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regeneration, stability and information

November 22, 2014

I finally got around to seeing a new spine specialist, made it to UCSF the following week to get new x-rays taken of my spine, and then made it to my second appointment with the spine doctor to review the findings.  All three of those things were daunting tasks at one point or another.  Approaching my injury with the intention of improving my situation used to be too upsetting to consider.  Conversations around it would mostly bring up the traumatized emotions and end up sending me to a nice little emotional breakdown.

And in recent past, if I’d been told by a doctor that I had “disc disease,” “lost 40% of the height between two vertebra” and that my condition was “degenerative,” I would have worn those words like a chain around my ankle and curled into a ball and cried.

Except this time I also heard her say that everything else looks really great.  That my joints are all very healthy, and that I’m doing all the right things.  Those are the words I’m carrying around with me this time.

I’m grateful for western medicine for providing me clear, objective information on my body, and for the rest of my healing practitioners for helping me do something about it.

And I’m mostly grateful to the human body for being so strong and resilient.

backcomparison

The pic on the left is from right after the accident, after they put the screws and metal rods in that would stay for 8-months to give the broken bone (the one circled) a chance to regenerate to some point of stability. The part that’s circled is my L2, which was crushed by L1 (above it) upon impact of the fall.

The pic on the right is from last week. You can see there’s less space in between L1 and L2 than there is between the other vertebra. That’s where the doctor pointed and said “disc disease” as those spaces between are where the discs live.

Aug 15, 2015 – I just came back to this post and realized it was incomplete.  At some point not long after getting my new x-rays and writing this post, I pulled out my tracing paper and traced along the image – highlighting the part about my spine that I wanted to focus on and appreciate… be grateful for, if you will 😉

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The space in between L1 and L2 is smaller than it used to be, yes. But there’s a space!  Had I not gone to the Stanford ER, Kaiser would have fused my spine without even asking (I assume).  They would have either fused it, or let it fuse on it’s own, which it would have. Because of my doctors at Stanford and those screws you see above, I have that space. Here’s what I wrote on Instagram when I first drew this, I don’t know how else to express my feelings towards it:

I traced a recent x-ray of my spine and am just staring at it thinking of how much the space between those two bones means to me.  It used to be bigger and it may continue getting smaller. For now I’m cherishing it with everything I have and trusting that my Pilates, chiropractor, lumbar support pillows, better conscious posture, positive thoughts and visualizations keep it healthy and strong.  Dear spine, I’m sorry I let you down 7 [now 8] years ago and didn’t support you in all the ways you support me.  I promise to protect you every minute of every day for the rest of our time together.

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