New Injuries, New Directions: Accepting Limited Independence

Whether you know me personally, know of me, or have just randomly stumbled upon this blog… you might have noticed that I’ve been nearly media silent for months. The exception is Twitter and one random post here.

My silence stemmed from some new and old health issues combining to create one massive problem: my spine. My whole spine.

The Injury That Never Quits

Eight years ago, I had a spinal fusion on my lower back. Afterwards, it was essentially deemed a failed surgery. I won’t dwell on that part, but in the past few years the nerve pain I experience from this injury has worsened.

While this issue certainly pulled me into a funk toward the end of 2019, it was not the only contributing factor to my silence. In December, I also fell.

A New Injury Reboots the Past

Falling with any sort of back injury is always dangerous, though usually to the pre-existing spot. Knowing this, I tend to overprotect my lower back – all the time.

So, when my mother’s giant tank of a pit bull barreled into me at full speed, I braced myself. But I did it wrong, falling in a way that tweaked an already weak spot in my neck. After using a cane for so long and falling in that same way repeatedly, just one more hard fall did me in. It wasn’t even the dog’s fault. This was a long time coming.

A Diagnosis and Next Steps

It took a few months to finally get a diagnosis on both areas of my spine and understand what I need to do next. Both have new bulging disks. And, I like my bulges to stay in my man’s pants, not my spine. But I digress, back to the matter at hand…

There is no simple solution to any spinal injury. So my next step is physical and mental rehab. All of this has taken a huge toll on my health. To live in this much pain for so long and then add a new injury on top of everything else was nearly unbearable.

The Mental Toll of Chronic Pain

One of the things I think people overlook with an injury like this is the mental toll it takes. Yeah, pain is pain. I can clench my teeth through pain, as long as I have the right mindset. But lately, that’s been impossible.

A combination of events that includes the 2017 fires have led me to essentially see no end to my own sh*tty lifestyle. When will the pain end? Probably never. What does this new injury mean to me? Most likely, doom. Where are the friends I built friendships with over the past 10 years? Scattered all over the globe.

It’s hard to go through this alone. And it’s impossible to recover from it on my own. I can’t get myself out of my own depression anymore. And if you ask me, maintaining that skill set for ten years through chronic pain on this level was pretty impressive in the first place. Others would apparently disagree, but I don’t think they’ve ever experienced true depression and/or anxiety if they can say that isn’t a feat of strength.

So, to combat my own brain and also go through some serious physical rehab, I’m moving into my mom’s house for a while.

Accepting Limited Independence

Stop and take a minute to think about all those old people who fight, tooth and nail, to keep their independence by staying in their homes and remaining on their own. I was one of those people, but instead of 98, I’m 28.

I moved all over the country and embraced my freedom while I could because I knew this day would come. Then when I started seeing the signs, I adjusted my own mindset. I knew I had to eventually get help and it took me a while to get my own head wrapped around it.

I can’t do most household and daily tasks on my own anymore. I can’t bring myself out of hysteria when I feel completely overwhelmed by the fact that I will never get better. I can’t drive myself farther than an hour or two.

But I can get help. So, I am.

Help Me Recover

This might seem weird to ask, but if you got this far please do me a favor. Help me recover. There are so many things you can help me with just by being a friend.

  • Reach out and say hi and ask how I’m doing. Then don’t judge me if I’m honest and it isn’t what you wanted to hear.
  • Let me know something awesome you saw me do or write.
  • Don’t get mad at me for little things I might do because I’m in pain, like cry for what seems like no good reason whatsoever.
  • Hang out with me, even if it’s just watching TV or something boring.

Feel free to reach out and ask me for more info if you want to learn more about what’s going on with me. For now, I’m going to focus this blog back on other things in my life and post my next health update in a few months.

12 thoughts on “New Injuries, New Directions: Accepting Limited Independence”

  1. I started writing four different times each with 3-4 paragraphs when I realized I was offering unasked for advice and being kinda preachy. Hell, I feel a need to reach out and hug you and yet can not. So, yes I will offer some advice and dammit this is NOT mansplaining!
    From my own experience- Get help not just for the physical but also for your mental health. I just started seeing a counselor and a psychiatrist and it has been great! For men my age that is a big leap.
    If you wish to chat, call me.
    You are loved.

      1. Thanks Alicia! I was just thinking about you yesterday because I won a year of trips to KC campground in Julian! After I move let’s get together. 🙂

  2. Taylor, you are inspiring. Not only is your courage to share here inspiring, but the fact that I can work with. you over these months and see not only you continue to do excellent work, but also keep laughing and joking with us in Slack is jaw-droppingly awesome.

    We’re all here for you.

  3. I’m crying for you. I know how frustrating it is to lose independence for a 90 year old. I can’t even imagine how you feel. I love you. I’m here for you. If you need a vacation by the beach come hang out with me.