The MRI Results

It’s fascinating how just one moment in time, one sentence, or one person can turn everything you’ve worked towards upside down.

The game has changed.

As I’ve eluded to before, my back was injured on my fourth class of Boot Camp back in Aug. 2013.  I’ve been in bi-weekly physio ever since without any change to my injury.  I also haven’t been able to walk for more than 15 minutes without shooting pain from my lower back into my toes.  My doctor ordered an MRI and I got the results a couple weeks ago.  A bulged disk between my L 4 & 5 with a small annular tear. Ugh.

What did this mean for my “I’m going to get in the best shape of my life and climb a mountain” journey?

The doctor’s orders are to continue & be more aggressive in physio with IMS & traction, lose 10 more lbs (which on my list anyway), keep going to the gym and until the end of April, no more lifting weights from a standing position, no weighted exercises, no hinging and be careful on rotation exercises.  We will re-evaluate the situation at the end of April, if things don’t change we start to look at other options.  There is mention of injections and surgery as a last resort but she doesn’t go into details in hopes of this current game plan working.

This. Was. Devastating.

I immediately wondered how I was even going to be able to continue the journey in the way I wanted to achieve it.  Remember how I’m an instant gratification girl?  Now I’m moving at a snail’s pace and I’m not happy about it. I’m having thoughts of throwing in the towel.  I’m mad that I allowed myself to get hurt at that boot camp when I should have listened to my gut when my body was saying “this isn’t for me.”  I’m sad that my workouts need to “digress” to even less than what I started at.  And worst of all, I find myself wanting to hit the drive-thru to numb all these emotions of failure.

I reluctantly head to my work out 2 days after news from my doctor.  How am I even going to be able to do a workout that warrants sweat, rosey cheeks and a calorie burn with all these new restrictions placed on me?  I have a teary chat with Karl about how I’m feeling about all of this and what we can do in the gym to keep working towards the goal while honoring the injury and allowing it the time and actions required to let it heal.

I’m not digressing – I’m healing.

This mind shift was essential.  I’m healing.

Dear Healing Melsha,

I know how difficult this is for you and that you are viewing it as a set-back.  Please, be gentle with yourself.  Your body needs this time to do it’s own miraculous recovery of itself so it can serve you in a way you want and need it to. Your body wants to help you climb that mountain.  Your body wants you to be healthy.  Your body wants to feel awesome.  Your body wants to be able to grow old gracefully, with you.  Your body wants to support you.  Right now, your body wants you to help it heal.

Keep going!  Continue to fuel your body with nourishing foods that promote healing and anti-inflammation.  Continue to be grateful for what your body IS still able to do.  Continue to strengthen your core to support the back injury. Continue with your modified workouts at the gym.  Everything is happening exactly as it should.  Be patient with your progress and be gentle on yourself. You WILL get to where you want to go. 

Oh, and don’t forget to take time to enjoy the journey, not matter how slow you go; because you ARE still going.

Big love & hugs,

Healed Melsha

IMG_7456I’m a few workouts in since I got the news.  Karl modifies every class workout for me.  He modifies it in a way that follows the doctor’s orders and honors how my back is feeling that day.  I am grateful that I found a trainer that takes the time and energy to accommodate my current situation. I am grateful for the gym members who high five me at the end of my modified workout when they’ve given it their all. I am grateful for my friends’ understanding when I need to switch seats or use a heating pad or cut a date short because my back is bothering me.  I am grateful for Matt supporting me every step of the way, wiping my tears and loving me just as I am. I am grateful for what my body still has the ability to do.

Don’t worry, I haven’t reunited with the cheese burger.  My QPC will power is still in tact. I’m grateful for that, too!



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12 Comments on "The MRI Results"

  1. Kim says:

    Dear Human Melsha,
    Your journey is journey… which has no true beginning or end. This is just one stop on that journey, a reminder you are both well on your way and that you have the ability to change direction as required. The goal has not changed, just how you’ll get there. No big whoop! You still got this, kid.

    I’ve watched the wee gymnasts return to training with ligaments torn, broken bones, hurt this and that, and what I notice in the 8-14 year old girl vs us adults is that they KNOW their injury doesn’t change who they are. Their journey is still ahead of them, and getting roadblocked is part of the job. I don’t know when this changes in us… that our expectations of ourselves grow so big that our disappointments feel like failures when they are not.

    Just a little curve in the road. You’re still on the path you dreamt about! Mostly, keep healing. The other goals will align when your body allows it to.

    Huge hugs.


  2. Shawn says:

    Dear Melsha,

    I am sorry to hear about your setback. I am, however, glad to hear that you are still moving forward even if you call it a “snail’s pace”. Moving forward is still moving in the right direction. This is just another hurdle thrown into your path that you will overcome just like you have everything else. When your journey is over, this will be a story that you will use to inspire the people around you. Keep up the good work and moving forward!

  3. Hi Melsha, your article title caught my eye… after a car accident 8 years ago, I’ve had a variety of MRIs for my neck and lower back. And, I got the same result as you for the lower back. It sucks, I know. And there’s a lot of hope, especially with people who have as much drive and determination as you. I want to share something that worked REALLY well for me at the very early stages of treatment and also over the 8 years: deep water running. It’s an excellent workout, amazing for your spine and it feels good for your entire body and mind to be in the water. Also, I’ve done bootcamp twice a week for 6 years and my instructor modifies the exercises when needed, e.g. rather than carrying a sandbag on my upper back, I carry poles in my hands. All the best with your treatment and strengthening work! ~ n

    • Melsha Shea says:

      Thanks so much, Nadine and thank you for sharing your story. Have you recovered fully? I will definitely give deep water running a try.

  4. Oh my goodness. I am heartbroken for you but I am so inspired how you have looked at this set back with your eyes forward. Trainers are there to support you throughout your entire journey and I am so glad you have an amazing one.

    Cheering for you girl!!

  5. Shelley says:

    Dear Melsha,
    This is a bend in the road not the end of the road. I have had a herniated L4 L5 for more than 15 years. You will be fine over time. Being active like you are is one if the best things to do. Core strength over time will often alleviate the issue although not cure it. ( Inflammations become rare) ART from a sports medicine clinic has been a great gift to me as well.

    Keep going! You have come to far to let a disc that let its jelly slip hold you back.

    • Melsha Shea says:

      15 years, eh Shelley? How often does it bother you now? Thank you for your words of support. I am grateful.

Trackbacks for this post

  1. […] you’ve been following my journey you know that I’ve been struggling with the MRI results and that I was off track for a little bit. I have forgiven myself for this set back and accepted it […]

  2. […] of health issues this year that have affected my progress and most definitely my mindset. The back issues, a six week lung infection and just last week I was hooked up to heart and blood pressure monitors […]

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