Saturday, August 23, 2014

Playing it up!

So I have back surgery scheduled for October 23.


That's the soonest I could get in.

Check out this pic I took of my full body scan I got a few days ago. It's informative, but I also just think it is plain cool! I mean that is all of me in one Xray. I've seen certain part of my body in an Xray, but seeing me in this way, is just, well, surreal...

So a body scan is done by pumping a mixture with some radiation into your body through an IV. The  scanner then picks up the density of the bones where the body it trying to heal itself so it shows up more white. So, check out the middle skeleton, you'll see in the middle of my where my kidneys are white because they are working to pump the stuff the just pumped in, out of my body and the bright white spot would be probably half of what's left over from the 16 ounces of water she advised me to drink before... yup, that would be the blatter. But, if you look at the bottom of my spine in-between the pelvis you can see a density there and that it where the sever degenerative disc disease is.

Fusing my disc is what I am going to do.

And I am having Dr. Reichman do the surgery... he is one of the best in the nation... so I feel safe in his care.

I know you all have your ideas, but I have tried it all.

Exercise, stretching, yoga, natural remedies, massage, creams, sprays, physical therapy (A big shout out to Mountainland Physical Therapy in Santaquin!), walking, biking, pain meds, pain management, Cortisone shot, steroids etc.

But after 12 years of dealing with the pain coming and going in waves and the waves of pain getting longer and stronger, nights of having to stand up because the pain was so searing I couldn't lay down to sleep and standing brought less pain, I made my big decision.

The problem is, I didn't make this decision until after being cast in The Addam's Family at the Scera (which opens September 12th).

Ya, I was so excited because my back had been doing so well for such a good stint of time, that I thought for sure, this time, something I was doing was working.

I can't tell you just how excited I was to be cast into a play after not being in a play since Junior High.

The first few weeks of rehearsal I was feeling great and having the time of my life. I was feeling confident in the singing and in my ability to have all my responsibilities and still do something each night that was selfishly for me.

I don't think I have been this selfish with my time in years.

I have put a lot of time into being a mom and wife, running the Fragile X Association of Utah, bringing awareness for Fragile X Syndrome, working as a designer and photographer, serving in my church callings and advocating for our children and their needs now and in the future.

I now understand why people say you just need to have time for yourself.

I feel like a whole new me... well, the old me, really.

I LOVE being in this play!! And I think I shout that out at least 3 times a week at our play practices!

I love it!

But, about 2 weeks into practice my back started going through that "pain wave." I just kept plugging along trying to take it easy on choreography for a bit, but the pain continued to worsen.

I remember being up one night, you know, literally, UP... one of those too-painful-to-lay-down nights and just standing and leaning against this wall to see if I can somewhat rest and I started to cry.

Crying was nothing unheard of at this point.

It was painful.

So I cried.

On this night, though, I started crying because I thought I would have to pull out of the play.

Being in this play has been mentally and emotionally uplifting and freeing for me.

I feel kind of silly even saying that. Especially because it's not like I have some main part or anything, I'm ensemble, but dang, this is one awesome ensemble!

So I have been trying to do all I can to make it through this whole thing and finally decided on getting my "post-surgery" back brace before the surgery to see if it would help me.

It has helped so much!

I can't even explain just how relieving it is. I can now walk most of the time without slicing pain through my lower back and I can even lay down to sleep.

But, the best part is that I can still be in the play!

And then, after the excitement of the back brace's miraculous ability to keep my back from feeling severed, I start realizing how awkward I look.

With the back brace on.

I already don't have a very good self esteem.

I am not happy with my body.

I certainly don't feel sexy by any means.

So, when we start learning some of the choreography and I am really having to watch myself in the mirror I start feeling even more self conscious of my body and my looks and how long and gangly I look when I'm trying to dance, and now I have this awkwardly mechanic looking thing wrapped around my mid section adding more attention to the very area I am most self conscious about.

I don't feel beautiful as I move even without a back brace and now I have to add something that restricts my movement even more. I want to be able to see my body flow in liquid and rigid motion without the hindrance of my awkwardness combined with this awkward back brace.

Yes, I am wearing polka-dot pajamas... moving on...

I have these images in my head of what I should look like and what I hope I look like as I am dancing and moving about the stage. I mean, heck, in my head I am Julianne Hough for Pete's sake! Maybe that's why I love that reality show, "Dancing With The Stars" so much is because people like me (well like me, but a ton more famous) can do beautiful things with their bodies in dancing.

Then I get upset with myself and give myself a good talking to,

"Rachael, you're being dumb! You are having fun. You are the mother of three children with special needs that you have had to carry, pick up, roll around, swing, wrestle and restrain for the last 14 years. Your back is going to feel that. Period. Enjoy the moment and have fun and not worry about your awkward body or lack of sex appeal and just love the fact that you are a 37-year-old mom of 3 children with Fragile X Syndrome who is finally taking the initiative to do something for yourself and only yourself!"

After that stiff talking to, I can pick up my wrinkled confidence and carry it with me through this journey, whether it is shaky or not, it can only get better as I prove to myself what I can do for myself while I'm in pain.

I've proven what I can do for others while in pain.

Now I get to enjoy my pain... Ha! Man, I make myself laugh!

Seriously though...

OK, not so seriously. It's all funny if you think about it... I mean, really it is.

Just laugh people, I mean I just said I picture myself as Julianne Hough...


2 remarks:

lisa G said...

Have fun Rachel, cuz you deserve it! (I love your honesty, and aren't we all just bundles of insecurity walking around? It is funny! )

Marc and Rachael said...

Ha! Thanks Lisa!