It has been six years since my life-altering injury. When I was twenty-two years old, I experienced a traumatic fall down a flight of stairs—a slip of the foot and my life was forever changed. The medical diagnosis was a torn sacroiliac ligament, herniation from L5-S2 compressing the nerves causing sciatica, a symptom that causes pain in the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in your body running from your spinal cord to your buttock and hip and down the back of each leg. I was also diagnosed with
spinal stenosis (a narrowing of one or more areas in the spine that places pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves that branch out from the compressed
Those of you who experience pain realize that chronic pain feels like a heated metal rod burned into your bones and muscles. With that pain crawling through your body, we will do anything, try anything, and give anything for relief. And so, with surgery strongly recommended, I underwent the knife. Pieces of the lamina were removed, the muscles of the back were cut open, and the spinal cord was manipulated.
In six years since my injury, I have clawed my way through pain; I have imagined that beautiful night sky with dizzying stars just to make my body disappear; and I have re-orientated, readjusted, and refocused my life year after year to adapt to this new body. I am physically strong owed to my physical and occupational therapists, and I am working towards a Doctor of Physical Therapy. I have chronic pain and it is difficult to translate that meaning to non-pain sufferers. It is cumbersome to tow this body to and from obligations and even all of life’s passions.
I write because in six years since my injury pain specialist are still offering spinal epidurals as a means to eliminate chronic pain although it is not proven effective for even acute pain sufferers. I write because research has yet to pin-point where exactly chronic pain originates. So, to you, the one in ten Americans (more than25 million people) that ache, hurt, and grieve as I do, I write.