Thank you runawaycerbera…

I am writing in response to the fabulous post in ‘comments’ by runawaycerbera on my last post ‘my husband stabbed my leg!’ She has spoken about her own experiences with backpain in such detail, I felt my answer to her was so long and in turn detailed that it should be written for people to easily read. Maybe they will be more aware of how serious a lumbar disc prolapse can be, and what backpain and nerve pain might mean long term if we don’t address it, which neither of us knew before.  Luckily in runawaycerbera’s case it was not too late but for many people it is especially if they experience Cauda Equina Syndrome which is a serious form of nerve damage that can leave you with permanent parasthesia if you don’t get it treated straight away. Check out the NHS website for details if you need more info, it is a really helpful site.

I read everything runawaycerbera has said about the debilitating back pain and the fog it creates and it sounds just like me! I had the caudal injection into my epidural region of the lumbar spine in March, to stop sciatic nerve pain, which luckily for me worked, altough for only or two weeks and was very painful for days afterwards but at least it was not excruciating to go in, just a bit humilating with butt in the air (not even a friday ;-). I was told by neurosurgery team this injection is too random and often goes wrong and is rarely accurate enough to do good. Too late after it was done, although the osteo/gp who administered it advised it was 50/50 success. Funnily the numbness and pain I now have down my left leg is different to the pain I had in my right. The pain shifted once I started physio in August (yes it took that long to get a referral to physio) and started the intense exercises recommended by the spinal pathyway physiotherapist. I went from stooping badly and pain in the right leg, to standing straight with intense pain in my buttocks, thigh, hip, leg, foot. The prolapse is central so I suspect it has shifted in it’s prominence/increased it’s prolapse, as does the spinal pathway team. Or maybe another disc has prolapsed, that is quite common once one goes I have heard.

I so hope I don’t suffer as runawaycerbera  has done, with the bladder problems and in agony for so long, but I have had issues with ‘other areas’ that has been ignored and I am not hopeful I will be spared any of the anguish she has experienced. I was told by many people in the last few months, that I should have gone to A&E at christmas and again in June, instead of accepting that any movement would make me cry and that was ok. The emergency GPs felt it was not that bad, but they didn’t physically see me. If/when it happens again (it is very likely I have been told by the spinal pathway team) R and I have agreed, no calling out of hours doctors for more diazepam and extra tramadol or codeine, I will go straight to A&E.

I just feel that as I am walking and not in the serious acute phase, the medical teams seem happy that there is no longstanding damage. I worry that they will wait untll it is too late before it is sorted. It is not healing itself. It is not getting better. I am just managing the pain better by avoiding living my life how I want, and by taking a lot of drugs. I agree with runawaycerbera that I am not sure how much of my tiredness is drug related and how much is that I am so ground down, yes a lot of it is the drugs, but much of it is not. Like she said, I hurt so often, I don’t think I realise how much anymore.

I am very scared that I am never going to be me again, that I am never ever going to see an end, and that even the brief periods of relative pain-free existance is just a short term until it goes again and this is how I am going to live my life, in fear of the most horrendous agony I have ever experiened returning. It is worse than my experiences of childbirth and I say that having given birth to my son with only entinox as relief and having had a ventouse delivery with my daughter. I simply cannot bear the prospect that my once active life has disappeared forever, that my children see this shell of who I really am, that this is their mother. This is not who I want them to see as their mother, it is not meant to be this way for them.

But runawaycerbera you have given me some encouragement that it won’t be forever, that one day I may find someone will listen and remove the fucking thing. I will, without a doubt being making a trip to A&E at some point in the future. I hope like you, it is not too late when that happens, and the nerves has not been permanently damaged.

ok, that was a lot of me there. an outpouring shall we say! phew. thanks !

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Too Much of a Good Thing

Oh dear. The start of my new eating habit has not gone so well. I was possibly a bit over-enthusiastic yesterday.

I returned from the supermarket armed with tasty goodies and the intention of both working towards increasing the ‘anti-inflammatory foods’ I eat and increasing my  shrinking appetite. I bought chocolate soya milk for random drinking, sweetened soya milk for morning porridge and fruit coulis, frozen blueberries, the ‘superfood’, to go with the already bought frozen raspberries. I also bought a ton of sunflower seeds, soya beans, dried cranberries, dried mango, dried something else yummy looking, those dried carrot and beetroot crisps. R bought popcorn, making some lentil weaving comment. Wow I hear you say, Go Girl.

Well, I did go for it. I had a big glass of chocolate soya milk while putting the seeds and dried fruit into pots, and ate several handfuls of them as I went along. Followed by eating beetroot and carrot crisps while nestled on the sofa with the children while waiting for the yummy honey glazed pork, spinach mash and cabbage to be served, which I then ate all of.

2 hours later, as I sat on the loo, doubled over with cramps, with a pale flushed face and unsure if I should be sitting there or kneeling on the floor, I wondered if the pudding of soya milk and fruit smoothie was just a little Too Much of a Good Thing. Or maybe it was the two handfuls of popcorn that followed pudding…

The children will now be having dried fruit/nuts in their lunch boxes for a while.

I Really Don’t Like Celery

I hate celery

I bought some frozen casserole mix, unaware that it contained, mostly, the most useless and vile tasting vegetable ever. Celery. Which is very unpleasant to eat, but which I could not bear to throw out ‘in case I ever found a use for it. And then, after a particularly cruel flare-up I Found a use. The frozen casserole mix became the perfect treatment for the inevitable ‘flare-up’ after stupidly pushing my daughter downhill on her bike or such foolish antics, the cheap equivalent of an ice pack, the new ‘bag of peas’.

And then disaster struck. After being used so many times and partially defrosting and freezing it again, it turned into one solid lump of mostly celery and is rather uncomfortable to lay on, thus rendering it entirely useless and consigned to the bin. I found this out today, after doing said foolishness, followed by hobbling around a supermarket a 4pm with hungry children and husband, then collapsing onto the sofa with the Mostly Made of Celery Casserole Mix, only to find I was akin to the Princess and the Pea. This Will Not Do. Unfortunately there is no other food in the freezer which we can sacrifice – we are using the baby corn tonight for the kids tea, and I am certain that Quorn sausages won’t be particularly comfortable to lay on either. Now I am laying on the cold space where the casserole mix once was, in pain and watching Abney and Teal thinking how useless celery really is. Contemplating not for the first time this week whether I should self medicate with a glass of Pinot Noir.

TIme for Change

Having completed the fear inducing first blog post, this is my first daily log, a snapshot history of my back pain and a snippet of how it has affected my parenting. My life has changed dramatically over the last few months. But not more than in the way it has impacted on my family.

My Summer Girl and and Winter Son are young. And wonderful. They are so empathic it makes me cry sometimes. They have taken it upon themselves to be my saviours, to cheer me up when I am low, to kiss my back when it hurts and Summer Girl rushes to get me a gallon of water as soon as she sees me reaching for my meds.  They also take it upon themselves to jump on me at every given opportunity. If I happen to lie on the floor to do my physio exercises, Winter Boy does not see mummy doing press-ups, he sees a horse for him to ride, on he jumps ‘you horsey mummy! Go! Faster!’, or jumps from the top of the sofa onto my belly or legs. And Summer Girl still gives the best hugs, which often include jumping up and wrapping her feet around my waist, or swings on my arms. OWWWW to all of those things. But, how can I avoid the kids jumping at me and on me, and more to the point why would I want them to? It upsets me that they have to adapt their behaviour because I can’t step up to the mark as a mother. It upsets me that I can’t be the one to push Summer Girl as fast as I can on her bike, or swing Winter Boy up in the sky. But it is how it is and I have to find a way to cope with that.

About 2 weeks after my back ‘went’ again in June, I finally got the results of my MRI, and a conversation with my osteopath went along the lines of ‘and you have to avoid things that will cause a relapse, like for example picking up your children…’. Yeah right! I am never going to stop doing that! I thought. Not happening! I decided. Until the pain just refused to go away. And then one day soon after Summer Girl came up to our room after having a bad dream and crawled into bed next to me. After a cuddle,  I scooped her sleepy self up in my arms, legs wrapped around me and head nestled into my neck. As I walked down our winding loft-room stairs and the pain tore through my back and down my legs, my tears flowed, tears not only of pain but of realisation that I this was, consciously, the last time I would be carrying my wonderful daughter back to bed after a bad dream.  I hugged her tightly and cried the tears of a mummy who wasn’t ready to stop carrying her children, but who understood it had to be done.

I cried many tears that night. And, as is often the case in my darkest hours, I turned to the women of a fabulous internet forum, Mumsnet, to get me through. words of sorrow, personal experiences and empathy filled the pages along with great ideas for how to keep the closeness – cuddling in bed, on the sofa for bedtime stories. There are many ways to show her I love her and I realised it was not the end of the world, just a change.

I do still pick Summer Girl up, after all that heartache, but less often, and with much more caution. And certainly not down steep or winding stairs. No more lifting the deadweight of a sleepy child and the pang of regret, of loss of something huge in my life is ever-present in the middle of the night when I am called for and I nudge my husband awake to carry our sleeping child back to her bed.

Roo, well he is a different story. Being 2 and all.

Wine Can’t Cure Back Pain…The Beginning

Wine Can’t Cure Back Pain…The Beginning


I have a Bad Back. I talk about it pretty much all the time, to pretty much anyone who will listen. I have been known to send people (my husband) to sleep with my wittering. Over the last 9 months I have been on, and I am still on, the biggest learning journey since parenthood. It seems like a good idea to rant and moan, share my pain and my fears, my difficulties with managing the children, my breakthroughs and my relapses, my learning and my ideas, my battle through the medical system, my success and my failure with medication in a Blog rather than (or, let’s be honest, as well as) with the family, friends, work colleagues and people at the bus stop who are quite clearly Fed Up of it now.

So, I have gone For It and I am excited, and nervous. I am chucking myself completely into the unknown. It is not the same as writing for others. Yes I talk a lot, mostly bollocks. And I write a lot, much of the same. What if I am Bad at It? What if no-one reads it? Worse, what if people read it and laugh? But, then I remind myself that I actually have a lot to say about back pain. Maybe people will read it. Maybe they  won’t even laugh. Maybe I can Do It.’.

But the instant I made the decision I stumbled upon the first hurdle, the first problem which almost made me shut the computer in a huff and give up. My blogname. I couldn’t think of a catchy one. I knew what I wanted, but the words were not there. Not A Good Start, Writers Block before I have even written a sentence.

 I wanted humorous, ironic maybe, not clinical and matter of fact, something that people who read this will find easily, will find funny, will understand and connect with. I knew it. I just couldn’t remember it (I will blame the meds). I spent an entire day lying down (I won’t tell the physio that) thinking, drinking coffee, watching daytime tv for inspiration. I even asked ‘the witches’ online to help me chose a name. And just when I thought it was not going to happen and contemplated drowning my sorrows in red wine and tramadol, I had an image of me propping myself up against a kitchen breakfast bar in a rented cottage one christmas, unable to sit or stand, after days of pain, and recalled some-one refilling my tightly clutched wine glass and saying to me ‘wine does not cure back pain, but it does help!’ and there it was. Right there, where it was the whole time. My blogname.

This is the start of something, I am not sure where it will go. If you have back pain and children, or just back pain, share my journey. Come back and visit me. I will try not to bore you.