Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Two Things

I finally made it to the barn last night to ride, feeling about 85%. Sometimes after being sick you have to push through the lethargy afterwards. It was my night to feed sups to Cassandra's horses, so I really didn't have much of a choice.

However, I did feel up to riding, so I changed and drove over. I love it when I walk in and Ashke isn't paying attention and I get really close before saying his name. His head shoots up and his nostrils flicker, then he whinnies. This horse does not have a quiet nicker. He has a full blown whinny. I opened the door to say hi and gave him a couple of carrots. Then I shut the door and went to set up buckets. He whinnied non-stop until I finally pulled him out and stood him in the grooming stall where he could watch me walk back and forth between the wash stall and the tack room while I filled buckets. He was perfectly happy as long as he could see me. I got the buckets set up and then grabbed my grooming bag.

He is shedding. A lot. Everything in my life is covered in white hair right now. I took my time and made sure I got all the itchy parts, just spending time making him feel good and loving on him. Then we tacked up and headed for the indoor. It was fairly warm outside, although there was some cornball snow falling, the ground was partially defrosted and there were pools of water and ice mixed together. When we got to the indoor, I was really surprised by how cold it was inside. I could see my breath in the air.

We didn't ride for very long. Ashke was very responsive to my ask and gave me a somewhat bendy walk and trot in a 20 meter or so not-so-much-circle. We did off the rail work and changes of direction. After twenty minutes or so, I asked for a canter. He picked up the correct lead and it was soft and willing and he kept going until I asked for a transition down. He was bringing his head down and lifting with his back. We turned and went in the other direction and he did the same thing. The canter was so perfect that I called us done and took him back inside.

I would have ridden longer except that Cali is being treated for strangles and I didn't want to push my luck. They were both coughing a couple of weeks ago and now Cali is coughing with green snot running out of her nose and a huge swollen gland under her jawline. The medicine she is on specifically states on the packaging that it is to treat strangles, so that's what I am going with. Hopefully, Ashke stays healthy and doesn't develop the same issues. The good news is that Cali is no longer running a fever, her eyes are bright and she finished her feed last night.

Now to the second thing . . . .

I am a Bones aficionado and was watching an episode on my phone while beading a couple of days ago. Something that happened piqued my interest so I did some research. Come to find out, the treatment for a ruptured disc is six months. Six months. And the recommended treatment is pain relief and exercise to strengthen the back.

This is completely opposite of what I was told by my chiropractor. When I first went in to see him, he told me I could never ride again if I didn't want to have surgery. He told me not to do anything . . . . no vacuuming, no walking, no rollerblading, and certainly no horseback riding. I felt like I was confined to a chair or couch, with no options. I don't know if he said it or if I interpreted his words to mean that if I wasn't careful I would step wrong and paralyze myself. I gained weight and hated my body. I hated that I had hurt myself so badly that everything I loved to do - hike, bike, camp, ride, rollerblade, was suddenly off limits for the rest of my life.

Because that's what I was told by my doctor.

And I believed it. In the back of my mind I have been waiting for my back to suddenly give out and for me to be paralyzed. To be injured bad enough that I can't walk, can't sleep, have to undergo surgery, never ride again. Every second of the past seven years I have spent with that thought residing somewhere in the back of my mind.

And you know what, it wasn't true.

Only about 5% of people with disc injuries need surgery. Most of them are dealing with degenerative disc disease. And of the 5%, most of them recover and can reassume their normal activities. For the rest of the people, like me, who have disc injuries, the disc repairs itself within six months. So the idea of having a permanently ruptured disc is a bogus idea.

I feel like I have been set free.

Will I still be cautious? Yes. Will I be worried about my back? Not so much. Not any more than I would be worried about hurting myself because of my increasing age or decreasing physical mobility. Do I want to be thrown? Hell no. Hitting the ground hurts. But I will no longer be fanatical about not risking any injury. I will no longer worry about hurting my back when we canter.

I don't think I can put into words what my sense of self feels like now. Freedom is the only concept that comes close.


  1. SUPER FREAKING EXCITED FOR YOU! I cannot imagine the wealth of emotions that you're feeling after researching into the back issue! YAY. <3

    Also...Ashke's love for you = put a smile on my face big time.

  2. Doctor or chiro? I have had a chiropractor tell me stuff that was completely opposite with my doctor did. Just my 2c. Either way, so glad! That's great news :)

    1. Chiropractor. I stopped seeing him because even after I got Ashke and J was telling him how much I loved and needed that horse, he still was being all nay-sayer and negative.

  3. Chiros aren't real doctors.. pretty sure most are quacks actually and do more harm then good, but to each their own!

  4. L Williams . . . I can't complain about the care I got at his hands. I am more pain free right now than I have been since I was about 10 years old. Almost all of my chronic back pain is gone.

    My only issue is that I allowed myself to be paralyzed by the fear. I believed him without doing my own research and I shouldn't have allowed myself to be so petrified. (The pain was pretty incredible though, so I am cutting myself a little slack.)

  5. Just one more reason why I don't like chiros in the human medical field. I'm terrified of letting one touch me, especially knowing how little schooling they have to go through before they're allowed to manipulate a person's spine! I think it should be illegal for them to give medical advice, as they are not doctors. But that's just my opinion. :)

    I'm so glad you've discovered this new information on back injuries! I can only begin to imagine how liberated you feel right now!!

    1. Well, I have to say I have a different opinion of chiros. I had been to the doctor two dozen times for back pain in my life, including sciatica, and the only thing they ever said was to take ibuprophen. I took ibuprophen until it made me so sick I couldn't take it for at least two years and even now I have to be careful.

      The chiro actually fixed the issue with my spine, which I believe started when I was 13 and had Queenie fall with me. For the very first time as an adult, I have no back pain. Well, at least not until I started moving, exercising and riding again. That pain, though, is muscular, not nerve pain. The sciatica that has plagued me for 37 years has resolved. If that kind of pain ever returns, I would go see the chiro again.

      My biggest issue was in not knowing the disc could be healed. And once healed, is not at any more risk than any other disc, so unless I have a horse fall with me, I should be good.

    2. I'm glad your experience was overall different and that your chiro was able to fix you! And I'm so happy for you that you don't have that fear any more.

      Meant to say this in the previous comment: Ashke's love for you always makes me smile from ear to ear. I hope Cali is back to normal very soon and that Ashke stays healthy.

  6. I think chiropractors can be very beneficial personally. But the medical field in general is just weird. Three times I had our local docs dismiss my knee problem and prescribe physical therapy when in reality I had a torn meniscus and actually needed surgery.

    So sweet that Ashke whinnies to you:) My horses could care less about me unless I produce food lol.