A Year in Review

A lot has been happening since I last wrote a post in NBMA!  The year 2013-2014 has been an eventful one to say the least…from joy to tragedy from good times to bad times…it has had it all.  There have been Conferences, family gatherings, weddings, recitals, concerts, graduations and there have been floods, pain, and surgery.  The year began with pain and has ended in pain.

After returning from the 2013 KETS-12 conference in OKC, I began having discomfort in my left shoulder and arm.  By August it had become more than discomfort and was actual pain.  After a trip to my chiropractor didn’t help, I proceeded to go to my MD and he automatically said it was in my cervical spine–I doubted him vehemently because I had no neck pain! My pain was in my shoulder and left arm.  However, after the MRI result, it definitely was my neck.  Two vertebrae were the culprits, both were bulging and herniated, and in one of them, the disk was pushing on my spinal cord.  Surgery was recommend although I might have some success with physical therapy.

After visiting two surgeons who both told me I was in a dangerous situation with the spine I decided to put off surgery as long as I could by participating in physical therapy including cervical traction.  I needed to give myself some time for some of the good things that were planned:  KMTA conference in Murray, Kentucky, traveling to Orlando to make wedding plans for my daughter, and then the January 4, 2014 wedding in Orlando.  My teaching continued as scheduled as did my playing at church but with pain almost all of the time.  However, I was able to participating in the conference, have some good times with my daughter in Orlando, have a family get together for Thanksgiving and continued to rehearse with my choir.  Therapy seemed to be helping some so I was encouraged.  We presented our Christmas music on the 2nd Sunday in December and the Friday before that there was NO PAIN!  I was so encouraged; however, that afternoon while resting, the pain returned and this time it was worse than before.

Visits to Physical Therapy were excruciating and I had no pain medication other than tylenol.  My daughter’s wedding was in 3 weeks and I couldn’t imagine enduring the pain it was so bad.  I saw my surgeon again who prescribed me hydrocodone and gaberpentin for the pain.  I really never saw much relief but I continued playing, going to jazzercise, and living my life.  The drive to Orlando was over 15 hours.  We did it in two days, but it was still very painful.  There was so much last minute stuff to do before the wedding and I wanted so badly to enjoy the time with my daughter and family but at times the pain was almost unbearable. I took my medication as regularly as I could, spent time lying down with a heating pad and my tens machine and also did cervical traction with the portable device my PT had loaned me.  However, nothing really helped for long. The day I went to the spa with my daughter for a pedicure and massage was excruciating.  The massage had only begun and I was in such pain that I was nauseous and about to pass out.  All I could do was cry.

The day of the rehearsal was filled with lots of things including cold weather for Florida and I didn’t feel well at all but I had to get through it and I did.  The wedding day arrived and all of its craziness and it began early with getting hair done, makeup, pictures, etc.  I took my pills with me and made sure I had taken them.  I was a little woozy because of them and the pain, but over all it was a very good day.  Weather was great and my daughter was beautiful!  I couldn’t stand for long and there were lots of people around me who understood and helped me but the day was draining since it began at around 7 am and didn’t finish until around midnight when we had gotten back to the condo to unwind and go to bed.

Most of the next day (Sunday), I rested and tried to begin packing because we were heading out Monday for the two day drive home.  It was almost impossible for me to pack my things because of the pain, but I did the best I could and my husband and son did more than their part.  After a quick last visit with my daughter and new son we headed north. (to be continued)

 

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