Well, I’m back…kind of. This last week has truly been the most difficult and humbling week of my entire life. I’m used to being the caretaker, the strong one, the one upon whom others rely. I’m used to being independent and doing pretty much anything I set my mind to. But all of that changed a week ago Saturday.
I’ve dealt with minor lower back and even sciatic pain for years. I’ve never given it much thought, to be honest. I have pain, I do some stretching and exercise to work out the pain, and I get on with life and don’t let it slow me down.
But when this sciatica came on week ago, there was no stretching it out. There was no getting on with life. And it didn’t just simply slow me down. It brought me down like a darted elephant. Never in my life have I experienced pain like I’ve experienced over the last week. On a scale of 1 to 10, the worst of it would have to be somewhere around an 8 or 9. When it first came on, I would have said it was a 10, but my brother told me that the paperwork that his chiropractor has patients fill out says that on a scale of 1 to 10, a pain level of 10 is suicidal. Literally.
So while I never reached that point of pain, there were many times that I thought to myself, through my crying and wailing in pain and writhing on the floor or the bed, “If I don’t get some relief, I’m literally going to lose my mind.” Literally. So I was whatever number that is. Is that an 8? Is that a 9? I don’t know. All I know is that I’ve never had pain like that in my life, and I now have so much more sympathy now for people who deal with chronic pain week after week, month after month, year after year, with no end in sight. My heart truly breaks for those people.
Thankfully, my pain seems to be letting up now. Each day is a little better. And while I’m not back to 100%, I’d say I’m somewhere around 85% as of this morning. But let me tell you, I fought hard for that.
I started off this last nine day nightmare in so much pain that I couldn’t walk without screaming and wailing in pain. Then it got worse. I spent two nights on the floor beside the bed on my forearms and knees, with my butt in the air, while swaying my hips back and forth just to get some relief. Perpetual motion in that position seemed to be the only thing to bring even a little relief. But sleep wasn’t wasn’t anywhere to be found.
I couldn’t walk from room to room, either. Having to crawl through my house on my hands and knees was just about the most humbling thing ever. Well, that, plus the fact that for two days, I couldn’t get to the toilet. I’ll spare you those details, but just reiterate that this has been the most humbling experience I’ve ever had in my entire life.
Thank goodness my mom was available for three days to not only come and take care of me, but also Matt and Cooper. She was amazing, and I’m so incredibly thankful for her being there for us.
And I’m also so thankful for all of your input! I read all of your comments on my last post (even though I couldn’t respond to any of them because I had no mental focus through the pain), and I did many of the things that all of you suggested. Some of the things were out of the question just because my mobility was so limited. But I did a lot of the things (plus some that I got from other sources), and I think they all helped.
- Many, many stretching exercises (although anything that required me to lie on my stomach was out of the question),
- Two chiropractic appointments (with another one scheduled today),
- One 90-minute deep tissue massage (which was the most wonderful pain ever 😀 ),
- A countless amount of time using a TENS unit (those things are amazing!!),
- A magnet roller,
- A heavy duty back massager like the kind a chiropractor uses,
- Pressure rolling with a lacrosse ball,
- Hanging from a bar on the Swedish ladder (good for spinal decompression),
- An acupressure band (affiliate link) (it really did help some!),
- Sleeping with a pillow between my legs while on my side,
- CBD cream,
- Castor oil packs,
- Lots of ice packs,
- This back stretcher (affiliate link) (this thing is amazing!),
- Epsom salt baths,
- LDN (low dose Naltrexone),
- all topped off with a little Mary Jane early in the week (like those two sleepless nights on the floor) to keep me from losing my mind. (Just seeing who actually read that whole list!) 😀
So after all of that, I’m definitely on the mend. As long as I stay still (i.e., sitting in my bed), my pain level stays at a zero. But my bed is the only place I can sit so far. Sitting in chairs is still too painful to endure for more than a few minutes. My walking is getting better each day (and I do so best with the assistance of a cane), and the pain rarely surpasses a 3.
So things are looking up. And, in fact, two days ago I spent lots of time in my studio doing a little organizing and putting things away. I couldn’t do anything too strenuous, but it felt good to be in there for the first time in a week, and to be doing something productive.
Since I couldn’t do much of anything else over the last week, I had plenty of time to think. And I think I figured out what caused this bout of sciatica. Y’all are going to laugh at me, but I traced it back to a day that I literally fell off of my platform shoes not once, but twice in one day. 😀
I have these cute little platform sandals that are probably three inches high at the heels. I love these shoes, and I’ve worn them for the last two summers with no problems at all. But about four or five weeks ago, I was traipsing across my un-landscaped (and unlevel) front yard in these platform sandals and I accidentally stepped into a hole in the yard (a hole that I couldn’t see because it was late and I wasn’t paying attention), and I lost my balance and toppled right over, landing on the ground right on my hip.
And as if that wasn’t enough, later on that exact same day, while wearing the exact same platform sandals, I was getting into the driver’s side seat of the van. While I lifted my right leg to slide onto the seat, I turned my left foot to the outside edge (which is not advisable while wearing platform shoes), and I lost my balance and toppled right over to the ground again, landing on my hip again. It was just one of those days. 😀
But I actually think that is what set off this whole chain of events that led to these last nine days of pain. Both the chiropractor and the massage therapist mentioned how my hips were out of alignment, so I started thinking back to what would have caused that. Well, falling off of my platform shoes twice in one day and landing on my hip would certainly do it! 😀
I know that many would say that the lesson here is that I need to get rid of the platform sandals, but I can’t do that. They’re my favorites, and they have at least one or two more good summers left in them. So for me, the lesson here is that if I fall off of my platform shoes again, I need to schedule a deep tissue massage and a visit to the chiropractor the very next day rather than waiting four weeks while damage is being done. 😀 And maybe I should refrain from traipsing across my unlevel front yard while wearing them as well. From now on, I’ll only stick to level ground while wearing platform sandals.
Anyway, I’m hoping to be back to work in a couple of days, or hopefully by the end of this week. I’m not going to push it, though. I don’t want to do something too strenuous too soon and go backwards. There’s no way I ever want to go through this pain again, and I’ll do just about anything to avoid it in the future.
UPDATE: Several of you have requested a look at these sandals that stole a week from my life, so here they are. 😀 They’re a bit dirty, because that’s what happens when you tumble over in the dirt not once, but twice, while wearing them. 😀 They’re my favorite shoe brand, Sole Society, which always fit me perfectly. Unfortunately, Sole Society was a victim of the economy during and following COVID, and didn’t survive.
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.