by Jake Hershey on November 18, 2012

My wife and I both have really bad backs.  We both had really good backs when we met.  And for you smart a** folks out there let me answer the question all my buddies have already asked…we didn’t throw our backs out doing what young couples do when they meet.  Mine is a combination of riding broncs, shoeing horses, starting cold backed colts, totaling numerous vehicles, etc.  Hers is more a freak deal.  One day she was moving a lamp and it just went out…bad.  It’s called a lateral shift-in cowboy terms, when she stands up her shoulders are on the right and her hips are on the left..and her spine kinda looks like a question mark.  It’s gross.  The first time it happened, we went to several specialists and the answer was simple: get surgery.  My wife has two Bachelor’s Degrees.  They’re both in human health.  She’s a Registered Nurse, Certified Personal Trainer and Licensed Massage Therapist.  She knows a lot about the human body and the medical field.  She made up her mind she wasn’t getting surgery.  We were blessed to find a chiropractor (who’s also a Christian) and he was able to help her.  He told her she was a walking miracle and not to ride a horse for at least a year.  One year later, she was getting on one of our horses and he just took a step or two as she was swinging her leg up over him.  Her back went out immediately.  The chiropractor was able to help her again.  Again, he said her faith had healed her and she was a miracle.  The third time it went out was last year.  This time MRI’s, X-rays, etc., showed that the two of the discs had moved really, really far.  The chiropractor said he had only seen 3 or 4 backs that bad in 30+years and they all required surgery.  She didn’t need surgery.  The chiropractor was amazed and again said our faith must have a lot to do with it.  The fourth time it went out was this week.  I’ve been taking her to the chiropractor who is 45 miles away every day.  She can’t get in the truck without a step stool.  I have to help her get dressed.  Believe it or not, it’s not as bad this time and she’s getting better every day.

Another thing happened this week and if you know me, you know I don’t believe in coincidence.  I was browsing my favorite cowboy swapping page on facebook and was made aware of a young man (elementary school age) who has a more than likely terminal illness.  His only dream is to be a cowboy.  Some folks that knew him were asking for a horse for him.  I have a custom leather shop and said that I’d be honored to make him a custom belt with his name on it.  Within a few hours, the young man had people offering everything and more a good cowpuncher needs.  Things like ropes, spurs, hats, leggings, tack, etc., have been donated.  He got a horse the next day, delivered by two cowboys who had never even met him.

Here’s the other thing that happened this week.  While we were on our way to the chiropractor, we saw flashing lights.  A truck was laying upside down on the side of the road.  Emergency personnel were hovering over a body laying in the road while a man who was obviously hysterical with grief and shock, was walking down the road aimlessly on his cell phone.

Having a bad back stinks.  Having a wife with a bad back stinks.  It costs a bunch of money we don’t have for tests, treatment and the like, not to mention lost income and time that could be spent doing something else.  But neither one of us have a terminal illness or worse yet a child with one.  Just like that young man, all I’ve ever wanted to be is a cowboy, too.  Maybe someday I’ll get there.  But God has given me 34 years to work at it without having to fight a terminal illness.

Packing around my wife’s stuff and helping her get in and out of the truck is a pain.  But the truck isn’t upside down on the side of the road.  My wife isn’t laying in the road with EMT’s hovering over her while I frantically call someone to tell them I don’t know if she’ll live.

The concept of this holiday we call Thanksgiving is a good one.  But for crying out loud, we should all be thankful every single day.  I ain’t telling you what to do, but I made a decision a long time ago to start my prayers with thanking God before I go to asking and complaining.  It helps put things in perspective and honestly, no matter how hard things get I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t thankful.  When you know that there’s a God who loves you so much that he sent his son to earth and allowed him to be beat, tortured, spit on and nailed to a cross…all so that you could have the chance to spend forever in heaven…you’ve got a lot to be thankful for.  And so do I.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Rejoice always,pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


Jake Hershey 11/18/12

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  • Missy

    Thank you for sharing this. I will be going to the doctor next week to see about my back since last week I ended up in the ER. The doctor there is saying ruptured or bulging disc. I was only taken off of work for a couple of days but my work decided that they would not put me on the schedule for a whole week and no amount of doctor notes would keep them from it. I was so upset because here it was almost Christmas and time for us to go back to Texas and see our kids and we are short at least one check. This definitely put it into perspective. Thank you so much and get well soon!

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