Posts Tagged ‘lumbar stenosis’

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start. (Nido Qubein)

 At 4:00 in the morning I watch the clock move to 4:01 with the help of my vanity mirror. It reads backward, of course. But backward seems to fit how I feel. I am awake because my knees throb. However, there is nothing wrong with them. My legs are reasonably strong for a person with such short levers.

My back is creating the chaos. Sure, I’ve known since at least middle age that this no-need-to-duck-for-low-hanging-branches frame is slightly off balance. My right shoulder is closer to my right ear than the left shoulder is to the left. I guess the back got tired of the disharmony and said I’ve had enough. Then it forced my knees and lower legs to pick up the slack. In less flippant terms, x-rays show that I have lumbar stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lumbar spine. I make a tent under the blanket with my legs and relax. That eases the pain—somewhat.

I am in no way unique. Many people experience this back condition. All an individual needs to do is live to middle age and beyond. My physical therapist said I am fortunate that I don’t have excessive fat around my middle. That adds additional pressure on the back.

I gave her one of those embarrassed, no-teeth-showing smiles. I can definitely pinch-an-inch, if not more where a belt would be if I had a fashion-model figure.

Unfortunately, due to a blood-clotting disorder I can’t take the standard non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. I’d give my kingdom for some ibuprofen—if I had a kingdom.

If-only leads nowhere, however.

As the numbers on the clock move into 5:00 I think about all the survivors I know: folk who have beat cancer, stroke, and unbelievable abuse issues. They are blessings. The trick is to focus on the inspiration, and not compare struggles. Who accomplished more? Does it matter?

I do a few core-strength exercises in bed: the old tried-and-true pelvic tilt, a slow and easy sway of both bent knees from side to side while pressing my lower back into the mattress. All moves focus on the upper and lower abdomen. A stronger core takes the pressure off of the narrowed area of the spine.

The clock tells me it is after 5:30, which looks like a 0, followed by a backward 3 and a 2. It isn’t too early to get up now and begin the day. And somehow, miraculously, I’m okay to do just that.

Not every message in life makes sense—seen directly or mirrored through the wisdom of someone else. Sometimes I just have to do what I can, with the information available and a positive outlook.

Peace to all wherever you may be along your journeys.

 beauty of the broken

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