The abyss. I have been spending a lot of time there in the last month. If you are not familiar with the abyss it’s the dark place where you hang out and worry that all your worst fears are true. I really don’t think of myself as an overly dramatic person and I try not to indulge in self-pity for extended periods of time, but there is something about being in pain all day and getting very little sleep that will mess with your mind.
Since the last update I’ve gone to see a surgeon who told me he thought my issue was nerve related and sent me to get an EMG. The EMG showed that there was evidence of nerve issues and the doctor said it could be a herniated disc or something else pushing on the sciatic nerve and causing me to feel the symptoms in my leg. He told me to go get an MRI on my back and we’d discuss treatments once the issue was diagnosed.
Sadly through a combination of bad timing and my incredible bad luck, we were due to switch insurance providers two days later at work so I had to wait to get the new information before I could schedule the MRI. It took two weeks to get the new insurance information and in that two weeks, I spent quite a lot of time in the abyss.
Since I had to wait for a diagnosis from the doctor I took to the web and started to diagnosis myself. When I had sufficiently worried myself there I started googling herniated discs and other possible nerve issues and how they affected jiu-jitsu (I recommend you never do that). As all of this was going on, the pain was getting increasingly worse and I was in a constant state of stress and aggravation. I started to worry that the pain wold never go away and that I would never get to train jiu-jitsu again. Then something happened jiu-jitsu related last week that made me start to think the universe was sending me every signal that jiu-jitsu didn’t want me anymore.
So there I was last Thursday, laying around in pain and indulging in my misery. I was complaining to a friend of mine about all of this and she told me that I couldn’t give up, that life will get better. I told her something pathetic like “I hope so” and she told me to stop worrying, that it would. She has been through way more medically lately than I have and I started to feel pretty ashamed that she could have that positive outlook and I was being so sullen. I made the decision that I was going to try my best to be more positive and stop feeling miserable all the time.
That very day I got my new health insurance information! Now I think that probably my decision to be positive had little effect on the people at Aetna but it seemed like a sign that the universe was rewarding my effort to stop wearing my grumpy pants. With the new information I was able to get my MRI authorized that day and scheduled for Saturday…more good stuff!
Saturday rolled around and my new positive attitude was being tested. Some good friends and training partners of mine at another school were getting promoted. Their instructor wanted to make sure that there were lots of women there to support them and beat them up (it’s often the same thing) and I wanted to go even if I couldn’t participate much. I feared it would be very depressing to watch everyone continue and progress in their training while I couldn’t even think about getting back to my own yet.
As I was getting ready to head out in the morning I started cleaning up around the house a bit and came across a picture that my jiu-jitsu bestie had given me a few weeks before. It was a picture of me, her and another friend at the women’s camp we went to in February. When she gave it to me she said it was so I would remember happy times training and be motivated to get back to the mats. I hadn’t put it up yet because I still wasn’t sure I would be back on the mats. I looked at the picture and decided that I was going to do everything possible to get back on the mats. I put it up in a prominent location and I look at it everyday as a reminder of what I’m working for.
Instead of feeling depressed at the promotions, I felt inspired. I got to talk over my situation with some awesome higher belts and I got a reminder of what I wanted to get back to. After promotions I went to get my MRI and yesterday received word from my doctor that I do indeed have a herniated disc. Next week I get a steroid injection in my spine (I’m not freaked out by that…) and then I will start PT and I hope to be on the mats again at least by the end of summer, if not before.
For now I’ll keep looking at that picture everyday to remind myself what I am working towards. The world better look out when I get back on the mats…I have a lot of ass kicking to make up for 🙂