Looking Back to Gain Perspective – My Journey from 2011 to 2016
I had been having all-over pain for quite a few years, but never mentioned anything about it because I attributed it to getting older. I was way beyond fatigued – it had become really difficult to get out of bed, go to work, prepare my meals, and even bathe. Every day everything hurt, all the time. I was exhausted and couldn’t get my energy level back up no matter what I tried. When I went to my follow-up appointment after knee surgery, my doctor asked if there were any other health issues I needed to talk to her about. As usual I said, “Nothing but the usual aches and pains.” We said our goodbyes and I was on my way. On the 45-minute drive home I could not stop thinking about how bad my body felt. Why hadn’t I mentioned this to my doctor?
I took me more than a year to finally tell my doctor about the all-over, 24/7 pain. She asked what seemed like a million questions, poked and prodded, and then referred me for some lab tests. She said her preliminary diagnosis was fibromyalgia, but we would wait for the test results to see what they said. A few days later she called me: I had a positive anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA) titer, which when coupled with some of my other symptoms and physical traits was an early biomarker for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). I needed further testing and evaluation and she referred me to a neurologist. This was early September, 2012 and unfortunately the first available appointment with the neurologist would be after Thanksgiving. I couldn’t do anything but wait. Or could I?
I googled and tried to absorb everything I could about lupus. I downloaded research papers. I read the blogs of people with the disease. I devoured books about auto-immune disorders and leaky gut syndrome. What I knew for sure was that I didn’t want to be on medication that I had to take daily, for the rest of my life – so I watched YouTube videos about alternative and complementary treatments.
I asked myself what I would do if in three months, I was diagnosed with lupus. I decided I would completely overhaul my diet to better support my immune system; I would employ more mindfulness techniques, more regularly and frequently; I would search and experiment until I found an exercise regimen that would accommodate my pain and lack of energy without derailing me; I would reduce my stress by taking breaks, and by taking a long, mindful walk around our beautiful university campus during every workday; and I would negotiate with other administrators to balance the workload. I thought I would get everything figured out and planned in advance, so that if I got the diagnosis I could “hit the ground” (forget about the running!) with my new diet, work, and lifestyle changes. Then I thought – what is the point of waiting until I get a diagnosis? Why shouldn’t I start implementing these changes now? So I did.
I was not diagnosed with lupus, but the diet, work, and behavioral changes I made brought my life back to me. It wasn’t the same as my old life pre-pain and pre-exhaustion, but it quickly became my “new normal”. I have continued living in this way to this day, and have no intention of reverting. That would mean returning to a diminished existence, and I sure don’t want to go back there again!
When I look back to September 2012, I almost cannot believe the transformation. It has been quite a process, but the 3.5 years would have passed whether I had made these efforts or not. Yes, I still have some pain, but ever since the sixth day on my elimination diet it is no longer the 24/7, all-over kind. After extinguishing that constant all-over pain, I was able to begin the slow process of identifying each muscle and joint that had its own issues and receive physical therapy and alternative pain management techniques to eliminate or manage them. Using mind-body and subtle energy modalities I have experienced healing, and received illuminating insights into my life’s issues and my life’s purpose. I have also learned or developed coping skills for both physical and emotional pain. Important relationships in my life have been strengthened and deepened as I have progressed in my own personal development.
In September, 2012 I didn’t know how long I would be able to continue tolerating the quality of life I had. It was difficult to see the point of pushing myself to get through every day. My life since then hasn’t been a cakewalk – along the way there have been some very large hills, and some really deep valleys. This is life, after all. But looking back now I can attest that today I have greater wellness, resilience, self-knowledge, peace of mind, and the feeling of freedom that comes from living my life authentically. It has definitely been worth all of the work.
#eliminationdiet #mindfulness #subtleenergy #stressbreak #balancedworkload #whatalongstrangetripitsbeen
I have tried acupuncture as well. I was having pain in my neck that I couldn’t get rid of. Someone I worked with told me about having a chronic pain and trying acupuncture to relieve it. She didn’t believe it would work but nothing else had, and her employer would pay 100% for the treatments through their wellness program. After several acupuncture sessions she no longer had the pain and although a few years had passed since the treatment, the pain had not returned.
So I found a Groupon for a reduced-price introductory treatment by an acupunture doctor in my area and signed up for it. After the first treatment I felt a great deal more relaxed and calm, in a tingly kind of way, but after that wore off I still had most of the pain. Although my insurance didn’t cover it I went forward with additional treatments. You know how when you are in chronic pain you will try just about anything, and spend your last dollar to relieve it? After the first two or three treatments I mostly noticed the relaxed calmness, but after the fourth and fifth treatments I realized actual pain relief. With the seventh treatment the pain left my body and I stopped going to the acupuncture doctor.
Eventually I discovered that my neck pain was caused by a shoulder issue and when that was resolved the neck pain was gone. Occasionally (probably because I use or hold my shoulder incorrectly when I’m stressed) the shoulder gets messed up and causes my neck to hurt again. I have other remedies for fixing my shoulder that usually work, but if I get into a situation again with unremitting neck pain I think I will try acupuncture treatments again, but concentrating on the area of my shoulder that actually is referring the pain to my neck.
#acupuncture #illtryanything #chronicpain
This so eloquently captures a philosophy of healing. #wholeness; #wellness; #patience; #mending
Body signs: so many layers, how underlying belief systems buried deep underneath that don’t harmonize with our current flow – how they generate toxic thoughts/feelings/emotions/pain – which in turn transposes into illness either in the form of stress, holding of tension, negative energy turned inward harming the body. Seeing the cogs in the wheel, and the hope being, awareness will facilitate the shedding, and how that process is a cognitive game, laying down new neural networks, shedding what doesn’t serve, manifesting what is best for health.
When one is a couple, the body sign becomes even more complex because of the inter-connectedness.
Managing PTSD, there is the rhythm of issues that surface, and observing what is presenting itself for shifting, and being still, listening, seeking the healing modality in the moment which will help one move further towards the land of wholeness, wellness.
Managing right action, listening to the body, chronicling the symptoms, seeking answers, flowing with what seems like right action.
Complicated organisms we are.
In the process of shifting life rhythms.
Slow, balance, more slow, more balance, patience above all else.
The universe is a dynamic flow and supports wholeness, wellness.
So – a dollop of faith, in flow, in process, in being aware of my body as a vessel that wants repair, mending, in order to be a better steward of the light within.
What an amazing health journey you have had! This illustrates so many good things we can do for ourselves and our health: quieting down to pay attention to what our bodies are telling us, getting information intuitively through journaling, and of course research, research, research. Advocating for ourselves – because we only have one body and really, no one else is going to do it for us. And finally, your self-care of light exercise, eating right, and pampering yourself with an Epsom salts soak. These are all things that I, too, have done in my quest for wellness as well, with positive results.
I know that writing in my journals when I have had health issues has illuminated information which I could take to my doctor and use as a springboard for drilling down to the core diagnosis. I love your new formula and I’m glad to hear that you are now in “balanced flow”.
#self-care #self-advocacy #journaling #balancedflow #writingtoheal
I get vertigo. It stems from a central nervous system problem. I am pretty good about managing my health through restricted diet, light exercise, taking my supplements, drinking enough water, lots of time for rest, having a creative outlet for expressing myself (like making art or writing in a journal), taking aromatherapy baths, among other things. If life gets in the way and I drop the ball on one of these methods, I get back on track fairly quickly and all is well. But once in a while my life will get all topsy-turvy and my self-care plan goes out the window.
Usually this is when things are so hectic or crazy that I don’t even have time to notice what is happening. And that is when vertigo strikes, turning everything on its head. It’s funny to me that my vertigo – which for me manifests as feeling like I am way way way off balance – is a physical manifestation of what is happening in my life. Once I get back on track with my wellness program, the vertigo goes away and my life is back in balance (as much as it can be in this crazy world!)
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