Wear, Tear, & Care

Wear, Tear, & Care
Wear, Tear, & Care uses word therapy to conquer chronic pain. This blog offers advice for those dealing with chronic pain and illness, using humor and personal anecdotes to show that patients can still have productive lives despite physical obstacles.

My name is Jen. At the time of this writing I am 27 years old. I’m an attorney in the Boston area, and I also do a lot of writing and editing in the off-hours. I have a wonderful husband (we’ll call him “Husband”) a fat cat (“Fattie”), and a tight-knit family. Husband and I live in the suburbs and own a cute little house that was built in 1935. We go to the farmer’s market on Saturdays. We laze around and watch Netflix. I like my life. Really, everything is perfect except for my chronic pain.

When I was seventeen, I was driving with my mother and aunt to visit Georgetown University. Our car (stopped on the highway because of traffic) was hit at 65 miles per hour by an attractive man from Florida. My spine was fractured at T-11, T-12, and L-1; a facet joint in the thoracic level was broken as well. We didn’t find that last fracture for more than a year, so it healed wrong and calcified on a cluster of nerves.

Fast-forward almost ten years to the summer of 2013. My back was by no means great, but I’d learned to live with the constant pain. Driving home one night after work, my car was rear-ended again. It was a lesser accident that resulted in a lot of damage. My body, which had been working so hard to maintain some sort of equilibrium, was pushed over the edge. My neck and low back were alive with pain; they’d been mostly unaffected the first time around, so this was new and terrifying.

I ended up needing spine surgery less than a year later: a cervical discectomy and fusion of C5-C6. Two years after that? Fusion of C4-C5. Now I have a long scar on my throat. It’s like a gang tattoo; all of us who’ve had the surgery recognize one another.

This blog is for me to come to terms with what’s happened to me. I want to enjoy this life as much as I can, despite the pain.