Back Pain and an Unintentional Fast

Now for the neatly folded stacks of clothes.
Now for the neatly folded stacks of clothes.

I hurt.

Injured my lower back Saturday. It’s not that I’m in a lot of pain; just experiencing a high degree of discomfort. I worked out all day Saturday and Sunday, but not in the gym. Temps were in the high 90s both days, and I was sweating from sunrise to sunset – and beyond.


With my husband and daughter away, I decided to organize her bedroom, which was a disaster. It seemed everything from clothes to empty perfume bottles was strewn all over the floor. Her dresser drawers probably hadn’t completely closed in months.

By designing a shelf system to organize everything, she’d learn to live clutter-free. So really, this grand idea of cleaning and organizing her room was a form of intervention.

My plan was to clean all day Saturday, have a handyman paint and hang shelves Sunday so that when Sky returned from Virginia Beach, everything would be perfect.

Oh, it so wasn’t.

Confession: I hurt my back shopping. Go ahead and laugh, I don’t care. I snagged well over $1,000 worth of Body Shop products for $60.  It was a word-of-mouth sale at the warehouse, and for $30 you could fill one of their large shopping bags with as much as you could carry.

I was not there five minutes before I decided I really needed two shopping bags. An hour or so later, I was still shopping in the too-warm warehouse, going through the huge shipping boxes lined up on the floor,  bending over each to rifle through them, sometimes kneeling. When I’d literally had my fill, I struggled over to the checkout, pretending my overstuffed bags weren’t as heavy as they were, because if I looked like I couldn’t carry them, they’d make me buy another bag.

Yet my bags so heavy they were cutting off circulation in my fingers.

The next several hours were spent going from store to store pricing shelving and hardware. I then went home to measure and design what I wanted, then hustled over to Lowes at 9 p.m. to buy everything I needed. By the time I toted all those freshly cut, heavy wire shelves home, my back was screaming. I took a handful of ibuprofen. Then my stomach joined the chorus.


I hadn’t eaten a thing all day. That morning I’d raced to get dressed to get in line at the warehouse before the doors opened, stopping at Starbucks on the way. The rest of the day was really hot, so I drank a lot of water, Pepsi Max and an Icee.  The pills had landed on an empty stomach – and I didn’t mind. (Weight loss by any means necessary, right?)

I slept only a few hours and got up to start cleaning before the handyman arrived. By then, everything was hurting – my back, legs, arms and feet.  My son was at work, so I had a lot of lifting, moving and crawling to do, as well as baskets and baskets of laundry.  Twelve hours later – and after several additional trips to Lowes – the wall system was up and I was near tears. Overtired, stressed and hurting.


The look on my daughter’s face at midnight? Priceless.

We’ll start folding and placing freshly laundered clothes over the next few days, and I’ll be selling her now-empty dresser and desk to (hopefully!) recoup some of the expense.


I thought about fasting Sunday, but I opted out because I needed something, anything in my stomach to buffer the meds. I ended up putting together two large hero sandwiches late Sunday night, then sliced them into individual servings and wrapped each in saran for whomever, whenever.

I haven’t weighed myself, but I do hope by this Friday I will have peeled off several pounds in sweat alone. Too sore for the gym right now, but hoping that will pass, soon.


If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?  ~  Milton Berle

Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.