I’m Angry

Angry might not be a strong enough word for what I’m feeling. I’m infuriated. I’m definitely ragey. And I’m getting resentful.

And it’s all because of my jerk of a back.

After the St. Michael’s Running Festival, I felt some tightness in my back but nothing too serious. I’d get stiff if I sat too long or moved the wrong way, but the pain, if you could even really call it that, was minor.

Then last Thursday, things took a turn for the worse. That night I started getting really uncomfortable when I was sitting on the couch. When I went to bed, I also couldn’t get comfortable. I woke up Friday with more severe pain and discomfort. I felt fine if I moved around, but sitting for too long made me stiff and achy when I got back up. I bought disposable heated back pads at Walgreen’s that night and they seemed to help. Still, the pain wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t deal.

Friday night and again I couldn’t get comfortable in bed. I slept on my back (which I never normally do) as best I could. At one point in the night, I got up to go to the bathroom. As I rolled over onto my side and then sat up from that position, a screaming pain shot down my back. Since then I haven’t been hobbling around like an 80 year old.

Joe and I spent the night at my parents’ new apartment in Easton on Saturday night. I bought some Icy Hot and Advil and loaded up before I went to bed on the air mattress. Amazingly, I felt a little better on Sunday morning. I thought the end of the pain was in sight.

I felt pretty good all day Sunday, although the problem has never been with moving around. It’s with being immobile. By the time I went to bed Sunday night, I was back to where I started. A couple of nights ago I tried returning to the air mattress to see if that would help. It’s definitely brought some improvement. And each day I’ve done a few minor stretches. They’ll hurt for a second but the stretching seems to help.

Still, I can’t bend at the waist too far. I kind of dread going to sleep because it means hours on my back without much movement. I can’t sleep on my side or my stomach (which is how I’ve slept for years and possibly a contributor to the current pain). If I do want to get up from the air mattress, I have to roll onto my stomach and onto the floor and then pull myself up straight slowly. The scent of Icy Hot follows me wherever I go. I move with the same agility as someone more than twice my age. Anytime I see someone out running, I want to cry out of envy. I miss the simplicity of being able to bend over to pick up something normally. I’m gaining weight because I’m not getting in my normal exercise. My legs are paying the price because I have to squat to do anything that normally requires bending over. I feel like my body has failed me. On top of that, Joe is hobbling around with his own leg/foot problems so neither of us is capable of doing what we normally do. I thought our discussions on the merits of heating pads were still many years ahead of us.

With the start of marathon training less than two weeks away, I’ve started to make promises to some unknown deity that I’ll take better care of my body if I can just wake up feeling normal tomorrow. I’ll have better posture. I’ll never sleep on my stomach again. I’ll eat all the right things. I’ll stretch and do more yoga.

Look, I know I could have something far worse than back pain. I know it’s something most people go through at some point in their lives. And I’m thankful that in my 30 years, I’ve had a body that for the most part has held up spectacularly under all kinds of treatment. But when something takes away your ability to do something you love (run) and makes you feel incapable, it can feel defeating.

I’m visiting a chiropractor next week so here’s to hoping that in a couple of weeks, I’m like a whole new person.