Can Open, Worms Everywhere: The Back Pain, The Stress, and The Home Schooling


Such an anti-climactic couple of days around here.

Do any of you have chronic back pain? I sure do. Upper back, lower back. It goes down the side of my right leg. It pops up in my wrist. I’m always hurting, some days worse than others. When I want to pretend like I feel fine, I pop an Advil 800 and head out into the world. When I want to sleep, I take Tylenol PM.

I lay on hot packs. I rub on Panaway essential oil. I have a stash of back massagers, tens units, back braces, lumbar pillows, anything you’d buy to help with your back, I’ve got a few of them.

No one wants to read about other people’s medical problems, so I try not to write about it too much.

Today was the day I got my MRI report back. I was all excited and nervous about this.

Surely I didn’t research every sort of problem that could cause back pain. Surely I wasn’t afraid that I had cancer. Surely I didn’t imagine suitable replacement wives for my husband. Haha! No, no…. of course I am not that insane.

I just have a wild imagination. I’ve never been a worrier, but I admit I went a little overboard on this one. The thing is that I so badly wanted to know what caused my pain. I figured if I knew the cause, maybe I could fix it.

So when the doctor’s office, which I can never ever get an appointment with, actually called ME to schedule an appointment right away to discuss my MRI results in depth, I thought, “Oh! This is it. There was something on the MRI. We’re getting somewhere,” but those thoughts sort of led to, “I hope I’m not dying, or what if I need surgery?”

Therefore, it felt incredibly anti-climactic but also exciting to find out that the MRI suggests that I am fine. They didn’t let me read the actual report, but she said the only thing on there was tendonitis in my shoulder. 

Pretty funny, as I thought the shoulder MRI was a waste of effort. My shoulder itself is fine. It’s the back muscles around it that bother me.

I’m so happy and relieved to know that basically I am okay. Only, I’m not “okay.” I’m all tired, sleepy, lethargic, and achy.

So the next thing they wanted to discuss was depression……

Am I depressed? I don’t think I’m depressed. I have such a blessed life, I have no reason for sadness.

Okay, well, here’s the thing. I’m not depressed in the sense of being sad or lonely or such. However, the quality of life factor became greatly reduced the day I began to home school my boys.

It’s sad that something I wanted to do so badly turned out to be such a mixed bag of blessings and curses.

I love being with my family. I enjoy knowing what they are learning and seeing them succeed.

The thing is that I am not a school teacher. I don’t enjoy teaching, testing, or researching fun things to do. Plus, it hurts. My back hurts too badly to haul them out to field trips very often. It takes me days to recover from that.

Home schooling has been the single most humbling event of my life. I have leaned on my faith in the heavenly Father hard to simply get through my days. I wake up with a sense of dread over having to manage the course of the day for five separate people, while also feeding them all and wishing for a tidy house or time to do anything that I actually enjoy.

When the boys were in school, I relished that time between 8 and 2:30 to lavish love on my pre-schoolers and live at a slower pace. Then we’d pick them up at 3, we’d all head to the park, and we’d do homework and play in the evening. It worked for us.

I am so glad that I tried the home schooling thing. This was one of those jobs I looked at with high ideals and rose-colored glasses. I romanticized it in my mind, but in the end it is not for me.

Many women love it, and they should continue to home school. I should not.

The stress of managing a job I’m not cut out for is making my entire body hurt. Did you know that’s possible? It is. The aching body is making me less capable to take care of my family and my responsibilities.

I believe that the Lord puts inside of each of us a “soul thing”, a thing that we can do, enjoy doing, and bless others with. I have several soul things. I love being a mom, just a mom. Writing is my therapy, and singing is a little extra fun on the side. Those are my soul things. Oh! And when my back cooperates, I can cook like no tomorrow.

Next year, my children will be taught by someone who enjoys it, and I am going to get back to living a life that fits.

We all have a different mold we are created to fill. I’m done trying to fit into anyone else’s mold. I’m ready to get back to being a happier mom, and that will bless my boys and others as well.



“You won’t ever be able to keep up with unrealistic. Unrealistic demands lead to undercurrents of failure. So don’t allow the unrealistic demands of others to march freely into your life.”    Lisa Terkeurst, The Best Yes, page 161

“And this is my prayer:  that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.”    (Phil. 1:9-10, emphasis added)




  • You are amazing. I don’t know how you do all the things that you do. I could NEVER have homeschooled my kids. It was a challenge for me just to make an effort to insure they did their homework.
    You have so many talents. I am sure that you passed those talents down to your boys. I know you don’t even want to think about them getting older and entering high school, but when they do, so many elective subjects will be offered at school. I was amazed at the courses they offered here when we moved to Kansas.
    Do what is best for YOU and for the boys. No one knows what is best for them more than you do. You are a great mom. Don’t listen to or worry about anyone else’s opinion of how you raise your kids. With God’s help, you got this. lol

    • Aw, thank you so much, Aunt Linda!! I so appreciate it. Thank you!!

      • By the way, I have another quote from your Maw Maw. (One that she did not write down, but has stuck in my memory since she said it.) She had attempted to learn to crochet. It did not take her long to realize that she did not like it. Granny suggested that she keep trying. Your Maw Maw said, “There are too many things that I enjoy doing that I do WELL to waste my time with crochet.” lol I loved her attitude. She did not see it as a failure. She saw it as something she attempted, didn’t like, so she moved on to things she DID like.

  • God made you the mother of your particular children for a reason. He knows that you (and your husband) are the best parents, and will make the best decisions for those children. No one else’s opinion matters. It’s God that will judge us in the end, not family, friends, or neighbours. You homeschooled your children because you felt God’s leading, and knew it was the best thing for your family at that time. You are putting them in school now because you feel God’s leading, and you know it is the best thing for your family at this time. As long as you are open to His will for your life, you will continue to make the best decisions for your family. Trust in Him, and trust in your (and your husband’s) willing response to Him. You’re a great mum, and as long as your trusting in our Great Father, you and your family will be just fine. May God bless you and your family, and all your children’s teachers, this year and every year.
    Alma Mater recently posted…A DiagnosisMy Profile

  • I’ve never had back pain, but my brother has it very, very badly. And my mom and sister get it from overdoing things or stress. And that’s it. Nothing they can find on an MRI!
    You’re so smart to listen to your body. I wish you a lot of peace and love and sweet relief.
    Tamara recently posted…A Christmas Wish List With Sonicare.My Profile

  • You are awesome for trying!! I really do believe that stress can do so many things to our bodies. I was stuck in a miserable job and I got migraines all of the time. Now I get them maybe twice a year and none of them have been as severe as they used to be. I never realized how stressed I was until I quit that job and life just got better. You need to do what works for you and the rest will fall into place 🙂
    Autumn recently posted…Lose the Cape: Never Will I Ever (and then I had kids!) -Book ReviewMy Profile

  • McMom

    I think it’s very admirable that you attempted to do something so unknown and intimidating. Good for you for knowing when it is best to go another direction, as opposed to forcing something that isn’t the right fit for your family. You are awesome!

  • WarmSocks

    Thank you for visiting my blog. Based on the things you’ve said, it really sounds like you could have psoriatic arthritis. Your primary should write you a referral to a rheumatologist. Suggesting that you’re depressed is a very common ploy of doctors who don’t know much about rheumatology. On average, it takes 7 years to get an AS or PsA diagnosis because the symptoms are so difficult for doctors to put together. Between meds that a rheumy will prescribe, and physical therapy to strengthen the muscles supporting your hip and shoulder joints, you can feel much better by this time next year. It won’t be instantaneous and will take some work, but you can include the kids in doing the things the PT teaches you, which will help them. There is a genetic component to the different types of autoimmune arthritis, so if that’s what’s causing your bursitis and tendinitis, your boys have a higher than average risk and can benefit by knowing the exercises that can help.. Two of my children have juvenile arthritis. Even knowing that my daughter had the same thing I have, it took four years to get a diagnosis.

    As for the specific diagnosis, many rheumatologists will begin treatments without a specific diagnosis. Others will say that everything is RA. It can be frustrating to want to know exactly what’s wrong and have the rheumy say that it doesn’t matter, but the truth is that most of the autoimmune arthritides are treated with the exact same medicines. Best of luck!

    • Thank you! I did convince her to give me a rheumatologist referral, and he seems like a good one. I have my follow-up Jan. 4th to discuss the initial testing. One of my sons already has Raynaud’s so I’m already watching him closely. But you’re so right about pT exercises. I have not done my best at those. I’ve been in PT for 7 months, but he is re-structuring my program as we just now found out about the tendons and bursitis. Thank you so much for your kind and thorough response. Your blog is such a fantastic resource!!

  • Jen

    April I am so sorry. I have never had this kind of chronic pain, but I think listening to your body is wise. It is telling you what you can do. I pray that the right doctors and health professionals will enter your life and help you find the answers you need,
    Jen recently posted…How The Expectation Of Trying To “Have It All” Is Hurting Us AllMy Profile

  • true

    i like it 🙂

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