This past Monday I was diagnosed with Osteoarthritis in my L4 & L5 vertebrae & the L5 disk is degenerating. Apparently this condition was creeping up on me, and there were warning signs that I ignored, however I had an injury (not even a big one) that literally put me on my back.
Now why did I even go to the doctor to get this diagnosis? Last Sunday I was in so much pain in my lower back that I thought I was going to have to go to Emergency. The only way I can describe the pain was similar to the lower back pain experienced during labor, but I am 55 & there was certainly no baby. LOL :D
A week ago at this time, I was totally ignorant of osteoarthritis, and in this past week I have been reading & studying exactly what it is and treatment for it. And much to my surprise (not!), being overweight is a risk factor.
I have gone through a lot of emotions about the diagnosis this week. I have wondered if I have missed the boat on being able to walk in 5K’s & other type activities that require a great deal of mobility. My imagination started going crazy. I thought about many things. I thought about 20 years ago, I dated a guy who had been in a construction accident and was in a wheelchair. I thought about my mom who had back surgery in her thirties…and many other thoughts. I was discouraged, but amazingly I only stayed in that frame of mind for a couple days.
One major concern I have is that I am the sole provider for my 12 year old twin daughters. I live near Detroit and was employed by the auto industry for many years. I lost my job the day before Thanksgiving 2008. At the age of 52, I was blessed with the opportunity to get additional education (including an internship! when I was 53!) that helped me land on my feet and have a great new job (January 2011). However, at the age of 55, I am shortly into starting over with a new career & company. I do have fear about being able to perform at work & deal with this condition.
I am trying to think of this experience as an opportunity to learn new ways of dealing with challenges & apply those learnings that I am already aware of.
- Looking into nutritional ways to support my health
- Doing the back exercises the doctor gave me
- Assessing my work/life balance that I can maintain in the long haul, & not be motivated by fear
- Looking for ways that my children can take more responsibilities & I can learn to let go
- Reprioritizing, putting care for myself and my entire wellbeing higher on my list
- Looking for inspirational Sparkpeople who faced challenges and lost weight (like Time4Judi which if I remember correctly, she lost over 60 pounds while living with MS)
- Finding a highly regarded medical specialist (I found someone, but as a new patient, I have to wait until February 2013)
- And most importantly, devoting time to my spiritual life, be still, and let God…
Perhaps my path of learning & sharing can help others as well…and I can honestly say that I am already seeing this diagnosis in a whole new light.