It's 5:30am on a Saturday morning and I'm awake. I've been awake since 4am, trying to remember how close I came to actually dying during the five years I suffered from chronic upper back pain during my banker years. The years during which I consulted with 12 different medical professionals in search of treatment. The revolving door of medication. The diagnosis of the week. The physical therapy. The would be during the days BB. Before Blog. Because my employer at the time had better security on their interwebs and Blogger, along with all the bloggy goodness it contained, was blocked. Maybe if it hadn't been I wouldn't have hurt so much. Just a guess.
Over the past few days I've had this sense of pending doom. Dread. Actual tear-producing fear at times. You see, I haven't hurt like this in 4 years. Oh, I've had some back pain on music class days after throwing my giant of a kid around for an hour that morning; and sometimes when we go on longer road trips I arrive with a gentle reminder of how things used to be. Like that first road trip to Atlanta when Greg and I had to stop ever couple of hours for me to get out and walk and I still arrived thinking I might be crippled for life. Over the past four years it's gotten so much better. Hardly any pain at all since I left UMC. But this week I've been hurting. A lot.
One thing I learned from my previous encounter with chronic pain is that it doesn't generally start all of the sudden. It builds up. The muscles gradually tighten until they stretch to their limit and and pull in places you didn't know you had muscles. Like in your ear.
Yes, people who remember those days, I woke up at 4am with my ear hurting. And I wanted to cry.
For me chronic upper back pain in the past has been a result of long term high stress and not taking very good care of myself. The thing that finally ended my suffering was leaving my job at the bank. It flared up from time to time while I was at UMC, but nothing like it was before. But I shouldn't be having high stress right now, right? I mean, I'm a stay at home mom, how stressful can it be? Har har. I suspect this new round of pain started back in the summer, when we put out house up for sale, had a good bit of disruptive work done, had 3 months of showings, had our house sold, stressed over buying a new one, then the whole thing kinda fell apart resulting in us not moving. Then we drove to Orlando, where we all got sick at Disney and drove home. Then the holidays threw me for my usual loop, then right as I'm recovering from that Kaycie hits a developmental spurt that was quite the test of my patience, THEN she gets sick... It's just a guess. All I know is that for the past few weeks it's been getting gradually worse, and now I'm up at 5:30 on a Saturday morning trying to stretch out my back and neck. Just a guess.
When I first woke up this morning I thought it was actually an ear infection because of where it hurt and denial. After a big of stretching and massaging the pain in my ear started to diminish and now it's my back throbbing again. Why? Why why why whywhywhywhywhywhy does this have to happen just a matter of weeks before we attempt another 10 hour, two day drive to South Carolina and back? I think it's time to put some serious thought into how I'm going to manage the pain this time, because physical therapy three days a week isn't an option when you have a one year old and no outside childcare.