A long time ago I had two car accidents. Neither were my fault but, as a result, I ended up suffering terribly from no less than 6 slipped-discs and two bubbles in my spine. Being a medical simultaneous interpreter, the best doctors had a look at my back and offered me their solutions. I even traveled abroad to be seen by the best of the best. Nothing worked. I was operated on the lower back but nothing improved. I was in constant, acute pain. I developed multiple drug allergies and intolerances and could not be prescribed any medication. I developed severe sciatica and could barely stand some days. In fact, many were the times when I tried to get out of bed and literally crumpled down like an abandoned puppet.
Without medication, what should take a couple of weeks to heal took months. For seven years, I suffered from acute, chronic pain every single day. Believe me when I tell you that I tried it all: herbs, acupuncture, weights on my back to separate the discs, rigid corsets, braces of all types, laying on of hands, positive energy transmission… I was getting desperate. It was hard, very hard to bear. And all doctors were telling me that there was nothing to do and that I’d be in a wheelchair by 40 for sure. It was maddening.
And then, when I reached the end of my strength and was about to have a serious breakdown, a dear friend forced me to visit still another doctor. He was the one. I entered his office all bent down and limping terribly: I couldn’t stretch my left leg or my back.
Four hours later I left his office standing like any other person and pain-free for the first time in like forever. I just couldn’t believe it! As you can imagine, he’s been my doctor ever since.
But even with his help, my back is slowly deteriorating. It’s too damaged. I had to quit my beloved job as an interpreter because I can’t stand for any period of time and have some days in which my back refuses to hold me straight. Those days I just have to stay in bed, laying down. Nothing else can be done.
Throughout this whole ordeal I realized I had to choose: I could either feel sorry for myself, complain about the unfairness of life, dwell on the pain and the suffering or try to bear it as best as I could and enjoy my good days. Of course, I chose the latter. So what I do now is I grab every opportunity brought to me by life to do things. I go everywhere and do everything on good days. And just accept it and lay down on bad days.
My family and I visited Disneyland and Universal Studios last summer. It proved to be too much for me. I couldn’t stand the lines. What a disappointment! So we rented wheelchairs. That was hard. I don’t like to see myself like that but you know what? I enjoyed Disneyland and Universal Studios and so did my family and it wasn’t the end of the world.
And I learned to use my time wisely. I can’t spend too long sitting down, either, so I use the computer and type only a little bit or for a few minutes at a time. Not enough to be able to work anywhere but enough to help me reach you all and still feel like I’m contributing somehow.
Now, whenever I have a pain-free day, I get up and feel happy that I can walk. And go out and do things. And when the pain hits me, I get mad, complain loudly to let it out and then settle down in bed to take it easy.
You ALWAYS have a choice. Even if the options are sometimes hard to see .
Enjoy life, J.