IWSG – May 2024 – I’m Standing UP for IWSG!

Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh created IWSG — because Alex understands we need a place to congregate, insecurity is part of our creative nature, and together we’re stronger.

On the first Wednesday of each month, you can write on any subject related to your writing journey or adopt the option of answering the month’s question. Either way, you’re in safe territory.

If this sounds good to you, sign up here.

IWSG’s Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and the hashtag is #IWSG.

Every month, a specific question is offered, which may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or a story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you struggle with something to say.

Remember, the question is optional!

May 1 question – How do you deal with distractions when you are writing? Do they derail you?
The awesome co-hosts for the May 1 posting of the IWSG are Victoria Marie Lees, Kim Lajevardi, Nancy Gideon, and Cathrina Constantine!
It took me a long time to admit I’m never distracted unless I allow it. I’ve let my emotions get in the way of my writing twice in my lifetime; once lasting one year, and later almost 4.  I blamed Writer’s Block. In hindsight, I now understand I was exactly where I was meant to be.

Today, not by choice, I’m distracted by pain, bad enough that I can’t sit long to write, edit, or revise.

An MRI in Mexico revealed I have 4 herniated discs in my lumbar area.  Before learning that, I’d made an appointment with an Orthopedic Surgeon (I was fortunate to get in) believing I could receive therapy for the Sciatic nerve running down my left leg. He studied the MRI and told me it wasn’t my leg it was my spine, and I needed surgery. I opted to return to Canada knowing I’d probably have a 2-3 month delay before I’d see a specialist. (I know: crazy) I did take the surgeon’s advice: No bending, no lifting, no jumping, no jogging, no long stretches of sitting, very little vacuuming, and no yard work.

I grew up on a farm. Physical labour was part of my childhood. A bit clumsy or as my dad used to say, “An accident looking for a place to happen,” I had numerous accidents from age 12 onward. I landed on the pavement when the saddle cinch on my horse broke while we were at a full gallop. A truck hit me one rainy night; I’d just viewed a brand-new movie titled The Exorcist. I broke my femur attempting to rescue a pigeon in Mexico (she died); my femur snapped off at the top so they had to replace my hip. I sprained my ankle two separate times slipping on ice. Three car accidents. A conveyor belt incident (don’t ask). Stuck by a pumpkin thrown from a moving vehicle. (I know: weird) Tumbled down an embankment while gardening. …

Do you or have you ever had compressed disc/discs?

Did you heal with exercise or pain management?

Or was surgery the only choice?

In Mexico, the effects of two spinal injections lasted almost 40 days. Hallelujah. It was akin to having a 2-month migraine change to a headache instantly. Since then Dexamethasone has lessened the pain but the side effects are horrible: brain fog and insomnia. I’ve tried everything else to no avail. Steroids make me nervous.

Is it me or does 4 herniated discs sound like a lot? Surely to goodness one does not wake up one morning with FOUR herniated discs? Why didn’t my doctor (retired now) ever consider an MRI? I complained about back pain for centuries. He said it was scoliosis of the spine, that I might consider a back brace (which I wear), plus lose 50 lbs. I lost 60.

Sorry for whining.  I have so many blessings in my life, and every single day I wake filled with gratitude. I appreciate IWSG and I’m sad when I can’t participate. If you’ve had this problem and want to share some wisdom, please do. I’m open to any advice/thoughts you can give.

Right now my Macbook is open on the kitchen counter where I will stand to read as many IWSG comments and posts as possible. I missed you guys!



ps. Be kind to your back.

Comments 16

  1. I admire how you face challenges with humor and determination. I know you will find a way to manage the pain.

    Exercises help me manage muscle pain and stiffness. I admit, not easy to do regularly.
    I’m stunned at the waiting list in the UK, CA, and USA.
    Cheering you on to solutions that work for you!

  2. I’ve had my share of health problems. Oddly enough, they kept sending me for MRIs and CAT scans when all I really needed was some blood work. If they’d just done the blood work sooner, I could’ve skipped all those expensive scans and gotten better sooner! Oh well.

    My only advice is ask lots of questions, not just about your health but about the health care system. There’s a lot of bureaucracy in medicine. Sometimes, just asking questions about the bureaucracy will reveal options you wouldn’t have know about otherwise.

  3. Hi, My Dear,
    I am so sorry to hear about what you’re going through at this present moment, and I’ll pray for you to find peace and a solution.
    Take care, and I hope you find a solution soon.
    Shalom shalom

  4. You poor thing, Joylene. I truly hope you get some help or healing or positive progress with this situation – not being able to sleep at night is terrible to deal with on top of it all.

  5. Thank you for persevering through the pain to share your thoughts for this month’s IWSG. My husband had 3 herniated discs and has had two surgeries (laminated the discs). This has made all the difference in managing pain. He still does have some pain. Back massages seem to help. I’m sorry you have to wait so long for treatment and hope they will be able to help you sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, glad you have that iPad and can stand to read and perhaps write?

  6. Oh, Joylene! There is nothing worse than chronic pain. I’m sorry you have to wait so long to get an MRI in Canada. I’d rather deal with a health care system in English than in Spanish, so I would have opted for Canada too. I haven’t dealt with compressed discs, so I can’t offer you any suggestions specific to that. I’ve had opioids prescribed when I’ve had chronic pain. Fortunately I’m someone who didn’t/doesn’t have a problem with addiction from taking them. Sometimes I play heavy metal music loudly to try to override pain. I would badger your doctor until you find the help you need. I shall keep you in my prayers, my friend!

  7. I’m so sorry. Any kind of unrelenting pain is terrible, but when it’s the back causing all kinds of misery, that’s the worst. Here’s to finding the right doctor and getting the relief you need.

  8. I think it’s hard to get a doctor to set up an MRI in Canada. They are limited and expensive. A friend of mine waited (and complained) for ten years. Once she got the appointed, she was diagnosed with MS.

    And honestly, I’ve heard that older women are just written off as complainers. Do what you gotta do to be heard. If your doctor doesn’t take you seriously, change to someone who will.

    And yes, four is a crazy high number unless it started with one and eventually damaged the others because they tried to compensate.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  9. Once I stopped writing my little stories after mom went a little mad on me for writing so much. I was 12 or something so got right back then. I have an aunt who fell down from the stairs and had problems with the disc. It was a long time ago but still she deals with it. I hope the pain will heal. I wish you good. Have a nice day:)

  10. Sorry to hear that you’re in so much pain, and that the meds cause additional trouble – as my best friend’s told me, in pain from a spinal condition. . .

    Proof, at last, reading your painful history that I’m not really accident prone -.
    Two fractures, nothing lasting, no horses or even pumpkins involved.
    Supposedly, in the UK, the average waiting time to see a consultant is no more than 18 weeks, but first, there’s about a four week wait to see a GP. To see a neurologist, could be 18 months, orthopaedic would be about five months.

  11. I’m so sorry about your herniated disks. Coping with daily pain can be exhausting. My 26-year-old daughter has a herniated disk, too, and has to do regular exercises to manage her back issues. Good luck figuring out the right approach to deal with yours.

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