1:09 AM

The Saga of Lauren's Back

17 years ago

four year-old lauren wakes up in the middle of the night. her bad dream sends her racing into mom and dad's room. laying her head on the foot of the bed seems like a good idea, until something pops in her neck and she is both in signficant pain and unable to move. this state continues for about 24 hours. her body then returns to normal, though she is occasionally plagued by sharp pain in the neck when she turns her head.

7 years ago

playing volleyball in the front yard with sister katie, lauren turns her head to watch the ball go flying past her and something snaps in her neck. she moves her head back to a resting position but is in excruciating pain. so begins the hardcore suffering.

she can't sleep at all unless there are pillows strategically placed under random parts of her body. by the time she goes to school two days later, she is hardly able to hold her head up and in blinding pain.

lauren's mom, being the good mom that she is, comes to school to pick her up and take her to the doctor. several prescriptions are written, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon is recommended, and she is told to wear a towel around her neck for additional support.

the orthopedic dudes (who turn out to be plural, as you can see) prescribe different drugs, do x-rays, and make fun of her behind closed doors (but not so closed they are not audible to lauren and her mom), insisting even to her face that she's making all this up. they can't figure out what's wrong, so at mom's insistence, they recommend a pediatric neurologist. this is a good 2-3 months after they started seeing her.

during all this folderal, lauren can't participate in athletic activity, can't carry her own backpack, and can't get stuff out of her locker, which is of course a bottom locker. she is (thanks to those orthopedic dudes) also on amitryptaline (spelling?), which was approved by the fda as treatment for depression, but which they prescribed to cut the pain. that presented a whole nother slew of problems, as you can imagine. it's just not a good idea to give people drugs to do things other than what they are supposed to do.

anyway, so next is the neurologist, who is nice. he is also old, and he ups and retires soon after the first consulation. so the "replacement," who is also very nice, suggests an mri. yay for mris. of course, she couldn't find anything wrong either. but lauren did learn that it comes in handy to be able to read upside down. the technician almost drugged me and put me in a cat scan instead of the mri because he misidentified me. fun, eh?

anyway, so the neurologist sent me off with a "have fun and don't hurt yourself," which is always nice to hear from a doctor. i quit taking that nasty drug when the pain came back full-force, but by that time it had done its damage already. i was also sent to a physical therapist with an excellent reputation in town. after her attempt at calming the muscles and nerves in my back, she refused to ever touch me again. apparently blacking out, hot flashes and chills across the back, and tingling in the arms is not normal after heat therapy. who knew?

up until present day

pretty much i've had to learn my limits, be careful, and try to stay out of the er, which is alot easier said than done. its easy to despise my physical limitations, to push myself too hard, and to wind up prostrate for days. i've had some nasty flare-ups, the scariest of which have occurred recently and for no apparent reason. whatever the heck is wrong with me is still undiagnosed, but anyone who is accustomed to what back muscles are supposed to feel like can tell there is something wrong with mine.

i can do alot of normal things you wouldn't expect, like play volleyball and work at barnes & noble and drive for 14 hours in a day. but i have weird things i can't do, and sometimes i lose feeling (or gain bad feelings) in my left arm and/or shoulder. it's not fun. but i have learned already in so many ways about God's provision, and how it not being what i expect or want doesn't make it inferior - in fact, often that very fact makes it superior. what i want or expect is so much shallower and thinner and weaker than the deep, robust, glorious grace i receive. so as much as sometimes it is hard as all get out, i wouldn't trade this history for all the chocolate in the world.

funny how what breaks you can make you, too.

*** yes i did just write about myself in the third person. less melodramatic that way. ***


Darren said...

Wow! You have definitely embraced Paul's attitude of "Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." God's grace is indeed sufficient for you. I know my younger sister can understand what you're going through as well. She's had fibromyalgia since she was young and is constantly in pain and I know that she has learned more than I ever will about trusting in God every day. It is so encouraging to see that you praise God for all that He has made you!

Lauren said...

you make me out to be a way more sanctified saint than i am. thanks for the encouragement!