I’ve been living in on-and-off chronic back pain for over 20 years. Every once in a while I go see somebody new about it – chiropractor, osteopath, physical therapist, massage therapist … but the results are always the same. Degenerative disc disorder is, well, degenerative. I don’t know if you can stop that tide.
Pain that stays and stays can change you. Actually, I don’t know how it couldn’t change you. The world looks different. My awareness is shrunk down to a small area right around myself. Colors and sounds are muted. My daughter’s laughter is piercing instead of delightful; my partner’s touch is uncomfortable instead of comforting. I don’t want to be reminded that I’m in this body. My life slows to a stop. At my worst, I can’t get to work, much less get off the couch. The pain wears me down, day by day. The situation is compounded by my inability to bring in money. At my family’s income level, there is no way to save for times like these. Despair sets in. When I’m not in pain, crying is fairly unusual; when my back goes out, it’s daily.
I’m scared that this is it, that the “degenerative” part of my diagnosis is finally coming to get me. I have clients who have this, so I’ve seen what happens. More likely it’s just another episode, like all the other episodes, and when it passes I’ll almost forget.