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The jolt of pain shot up my back. Oh shit! I immediately stopped rowing. But then I recommenced my “high intensity” work out, with some modifications, not saying a peep to the instructor. Within a day, I had searing pain down my right thigh, like someone was tearing apart my quad with hot tongs. Every time I tried to stand, I turned ashen white and collapsed down. Me, the marathon runner; me, the active ob/gyn; me, the one who doesn’t know how to say no. Me, brought to my knees by overwhelming pain.

Immediately, I’m texting my partner. Prescribe me some steroids please. I’m thinking it has to be a herniated disc. My daughter drives me to the pharmacy, and I can’t make the walk to the back of CVS. I stop part way then, when I’m close, collapse into a chair. My daughter looks scared. “Just ask them for my prescription,” I tell her, trying to sound calm. I don’t know how I’m going to get back to the car.

The next few days are a blur of steroids, percocet, higher dose steroids, gabapentin, an MRI, an epidural. I have no appetite, and I barely can read, let alone watch Netflix. I have to tell my partners and get coverage for a call coming up: the first time in twenty-five years I've asked for someone to take a call for me.

The epidural helps some: I can finally walk and stand. I go back to the office to see patients, but it is so tiring to be constantly managing my pain. I just want to sit. No, I really want to lie down.

After two weeks of constant pain, albeit lower grade pain, it's getting the best of me. I find myself crying in a parking lot after trying to grocery shop. I find myself cranky after a restless night of discomfort. I find myself discouraged after realizing this may take a long time to resolve.

I call a colleague. “I just need to talk this out and figure out a plan,” as the tears stream down my cheeks.

“No,” he says, “you need to stop fighting and surrender yourself to let this pain go.”

Andrea Eisenberg
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan