Here at the Big Seminar in Atlanta, the same question seems to pop up over and over again. I walk with a cane now, and people keep asking me, “Michel, What's wrong? Are you OK? What happened?”
I don't blame them. My wife told me I was turning as white as a ghost, so we've decided to go back to our room to take some time — and pressure — off my spine.
I thought to myself, “Maybe I should take advantage of this downtime to blog about this — that way, more people will know what's going on.”
You see, I have a broken back. Literally.
Let me back up a little.
This weekend, one of our goals is trying to meet people and network with the crowd to promote our new training system, Success Chef.
(That's one of the perks of being at a seminar!)
We're trying to create affiliate relationships with potential partners who can help us promote our new Success Chef training system during our prelaunch phase — we plan on officially launching by late summer.
The prelaunch lifetime membership offer has a few openings available, along with the special scholarship discount we make on the full-length, 70-minute free video.
Plus, I also installed a public blog during the prelaunch, which showcases video previews, case studies, and sample tutorials.
You should check it out, too. In fact, if you want to help us promote it as well (we greatly appreciate it!), here's where you can sign up to become an affiliate. Success Chef affiliates earn a generous commission, and we appreciate your support.
“Back” to my story.
Some of you may have noticed that I was walking with a cane at the last 2-3 seminars. At the last few seminars I spoke at, I had to sit in a chair while on stage to deliver my presentation. I just couldn't stand up.
Here's the thing.
After a serious car accident over 20 years ago where a taxi blindsided me, my back would occasionally go out. Nothing serious. Perhaps once to twice a year.
At first, I was able to tolerate the pain. But as the years went by, the spasms became more and more severe, and the pain wouldn't go away no matter how many over-the-counter pain medications I would take.
Nowadays, my back seems to go out once a month, and the pain is constant. Oftentimes, unbearable.
So I decided to consult with a doctor, which was followed by an MRI of my spine. (The picture at the top of the blog post is an actual scanned picture of my spine, by the way.)
Last month, I got the MRI results back from the spine center, and it doesn't look good. Essentially, my diagnosis shows that I have a herniated disc, a buldging disc, and arthritis in my lumbard region.
That explains why I am in constant pain, walking with a cane eight days out of 10. I can't even sleep at night because it's too excruciating. The sad part is, it keeps getting worse. The only solution is surgery.
But in addition to degenerative disc disease, they found something else.
Believe it or not, I have a broken back!
(This surprised me, as you can imagine.)
I have what's called a “PARS Defect” (or “Spondylolysis”).
PARS is a stress fracture where one vertebra is completely “loose”, dislocated from the rest of the spinal column. Any swift movement, heavy lifting, or long periods standing up can force it to shift and pull on a nerve, causing my back to spasm and my legs to go numb.
When my back goes out, it lasts for about a week with almost complete paralysis. I have to crawl my way to the bathroom. Trust me, it isn't a pretty sight.
The good part is, I'm getting back surgery in late June in Tampa, Florida. They will be using laser to “burn off” the bulge and arthritic tissue, and perform something akin to a “root canal” on the nerve attached to the broken vertebra.
The darn thing is costing me over $30,000! Ouch.
(Remember, being Canadian my insurance doesn't cover this. But considering how much pain I'm in, it's well worth it.)
Anyway, my back may be a bit of an obstacle, but there's something else. Something I wanted to share with you all but didn't until now because it's pretty personal.
Since I'm opening myself up, I might as well let it all out.
You see, the last month or so has been pretty challenging for us. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer last month.
She had her surgical mastectomy a few weeks ago. Her chemotherapy has started, which will be followed by radiation treatments in the summer.
She lived with us for a while so we can take care of her — until she went back to the hospital to have her bandages removed and was able to go back home.
Luckily for me (and her), my wife Sylvie was an awesome support! Her positive attitude and previous experience helped my mom greatly. It made my mom stronger, for sure.
But there's another reason why we felt the need to do this. Because, at the same time, my sister, who suffers from an advanced form of diabetes and lupus, fell into a diabetic coma and was hooked up to a respirator for about a week.
She's fine now and back at home with my mom — they live together along with her husband and my two nieces. But at the time, my sister surely wasn't in a state to take care of my mom.
So having her stay with us for a couple of weeks not only was the least we could do, but it was also a blessing in disguise. Because during that time my wife really made such a positive impact on my mom.
She's in great spirits and healing nicely.
Nevertheless, as you can see it has been a pretty eventful two months, to say the least.
I didn't want to just blog about this to let you know, but also to thank you and let you know how much we appreciate you and your help.
Keep my mom and my sister in your thoughts and prayers. They mean a lot to us. You mean a lot to us. You guys are amazing.
Now, as my friend John Reese always says, “Back to work!”
(In my case, I might have to take that sitting down.) 😉
Michel Fortin is a senior marketing specialist, renowned copywriter, and digital marketing expert. For the better part of 30 years, he's produced countless successful marketing communications and profitable campaigns that generated in excess of $300 million in sales. He's broken many industry sales records, including being instrumental behind the first ever “million-dollar day” online marketing campaign in 2004. He's worked with thousands of businesses and entrepreneurs around the world in a wide variety of industries on building their businesses, improving their marketing, and increasing their profits. He's a published author and often speaks at industry events. To connect with him, visit his LinkedIn profile where he is most active.