All posts tagged: surgery

Word War Won: “Victim” vs. “Survivor” vs. “Thriver”

I was going to talk about different words during this edition, but Alexis got me thinking. We had a very uncomfortable session the other day during which she asked me how things are going now that I’ve cut out sugar and alcohol. It started last week when we had a Skype session and she saw my face. She said I needed to do a detox. Immediately. I felt slow and inflamed, my brain was foggy, and even my face looked puffy. I’d gone to a small law school reunion/memorial for my friend Andy and saw surprise on my classmates’ faces; the last time they saw me was thirty pounds ago. (Granted, some of that weight gain was necessary at the time since I was an anthropomorphic coat hanger, but do you know how hard it was just now to type “thirty pounds ago”?) My pain was worsening. I’d been gaining weight despite exercising every day, thanks to my medication increasing my appetite to that of a starving boat wreck survivor. I’d binge in the evenings after work, thinking I deserve this as I snatched …

5 Items to Get Through Painful Days

This weekend was very difficult for me. A small party Husband and I hosted on Saturday night celebrating two birthdays and an engagement ended up sputtering to a halt at 10:30 when I kicked my friends out of the house; I was in too much pain to hold a conversation. Super Bowl Sunday was a party Husband went to without me. I stayed home, high on Vicodin and watching the Puppy Bowl (the latter of which is a noble endeavor). My neck and shoulders have been seizing badly. I’ve always thought of it like Silly Putty. If you pull it apart too quickly, it snaps; if you yank it with a tad less force, it pulls apart… just managing to stay connected as it stretches. That’s what my spasms feel like: My muscles are giant wads of pink Silly Putty that spasm and then s-l-o-w-l-y stretch. So I have to arm myself with whatever I can find that has the ability to help me get through tough times. What are my go-to items? Cryoderm: I’ve tried a number of topical creams, everything from …

Inflammatory Foods and Chronic Pain

I had a very in-depth chat with my nutritionist last night. I’ve been seeing Alexis for more than two years now because of my eosinophilic esophagitis. She specializes in difficult and weird food cases, and she’s been there the entire time as I transitioned back to eating normal food instead of powdered shakes. I’ve continued seeing her both for maintenance and to come to a deeper understanding about the way I view food as both an enemy and a crutch. Among many other topics of discussion was the idea that America is addicted to sugar. I asked if I should go on a complete sugar detox, mainly because I’m in love with Cinnamon Chex and eat those crunchy, sweet carbs like I have ten rows of teeth. Additionally, at the time of this writing, I finished an entire bag of trail mix that had 15 servings. I mean, I ate some yesterday, but still! Show some self control! My train of thought was that excess sugar leads to inflammation, and inflammation is something I certainly do not need …

The Bold and the Bionic

Everyone’s talking about the newest thing in pop music, the exquisitely beautiful Viktoria Modesta. She is a below-the-knee amputee who dances with appendages like a lantern prosthetic that attracts a swarm of moths and a black ice pick on which seems to balance the entire world. “Forget what you know about disability,” the video says to start. When I watch her, I feel like I can do that. Disability has a huge mental component — not necessarily how it affects your mind (because it certainly does), but the way it changes how you see yourself and how you interact with the world outside your rebellious, traitorous body. Scientists are currently studying how chronic pain and other seemingly eternal conditions change one’s personality. It makes us less adventurous, more cautious, afraid to move for fear we will further injure ourselves. Every movement cracks the snow globes in which we live. Viktoria Modesta exploded out of the snow globe and has become this otherworldly symbol for life beyond disability. She chose to remove her leg at the age of 20 …

You Found Me. Congratulations!

I feel like this is the equivalent of talking to an empty room, but here we go. My name is Jen. This is me: Underneath that snood and gargantuan winter coat is a 27-year-old lawyer/writer/editor from the greater Boston area. She is happily married, owns a home, works for a small firm, and has been in two car accidents that severely damaged her spine — one accident in 2004, one in 2013. The second accident was an echo of the first, a lesser impact that somehow produced a bigger sound. I’ve been in chronic pain for a decade. I’ve been to: physical therapists chiropractors surgeons pain management specialists acupuncturists energy healers I’ve tried: steroid injections cortisone injections Botox injections (in my back) lidocaine injections nerve ablations the full range of narcotics yoga swimming gentle exercise meditation I finally had a cervical discectomy and fusion in my neck this past year. Now my pain fluctuates day by day, radiating from my spine out to my limbs. I know that right now the room is empty, but there are so many people out there …