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Life and Its Little Curves

Hello everyone! I see we have a bit of extra traffic of late. I want to thank those who have been liking and re-blogging the Diagnostic. I really appreciate the attention. I am not a very avid blogger, but seeing that I am being read gives me the inspiration to write a bit more for you.

Today, let’s talk about the little curve balls life likes to throw at us. In 2012, I had back surgery to correct an injury I had gotten when I was 10 years old from falling off a bed into a shelving unit. In the subsequent 28 years after that day, I had been afflicted with periodic bouts of pain that got progressively worse as time went on. Finally, in October of 2011, the pain got so bad that I went out of work for seven months.

Deciding to have the surgery was a very hard thing for me. I was afraid that I might wake up from it paralyzed or dead. I had nursed these fears the entire time leading up to the surgery and they lashed me like harpies in a classical tragedy. Once the surgery was done, however, I was glad I had been courageous enough to face my fears and end my suffering. The surgery was successful and I returned to work a couple of months later.

Fast forward to now. It is two years later and my life was starting to become orderly again. Like it had been in 2011, I finally was getting my bills under control, I was ready to file the paperwork for the bankruptcy I had been procrastinating over, I was ready to start seeking publication for my fiction writing, and my family life and relationship with my wife were at the best they had ever been at in the 17 years we had been together. I was happy and productive, but then the unexpected struck.

Out of nowhere, my back began to hurt again. It started as a minor ache which was barely an annoyance, but then got progressively worse as the days went on. I was able to make it through my shift on Wednesday night and I had hoped that I would be able to tough it out. On Thursday, however, things took a turn for the worse.  I was working on changing my machine over for a new product configuration and suddenly my back began to spasm. I pushed on for a few more minutes, but finally I had to give in and go home early from work. I spent the night and most of the following day in excruciating pain. Despite the pain, I was able to enjoy a wonderful morning with my wife at the Rbode Island Vintage Garden Show. It had been one of her dreams to go to the show and it made me very happy to help make that dream come true for her. I do not know what I would do without her, and to have the ability to give back to her in happiness was worth whatever obstacles I had to overcome.

After the garden show, we went to the treatment center. I explained to the doctor the history of my back issues and he pulled me out of work for the next week. Losing the time from work is a serious blow to both me and my wife. We barely make ends meet as it is. Losing that money is an obstacle we do not need. I am lucky that it is near the beginning of the year and I still have most of my vacation time unused. It is my hope that, as it did the last time this happened, my company will allow me to use some of my vacation time to cover the shifts I will miss.

Now, I wait. The doctor ordered an MRI, but my insurance company has to approve it before it will cover the cost. After I get the MRI, I will be seeing a pain specialist to get a cortozone shot that will hopefully alleviate the pain enough for me to return to work. The last time this happened, the shots were the only method I had not used to manage my back issues. At that time, surgery seemed the better option to permanently correct the problem despite its risks. I am optimistic that the shots will give me the pain relief I need. The alternative is something I cannot consider a possibility.

This brings me to the point of writing this blog post. The first time this happened to me, I was scared to death. In one fell swoop, my means of supporting my family, my dignity, and my life plan had all been snatched away from me. The depression and anxiety I struggle with got out of control and I threw up my hands and just went along with the ride. This caused my family no end of hardship and even though I knew these health issues were not technically my fault, I blamed myself for the effect they had on my family.

This time, however, things are different. I have a definite plan and will not accept hopelessness or defeat. Despite dealing with excruciating pain, I am optimistic and happy with the opportunities the Universe has laid before me. This week will be spent writing and spending time with my wife and family. I have finally gotten to the point that I feel confident I can get my writing published and plan to make writing my second career. Life has thrown me a major curve ball, but I am still swinging. This is my lesson from this experience and I hope it will also inspire whoever reads this to keep on swinging.

Life’s curve balls often seem insurmountable. Many people have lost everything because of them. As hard as it is to say, these obstacles are not put in our way to destroy us. They are there to help us. Strength is only built in adversity. If one wants to strengthen a muscle, it must be put under stress through exercise. These obstacles are opportunities to strengthen our character and sometimes to show us a new way to go. They are there to show us that if we persevere despite the odds, we can enjoy victory. They make us into resourceful and committed people who can accomplish anything we set our minds to. They give us the opportunity to become mighty.

My advice to anyone reading this as I bring this post to a close is this: don’t give up. No matter how bad your situation is; don’t give in. Keep fighting for your dreams until you realize them. Don’t accept “no” for an answer. Let your obstacles become opportunities, and I promise you it will be worth it. Even if these obstacles only seem to lead to more obstacles, eventually you will reach the mountaintop. You will look back and realize that no opportunity is wasted. You will look down and see the world at your feet. You will realize that you soar with the eagles.

Many Blessings! No retreat, no surrender!

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