Big J calls me his little mutant, though he does say it with love. I suppose in a way I am a mutant. I have an extra pair of ribs called cervical ribs. They cause something called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. These extra ribs are in an area of the neck called the thoracic outlet and because they are not supposed to be there they obstruct the nerves and blood vessels coming through there.

That, combined with the fact that I am only five feet tall, can cause a lot of pain.  Numbness. Tingling. I was not made for grown-up furniture. When I sit on just about any chair or sofa, my feet don’t quite reach the floor. My toes may brush, but mostly my legs hang. This alone can cause a lot of back and neck pain. Add to that the extra ribs that pinch the nerves in my neck and I can spend a lot of time hurting.

Some people with cervical ribs resort to surgery to remove the ribs. There is a lot of risk involved, and thankfully surgery is not something I have needed to seriously consider. Thankfully, chiropractic care, lifestyle changes, posture changes, and my folding foot rest allow me to function many days without pain.

Last weekend we went for a Jeep ride and my body was jostled about more than it’s used to.

look's like fun, doesn't it?
look’s like fun, doesn’t it?

Add to that sitting in a metal folding chair for a stretch the next day and I was hurting. A lot. Doesn’t sound like enough to cause that much pain, does it?

Some days I feel sorry for myself, bemoan that fact that at my age I should be able to take a Jeep ride or go to the movies, ride an airplane or visit a church without feeling decades older than I am. But the fact is, this is the body God gave me. And he allowed me to born in a time when chiropractors exist, folding foot rests are to be found. And for that I am eternally grateful.

I can’t sit and type at the computer for long periods. I can’t bend my head over my paper and write for great lengths. I can no longer sleep on my stomach. I can’t hold a book in my lap and read for hours. What I can do is type or write with lots of breaks. I can sleep on my back (so much harder than I imagined). I can prop a book up on a pillow in front of me and read for small stretches.

I’m not ready to give up off-roading in Big J’s Jeep just yet. So for now I’ll get an adjustment from my chiropractor when I need one. I’ll use my foot rest when I attend classes and conferences. I’ll take a painkiller if I need one. And I will continue to be thankful for this body that doesn’t always do what I want it to, but that does what it needs to.

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