The Willingness to Accept Love:Surrender – Love, Wendy

The past year has been a challenging one for me. I have very recently endured a serious medical crisis of 5 compression fractures in my spine on the heels of recovering from other spine and back related issues involving 3 herniated disc’s, degenerative disc disease, stenosis, and a nerve impingement.

I underwent a bi-lateral epidural, twice, to manage the nerve pain to no avail. I walked 2-3 miles per day, and did physical therapy every day at home after my initial 6 weeks at a PT facility as exercise and movement lessened the pain. Until the fractures. NOTHING has given me relief. I refuse all narcotic pain medication to keep the integrity of my decade long recovery from addiction. I use breath work, meditation, prayer, and Motrin and heat. It doesn’t give much relief, but it is something.

I used up all of my paid sick time/personal time at work, and had to begin to deplete my savings in order to pay my monthly bills.

Recently, I learned from a spine surgeon who reviewed all of my MRI’s and CT scans, as well as a clinical diagnosis where I could not stand up or sit down in his office due to the excruciating pain, that my spine is compressed, and that his “main concern” was to go in surgically to remedy my situation. I heard words like “fuse, screws, plates.” Frightening.

It is the fractures that has kept me at home of late. I did go to work for two weeks in unbearable pain, and with each bend forward, twist and turn, sitting or standing, or walking to the restroom, and even driving the 25 minutes to and from work, proved to increase the severity of the pain from the fractures and impingement.

I was in crisis mode. My job would not offer any paid sick leave, but I could apply for unpaid sick leave where in addition to no income, I would have to pay the deduction for medical benefits, depending upon approval of FMLA, but only up to 60 days. No income, no medical benefits with an upcoming surgery, and a bank account that took a hit due to no income.

I have taken care of myself in every way for the past 10 years in my recovery from prescription drug addiction, and I pride myself in my independence. This situation came up in the blink of an eye when I awoke in pain that is indescribable and could not get up out of my bed. I could not lay down, sit down, or walk. I remember standing in my living room crying and rocking slightly to and fro because my body was writhing in pain and I could not get comfortable. Finally the diagnosis…multiple compression fractures. It was so severe that I lost any strength in my back muscles to help me to go from a laying down/sitting down position to standing up, and standing up to laying down/sitting down. Oh, and the T12 fracture also affects the muscles of the bowel…Don’t ask. Other fractures were sustained at T10, L1, L3, L4 and then compression at S1/L5.

My closest friends, my son, and one of my daughter’s encouraged me to allow them to set up a GoFundMe account. I was vehemently opposed. “It is so humiliating!, What will people think? I’m so embarrassed! I’m disappointed in myself!” I went kicking and screaming, and simultaneously admitted that without this option, I would be rendered homeless, carless, and hungry. And no, I haven’t any family to help out. The thought of me not being self sufficient was devastating to me.

I asked my therapist for an emergency session via Zoom because I could not bear the guilt and shame I was feeling about this GoFundMe. After all, I’m the one who helps others in our community, and it seemed unconscionable to me to allow anyone to help me in my extenuating circumstances.

My therapist, Jenn, said something to me that “hit me between the eyes.” She said, “You have never felt worthy of love. Can you lean into the uncomfortable feelings that you are experiencing, and just say, “Thank you,” and allow others to love you and to do for you after all you have given to others over the years?” I cried. I cried for the desperation I felt of my situation, and I cried because Jenn was right…I sometimes still feel undeserving in accepting love from others…that I did not deserve love. Or that if I allowed myself to be loved, I would be hurt again as in my childhood, young adulthood, and grown adult. A pattern that reminded me “I’m not good enough.” These irrational feelings are connected to a lifetime of “not good enough.”

I am still feeling a sense of deep uneasiness when I receive the funds from Go Fund Me, but I am also aware through therapy that this is an old dialogue of “self talk” that I have been conditioned to believe. “Not worthy of unconditional love.” I read all of the comments, texts and emails that people are sending to me, and I am overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude for the love that they are offering to me…no strings attached. And I realize that it is okay to allow love into my life. I believe these selfless acts of kindness is a spiritual reminder to me that I am not alone, and that I am loved, unconditionally.

There are just a few that don’t agree with me accepting this help, but this is a good exercise for me in surrender. Surrender to my circumstances. Surrender to those I love not “approving” of accepting help from others. Surrender to my faith in God. Surrender to love.

Every day, multiple times a day, I need to remind myself that this is temporary, that I can, and will accept the love being bestowed upon me in my time of need, and that I will once again when I am on the other side of this crisis, pay it forward. My son who is also my best friend said, “stop worrying about paying it forward and try and remember this is the good karma coming back to you for all YOU’VE done for other people. There’s nothing to be ashamed about.”

I still struggle with the Go Fund Me daily, but as Jenn suggested, I allow myself to feel my emotions all the way through, and accept the love in spite of how I am feeling.

My son, and many others ask me how I get through all of this, including the unbearable pain on a daily basis…I always say, “I have unwavering faith. I know that God did not bring me this far, 10 years into recovery, to let anything happen to me now.”

And if I allow my circumstances to be a spiritual lesson, I may be able to help someone else with similar challenges moving forward. If we embrace adversity as a life lesson, we have the ability to help/teach someone else.

To everyone who has offered your prayers, donations, your time in visiting or calling, texting, emailing, bringing food, offering rides to the doctor, etc., I am deeply grateful, and I accept and receive your love and support.

A sweet friend sent me the following heartfelt message, “Please know I pray a little prayer for you every night when I go to sleep. Be strong Wendy, let people that offer help you, as I’m sure they do it with love.”

From deep within my soul, and from the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Love and blessings,


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