Amanda’s guest post is the 8th post in the segment on my blog, called “The Reality Of…” which gives others the ability to share their story and raise awareness of the disabilities, illnesses, impairments and invisible illnesses that they have.
My name is Amanda Linton. I live just outside of Tampa, Florida but am originally from Mississippi.
I have severe scoliosis and degenerative disc disease. I’m only 32 years old, so knowing that my spine is literally collapsing on itself is a hard pill to swallow. What’s more – it’s not “bad enough” for surgery yet, so doctors usually shrug my pain off.
I am in pain every day. My low back aches and my discs cause shooting, electric-like pain across my back and into my hips and legs. By the end of each day, I have to lie down with my heating pad and a glass of wine. I have to be very careful about pacing myself so I don’t overdo. If I do, my pain will be much higher for the following few days.
How It Affects Me
This affects me tremendously. My pain affects my mood which can be a problem in my relationships at home. I struggle with anxiety and some mild depression because of it. I think of my disease as if I’m standing on a cliff. Yes, I’m in a precarious spot, but I have a choice of looking up to the rising sun or looking down into the depths of the rift below. Sometimes I struggle to pull my vision up from those depths. I try not to fall down into it. But any time I get new information about what’s happening in my back, it’s a lot to process.
Learning To Adapt
I have learned to adapt by exercising, focusing on the positive, and doing the things in life that bring me joy. I love running (when I can), doing yoga, and lifting weights. I’ve found that the stronger I keep my body, the less overall pain I’m in. I work really hard to keep a positive mindset and to look at the good things in my life. Yes, I have a rebellious spine that doesn’t want to do its job. But I can’t let that steal my happiness. I enjoy hanging out with my three sons, being outdoors, and gardening.
Changing As A Person
This is a tough one! It’s challenging to extract how my invisible illness has caused me to change, as growing older itself has also caused me to change. I would say that I am more open and accepting. I trust people more – if someone says they’re in pain, I believe them, no questions. This experience has also taught me that no one is going to stand up for me. I have to say what needs saying. I have to be specific about what hurts, what’s happening in my body, and what I want to be done because of it. I can’t trust a doctor to intuitively know that… which has been hard to learn! I love shows like Grey’s Anatomy and House. While I understand those are just TV shows, I kind of grew up thinking doctors would help me like that. And they don’t.
My Favourite Superhero
Well, I have to go with Spiderman. I love his witty sarcasm!
Thanks Amanda for sharing your story with my readers and me!