I have been kind of off the radar for quite awhile due to a recent VERY bad flare up of my degenerative disc disease in my lumbar spine. I have been out of commission for almost two months this time and has made my life pretty much completely come to a halt. Again...
My back issues have been something I have had to deal with for several years now and due to the nature of my injury, it will ALWAYS be a problem of one degree or another. Even with the best possible outcome, I will still have some pain and immobility probably for the rest of my life. This of course sadly puts a serious damper on my ability to perform and commit to shows etc.
This spring I was in the chorus for Carmen Fixation at Berkeley West Edge Opera. I was SO excited to be a part of this show and worked hard to get in. About a week before we were to open, my back started to misbehave and ended up having to back out of the show. I was devastated. I felt like not only was I letting the cast and crew down, I was letting myself down too. I have wanted SO much to perform regularly and work my way up to bigger roles and shows etc. And with Carmen, as well as a bunch of other shows and performances that I've had to back out of over the years, I feel like there's no way I can fully be where I want to be musically. Its depressing and frustrating and I don't know what to do....
I recently had to make the decision to not audition for BACH this season. With my recent bout, I had no idea if/when I would get better enough to be able to commit to the shows and rehearsals. This made me very sad as I was really enjoying performing with them and the upcoming years lineup looks like so much fun! *sigh* I was accepted into the Chorus for Christmas Revels this year which was a huge thing for me. I haven't officially backed out of that show yet because I keep hoping that I'll get better enough to continue. But there is always a chance that I will have to back out later anyway. There just is no rhyme or reason to when its going to act up and how bad etc. Its SO frustrating!
I went in for an epidural injection yesterday in hopes that this will help enough for me to get to where I can do more strength training and PT to hopefully keep more discs from herniating. There is the possibility of surgery down the road if the epidural and further PT don't help, but even then, the success rate is only like 75%. If the epidural helps then I am hopeful that I can carefully start to get into a fitness routine again and continue to lose weight and hopefully keep my back at a manageable pain tolerance.
I know that there are people with disabilities out there who perform regularly. Its not like I have to put my music career completely on the back burner, but when I'm in so much pain I can hardly walk, how can I even begin to think of being able to be on stage or at long rehearsals etc.?
I don't know what to do and I feel like I will never have a chance at performing professionally because of my 'disability.' I don't want to sign on to a show only to have to back out later and be looked at as a flake...but I don't want to give up completely! Music is my life...but how do I integrate it into my life successfully when I'm so compromised from pain?