I Heart My Neuro!
(below photo is my MRI)
I am messed up! A normal person’s neck curves to the back, mine curves to the front. This has given me unlimited visits to the chiropractor. Although sometimes uncomfortable, it’s always been manageable – until recently.
On January 26, the day before the Ice Storm, my neck became sore. I had spent the entire weekend moving furniture, painting and organizing. I thought nothing of it and knew my chiro would fix it as soon as I could shovel my driveway and make it to his office. After two visits, I was still in some pain. No problem, I thought to myself, I’ll just go to the physical therapist and she will make it better. After a week with her it was still not getting better. Let me describe the pain – when I wake up each morning and am lying on my back, I try to sit up, but can’t. Everything moves (my arms, my legs) but not my neck. I must roll over onto my shoulder, then slowly turn my neck to that side to push myself up. Yeah, that type of pain! I continued to work out during these two weeks because I have a major fitness competition on March 5.
After returning from Boston, I decided to go to the gym and throw my entire routine with all of my skills. Although I felt some pain, I was still able to get through it. But that night, my neck completely cramped up. I cried because it was so uncomfortable. It hurt to do anything. In my words, “life hurt”. My friends all suggested I go to the Emergency Room. After some resistance, I went around midnight and it was completely a wasted visit. My doctor gave me some type of shot in both arms and my buttock for pain, but I guess the medicine never reached my neck. I woke up around 3am to use the bathroom. I was unable to walk and felt completely nauseated. I tried to crawl back to the bed, but couldn’t. So, I just stayed in the crawl position with my face resting on the floor and cried some more in pain. Without lifting my neck more than 5 inches from the ground, I crawled the rest of the way back into bed and prayed to God to be released of this agony.
That morning (Monday), the physical therapist sent me to my regular doc and he suggested I get an MRI. They fit me in that night. At first the MRI women didn’t want to give me an MRI because they thought I was in too much pain and wouldn’t be able to make it through. I told them I was fine once I was in one position, I just needed help with the transition.
On Friday (2/13), I was called with the MRI results. I was told that I have a central disk protrusion in the C-3/C-4 area, moderate canal narrowing and central chord flattening. My doctor said I was being referred to a Neurosurgeon. A what? Isn’t that a brain doctor? Isn’t that what McDreamy does on Grey’s Anatomy? Yeah, that’s a little serious! The major thing about all of this is that I am supposed to compete in a couple of weeks and didn’t know what I should do.
That weekend (Valentine’s Day) I went to the gym for the first time in over a week. On Sunday, my neck was stiff again so I decided not to compete in the division where I have to perform a routine. I emailed my trainer to tell her. She was supportive. Monday morning I called the promoters to see if I could switch divisions. He said yes. I told him I’d let him know for sure after I saw my doctor on Wednesday.
Monday (2/16) I also visited my physical therapist. She worked wonders because my neck felt better. I went home and threw my routine in my living room. I knew I wouldn’t do it at the competition, but it felt good to at least be able to do it. I emailed my trainer Julie to tell her it felt good and that I’d mail in my application for the other division in the morning. She emailed back on Tuesday morning and said that I should consider still doing fitness. What? I’m going to see a Neuro the next day and you want me to do fitness? This is crazy, I thought. So, I decided to once again hold off on my decision and leave it all in the hands of my Neuro.
Wednesday (2/18) was the visit to the Neuro. He looked at my MRI and pretty much said I will be messed up for life. My reverse curve means that forward movements could bring me pain. The bulging disk means that backwards movements could cause pain. However, because it is only intense pain at most once a year and physical therapy improves it, he told me to enjoy life. Then I asked him the million dollar question – “See, I have this competition in just two weeks where I will be flipping on stage. I open with three standing back tucks, can I still enter?” And Mr. Neuro, my neuro said “Go For It”. I heart my Neuro! I heart my Neuro! I heart my Neuro!
I floated out of the office with so much excitement! I am now focused. I am only two weeks away from my biggest competition thus far. It’s called The Arnold and it is an international competition where Arnold Schwarzenegger gives awards to the winners. The women in my division are from places like Canada, Belgium, France, Russia – and Louisville, KY. Although behind in my training, I know that I was meant to compete here. I know I was meant to represent the minority women of the world!
Here I am a week out from the show with the ability to lift, tumble and dance. Less than two weeks ago I was stranded on the bathroom floor. If I hadn’t received the email from Julie I would have switched divisions. Her email made me stall. And, although my Neurosurgeon delivered the wonderful news, I know there was someone much higher up that gave me the blessing. God is so good, so good, SO GOOD!
M.Y. February 2009