There comes a time when enough is enough and I've finally reached that point when it comes to pain. As of the date that this blog post was published, April 2021, I've not been officially treated for back pain or any of the physical pain I suffer, actually. I say not officially because my doctors have prescribed muscle relaxers along the way but none of them have worked. The only thing they did was make me drowsy. I've avoided prescription pain medication for fear that I may become an addict so when my pain becomes unbearable, I turn to over the counter drugs like ibuprofen.
When I was about nine or ten my mom took me to the doctor to seek treatment for my scoliosis. I recall that visit as if it was just yesterday. The doctor described to my mom and I about a surgery he could perform that would straighten out my spine. I recall him saying something like, "We'll cut her back open at the top and peel her skin down like a can of sardines, then we'll stick a pipe in there to straighten it out. She'll wear a back brace for a few years. It's just like wearing braces on the teeth. Now there is a slight risk of her becoming paralyzed if things don't go as planned"... Mom asked him what would happen if we did nothing and he said I'd be fine for now but as an adult I'd suffer greatly. He said by the time I was in my mid 30's or early 40's I'd probably experience significant pain. I think my mom and I were definitely on the same page when we left his office that day. In my nine year old mind I was saying "oh HELL naw! Get me the fck out of here! lol. When you're a child, being in your 40's seems like a million years away. Back then I didn't care about what would happen when I was forty. All that mattered was the here and now but like clock work, that pain started sneaking up on me in my mid 30's. I learned to tolerate it for the years that followed. It wasn't that bad at first and at some point I think I just became immuned.
Around 2010 I noticed my feet and ankles, especially my left foot and ankle, began to ache and swell when I walked for too long. I loved to walk. My husband and I attended walkathons and traveled to places that involved a lot of walking. Walking with him was one of our favorite things to do together. We'd walk for miles. Then around 2011 we traveled with my kids, their friends, my niece Erikka J and her two kids to Kings Dominion to celebrate my daughter, Kameko's 16th birthday. I recall it raining that day but as soon as we arrived the sun came out and the weather was beautiful! About two hours into our walk around the amusement park my feet and ankles just gave out. I kept stopping to sit down on a bench to ease the pain and swelling a bit. We only had the opportunity to enjoy a few rides that day and I'm embarrassed to say that one of those rides was that old famous creaky ass roller coaster, the Rebel Yell LOL. I was so disappointed that I couldn't do more but I was in extreme pain. I recall my husband and I had to go spend the rest of our day in the parking lot sitting in the car. We watched the sunset and finally it was pitch dark and people began to make there way back to their cars with all their stuffed animals and cotton candy treats. When the kids returned to the car we left for our ride home and I've not returned since.
(Hey. please..try the exercises in this video and let me know if it's helpful. These techniques are good for both back and fibro pain. I recommend that you first view them and then select 3 or 4 to practice and make note of in your fitness journal. Then at another time go back and add a few more to work into your weekly fitness routine. That's what I plan to do.)
ABOUT THIS VIDEO: Credits are embedded within the video. Music by A'lahn.
Back around 2012, I began to notice the pain worsening. The pain spread beyond just my back. It was in my neck and my shoulders too. One thing I did well, both professionally and personally, was coordinate events. Big and small, private and personal events. Everything from block parties, to walkathons supporting worthy causes, to music related events and recitals to intimate family gatherings such as our housewarming party, birthday parties, karaoke parties and of course the annual family holiday dinner gatherings. I was deemed the monarch of the family so I was expected to pull off some pretty amazing family events and though the stress of all the rushing around, my back and neck suffered greatly; but it was always worth it because everything always turned out so amazing! I'd be up on my feet all day, shopping, cleaning and cooking. Of course my husband assisted me (he's my Superman!) but I'm so hands on that I'd do most of it myself and let him just grab the ice lol. I'd just go, go, GO until my feet fell off lol....or until it was almost time for the event to come to a close. Then I'd sneak away to bed in excruciating pain and stiffness from head to toe. That pain and stiffness usually lasted for a few days. At first I was able to push through my pain and let my adrenaline take over but at some point it's like I had nothing left and as the years rolled by I became less capable of doing everything myself and that....THAT really sucks.
Then one day a commercial came on tv. "Do you have fibromyalgia?" The commercial listed all my symptoms and I was like "well I'll be damn. I got fibromyalgia!" lol. I went to the doctor to see about it. I told him about the commercial and that I had all the symptoms. He didn't test me or ask me where it hurts. Nope. He simply agreed and added it to my diagnosis where it still sits today. I diagnosed my damn self LOL. He did, however recommend that I see a specialist but I later learned that the specialists was far away from where I lived. I knew I couldn't make that drive on the regular so then he offered to put me on antidepressants suggesting that it may help with the fibro pain and other symptoms. I didn't want that either. For those that are wondering what my symptoms are here's a list I've copy and pasted from mayoclinic.org. for your convenience I've added two stars to the symptoms listed below that I didn't experience that much of....
"The primary symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
Widespread pain. The pain associated with fibromyalgia often is described as a constant dull ache that has lasted for at least three months. To be considered widespread, the pain must occur on both sides of your body and above and below your waist.
Fatigue. People with fibromyalgia often awaken tired, even though they report sleeping for long periods of time. Sleep is often disrupted by pain, and many patients with fibromyalgia have other sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea.
Cognitive difficulties. A symptom commonly referred to as "fibro fog" impairs the ability to focus, pay attention and concentrate on mental tasks.
Fibromyalgia often co-exists with other conditions, such as:
Irritable bowel syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Migraine and other types of headaches**
Interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome**
Temporomandibular joint disorders **
Postural tachycardia syndrome"
For the years that followed 2012 my quality of life began to deteriorate. Between my back and my feet I couldn't tell which hurt the worst but it was 2015 that led to my current status which I'll call ROCK BOTTOM. My mental health began to suffer a bit following the tragic death of my brother, David and just as I was bouncing back, it was like the devil sucker punched me...he was whooping my ass one mean punch at a time. I'll spare you the list of everything that led up to my current status with the exception of one significant thing. Remember that issue with my foot I told you about? Well in 2017 I ended up having major surgery on my left angle/foot. Unfortunately everything that surgeon promised me never happened. I'm suppose to be walking without a limp and pain free today but that's definitely not the case. The recovery process led me from a wheelchair to crutches to a wheelchair to a handicap parking sticker on my car because the pain has limited the amount of time I can be on my feet. I went so long without walking that I began to put on weight and lose muscle mass. Then another tragic event occurred in 2018 leading to a deep and dark depression and so I put on even more weight, cared less about the things I loved and enjoyed doing. Music business came to a halt. Then came covid19.
Today I'm rock bottom. Nowhere left to go but up. I'd like to share my journey back to the TOP with you beginning with this blog post. Please subscribe above, if you haven't already, so that you are alerted about my progress and so that I can hear about your progress as well. Here's what I'm currently doing to aid in my COME BACK:
I've downloaded the NOOM app. That's going pretty well!
I've included a video here with exercises that improve back pain.
I'm working with a new team of doctors to help me get this weight off and to restore my good health.
My husband got me a sauna suit lol. We are working out together. Wanna work out with me too? Hit me up! I'll also be asking for your vision board submissions soon for an upcoming blog post. Stay tuned for that!
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Well that's all for now. I hope you enjoy the exercise video I presented here. I'm about to go try out some of the techniques myself. Special thanks to artist manager, Terrell Whitby for recommending his music artist, A'lahn for the video. Yours in music! - sb