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Image at Creative Commons, http://www.commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3Aspondylolysis_back_pain_.jpg
Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees, takes off his shoes, The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries, And daub their natural faces unaware.
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING, Aurora Leigh
Well, I haven’t posted here for a while because I have been in the ER once again for my back problems. In 2009, I found out that I had a broken back, and since then I have gone through three spinal fusions, the first of two of which failed. I had been doing quite well recently, so I decided to sign up for six personal training sessions at my local gym. Turns out that this was a mistake. About a week and a half ago, my trainer decided that I needed to do some dead lifts…..something that I found out later I should never do. I could barely walk the next day because of the pain, and then I had significant leg weakness that eventually landed me in the hospital. I have been on pain meds, a muscle relaxant, and prednisone to bring down inflammation. Luckily, I seem to be improving, so hopefully I won’t be facing any additional surgery. Obviously, I will not be returning to personal training at my gym!
I thought this would be a good time to share my story of how my broken back actually saved my life. I am writing my sixth book now, and this is part of the story, so you will be getting a little insight before I publish it. My first back surgery in 2009 failed and resulted in two broken screws in my back…..terrible I know, but it wasn’t as painful as you might think. I had my second spinal fusion in 2010, but to my extreme disappointment, this fusion also failed. I did extensive research and decided to change doctors to someone who was a noted expert in complex spinal problems. Before my third surgery, a slew of tests were run on me to determine the situation and identify any problems with me that could have contributed to the previous failed surgeries. One of the tests was a CT myelogram. However, before having this test, a head CT has to be done to rule out a rare problem at the base of the brain that could lead to seizures due to the injection of dye into the spinal column during the myelogram. So, in the summer of 2011, I went in for a routine head CT.
I wasn’t concerned at all about the head CT. I don’t have headaches except for the occasional sinus or tension headache. I was sure they would not find a thing wrong with me that would prevent me from having a CT myelogram. The test itself took about 10 minutes, and there was nothing to it. I left the hospital and began my errands for the day. But, about twenty minutes after leaving the hospital, my cell phone rang, and it was my doctor’s office. The nurse told me that they had found a brain aneurysm on the head CT and I needed to be seen immediately. She told me that my back issues would have to be put on hold because this aneurysm took priority as it could be deadly!
I was in complete shock. I had absolutely no symptoms, and I never would have known this aneurysm existed had it not been for all the problems with my back. The aneurysm has since been coiled. I have had several follow up angiograms, and the coiled aneurysm is now stable.
This just goes to show that God really does work in mysterious ways. Many times we complain about all the problems that we have in this life. Yes, I could have focused on the negative and complained about my broken back, asking God “why did this happen to me?” But instead, I look at it as a blessing. Not only can I help others who might be going through similar back issues, but all this suffering from my back actually ended up saving my life. Without my back problems, I would have never been aware of the aneurysm, and I might not have ever made it to see this day. So, the next time something happens to you that “looks” like a bad thing…..for example, being late because of a traffic accident on the road…..it could actually be God looking out for you and saving your life. Just think – if you had been just a few minutes earlier on that road, it may have been you in that accident!
Have you ever laughed so hard that you feel like you can’t breathe and your abdomen is going to explode? Well, that’s a good thing! All that wonderful laughter is an excellent workout of your abdominal muscles! What a fun way to do an abdominal workout – no panting, no sweating – just laughing your head off!
Laughter is chock full of health benefits, both mental and physical. This will be a two part blog, and today I will focus on the physical benefits of laughter. Just watching something really funny and having a good, hearty laugh can improve your health in many ways physically! Just check out the benefits below:
1. Strengthens your immune system by increasing the levels of immune cells and antibodies that fight infection.
2. Lowers blood pressure by increasing blood flow. This can have a protective effect on the heart.
3. Has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics.
4. Reduces the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline and triggers the release of endorphins, relaxing the whole body.
5. Increases memory and learning.
6. Improves alertness and creativity.
7. Reduces pain and increases energy.
So go ahead, laugh like you’ve never laughed before! It’s great for your health!
I am a huge Seinfeld fan. The following video is part 1 of Seinfeld bloopers involving Julia Louis Dreyfus. I found these videos several years ago, and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard in my life. Check it out…..I hope you laugh til your abs ache!