Life throws us curve balls when we least expect it

Last week we spent the week in Port Elizabeth, for the actual purpose of attending a wedding on Thursday, 8 April. On 7 April it was our 20th wedding anniversary. I’ve been married to the most amazing woman in the world. I know that I am not the easiest person in the world to live with, and she has handled these 20 years like a breeze. Charlaine has been most amazing, handling all the curve balls, sliders, fast balls that life had pitched at us with trust in God. This is the kind of woman a man needs in his life.


Anyway, since we needed to be in P.E. for the wedding and we were going to spend quite a bit of money on going, we could not afford to have another trip to celebrate our 20th. We did stay over at the King’s Beach Garden Court hotel on our anniversary, organized by my father-in-law, and not at the Guest House where we were booked in.

Just to go a little further back, I used to run the Comrades Marathon (did 3 in the 90’s). When we returned to South Africa, Dec 2000, after living in Columbus, Ohio, for 2 years, I decided to pick up running again. However, every time I tried to go out running my right hamstring would send searing pain down my leg after only about 100m. I decided to have it checked out, and after visits to the physio and my GP, I eventually ended up at a sports injury specialist at the University of Pretoria Sports Center. It turned out that I had a compacted disk in my lower back with 2 vertebrae misaligned, causing the pain down my right leg.

That brought an end to me starting to jog again. Next my wife and I took up cycling, riding the Argus Cycle Tour 3 times (twice on a tandem) and the Highveld 94.7 Cycle Race twice on a tandem. Several years before that, in the 90’s, I really started suffering from severe headaches. This started before we left to live in the U.S. My G.P. tried everything, from cutting out certain food stuffs to special tablets. Nothing really helped. Once we returned to South Africa, I returned to the doctor and I had to finally have x-rays taken. It turned out that I have compressed disks from C3-7 and C6/7 are misaligned. That explained the headaches. What didn’t help with the cycling is that I would have splitting headaches after races and my neck would be as tight as an iron rod, due to my neck being at the funny angle that cyclists usually endure, sitting bent over holding onto the handles. After 3 years of cycling I decided to pack it up. Cycling definitely wasn’t worth all the pain!

Next, two and a half weeks ago, I started getting severe muscle spasms in my back just right of the spine next to my right shoulder blade, which still continues. This Monday I finally went to the doctor who decided that x-rays were needed, since I do not have any pain if I go swimming lengths in the pool, but only if I stand or walk. I had the x-rays taken and delivered them to my G.P. She took them home that night since her husband is an orthopedic surgeon (orthoped). The result…, I have severe degenerative spinal disease, osteo-arthritis! Just yesterday morning I told my wife that I’d be very upset if this incredible, almost constant, spasmic pain in my back did not have a good reason to be there. Well, I guess “severe degenerative spinal disease” is as good a reason as any!

This morning, while I was preparing breakfast for the family before school, it just became unbearable. I had to sit on my haunches a couple of times just to provide my back with a little relief. This happens quite regularly. At times it feels like hands wrapping tightly around the muscle in spasm and then pulling it away from the back. At other times, it feels like extreme searing heat is applied to the muscle.

All of this was happening while we were down in P.E. too. It is amazing how, while I was in agony and obviously not in the celebratory mood like every one else down there, my wife and kids treated me with great understanding and concern. It could not have been easy for them to hear me moan about the pain and not getting into things like they did. They are just wonderful!

Anyway, now I have to visit a spinal orthoped. According to my doctor and her hubby, my problem is not operable, and that is why she is sending me to a conservative orthoped and not to someone who just wants to operate on everyone. This specialist is extremely busy, and I was able to only get an appointment on 1 June. Let’s hope the pain subsides a bit till then. It could drive me crazier than I already am.

From reading the report, I have problems at C3-7, T7/8, T12, L3-5 and S1. Have a look at the image on the right and click on it to read about the spinal column.

All I can do i to put my trust in the Lord like the prophet Habakkuk did:
17 Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.”
(Hab 3:17-19 ESV)
In God’s sovereignty, we can definitely put our trust in God’s providence!
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One thought on “Life throws us curve balls when we least expect it

  1. […] wrote in my previous post on the issue of my back problems, yet I have to acknowledge that I have had a minimum amount […]

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