New Jersey: I Was Terrified I Would Never Be On The Air Again; Here’s Why
Hello everyone and Happy Friday.
It is I, your midday host here, and in case you did not know, I have had two major spinal surgeries over the last 8 months. It has been intense and painful.
I first opened up about this struggle back in July after the first surgery, but can you believe it....this freaking health saga was far from over.
So here we go....
First, I want to start by saying THANK YOU to everyone who has reached out with heart-felt messages. I was not expecting this amount of support for having to step away from the microphone for a few months. I am eternally grateful.
Back on July 7th, 2021, I had a laminectomy done which means the doctor went in to cut off the herniated part of the disc bulging out of my spine. (Pretty....I know)
I was on the road to recovery until September 8th when I heard something in my spine pop. The disc had re-herniated - which does happen to 5% to 10% of patients who undergo this surgery - and now a more permanent fix was needed.
As a result, I went in for the second spine surgery of the year on October 20th, 2021: a double spinal fusion.
The doctor physically took out the damaged part of my spine and replaced it with metal rods and screws. (Again...luxurious, I know)
This is a much bigger procedure which meant more pain, a longer recovery and I had to stay in the hospital for a few days.
The moment I opened my eyes after the surgery was one of the most painful moments of my life. I remember waking up laying on my back wanting to get off the area that had just been operated on for hours.
I couldn't even turn myself over to my side. Until your back is incapacitated, you don't realize how much you rely on this body part for just about every single movement.
Funny story within a story: I didn't realize this at the time but my heart rate spiked while in recovery and it took a while to be released to my room.
When my heart rate didn't lower after an hour or so, a nurse started asking me some questions about my pain levels, and naturally, my love of dogs came up while we were chit-chatting.
She brought over her phone and showed me some photos and videos of her dogs and.... WA LA! My heart rate finally lowered and I was released from recovery.
Dogs....they are a powerful medicine.
After the surgery, I was up for 26 hours straight.
I had to manually administer my pain medicine myself every 10 minutes. By the 5th or 6th dose, I would start to feel some relief and dose off....until 15 minutes later when my pain levels would spike because the continuous flow of medicine was halted.
The first month was TOUGH. Simple tasks like taking a shower, going to the bathroom, or even getting up for a glass of water felt impossible. I was helpless and completely reliant on those around me.
This has been just as much of a mental battle as it is a physical one. I am someone who usually goes at 100 mph -- both mentally and physically -- on a daily basis. (and Matt Ryan can confirm)
When I had to physically slow down, my mind mentally sped up, and being forced to sit still and recover gave me way too much time to think and obsess.
At one point, I wasn't sure I would ever be able to go back on the air again. Physically I was a mess and mentally, I was in no shape to entertain.
Was it an extreme thought at the time? Probably. But I had never been so unfamiliar with my own body.
I wondered, "Will my ambitious drive to conquer the world ever return?"
It has....partially....and returning more and more every day the stronger I get.
At this point, I am still experiencing pain on a regular basis and it will be that way for at least the next month or so.
I don't love all the events and opportunities I am missing but I don't really have a choice.
I am literally teaching my back how to do everything all over again: walking, bending, working, cleaning, walking my dog....EVERYTHING!
So every time I introduce my body to a new task, even something as simple as going to get the mail, I will have a spike in pain for the next few days. Once the pain gets under control, that means it is time to introduce a new task.
This process will be repeated for the next few months until all tasks are reintroduced.
On January 26th, I returned back to the airwaves on 94.3 The Point and the support I received upon my return was overwhelmingly touching.
I am still easing my way back into all of my normal responsibilities at work and it is going to take time to build my stamina back up but I have made HUGE progress since the day of the surgery.
And still....the one word that comes to mind is grateful because I was able to step away to take care of myself but still return with a bunch of surprises in store.
There are quite a few collaborations that I had lined up in 2021 that had to be postponed. Upon my return, many have reached back out with hopes of doing something in 2022 despite waiting 8 months for me to get back on my feet. (That's all I can spill for now...it's coming, I promise)
At this point, I am doing better than I was but I am still struggling to come to terms with the fact that I am as physically limited as I am.
I am usually bouncing all over the place on a typical day, I would do my on-air shows, write some articles, do some social media stuff, and even work on a story I have been writing. (More to come on this later as well....)
But now, when my body has had enough, it is forcing me to stop where I am and rest whether I want to or not.
It's frustrating but necessary.
So long story short, I am not back to my full self just yet but I am getting there and I just need everyone to be patient.
But I promise you, we will get there.
So if you are listening to my midday show on 94.3 The Point on the air, thank you.
If you are listening on the app or online, thank you.
If you are reading and sharing my articles, thank you.
If you have watched my videos or liked my posts, thank you.
Your support has helped me remain afloat throughout all this and for that, I am eternally thankful.
So for now, I will see you on the airwaves.
And in the next few months, I'll see you out there Jersey Shore.
Thanks for reading.
Nicole S. Murray
But when I do get back out there, here are some of the places you'll find me: