Slipped Disc

I wrote this as a contemplation for class in April 2016.

A year ago (today actually), I slipped a disc in my neck. I was just doing some of the warm-ups in class and then I remember feeling intense pain and heat around my neck and shoulder. The pain wasn't going away, it just intensified as the weekend went on. Finally, by Sunday evening, it was clear that the pain wasn't going away, so I made an appointment with a doctor for the first thing Monday morning.

After seeing the doctor, I learned that the disc (or rather the contents of the disc) was pressing against my nerves, which was causing all the pain. Then, within another day or so, the pressure on my nerve was so extreme that I actually lost the ability to control my triceps in my left arm. The nerve that was being pinched was the one that sends signals to my triceps. For example, I couldn't push open doors with my left arm, because my brain couldn't tell my arm to stay straight. Push-ups were impossible for me, because my arm would collapse under the weight of my body.

I had never experienced an injury like this before, never anything so intense or serious. I was pretty depressed at the beginning. I was losing function of my arm, my doctor was telling me all the potential things that could happen (neck surgery, permanent nerve damage, etc). I was focusing on all of the things I might not be able to do anymore.

Then something snapped me out of it. I saw this story about a guy who went to Afghanistan and lost his arm and leg in the war. Afterwards, he was incredibly depressed, but he ended up pulling himself out of his downward spiral because he wanted to be there for his family.

He ended up building his body back up, and is often on the cover of fitness magazines now. He's been interviewed for newspapers and speaks at various events. Even without and arm and leg he was able to do so much.

I remember thinking "I still have all my limbs, why am I acting like this. Look at everything this guy is doing without two of his." After that, I started to think more positively. I started to focus on the things I could do and soon started to regain control over my tricep. 

Lots of folks have been dealing with injuries in class lately and it has reminded me to take a moment and reflect. It's easy to get caught up in the things you can't do, but don't forget about the many, many things you can.