I have the loveliest physical therapist. She is sweet and kind and incredibly reassuring. She has also pushed me hard to discover some muscles I haven't used in a while ... mostly as I've been overcompensating to deal with the pain. It turns out that I have two slightly bulging discs in my lower back that have been pressing on nerves and causing a variety of crappy side effects. I thought it was due to a lifetime of fairly hard work, sports in high school and college and some extra pounds. To be fair, a couple some extra pounds.
But I have learned that the emergency C-section I had with my last child also had a large part to play. She explained to me that in order to get to the uterus, they have to slice through the front tummy muscle that wraps around and strengthens the lower back. I'm an educated woman, but I just blamed my extra pouchy tummy look and increased pain on age and weight gain - even though I put no extra weight on after the last two pregnancies. Why it never dawned on me that it could be related to the C-section itself, I'll never know. I think I was too quick to blame my own insecurities.
I've worried about my weight my entire life, even though pictures from high school would lead you to believe there wasn't a lot of food in the house - which there wasn't. When I went to college, I gained weight but actually felt pleased with it. I was less angular, and honestly, not hungry all the time. When we started our life together, we were quite poor and ate like it. There was a lot of pasta, very little fresh fruits & veggies and far too much cheap processed food. So, I put a little more weight on, but then I held solid for a long time until I had kids. Honestly though, after all three it was about 5 pounds. It's only been due to the back pain that's diminished my get-up-and-go, that I've seen it rise.
Like most women though, I think about each bite that goes into my mouth. It's because I try to eat as little as possible each day, that my weight hasn't ballooned up with these back issues. But that's not a very healthy or interesting way to live. I also made a vow that I wouldn't talk about my weight in front of my children. The peer pressure of society would be hard enough without their mom chiming in. I can vividly recall my own mother telling her co-leader of our girl scout troop one night that she never had to worry about left-overs with me around. Even at eight, that stung and stuck with me. I think we often forget how much gravity a tossed off sentence can carry.
I'm grateful that I've been partnered with this lovely physical therapist who has helped me find some immediate improvement. I may have to use ice to reduce the swelling and Tylenol for the rest of my life, but at least I'll hopefully be able to walk.