Pain – Herniated Disc

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I am no stranger to pain. I’ve experienced a lifetime of grueling athleticism. I’ve run, biked, hiked, kayaked & x-country skied thousands of miles. But, that was all elective pain. I chose to do those things and I knew there’d be an end in sight, there was joy in the process. But, last year, I herniated my c5-c6 & c7 and began the 7.5 month journey of mind-numbing pain followed by six weeks of colds, coughing and laryngitis.

I wasn’t sure I’d be able to run again. Sitting for 5 minutes was a challenge. All day long I felt like someone was stabbing me under the shoulder blade with a chisel and then twisting my arm like a rag and bending it over a chair. During the night, the pain really came out to play: I could never find a comfortable position; there was a ritual of waking up between 2:00 & 4:00am and then needing to walk for a couple of hours so the pain rigamortis would unfreeze. Soon, I was experiencing not only chronic fatigue from pain, but also chronic exhaustion from the lack of sleep.

Fortunately, hypnotherapy & self-hypnosis truly helped me diminish the pain, maintain my optimism, and navigate the challenges. I’ve heard that an injury like this can heal in a week, a month or  it can take two, five or 15 years. Or, it may never be resolved. I didn’t know which would be my fate. I expected the best, but constantly had to re-adjust for reality. Sometimes I pushed myself when I should have waited. I learned a lot from this experience and I learned a lot about pain. I learned why I stay fit, what my priorities are, what I love and how blessed I am. In fact, I’m definitely blessed with great friends. I’m also blessed with great professional support and healing from Dr. Marla Faye (Hilltop Family Chiropractic), Sarah Larson (Attune Accupuncture), Sarah Wilkinson (Take Time for Yourself Massage), Michelle Bauer (New Directions Accupuncture), and Jen Morse (Nurse Extraordinaire). I’m so grateful for you gals!

I’m also very blessed with my general health and fitness — at whatever level it is at. The last 3.5 months were interesting as I began training for the MKG Muay Thai 1-hr test. It’s an intensive experience in which we kick, punch, elbow and knee our pad holders for a solid hour with good pace, structure & intensity. During my break from working out, I only gained a handful of pounds, but my body composition completely changed. My fat exceeded my muscle and my cardio was nowhere to be found. The workouts were a challenge as we moved from 25 minutes to 30 to 35, all the way up to our goal and beyond. I never knew if a punch or kick could potentially be my last. I never knew if a run or a stretch or a particular exercise would be my last, but I kept being grateful that I could even do what I was doing. I kept taking careful and measured steps. I really thank my training partners, my instructors and Guru Rick and Diane at the Minnesota Kali Group for supporting us and making this type of experience possible.

Also, I especially thank my clients and students. During this journey, I had a dramatic surge in pain management clients. I never changed my advertising or promotion. Clients and students came in with back issues, hip issues, arthritis, chronic pain, IBS, fibromyalgia, cancer, or they’d had these issues in the past or family members had them. Recognizing this phenomena was humbling and inspiring and it quickly helped me understand that there was a purpose for this journey. Accommodating my pain too much would mean I couldn’t help these individuals. I also had many clients with emotional pain – going through breakups, death in the family, losing jobs, financial problems, food and substance issues, procrastination, apathy, sadness and more. All of my clients gave me inspiration to persevere.

Whenever I felt low, I would think about their journeys. I would read their hypnotherapy testimonials and it would give me courage to focus on the positive, to take it one day at a time, and not fail them. My clients were my inspiration and they were part of my healing and I thank them so much.

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