, bad world of Steff. :)

I’ve had the biggest roller coaster week ever and I’m still reeling. My new mattress set came yesterday and judging by the strange cohesive feeling in my body this morning, my speculation over my bed being at least 60% of my back problem might have been understating things.

I’m still swirling in a very busy world of doing this spending spree I’ve arranged for. Monday will be my visit to the furniture factory to buy a new sofa. A wealthy furniture-store-owning uncle has arranged for me to get wholesale on a handmade leather sofa, so, I’m buying something that’s way, way beyond the means of most of my friends and I, for a couple hundred more than I’d budgetted, but in 3-4 years I’ll still be able to sell it for what I’ve paid, so why the hell not? I’ll show you what I get once I decide. Think retro-hip leather with sleek straight lines, firm and no overstuffing. Rat pack and martinis.

I’m not going to have much of a chance to think, breathe, or relax, I suspect, between now and next weekend. Between all the domestic duties needing tackling, my job, and my treatments, there’ll be no time at all for me. I’ve begun an intensive phase of treatment for my back — massages and physiotherapy — that have already had a profound effect on me. Throw this new bed into the equation, and I’ll literally be able to work out by next weekend, is the thinking from all concerned. Yesterday? My first day in seven weeks without taking a single painkiller of some kind. About 40 hours without pills now. Exciting!! I cannot tell you how much I’m eagerly anticipating swimming, going to the gym, and all that.

It’s time, baby, to get the kinks out, but it’s not yet time, if you know what I mean. So close, but I need to wade carefully back into the fray. But I can’t wait to go long and hard. Soon. My aggression needs an outlet, I tell ya.

I’ve periodically put my back out in the past, but only ever for a couple of days, and never in very debilitating ways, either. This has been 6.5 weeks since I’ve blown my back out, and I’ve still not had one pain-free day since about mid-September. Where I’m at now, though, is a whole world better than it was — I’m able to ascend stairs quickly, carry things, walk great distances, and have all my strength back. My hip/low back has finally stopped slipping out of joint every 30 minutes, too. I’m 90% better, I’d say. This is good.

I tried not to get too into what my reality was when my back problems were at their worst. Let’s break it down quickly so you can appreciate perhaps why I’ve written so many rants, been caustic, and all that. At my worst, I was on 300mg of heavy-duty opioide analgesic painkillers a day, PLUS every two hours alternating two extra-strength Robaxacette or Advil for the duration of the day — 24 extra-strength painkillers on top of opium-derived hard-core stuff, and I was still 11 on a pain scale from one to ten. For about three weeks. I’ve never cried from pain. Never, not even when I blew out my knee. Until this back phase. Man, have I cried.

I don’t even like taking pills, so you can imagine how much pain I must’ve been in to resort to turning myself into a pharmacy (on doctor’s orders). Being unable to sit, having a blown couch and bad bed, left me resorting to lying for the floor. For about a month, for nearly all my waking moments. It took me, at my worst, nearly three minutes to climb from the floor to a standing position. Unbelievable. It was only two weeks ago I could finally put on pants without wanting to cry. Add into that my recent cockroach problems and the fact that it would take me three minutes to even wash a single dish and I’d be practically crying the whole time, well, things got pretty disgusting in the world of Steff for a few weeks, and I’m still digging myself out from it all.

The back’s probably the worst thing you can blow, really. There is no movement– NONE — you can make without involving your back, therefore the pain is utterly inescapable, constant, and consuming. However…

I think blowing my back out may eventually turn out to be one of the best things to ever happen to me. Sure, I’m still in a bit of pain and, sure, it’s been a really long time and it’s monkeyed with a number of areas in my life, but I think the way I’ve handled this and what I’ve chosen to do to resolve it, plus a few things I accomplished during that time, as well as what I’m learning about myself, well, all of that combines to make this one of those learning experiences in life that you can’t even dream up. This is a monumental life-changing time for me, and I’m consciously aware of that every single moment these days.

For instance, beginning physiotherapy has been interesting. I started on Thursday, and managed to fluke into finding a fantastic physiotherapist near my neighbourhood who took over an hour to assess my movement on Thursday, teaching me profound amounts about my own body in the process, and who says he’s “barely scratched the surface” of what secrets my skeleton holds. How exciting! No, seriously! Next week we tackle my hamstrings and delve into core assessing, which is where I really need help.

Let’s keep in mind, I’ve lost 50 pounds this year the old-fashioned grunt-work way. I’ve worked that shit off of me, man. My body has changed in ways this year that the majority of bodies maybe only experience over a lifetime. I’ve gotten past all the morbid obesity, and now I’m all about learning how to work with MY body and the way I’m designed, so that I can maintain this health for the rest of my life. I want to know everything I can about my body because I know I’ll be constantly growing and learning about it for the rest of my life, and what I’ve accomplished already can only be enhanced by more of that knowledge. Awesome times, man.

I went into some pretty dark places over the last few weeks, because when you’re in that much pain it’s hard to believe it’s ever gonna ebb and flow away. But in the last 10 days things have begun shifting rapidly. My luck seems to have turned, in every area of life. And through the downturn I learned what I had to be grateful for, what I could aspire for, and even how I could adapt my life as it is now with a small cash infusion to be a life I can feel completely content with while still living on my somewhat meagre existence.

It doesn’t take a lot to change your life sometimes. I’ve been happy this year, but very worried about money. This back injury forced me to deal with my furniture, and as a result I secured the additional funds I needed to deal with all the little things that have been stressing me for months. Life’s not going to be perfect here on out, but it’ll be more comfortable, and I’ll be healthier as a result. Sometimes that’s all you can ask of life, isn’t it?

I never thought I’d be grateful for having blown my back out, but… I am. Very. In a very strange and surreal way, blowing my back out led me exactly where I’ve been wanting to be for months, if not years. Goes to show you, just because you think you know the path to take to your desires doesn’t mean it’s the only way you’re going to get there. If life gives you a detour, you have two choices: Fight like fuck to get back on the other road, or, 2, give in to the unexpected and try to milk what you can from the change in plans. I have, strangely, and my destination reached, I think, is better than I would have expected. I enjoy the detours — even if I freak out about the derailment a little in my Type-A way. I make the best of it before long, and what great journeys that policy has led me on.

And, man, do I love a long strange trip.