I’m sad today. Won’t you come join my pity party?
This is the worst flare up my back has had in recent memory. [In case you’re new to T-Rex Tantrum Fest 2014, I have had two herniated discs and sciatica since I was 16. I have pain,tingling, numbness (in my back and both legs) or all of the above pretty much every day.] On a good day, the level is about a 4/10. On an average day, it’s a 5-6. Since the Charleston Marathon, it’s a 9-10 on a daily basis. It’s not something I talk about every day because I’d annoy myself if I did, although I guess I talk about it on the blog kind of a lot. At some point along the way, pain became the rule rather than the exception. Honestly, I’m ok with that. It’s my reality and it doesn’t stop me from doing most things most of the time except golf and Crossfit, but no loss there.
I’ve had many people say to me that they don’t understand how I used to run/eat/live with my stomach being so screwed up or with the back issues I have. The fact of the matter is that it’s either that or I don’t do anything at all. I can either deal with the pain and do fun stuff, or I can have pain anyway and do nothing. When you think of it like that, it’s a pretty easy choice.
But most flare ups last a week, maybe two. We’re going on week seven right now. I skipped the Tokyo Marathon because of it. THE TOKYO MARATHON, PEOPLE.
I’ve done the usual routine – massage, chiropractors, muscle relaxers, yoga, ice, heat, leisurely walks, and no running. It’s not getting better. Half the time, it’s getting worse. During my last flare up, the multiple specialists I saw said there are no treatments left besides surgery. If the other treatments I’ve tried (including epidurals, steroids, and on and on) haven’t fixed the problem, they’re not going to start now. So my option is get surgery or deal with it. If I get surgery, there is a 50% chance I will get better and a 50% chance I will get worse. Some odds, right? Sweet. And you want to know what’s really dumb? My headaches finally went away about 3 weeks ago and I finally got my energy back thanks to those fancy B12 injections. Hey, at least something got better!
If you ask me why surgery isn’t on the table yet, I’ll give you the stats. I’ll tell you it’s because I can’t take 6 months off traveling for work, I can’t risk getting worse, and AJ can’t make his own lunches and he’ll probably only eat pizza if I don’t cook dinner, so he’ll starve to death if I can’t get out of bed. All of those, obviously, are true.
But the real reason is that I can’t imagine my life without running, marathons, my friends, and T-Rex Runner. I have a lot of other interests, sure. Well, I have traveling, reality television, and beer. That’s like, three other interests, you guys. The point is more that my life has changed in unimaginable ways since I started running the 50 states. People who haven’t seen me since October 2011 wouldn’t even recognize me now.
I know that those changes are not all because of running. Much of the reason is that I’ve simply grown up – I went from a 25-year old divorcee who had never lived on her own to a 28-year old with…well, whatever this personality is. Nonetheless, running and marathons are a huge part of my identity, and I like it that way. I’m not ready for it to change. I’m certainly not ready for it to change involuntarily.
And so, I’m sad. While history definitely indicates that I will eventually get better and I’ll be back on the road before I know it, it just doesn’t feel that way right now. Many of my doctors have told me to stop running. Well, I don’t want to stop running. I reject that. I’m not prepared for the idea that I might have to. The thought makes me want to cry.
Alright, I’m done being sad til tomorrow. I promise not to write anything morose for at least another week. More stories from Japan are on the way! Will you guys still read my blog if it becomes T-Rex Traveler? T-Rex TV Watcher? Let me know, I’m flexible.