Middle-Aged Missionary

I have a herniated disk. It is breathtakingly painful. And you may be wondering how did I sustain such an eye-watering injury. Lifting heavy objects? No. Running a marathon? No. I actually hurt myself Tuesday morning … wait for it … eating breakfast. I was sitting, eating yogurt when pain shot through my back and down my side. Yes, my friends, I sustained an excruciating and debilitating injury by sitting, by eating, and, I suppose, by being 54 years old.

How did this happen? I promise you I am not making this up. When I was younger, I fell out of numerous trees, was once run over by a bicycle, and tackled in countless pick-up football games and each time I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and started playing again. On Tuesday morning, somewhere between a sip of coffee and a spoonful of yogurt, I hurt my back so badly that I had to go to the emergency room.

The doctors and nurses here in South Africa were outstanding. If I remembered I could even tell you what number and letter disk I injured. Thankfully, they wrote things down: my diagnosis and the physical therapy exercises they recommended. I can’t really remember what they said at the time because A) I was in so much pain, and B) I kept asking myself how I could have hurt myself eating yogurt!

I have been assured that I will be okay. The pain should subside over the next couple of weeks and in six weeks I should be able to get back to running and exercising. However, I am seriously considering never eating yogurt again.

So, what, if anything, does this have to do with partnerships in mission? Remember the Parable of the Good Samaritan? Surprise, surprise, you may wind up being the guy lying in the ditch by the side of the road. Somehow, I always pictured him as much older. But then again, I guess I picture myself as much younger.

  1. Joey
    Ouch I hurt just reading about your back. Take it easy and heal good, don’t rush getting back in the saddle. Also I would re think your running, there are other ways to exercise that don,t jar your back. You can start with walking and there’s aways the dreded swimming.
    We love it here in Maine and look forward to seeing you and Amy here some day.
    Bruce Krause

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Did the same thing years ago brushing my teeth and I can say that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Follow the PT and you WILL absolutely get back to those things you love. Sending healing thoughts and prayers for speedy recovery. Miss you both. Colleen and Paul


    1. Thanks Colleen and Paul. Oh no, the brushing of the teeth! Thanks for the encouragement. Miss you. Love, Joe


  3. Hello joe and amy. I love reading all that you send us, and I think of you often. I have never replied to any of your posts yet, but this one takes the cake. A herniated disc?? No way! You are far too young. You will be especially in my prayers for this utterly ridiculous ailment, especially at breakfast time. What you are doing soundsincredibly interesting. Madeleine

    Sent from my iPad



      1. Thanks Sue. Perhaps I should avoid all daily products to be on the safe side. Must say, I woke up today (8 days after injury) and I am finally feeling somewhat better. Very grateful. Love, Joe


  4. Sorry to hear about your B.I. (Breakfast Injury). I have a half dozen containers of yogurt I will be thinking of you as I consume them. My prayers will be with you each day.

    Godspeed Peter

    On Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 11:36 AM Amy and Joe Go to Africa wrote:

    > Joe Pagano posted: “I have a herniated disk. It is breathtakingly painful. > And you may be wondering how did I sustain such an eye-watering injury. > Lifting heavy objects? No. Running a marathon? No. I actually hurt myself > Tuesday morning … wait for it … eating breakfast. ” >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Peter. Be careful with those yogurts. As someone else told me, she has never heard of a bacon injury. Might be wise to keep clear of the yogurt and stick with the bacon. Peace and prayers, Joe


  5. Dear Joe;

    So sorry to hear of your back problem!
    I came down with terrible sciatica in my right leg a year ago. Fortunately, over several months my Chiropractor was able to relieve the discomfort, and my right leg is now just fine. However, 4 months ago my left leg became a problem! I am now receiving both Physical therapy and Chiropractic treatment which is comforting. This includes electrical stimulation, manipulation and gentle exercises. No drugs, injections, or suggestions of back surgery! I was prescribed GABA pentin, a safe and hopefully effective medication for pain and nerve repair.

    I do hope you will feel much better soon! Please keep us all informed of your progress.


    David King Wood

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks David. Sorry to hear about your back troubles, but glad to hear you’ve recovered well. Good to know that happens. Peace, Joe


  6. Joe, I am so sorry that you are in pain! Thank you for sharing your story and reminding us of the grace afforded by neighbors wherever we are in the world. Prayers coming to you! And, hi to Amy, who I know is taking good care of you 🙂


  7. Dear Joe ,we are so sorry about you disk issue and pain. We know that can be very unpleasant . We did have to chuckle as we read your diagnosis of the cause and history of childhood traumas .As the mother of two boys I could picture all of those injuries. I do hope you do not have to give up yogurt or coffee. We will pray you are better soon. We love reading all of the blogs from you and Amy. We sure do hope you will have rain soon. We pray for that also. We are in Florida for two weeks. It is so good to have warmth and sun and lots of quiet with out any thing on our schedules. Love to you and Amy. We miss you and at the same time love what you are doing and hearing about your life . Jim and Deede

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deede and Jim. Thanks especially for the prayers. They help. Florida sounds lovely. Hope it is a relaxing, refreshing, restorative time. Peace and love, Joe


  8. Dear Joe,
    I love reading the blogs from you and Amy. It feels that half a world away really isn’t so far after all. This one was a little painful and brought back memories of brushing my teeth in a hurry to get dressed for a client presentation. Next thing I knew, I was on the floor and couldn’t straighten anything. I think I, too, was 54 at the time. I still remember how that hurt. I hope that you are feeling better, sooner rather than later. I never did make that presentation, but we managed to get the job anyhow. I pray for you and Amy every day, and for rain. We miss you both so much but really enjoy your sermons and adventures.
    Hugs & prayers,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Fran, thanks for the note and the encouragement. If you could get through it, so can I! Miss you too. Thanks for the prayers. Love, Joe


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