Oh, My Aching Back!

I’m not exactly sure if it was November or December of 2012 when I felt a shooting electrical spark sizzle up from my waist area to my neck and shoulders when I was doing donkey presses, my scheduled workout for that particular day. Those are where you lie flat on a bench and pressing a bar full of ungodly amounts of weight with your legs and flex your feet upward, thus stretching out your calf muscles. I was up at 300 lbs. I was apparently misaligned on my bench and performed the lift incorrectly and…. zzzzapppp! For a couple of weeks I suffered this pain until it finally got to be bearable and ultimately passed and I could once again turn my head and walk across the room without grimacing or moaning. All in the name of fitness!

At the same time, I was under the watchful eye of a nutritionist, my new “best” friend, through whose guidance I would ultimately lose 30 lbs and 4 inches off my waist.  She put me on a carbohydrate counting regimen; 13 15g portions a day. That meant some calculating and label reading and food measuring.  The first pasta night since my “diet” was a hurdle because I can eat pasta with the best of them and here I was measuring out what my allowance was, which, believe it or not wasn’t too shabby a portion.  1/3 of a cup of pasta is considered a serving and because I can have 4 servings at dinner this worked out to 1-1/3 cups of pasta.  But, I’m getting off track. My back incident was at the beginning of my time with the nutritionisst and I remember mentioning to her during one appointment that except for this dull pain in my lower back, I otherwise felt great . What she could have done about it, I don’t know, but I went on record stating my ailment.

I continued to lose my weight and inches on into 2013, and seeing my nutritionist at six week intervals, and got into my size 34 waist jeans again. That was a glorious moment, harkening back to when I was busting out of 36’s. I even have a pair of size 38 waist slacks in my closet, but those were an extreme emergency and I just came across them the other day while I was looking for something else. 38?! Never again!

At some point, and I really don’t remember why or when it was but I couldn’t get in to see my regular doctor, Dr. Thomas. He’s impossible to see when you don’t have an appointment so I wound up with Dr. Vera. It might have been for the pain in my back having flared up again or maybe for something totally unrelated. It would have had to be for something important because I’m not a chronic doctor go to’er for every little thing. But given that I also have high blood pressure and my cholesterol is questionable and, as Dr. David, the oncologist, recently pointed out that I’m no spring chicken anymore, I am a little more conscientious about seeing my doctor. By the way, that spring chicken comment will play into the story later on as will my mysterious visit with Dr. Vera. Whatever the reason I needed to see a doctor on that particular day, she was dismissive toward me and made me feel as though I were taking up her time for some inconsequential  nonsense and sent me on my way.

Memorial Day Weekend had finally arrived and it was our first camping trip of the season. Man, no one will recognize me, I thought. I’m down 30 pounds, I don’t get winded like I used to just standing up so walking up the hills of the campground should be a breeze now. Life was good, except for that intermittent pain that was beginning to affect the way I slept. On a good night I could get into a comfortable position where it wouldn’t bother me and I was good to go. Yes, wait til they see me.

The general reception of the “new me” was less than I had anticipated. Friends tried to divine some ghastly secret, some illness I was keeping under wraps because I looked so gaunt. Well, it had been over 6 months since they’d seen the old chubbier me. Nothing I could say I think fully convinced anyone it was the weight loss and I had not yet, what? filled in? But then I was starting to question myself. Did I lose too much weight? Should I gain it all back so they’d stop staring and asking questions? Maybe it’s this pre-pubescent-like hair growth I was calling a beard that made me look even more frail? They let it go, but I knew the question was still there, wondering what I was keeping from them.  I shaved once we got home and… all better.

side by side

Given the time line of events as  I think back t0 my appointment with Dr. Vera, I’m sure it was for the pain because I also saw another doctor in the beginning of June of 2013 and this time I know it was for the pain. Again, not Dr. Thomas, but also not the dismissive Vera bitch, but Nurse Practitioner Aman. By this time, the pain had been steadily intensifying to the point where I could not sit comfortably in my recliner at night to watch TV. Some nights were fine but others, I just couldn’t get comfortable and little by little, night by night, as the pain increased, I’d try some back exercises I’d learned years ago when my sciatica got really bad. I had to explain over and over that I know what sciatica feels like. It’s a different type of debilitating pain. Nothing seemed to help. It was becoming a nightly occurrence, usually ending with me curled up on the floor in tears because I simply could not bear the pain.

I also could not lay down to sleep and for more nights than I care to remember, I’d be pacing back and forth waiting for the pain to subside and I began having to sleep sitting in bed propped up with pillows. It was the only way I could sleep with any shred of comfort.

I saw Nurse Practitioner Aman and explained my situation and she concluded it was back spasms. “Will they pass?” I asked. “I don’t know,” she replied. My faith in her waned. She gave me something to take and suggested getting something else over the counter but they did little to help and the suffering continued. This was not the last time I’d see Nurse Practitioner Aman,  but I would also finally get to see Dr. Thomas himself.

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One Response to “Oh, My Aching Back!”

  1. Melissa Says:

    1. That was nice of Dr. David to point out that you’re “no spring chicken.” Ha! I thought that was kind of funny.

    2. I also tend to get suspicious/nervous when I see that someone has been losing weight. I just want to be sure that the weight loss is a healthy thing, you know? There are a lot of BAD ways to lose weight. That’s interesting that you got that kind of reception, though, from your friends. Makes you wonder – was it the same type of reaction to weight-loss that I have towards people at times or is it possible that they were seeing something “more?” Hmm …

    3. I’m so sorry to hear that your back pain was that bad. I mean, I knew it was bad; it’s just hard to imagine when you’re not the one feeling the pain. And for it to have lasted so long. Ugh!!

    4. I really think that doctors, in general, need to do a better job of listening! People know their own bodies better than anyone else. On the other hand, I’ve recently learned a secret of the medical world. And that is that “most thing get better with time.” It doesn’t matter how much medicine you have or visits to the doctor – chances are (for many things), you would get better just as quickly if you just stayed home and rested. That’s when we need to remember that doctors are people, too. They’re only human; they’re not magicians. But on the other OTHER hand, that’s why they go to school for years and years – to get smart so they can help you when you need them! I guess it just makes you appreciate a “good” doctor when you find one! Someone who will listen to you and take the time to find out what’s wrong. Not just throw you some pills and send you on your way.

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