Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Regenerate

When I started this blog 5.5 years ago I wanted to come up with a name that had meaning.  Change the G to a J and you get ReJenerationS which has my name in the middle and my initials (JRS).  It nods to multiple generations, but more importantly the definition and concept of regenerating resonated deeply with me.  It’s not just about growth but about healing, restoring what once was or making something better than it was before it was broken down.  It can refer to physical or emotional states.  Regenerating can be spiritual in that a person’s faith can be questioned, examined, and radically changed.  Relationships sometimes go through this metamorphosis.  Those that survive a trauma come out stronger.  Sometimes this takes months.  Sometimes it takes a lifetime.

Regenerating over and over is how we experience life’s lessons.  My greatest challenges, even the most painful have resulted in growth that could not have come any other way.  It occurs in cycles, sometimes overlapping, never within our control.  Some are more serious and have more impact than others.  I’ve come to believe that this is the whole point to life.  That we experience the full range of joy and sorrow in order to learn and evolve.  We are charged with coming through these challenges better equipped to bring joy to existence.

My current challenge began while I was still being knit together in my mother’s womb.  Before I was born two bones in my neck that were supposed to separate failed to do so resulting in a partial fusion of the bones C5/C6.  For my whole life I’ve had a slightly less mobile neck as a result.  I didn’t know any differently.  The trouble with unseparated vertebrae is that this causes arthritis or degeneration in the bones and discs above and below the fusion due to the added stress placed upon them.  This degeneration was a process set in motion from my beginning.

As we age the majority of humans, if given an MRI, will eventually show wear and tear of our spines.  That is because we carry our 10 pound heads around on little bones designed to be strong, yet flexible.  Spines are a fantastic design, but they often experience injury regardless of how careful we are. 
In 1997 I was a passenger in a car that was rear ended by a drunk driver on an interstate.  My neck suffered trauma but no broken bones.  Conservative care for many months by a talented chiropractor brought relief.  Through the years I have reinjured the area by seemingly harmless activities like housework or exercise.  Chiropractic care has always come through for me.

During the month of August, Mark and I took turns taking Sophie to a feeding program at the children’s hospital every day, Monday through Friday.  On my days we would take the train.  I would help her on and off and lug her heavy back pack on my shoulders all day.  In early September my symptoms set in. 

At first I noticed a tingling sensation in my left pointer finger and thumb, like it feels when your hands or feet “fall asleep” by sitting the wrong way.  Then my neck and shoulders began to hurt in the old familiar way so I did what I knew and went back to my chiropractor.  I’m a busy person so despite the pain, I went sporadically in September.  One day, I arrived in a ball of snot and tears from the pain, the numbness that had increased, and pain in my arms which was new.

My doc had a Come to Jesus talk with me (ironic, given that he’s Jewish).  With a soft, kind voice but a firmness I had not heard in the three years of being his patient, he spoke about walking the line between offering his patients freedom to dictate their frequency of treatment and insisting on consistency that gets results.  “Jen, we’ve talked about this.  You don’t just have pain this time.  You have numbness and an electric shock feeling in your hands.  This is NERVE DAMAGE.  If you don’t address this now, it could get worse and it could be permanent.  You’re busy.  I understand that.  You need to decide what is important to you and I strongly suggest that you put your needs at the top of the list.”
It’s what I needed to hear and I took it to heart.

continued in part 2, HERE

1 comment:

Kristal Byrnes said...

An amazing story right there. Things are like that. Ebbs and flows. Birth and rebirth. This also speaks of the resilience in the stuff that carries us and holds us all together, such as, well, bones. Yet the process of repair does take a little bit more effort, which our bodies can't simply muster all its own sometimes. So the need for support and assists is the other thing we can take out of this conundrum called life.

Kristal @ Colorado Orthopedic Consultants