As you can imagine, I was Christmas shopping. This is a feat for even the most able people. Somehow, determined and strong as I am, I managed to do it with back trouble. Some of you may remember that I have fused discs in my neck, an exaggerated curvature of my upper spine and a bit of scoliosis. These regularly give me pain and fatigue. Well, recently I've been having bad lower back pain and worse hip pain than usual. I've been stiff and fatigued too. This sometimes happens because the muscles in my back have to work all the time. I figured the hip thing was just my impinged hip flexor acting up. Actually, my physiotherapist said my hips have improved, but that a nerve in my spine is "tight" and this explains my current hip and lower back issues. What? Something new? I wondered if he could palpate my frustration.
Recalling the confusion and drunk vision I had experienced the previous day, I asked my physiotherapist Vince if this "tight" nerve could be neurological. He said it "certainly" could be. It could mean that I have too much fluid in my spine. Having a shunt to drain excess fluid from my brain, this neurological possibility is something I especially need to keep an eye on. I'm not too concerned, though. I don't have the classic signs of shunt malfunction: headaches, vomiting, fever. Also, my balance, which regularly gives me difficulty because of my Dandy Walker (cerebellum malformation basically) and Post-Viral Syndromes, has been fine today and yesterday. Plus, I've never had a shunt problem, so because I feel invincible, I doubt this is the root of my current spine condition.
My physiotherapist's observation of a nerve problem doesn't actually concern me much. I imagine it will go away on it's own. I would like to know the cause, though. It's the symptoms that are troubling me. I haven't had pain like this in a while, certainly I've never had such bad lower back pain. The hip problems are much better today, but it was such a strange sensation. Warm, shooting pain. The fatigue goes from my lower back to my legs. While I'm not limping to one side much because my hip has improved, I'm certainly waddling.
This is the first week in ages that I have actually felt disabled. I felt I needed something to hold onto while I walked and stood. I was slow and not feeling well.
I was happy. My symptoms didn't distract me from the giant Swarovski Christmas tree in the mall, twinkling as it rotated under the high glass ceiling. They didn't stop me from smiling when happy children bounced by me with their parents. I love this time of year and I love buying things for my family. Each find really excited me. I'm still thinking about what wrapping paper I want to use for each of the gifts. Today was confirmation that I can be happy no matter how I'm feeling physically. I can also be very productive.
I must learn to pace myself better, though. I need to stop and rest more. I didn't do that much today because I was too excited to continue my hunt for gifts. I will just have to remold my stubbornness into discipline... This is a good lesson to start to take seriously just weeks before I start school again.
I blog about the arts and health and disability issues regularly at http://loveablehomebody.blogspot.com/
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