On Monday I was helping my husband temporarily close in a wide doorway. He had just placed two 4 by 8 foot pieces of plywood in front of the doorway and had walked away to grab a skid to place in front of them to told hit. Meanwhile, I grabbed one nearby and was going to put it in place when I hear him shout “watch out!” I looked up just in time to see daylight coming through the door and get my arm up to block one of the pieces from hitting me in the head. In the next second, down came the second piece. The weight was too much for me to hold. Both pieces came down on my head and knocked me backwards. Luckily I fell into a an unfinished wing back chair, and while landing on it bruised my ribs and leg, it kept the plywood from crashing atop me and injuring me further. I’m battered, bruised, and sore, but luckily no broken bones.
I knew from experience, the initial pain was going to be a piece of cake. I had adrenaline to thank for that. The real struggle was going to be the days following. And sure enough, the following day, stiffness and pain ensued at a higher level. I’ve been doing all I can to take it easy and a reek of muscle rub.
When the incident happened, and it all was occurring in slow motion, my thought was “no, please! This can’t be happening again!” I actually laid sprawled over and in the chair carcass and felt like my struggle of 17 years was re-spawning me back to the beginning. I was in disbelief and utterly disappointed.
I’ve tried to rewire my thoughts and just stay in the here and now for the past 48 hours. But last night, I woke up to the pain increasing. Muscle spasms began. And here I was, mentally back to 2001 when I fell at work. Panic set it. I felt my heart quicken. “I’m repeating that pattern of pain that ultimately began the 17 years of declining health and chronic pain.” I can’t do this again.
And then I suddenly shook myself free of that thought. I began an inner dialogue with myself, a pep talk if you will…
“No, not only can’t you, but you won’t.”
“You will not be taking presciption meds to mask the pain”
“You will heal”
“You just need time”
“You will give it rest as needed and not take take prescription meds to push through and keep up with what you think the world expects of you.”
“You know and understand your limits.”
“You know your body better now than before.”
“There will be no injections”
“There will be no surgeries to ablate nerves”
“There will be no medicines to counter health issues caused by other medicines”
“You have life plans in place, places you want to visit, goals you want to meet.”
“You are in control.”
I feel like I have taken 10 steps backwards after gaining 5 in the past 6 months. But this will not stop my momentum. To know that I now have all the proper tools, knowledge and experience at my disposal, allows me to be fully confident in that.
Just watch me. I didn’t develop all this willpower to be meek in my journey.
As a kid, on my walk home from the grocery store, I’d snug that paper bag close and draw it up close to my chin. It was that loaf of bread that mom told me to purchase and the bagger had, thankfully, placed at the top of the bag enticing me to do so. On a warm summer day, the sun would encourage that just baked smell to permeate my nostrils, so I’d often walk along with my nose as close to that loaf as I could. I’d then begin my taste for a warm dough ball that I would make from a slice of bread as soon as I arrived home. Bread, was my weakness. As was pasta and lasagna. It was not uncommon for me to eat a half a loaf of bread to make cinnamon sugar toast for breakfast for myself. Make a loaf of garlic bread, and I might not have felt compelled to share. Today, it still sounds delicious, but for a mere second or two. When my brain suddenly drops that memory of what my body feels like after partaking in it, that desire for a bite dissolves.
I do love food. But I have always tried to balance my wants with my needs. Gaining weight was a huge reason for this, but my slow digestive system was the other.
When I was first diagnosed with digestive issues, I was told I had a “slow system”. In other words, I didn’t poop often. In fact, I could go 2 weeks without having a bowel movement. Just imagine all those toxins building up in my system. Ick! In my late 20’s, the term irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was used. At that time, I was dealing mainly with constipation, bloating, headaches, and lower body pain. In 2001, I took a fall at work. A year later, after not completely becoming rid of pain in my shoulder and neck, my worker’s comp doctor started treating me with a prescription medication. I’ll spare all the attempts made to rid me of the pain, but let’s just say the med list became longer each time I had an appointment.
A year later, I was not sleeping more than 2-4 hours a night and I had lost so much weight the doctor warned me about losing more. But the medications I was on made the thought of food nauseating. Most days I sat on the couch in so much pain I couldn’t bear to make myself get up. The pain was unbearable and I had no will to continue life.
In 2003, I had had enough. The doctor diagnosed me with fibromyalgia and myfofascial pain syndrome, told me to take my pills, and get a job. His encouragement was “you are going to have pain for the rest of your life, but you won’t end up a wheel chair.” I left in tears and swore I would not continue on the path he and prescription pills had me doomed to take.
For the next 10 years, I researched. I added supplements to my diet and I did everything I could to keep the weight off since several doctors warned me of added pain if I added weight. I did begin to improve, but I still didn’t have my life back. By 2013, I was plagued with diarrhea 3 to 4 times a month. I was given a prescription to use when the loose stool came on, but then it would bind me up. I once again, tweaked my diet. I became gluten free, reduced my sugar intake further, and started looking further into more supplements. Gut health is important, and I was convinced of that. Things were becoming bleaker, as I started having all over chronic body pain, migraines made visits, and I started becoming plagued with vertigo. I also hated food. My stomach felt like it was always filed with acid. Everything tasted horrible and I had the taste of burnt ashes on my tongue. I had been tweaking my diet trying to get control of my issues. But I couldn’t figure out what was causing all of this sickness in me. After being told nitrates might be causing my vertigo, I avoided foods containing it. The vertigo ceased. The gluten free diet started to improve my digestive system, and I began having bowel movements almost daily. I was slowly peeling back the smelly onion layers of issues, but I had a long way to go.
In the middle of last year, I hit a breaking point. My energy levels had me moving at crawl, my pain was pushing to a level that I felt my brain was becoming numb, and it took everything I could do to muster up the strength to push through the day. Every Saturday, and sometimes Sunday, my body forced me to stop and try to recuperate from the week. Days were becoming a blur filled with pain. My brain was exhausted from the “fake it til you make it” regimen I was putting myself through. I just wanted to sleep so I didn’t have to feel the pain. But the pain kept me from sleeping.
I was forced to do something that breaks my heart to this very moment. I had to stop taking care of my grandsons during the day. I had to put myself first, although “my self” wanted to be with them. It was during this time, Plexus made an appearance. Skeptical, but desperate, I looked at the premise and ingredients behind their goal to improve gut health and maintain healthy sugar levels. All of the information I found pointed to the deterioration I felt was occurring in my body for years. Medications taken as a child, poor food choices starting as a teenager, medications taken after the fall, and toxins building up after years of constipation and likely also from the environment, had burdened my body to place where it could not heal itself. I was already taking many of the vitamins and minerals in the Plexus products, but I was certainly not schooled in knowing which ones might further promote how another one works within my body. Perhaps they had the right formula that I was seeking. Well, at least that was my skeptical hope.
I’m not sure how to round up this post, as this journey is still a work in progress. But I can give the facts as to where things seem to be progressing:
There are so many other gears and pulleys that moved me away from a healthy life and body and then back to where I am now that aren’t shared here. But, I guess if you follow along, they will slowly be revealed. And, I hope as I journey forward, more answers will be uncovered. And with that willpower to keep seeking,trying and sharing, more well power.
It’s hard to decide where to focus, what exactly the writing should look like. Bring in personal experiences, desires, expectations, plans….. where focus should be in time of quarentine. Life isn’t like it what we are used to and how we have set up our everyday patterns. Where should we place our time and energy? We aren’t used to focusing on mere survival. It is so much more than being in a physical place, it is what we build within that space to encourage a healthy mental space.
My yoga mat has become my refuge for getting away from the negative and the newly attained unalterable situations. However, although it has been weeks, it has often felt like years. Sometimes writing can be another place of mental reset, but it is sometimes difficult to syphone the thoughts into one cohesive topic. I find it amazing that, in a time where we are forced to slow our lives, our minds runneth over.
I have been trying to use the time to make thoughts focus on future movement: finding and setting up a new home, traveling to a few places on my wish list, taking hikes across new terrain, and spending time with family we haven’t seen for some time.
It’s a good time to recenter and refocus, but it is difficult without seeing what life will be beyond. But do we really need to see that. Do we every really see the result before we have worked through the various choices and solutions? The real battle is within ourselves to think we have to fully understand and visual that life exactly as it will be once we arrive. We take issue with stepping into the not knowing. Is it because we are unsure of ourselves and our ability to adapt and cope outside of our old patterns. Maybe we should ask ourselves if those patterns were 100% working in our favor. Yes, others will make decisions that will affect life going forward. And we will have to adjust to that. But what about those changes that might ultimately lift us from ruts we might have been in prior. Changes that might bring about new opportunities and fresh ways to consider living your life.
Think back to when you were a kid. How easily did you adapt? You crawled and that was good enough. Or so our little minds thought, as we were reaching into areas we had never chartered alone. But then you were placed on your feet and encouraged to walk. So you did. We weren’t given the choice, but yet we instinctively new the benefit in pursuing and mastering it. It didn’t matter how many falls we endured. The muscle memory of that encouragement and success propelled us through the next life lesson.
But where is that thought process now as an adult. Reunite with that resiliency you had. As children we are hopefully gifted with people who encourage us to learn and grow. I’m sure all of us had someone like that in our life, or we wouldn’t be where we are today. We were encouraged by loved ones to push through and to be confident in our ability. We were being filled with tenacity and know how to always remove obstacles, find solutions, and persist. But somehow as adults we forget those lessons. We see the obstacles, halt, and question why they are there and why we are the ones burdened with them. Rather than grow around them and use them as a way to climb higher.
I know we are experiencing something that is uncomfortable, confusing, and feels confining. But, it is all about how we view this time, harness it, and plan for the future, that causes us to fall into its grip and swallow us up or ignites us to grow bigger. We cannot see what lies ahead, but we can decide to move the obstacles as they present themselves and find ourselves a comfortable or perhaps even improved life beyond it.
A particular situation stirred these thoughts in me. My eldest grandson, who is typically a “follow the rules” kind of kid, and whose confidence is just beginning to emerge, evidently had decided his bangs were bothering him. Aren’t we all experiencing this given we haven’t had haircuts, at least professional ones, for nearly 2 months!? While his mom was busy working out and dad was giving his two younger brothers a bath, he went into the kitchen and grabbed a pair of kid scissors. He then boldly began cutting his bangs. Now, mind you, he had not expressed this visual impediment aloud, until his dad walked in to find him addressing it on his own. Although taken aback, dad just asked him what he was doing. After and explanation of how bothersome it was to have them blocking his vision, he was allowed to proceed with his remedy. His hair was then styled by his dad; AKA, buzzed off.
This is precisely the way I want to tackle the current situation and all hurdles going forward. Why not cut to the chase of what we need to change in our life that wasn’t working us toward a positive direction or serving to fulfill us, We need to get past what appears to be blocking our vision.
This is the opportunity to grow, learn new skills, and be reminded that all of the falls, hurdles, and setbacks now provide more experience than we had when we took our first step or handled our first pair of scissors in fumbling, uncoordinated, hands.
Trim away what blocks the view. Then grin proudly to have succeeded at your best possible attempt.
The willpower exists. Employ it. No, do one better, capitalize on it.