Back pain, family issues bringing up a teenager and wanting to remain young and vibrant, what’s so bad about that! So, you think you are young and can move, shake, dance and live pain free even though your body says something else? Imagine waking up each morning to pain that is so excruciating, so debilitating that you wonder how you wonder how you are going to get out of bed. Don’t pretend to not know what I am saying or that you never had back pain. Some back pain can be dealt with when given the right treatment and hopefully not tons of meds. But, Wendy Coblentz will take you through her days by filling the pages of her book with stories that will make you laugh, (make sure you at either standing or sitting comfortably you don’t want to hurt your back), relate her experiences in exercise classes including one that included an earthquake just for special effects, you just don’t want to miss a page, a story or a moment in “It’s Your Fault: My Journey through Back Pain.” You decide who is to blame: your back, those treating you or you! Coming from a family that never sits still, needs to move around and enjoys working a room when necessary, you feel the energy level rise, the excitement and the frustrations as she takes us through the ups and downs of back pain.
There are many recipes that a chef can create but none so deadly as a recipe for disaster when it comes to the chronic problems that our author describes. Each time one problem is diagnosed and cannot be solved or the pain alleviated the professional whether a physical therapist or a doctor can never figure out why she does not improve stating: this never happened before in all my years of practicing whatever they are practicing.” Added in she tried some homemade remedies herself, dance classes, exercise classes, gels and other remedies prescribed or self prescribed. Like a maze that has so many twists and turns Wendy starts at the original opening but cannot find her way out. But, her back and leg pains are just the tip of the iceberg or hot pains that radiated throughout her body as her son decides to create some havoc of his own. Drinking, smoking reckless driving and an attitude problem seem reign high on his list of being a difficult teenager. Added in he can’t seem to understand why his parents are upset with his actions and feels losing his driving privileges is unfair.
Pain relief is not on the way when she agrees to see an Orthopedist whose treatments seems conventional but whose outcomes are not. Taking the reader back to her many teenage and childhood experiences she relates them with her present predicaments. Dancing lessons, which I did not like as a kid. Exercise classes that caused her much pain and trying to stay on par with the younger members of the class added to her anxieties and stress level. But, when her back finally told her that her legs were not going to cooperate either her trips to different doctors were numerous, the exercises prescribed seemed like a menu from a Chinese restaurant trying to figure out which column to choose from A, B, or C or family dinner exercise plan A, B, or C. In search of relief would she ever find it? Would anyone finally show her the way out of this maze? But, just when you think she might find relief, she does not and the answer to her problem is: It’s Your Fault Wendy! Hence the title of this book filled with funny stories, straightforward insight into the world of pain, doctors that speculate what they think is wrong, living with a teenager who needs his own Back adjustment and trying to be a wife and mother. Learning about her past before all this began we realize that her parents were as she put it movers and shakers and worked hard and never faltered. Loving her dad and enjoying working with him she especially shares at the start how he would pick her up and twirls her around and just made her world so perfect.
When describing the different treatments, the incidents from her childhood, the fact that she could never sit still in one place makes you wonder how she ever coped with so many different situations. Friendships that were difficult to deal with, two parents that were always on the move and dinner parties that were quite unique her present life does not seem that different from her past except she is older now. Childhood pranks described, smoking weed, drinking and doing the same things kids do today, did not quite prepare her for everything that her son Ben would do but perhaps did help with her understanding of why and possibly how to deal with his behaviors.
At times we wonder why this smart, intelligent and strong minded woman would give in to the wants of others, care about what others think about her and often fell prey to so many doctors, their unusual treatments, their abuse at times with their remarks and the final outcome which was often more pain. When she would enter a restaurant or store and try and use the techniques taught by the many different therapists, doctors and even the acupuncturist, you begin to wonder just what wild and crazy treatment would be next. From the ordinary, the traditional, to the outlandish and alternative plus experimental methods of treatment she endured under the wishful hope of living back pain free, Wendy Coblentz is relentless in her pursuit of living without having to make that next appointment, dealing with another treatment and hopefully not needing another one of those sharp needles.
Pain classes, alternative medicines that made her feel worse, doctors that recommended others that might help her and yet no one really listened to her complaints or heard what Wendy was relating to them. Interconnection Bodywork sounded like a computer program with too many wires and flash drives to seriously solve any problems. Sometimes we listen to others hoping they can resolve our issues. Just listening to the professionals she sought out, hearing their thoughts, wondering what they were thinking while going through their papers and coming up with what they thought was the solution was like going to a bookstore and wading through the tons of titles hoping to find one that you wanted to read but never satisfied with the selections. Back doctors, prescriptions, therapies of all kinds and the one solution that might help her she discounted.
With a son that seemed bent on finding ways to stimulate her back pain, hide liquor and other assorted paraphernalia in his room, cop Wendy uncovered the secrets to being a mother of a teenager that she hoped would finally find the right path to follow, a husband that tried not to get too frustrated with her issues and hopefully lead her way to a pain-free life.
Sometimes the only way to solve our problems is to find a way to as she states: “Trust our own instincts.” Learning what causes the pain, understanding what she can gain from her back experiences, using the one technique that helped her, stop listening to others, think for yourself and know you will get better. What technique really helped her and still does? You won’t get that information from me. You have to read it for yourself to find out just where Wendy is now and how she is managing her pain, going on with her life and just what the phrase: Turning to Myself means and how this technique not only helps her to deal with the back pain but her son, his issues and herself.
What do parents of teens have to look forward to: read page 118 and find out what you won’t need to do once they go off to college and they are supposedly on their own. From grounding, to taking away the car to finding things in their rooms that will shock your nervous system this book presents many different moods, sides, fixes and surprises that readers will find illuminating as Wendy takes you on her journey to living PAIN FREE. Smiles, laughs, tears and tons of humor fill the pages as the author never lets go of her past, her present and sees a bright light in her future. Sometimes when we look too hard we overlook the obvious.
Fran Lewis: reviewer