In 2013, my life was turned upside down. I was suffering from horrible pain in my neck, shoulders, arms, back and head. I had numbness in both of my hands radiating up my arm into my skull. I had a very limited range of motion, debilitating headaches and difficulty speaking. After a lot of X-rays, MRI’s, CT’s and nerve tests, I was diagnosed with severe Spinal Stenosis and Ossification of Posterior Longitudinal Ligament (OPLL). That’s a fancy way of saying that the long ligament that runs parallel to my spinal cord, was turning to bone.
Upon waking up from this six plus hour long surgery, I suffered another set back, a condition called C5 Palsy, which “turned off” the use of my right arm, my dominate arm. The only way I could use my right arm was to pick it up with my left hand and place my right arm where it needed to go.
After returning home from my five-day stay in the hospital, I found out that my estranged father passed away and I was losing my job.
My pain level was completely unmanageable through conventional medicine. Not even Morphine or Oxycodone put a dent in it. I eventually stopped taking these traditional pharmaceuticals because they had no affect on my pain.
I knew then that I had to do more to uncover the true root of my pain, to go deep into those wounds that happened long before my surgery, if I ever wanted to completely heal. My physical pain was simply the manifestation of years of suffering, silencing my own inner voice and abuse. I could no longer compensate for all of the emotional wounds that I incurred throughout my 40+ years on this planet anymore.
So I did the work. I signed up for a Yoga Teacher Training Program (with no job and only 1 working arm) and I started looking for an alternative to the traditional “career path” that for far too long killed my soul. I spent long hours analyzing my life, really thinking about all of the “stuff” I’d been through, all of the ways I’d silenced my voice to be loved/accepted/not fired by others.
I realized for too long I’d lived my life doing what others expected of me, trying to be perfect – whatever that means. I lived in FEAR. Fear of rejection. Fear of losing my job (which happened anyway). Fear of not being good enough.
The root cause of my neck pain, why my neck was literally crumbling down like Humpty Dumpty, was because I was afraid to speak my truth. I tried to be everything to everyone that I stopped being anything to myself.
That’s when I made the choice TO BE HAPPY. To live in a place of LOVE. To be viewed as crazy by our society’s standards.
I slowly started to work on releasing the fear and speaking my voice. The stronger my spirit grew, the happier I became and the more my physical pain subsided.
I’m still working on this and probably will the rest of my life. The work never ends. There will always be some lesson for me to learn. But now I do the work from a different place, a new perspective, from my heart instead of my inner critic.
My hope through this blog is to share my journey and what I’ve learned in case it helps you. Or maybe just gives you a good recipe or stretch that makes you HAPPY.
I thank you for reading this blog post and sharing this journey with me. The light in me honors the light in you. Namaste.