Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Oh, my achin' back!

I've mentioned this in passing before, but pregnancy really does a number on my back. Two months after Tony was born, I started having the most horrible, excruciating back spasms known to man. As in, I had to call Will home from work because I couldn't get up off the floor (much less pick up Tony), I would pop Percocets, and spend the rest of the day hugging the toilet bowl, throwing up, sobbing, and begging Will to kill me. Seriously. It was bad. I went to my doctor, and told him I thought I hurt my back in labor. He wanted me to give physical therapy a try, and I did, but the spasms continued. It was after one particularly brutal, 24-hour spasm that Will had had enough, and he took me to the ER late at night. Turns out they weren't just back spasms; I was having gallstone attacks. It had gotten so bad, and the gallstones were so numerous, they were actually beginning to block my kidneys. My gallbladder had to come out ASAP, and I ended up spending a week in the hospital. It was an unpleasant experience, to say the least. Now, I wasn't sure how my body would react to pregnancy and childbirth the second time around, but I wasn't terribly nervous, seeing as how I was minus a gallbladder and wouldn't have the same issue again.

Well, about halfway through my pregnancy with Alessandra, I started experiencing wicked pain in my upper back, on the right side. Kind of near my bra area. Once again, I went to my PCP, and she gave me a prescription of pain medication (pregnancy safe, obviously) and a referral to physical therapy. This time, PT helped me a lot. I also had a much, much easier labor and delivery, not to mention a waterbirth, so I wasn't too concerned about the aftermath. Well...unfortunately, I wasn't so lucky. While I will absolutely admit that the pain I'm experiencing this time can't even compare to the pain of gallstone attacks, I'm still pretty miserable. I've been doing my physical therapy exercises, and it's not helping. I'm getting regular exercise, and that's not helping. A deep tissue massage didn't help, my weekly visits to the chiropractor aren't helping, and the pain pills just seem to put a band aid on the issue. Not to mention, I'm one of those people who HATES taking pain medication. I was beginning to worry that I was becoming too dependent on the Lortab, so I made another appointment with my doctor to discuss the back pain I was experiencing. She was also concerned that the pain had gotten worse since my pregnancy, and she wanted to rule out a herniated disc (among other things), so she scheduled a CAT scan for me last week. Have you ever had a CAT scan? It involves approximately two and a half hours of waiting, one hour and forty five minutes of attempting to drink a vomit-inducing dye that is apparently necessary for the scan (the radiology tech tried to convince me I had the "banana flavored" drink. I told him it tasted like death and the tears of small children. Not bananas), and about five minutes in the actual machine. I got my results back, and everything looked normal. So. Where do I go from here?

As a last resort, I decided to try yoga, which is offered every day of the week at my local YMCA (I already have a membership). Don't get me wrong, I think yoga is amazing, it has a ton of health benefits, and the people who really know what they're doing are serious badasses. I think it's just the yoga "culture" that causes me to cringe. Images of dreadlocked, dirty hippies wearing "namaste" t-shirts, standing around and talking about the benefits of being vegan. (Just for the record, I know how ridiculous I sound. If anything, yoga has become "the thing" for ladies who lunch over the past decade or so). Anyway. This morning, I gathered up my yoga mat-which had been gathering dust in my closet since we moved to Shreveport-kissed Will and the babies goodbye, and bravely ventured to the gym. I am happy to report that I did not encounter a single stereotype mentioned above. Everyone in the class-including the instructor-was at least in their late 40's. They were also much, much more competent than I was. I was trying to give myself a little bit of slack; after all, I hadn't really attempted yoga since high school. I won't lie, though. I was pretty embarrassed to find my body shaking like I was going through some kind of substance withdrawal while all these 40-something ladies gracefully formed "the plank." Or "downward facing dog." I am very proud to report, however, that I have completely mastered "lotus position."
I know, I know. It's not polite to brag.
Crack addict twitching aside, though, I have to say I felt significantly better after the class ended. I'm going to try and go back three times every week, and hopefully I'll notice an improvement in my back pain within the month. Hey, it beats popping pills, right?

In other health-related news, weight loss is going pretty well. For the first time since we moved to Shreveport, I was able to fit into a pair of workout shorts. Not only did they fit, but they actually looked pretty good. So I'm pretty pumped about that. Pictures to follow in my next blog post. In the meantime, my crunchy granola yoga self (yeah right!) needs to get some shut eye.

Buonanotte, amici!

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