Monday, February 15, 2010

So What Happened To Me? Part 1

I am a young, vibrant 43 year old gal, and when folks see me in real life, and realize I am disabled, they notice my body problems and my personality and zest for life do not match.  Why do I have a SCS - Spinal Cord Stimulator?  Why are my legs numb from hips to toes on the outsides? (Laterally)  Why do I fall over so easy?  Why do I walk ever so carefully with my husband never far away, always watching me to "catch me" if I start falling.   

This was a picture of me taken just before "The Pain" started.  My eyes look different in all photos after this point, because I just could not hide the pain, as hard as I tried.  The sparkle was gone.

So what happened?  Short answer?  I wish I knew.  Long answer?  We can only have a best guess, as whatever it was was not obvious, did not hurt at the time.

I can tell you what doctors suspect.  When I was 17, I did a back flip off of a high dive, landed rear-end first and broke my tailbone.  The pain was so bad, I did not come up from under water.  My boyfriend at the time dove in and pulled me out of the water.  I was at the bottom of the lake (it was a lake recreation area) in a fetal position, holding my breath and wanting to die.  That was NOT fun.   Docs suspect this was the first time I herniated my lumbar disc, but it was minor.  (And yes, this scaredy cat USED to be brave and do such things as back flips off high dives into lakes!  ACK!)

In 2001, I went to a yoga class for the first time and felt fine afterward.   The next morning, I was unable to get out of bed due to terrible back pain.  Doctor visit diagnosis - pushed myself too hard at yoga class (shocker!) and must take it easy until I feel better.  This was when I probably really herniated that disc good, but after rest, I did feel much better.

So in 2005, when I was an active real estate agent and new agent trainer, I got accredited in staging homes.  Like you see on HGTV, I would go to client's home and declutter and rearrange their furnishing to maximize space and attract the buyer. 


I had SO much fun!  Really felt this was my calling.  Many times after I staged a client's home, they would decide not to sell, now that they could see how much space they really had!  lol  That kind of backfired on me, but I was happy for them.  I also hired out for other agents and would stage their client's homes as well.  Because I had gotten an advanced accreditation, I could legally accept payment.  (For my listings, I provided staging and staging advice as part of my marketing package.)  I also kept a small inventory of decorative items for staging purposes, such as vacant homes and such.  And one of my listing perks - I had storage units I would make available for clients to declutter their homes and store their things.  I was SERIOUS about decluttering the homes and allowing buyers to see the homes true potential.  No more excuses!

Now folks, I'm the only girl at my house, as you can see.  So if my furniture needs moving, I can assure you I'm not the one who does it!  Never!  Why, that's why God gave me 3 guys, right?    But what was I doing moving furniture at other folks houses?  Sounds pretty silly, eh?

I thought I was being careful - I used the proper tools, never fully picking anything up, always using my thighs, etc. For example, when moving large things such as large dressers or television cabinets, you must use these neat things:

Photos Courtesy of

This is why we are not sure that I did something staging homes, but it was after I started doing this as a career that "The Pain" started a few months later.

I had gotten a dream job (along with the other 2) - I was hired to train the new agents at our large real estate company (about 300+ agents).  Now, I was a hyper girl, rarely standing or sitting in any one position for any time.  If I wasn't in bed asleep, I was zipping here and there, so it was quite a change to be stuck in a room, standing up teaching for a full day.   As I remember it, the very first day I started this, a severe (and when I say severe, I mean "knock me to my knees")  pain hit the middle of my buttock.  It was searing pain, took my breath away.  I had always had a huge pain tolerance, and in fact was very proud of that.  So to be feeling so much pain and not be able to ignore it really concerned me.  But I had a job to do, so I tried to put it out of my mind.

The students noticed - how could they not.  This happy, comedic gal teaching real estate details would suddenly stop talking and catch her breath.  Literally freeze in front of them.  And then I would try to act like nothing happened, but I wasn't pulling it off as well as I thought I was.

On the 3rd day of the first 3-day session, I was sitting down getting my laptop presentation ready, and when I stood up and smiled to the room to begin, I took a step to the right and literally fell to the ground.  My leg "quit".  I was in shock, horribly embarrassed and tried to stand right back up and pretend it didn't happen.  Except I had to struggle to stand up.  My leg wasn't working.  Some students started to stand up to come help me, but as they did, I managed to get up with a HUGE smile on the face, laughing and acting like I had tripped.  But everyone knew I had not.  

For the rest of that session, the pain was bordering unbearable.  And this had just started a few days ago.  What was it??  

As time went on and I resumed the training sessions, always 3 days at a time a few weeks apart, I would refer to this pain as my "RBP - Random Butt Pain".  LMBO  I was in FULL denial mode.  It had gone from just hurting during my training days to hurting every day, all day.  Standing hurt, walking hurt and sitting was the worst.  Only laying flat on my back made any difference.  My husband was concerned, begging me to go get it checked out with the doctor.  But doing that would make it real, right?  I was going to my trusted personal friend chiropractor, and after she would adjust me, I felt fabulous for the rest of that day.  Or until I bent over.  Or until I rode for a while in the car (and as you know, real estate agents live in their cars!)  I trusted that if something were really wrong, this friend would tell me to go get a medical opinion.  

She honestly thought it was what is known as "Piriformis Syndrome".  The piriformis muscle runs horizontally under our gluteal muscle in our buttock.  Here is some information:  Piriformis Syndrome  

Often when we would go walking, I would just dig my fingers into that spot on my buttock, pushing in as DEEP as I could, because doing that seemed to relieve the pain a bit.  One day at the mall, my sweet husband quietly begged, "Honey, could you please not walk around with your fingers pushed deeply into your butt cheek?  It looks really weird."  I had to laugh but was also concerned - I had NO idea I was doing that in public.  Pushing in as hard as I could was the ONLY way I could get a break from this searing, burning pain. 

So, I spent 4 months suffering with this, in full denial as I was busy - I had homes to sell, agents to teach and homes to stage!  I had no time for a medical problem.  If I just made sure I had only positive thoughts, this pain would go away as fast as it came into my life.  

I wish.

To be continued.......


1 comment:

  1. I really appreciate your professional approach. These are pieces of very useful information that will be of great use for me in future.


Thanks so much for your lovely comments!