How a chronic condition helped me become better. With cat visuals.
Shannon Agnew actor/activist
Even five years after it all happened, I can still feel the shooting pain searing my hips, legs, and lumbar spine as I rolled my broken back across four tennis balls in a gym sock during my ten am voice and movement class. I get goosebumps when I think about the time I spent in upward dog in dance class, feeling my vertebrae grinding into each other. Afraid to say no and appear lazy or uncooperative, I pushed through more than regular muscle fatigue, thinking of each activity I performed as a sprint. There was nothing I couldn't do for ten more minutes. I wanted to prove that I was strong and capable, and that I wanted this training with all of myself regardless of my screaming neurons.
When your normal is chronic pain, there is a lot you can immediately work through and ignore. Adrenaline works wonders at helping you forget that your body is sending you pain signals. Pain signals that were designed to let you know when it's time to stop what you're doing because it's hurting you.
After my pain became unbearable, I was diagnosed with isthmic grade two spondylolisthesis, spondylitis, disc compression with inflammation and radiating nerve damage in my cervical and thoracic spine. Translation: I have a broken back that's falling off of my sacrum, and my other vertebrae are swelling with protest. Doctors and physical therapists handed me a list of do's and don'ts to follow for the rest of my life. Here to explore that list.... are cats.