So after 8 months of sitting on my ever-widening rear end, I finally had my epidural a couple weeks ago.
I don’t normally consider myself a particularly patient person but I have to admit I’ve been uncharacteristically tolerant these past months, living like someone who abhors being active. Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not like my friend Pam, who at 62 (a mere 2 years younger than me), runs 2 half marathons a week in addition to running another hard 9 miles in the hills one day a week. She lifts weights 3 days a week and takes yoga classes as well. Whew!
No, I’m not a masochist like Pam, if that’s what you’re thinking. I’m simply someone who enjoys playing tennis, hiking now and then, biking with Pam (oh yeah, she also bikes), working out to yoga and Pilates tapes, taking an occasional jog and even snowboarding once in a while.
Well, let’s just say those last 2 are now permanently on my Forget-About-It list. But I’m okay with that as long as my back and I compromise and she graciously allows me to continue with the former 4 activities. I don’t think that’s asking too much, do you? After all, my forced sedentary lifestyle of late has left me with little more than 10 extra pounds to haul around, along with being void of any discernible muscle I may have once possessed. Yes, friends, those are now cherished memories.
Back to my back….Let’s see: physical therapy didn’t help much; massage therapy felt great but wasn’t a cure; chiropractor manipulations were a bust. Sadly, hoping my herniated disc would miraculously squeeze itself back where it belonged, did no good. I had no idea my back was so incredibly stubborn, having ignored my pleas to get on with it and get better already.
So I finally resorted to having an epidural, whereby the appropriate area was first numbed with numerous injections to disguise any pain I might feel from the soon-to-follow nearly 3-inch needle. Dr. Air (yes, that’s her actual name) injected a scary-looking needle into my lower spine next to the S-I joint, precisely where the culprit of my discomfort has taken up residence against a nerve these past 8 months. While two technicians were doing whatever they do, the doctor watched on 3 whoop-de-doo monitors with real time images. Then she inserted the needle containing the magic potion —a steroid.
It was a piece of cake, if I do say so myself. My hygienist takes 3 times as long to clean my teeth than that epidural procedure took. But here’s the scary part: What if it doesn’t alleviate the pain? The doc said she has a good feeling about my back. Other than osteoporosis, 2 collapsed discs, 1 herniated disc, sciatica and arthritis— it looks pretty damn good. I couldn’t tell if she was joking but I’m going to go with no, she was not.
I do feel 50% better and can hardly wait to get back on the tennis court. In the meantime, I’ll use the power of positive thinking that surgery won’t be needed. But if so, I’ll do it…whatever it takes to get my active lifestyle back. The thing is, when you’re young and walking around with a collagen-packed, dense-muscled, not-a-bulge-in-sight, pain-free body, the last thing on your mind is what older people always say: When you have your health, you have everything.
And you know what? It turns out they’re right.