Life is hard. When we think things are going well, something bad happens. They say bad stuff happens in threes, and it seems true. When something awful happens, we are always looking for the next bad thing to take place. When you have depression, life seems life a never-ending trail of negative events. It seems like you’re the only one that life throws the rough times at. There seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel.
If you remember from past posts, I have been struggling with back problems. Friday, July 31 I went to Cleveland Clinic, sine in the city of Erie where I live, getting help is nearly impossible. One doctor kept canceling and another couldn’t see me until October, but Cleveland Clinic got me an appointment within a week. I was so excited. Finally, I was going to get some answers and hopefully relief from my pain.
I felt relieved that I would get answers and relief. I didn’t worry that much before my appointment. I was confident I was in good hands. The Monday before my appointment I got stomach pains and my insides twisted. I started having diarrhea. Then by Tuesday I couldn’t stay two feet away from the bathroom and I couldn’t eat. I had a piece of toast and lots of water. I began to worry that I would be too sick to go to my appointment.
By Wednesday I was a little better, but my stomach kept twisting. My worries grew. I felt weak. I went for a ride with my husband and I got threw up. I wasn’t sure if it I got sick because of the flu or anxiety. By Friday I felt better and was able to go to my appointment. Everyone thought my stomach illness was anxiety, but a friend who brought me anti-diarrhea medication also got it. I think I had both a virus and anxiety.
Before my appointment at Hillcrest Hospital in Mayville Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, I had an x-ray. When I went to the specialist, she showed me my x-ray.
She looked at me. “You have a broken back. Well, your whole back isn’t broken, but a bone in your back is broken.”
She went on to explain and showed me on the x-ray where there is a gap in my spine when I bend. She told me the only way to fix it is surgery. She explained the surgery and reasons why I needed it. I asked about getting a shot in my back or if continuing physical therapy would help. I wanted options other than surgery. There had to be other ways to relieve my pain. I couldn’t go through another surgery especially on the back, but there were no other options.
She explained the importance of surgery and the importance of losing twenty pounds before surgery. She explained the risks of surgery at my current weight. She gave me the choice to do the surgery with the high risks or lose the weight and lower my risks. We chose the safer option. She referred me to a doctor who could help me lose the weight in two months.
I held it together during my appointment, but when my husband and I went to lunch, the tears came. I couldn’t wrap my mind around my back issue. I was told in Erie I had degenerative disk disease and narrowing of the spine, but there was more wrong. A broken bone. It explained why I wasn’t getting better in physical therapy and why I hurt so much. But a broken back? Would this have ever been discovered if I stuck with doctors in Erie? How long would I have suffered before I got better?
The days after my diagnosis my soul dipped into darkness as my mind went over what the doctor had said. It all seemed like a nightmare. The last thing I wanted was an eighth surgery, but it was inevitable. Losing twenty pounds in two months seemed impossible. My head was spinning. My chest throbbed and tears swelled in my throat. Why me? Why is this happening to me?
Just two years ago I went through breast cancer and had two surgeries within three months. Now I have a bone broken in my back. I began to fall down that hole again. I’m the one all the bad stuff happens to. My husband is twelve years older than me and healthier and my siblings are healthier. It’s like I’m being punished. I cried, I screamed, and I desperately wanted to crawl up in a ball and give up.
I had a virtual appointment with a dietitian, and I learned I must completely change the way I eat. She emailed me two pieces of information. One is forty-five pages and the other is twenty-two pages! So many changes. So much to do. Then on August twenty-fifth I have an appointment with another doctor who is part of the weight loss program. More appointments, and so much information. My mind is on overload. How can I do this? Losing that much weight in two months is impossible. I can’t do it. I’d probably have to suffer until next year before I could get surgery.
My friend Cheryl texted me, “Just think of how much better you’ll feel when you lose that weight and have surgery. I know you can do it.”
My friend Amy instant messaged me, “I won’t even recognize you when you lose that weight. You’ll need a new wardrobe.”
I realized I had to look for the positives instead of dwelling on the negatives. Once I lose that twenty pounds, I’ll feel better and be healthier physically and mentally. Once I get my back fixed, I’ll be able to work out with my friend again. After the surgery the pain will be gone. Each day I continue to write five positive things in my journal.
If life throws something bad in your path, don’t let it pull you down into depression. Look for the positives. Journal your feelings, talk to your support system, and fight to stay above the hole of depression. Life is full of trials and everyone faces them. You’re not the only one who goes through rough times. Push through the tough times and reach for the light.
Through journaling, finding the positive, and leaning on my support system, I will get through this and dance in the light again.