What I'm Learning From Back Surgery
(From archived lianprice.com blog, circa December 2016.)
I know. I know.
It’s been a long time with no word from me. It’s messed up!
But I promise. I can make it up to you. Here’s how I plan to.
I HAVE SO MUCH MORE TO GIVE TO YOU NOW!
I know a statement in all-caps can come off a little obnoxious, but I am just so darn excited. You see, these past 8 months (yes, it has been thatlong. Yikes!) I have learned so, so much about the human body, the human spirit, and the fierce amount of control the mind exercises over both.
On April 27th, I herniated a disc in my lower back. I didn’t know it at the time though; only that I could not stand up straight anymore, so I tried every type of therapy imaginable. Nothing worked and my condition got alot worse.
I went from hobbling to crawling. I briefly graduated to crutches, but when the pain got to be too great to take even just a few steps, I went back to a life on all fours.
4 ½ months, $8700, hundreds of pills, 3 black outs, 2 nights in the ER and 1 barely usable MRI later (I couldn’t lie flat for the imaging process) I underwent emergency surgery to repair the 10mm++ tear between my L5 and S1 vertebrae.
The doctor removed over half the disc. He said the herniation was massive, one of the biggest he had ever seen. I will never grow that disc back.
He also joked that he had placed bets with his nurses, that I would be one the 8% to re-herniate within the first 12 weeks post-op, due to my active lifestyle and profession.
Ha-ha, I thought. I was determined to prove him wrong.
Now this is the hardest part for me to tell you. I ended up not proving him wrong. I re-herniated my disc before my 12 weeks of recovery were up.
I grit my teeth as I write this. It’s so hard to tell you, because I just feel so… well, dumb.
Rupture a disc once, shame on the universe. Rupture that disc twice, well shame on me. I have no one else to blame but myself.
This is why I have not written in so long. But back to how I am going to make it up to you.
I have been to hell and back, returning with valuable lessons learned. I want to share these with you so that you can use them in your life too.
My hope is that you can take these and use them to live a happier, healthier and more peaceful existence, withouthaving to go through a gnarly injury to do so.
Lesson #1– Don’t EVER take your body for granted.
Lesson #2– Appreciate everything. I mean everything. Standing upright. Being able to walk. Lying in a bathtub. Sitting with your back against the trunk of a tree, breathing in some fresh air. Driving a car. Sneezing, pain-free.
Lesson #3– Be grateful for and utilize nourishing food, fresh water and adequate rest. These are the cornerstones that enabled me to stay slim and trim with zero exercise.
Lesson #4– If you feel you are pushing yourself too hard, then you are. STOP. It’s NOT worth it.
Lesson #5– Start meditating. Now.
Lesson #6– Learn to enjoy being in your own skin. Whatever you have to do to get there, do it. Change your eating patterns. Get more sleep. Switch jobs. Get a better schedule. Get some new clothes. Whatever it is, don’t wait any longer. Life is too short, and it’s not worth it to live any other way.
If I could give one gift, it would be to help others feel the way I now do: wholly complete, and happy in their own skin. I want you to share this gift with me. I want YOU to be happy, and to feel fully comfortable in your own body too.
Lesson #6– Love your loved ones. Love them with all you’ve got, because I’ll bet you they need it, even if they’re too independent to tell you so.
That was me. Too independent, or more accurately speaking, too pig-headed to ask for help. I thought I didn’t need anyone, until I was stripped of everything I had always wrapped my identity in.
The family, friends and clients who stepped in to help me, ignoring my stubbornness and literally pouring their love onto me, I will be forever grateful for. Even as it felt like life was crumbling down around me, the loving emails, Facebook messages, donations, phone calls and texts helped me get through this challenging time.
Neighbors coming by with green smoothies, friends taking Jeter out to play and giving me piggy back rides when I needed to get somewhere; I will never, EVER forget these kind and selfless acts. It makes me well up with tears writing about them, even months later. I plan to pay it all forward tenfold.
Lesson #7– Love the core of who you are. Let’s get past all the fluff already. I am learning that none of it ever mattered.
Ask yourself this: Who are you, when you can do nothing but just… be?
When doinganything hurts so bad, even thinking, who are you then?
What then, is left of you? Deep inside, what are you truly made of?
I’ll tell you what you are. You are love. You are courage. You are beautiful. Right down to your core. At your essence.
I know this…to be your truth.
I love you guys. I go in for surgery again on December 14th. I promise to stay better in touch this time around. Talk to you soon.