Monday, May 23, 2011

The Sword of Damocles

When I woke up Sunday morning, everything hurt.  The FULF (Effed Up Left Foot,) of course, but sometimes it takes a while to wake up and remember that it's not supposed to hurt anymore.

But my hips were KILLING me, too.  They kept waking me up at night.  My acupuncturist thinks that after four years of limping, my hips moved into a new alignment.

I don't limp anymore.  (Much.)

My hips are getting the message and starting to move back into a normal position, I guess.

This turns out to be very painful and I may have to actually go see a doctor to find out if it's really THAT or if I was born with deformed hip bones, maybe some extra ones for good measure, and no one discovered it until now. (If it can happen with my FOOT, which had been x-rayed a bazillion times before anyone noticed the weirdness, it could also be the case with my hips.  Maybe there's a reason I had two c-sections. At this point, nothing would surprise me.)

My shoulder hurt.

My back was sore.

I constantly weigh what is normal pain, because (I know this is a shock) I'm not a twenty-something anymore and I'm trying to undo years of inactivity, versus what's abnormal pain that needs to be addressed by a professional.  There's this low-level anxiety that runs in the back of my mind with each new twinge.  I worry that pain is the new black for me.  That even if the foot somehow stops hurting, I will develop Fibromyalgia or some other deeply painful condition because that's just my new normal.

I really, really don't want that to be my new normal.

I want my new normal to be that feeling I get when I'm in the middle of a transcendent yoga practice, when it suddenly feels like I've...I'm just going to say this... swallowed light and it's radiating out of my fingertips and my smile.  I know how that sounds --no, I really do, which is why I'd only say it to you, trusting that you'll understand. The feeling is akin to a runner's high only with less heavy breathing-- a Yoga Calm (TM).

I thought about not going to yoga.  In fact, I went upstairs and woke my husband up and told him I was having a really bad pain day and that I didn't think I could go.

It's a pretty big thing for me to miss yoga so he was instantly awake, alert for anything he could do.  He was already rearranging his day in his head, just in case the bulk of it would be spent doing everything with the kids, pets and house while caring for me as I sat on the couch and tried not to move.

See, that's HIS new normal when I'm in pain.

I texted my friend Shirley to see if she was going.  (It's an 8:00 class on Sunday so we're not all as regular as we are to the other classes.)  She said she was.  I told her I was iffy, Pain Day...blah, blah, blah. Maybe I'd just meet her there and go easy. She said, "Okay. But don't feel bad about not going either.  Listen to your body."

I decided to go just for the breathing. I would just breathe along and move gently where I could without pain. I told my yoga instructor and he did that thing he does where it looked to me like he understood more than I was saying.  And then he said, "Just breathe through and do what you can.  Maybe as you go, you'll find things will loosen up."

Of course, that's what happened.

Because it turns out the all-over pain I was feeling?  It was from taking two yoga classes on Friday.  I was SORE.  Sore is very different from the grinding, all encompassing, soul sucking, relentless pain that kept me on the couch for the better part of three years.

Sore is actually kind of good.

Unless it triggers some sort of Post Traumatic Stress attack.

I guess I'm going to have to start seeing a therapist because I simply don't know how to live without pain anymore.  I'm constantly on high alert, waiting for the next attack.  It's stealing part of my LIFE, and y'all, pain has taken quite enough of my life already.

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Arbitrary New Year Update: You still have a few days to enter for a chance to give an entire vegetable garden to an impoverished family in a third-world country. Just leave a comment under that post (click on the blue (or red) words and it should take you right to it). Participation has been sparse, so your chances are good. (I know, I know, it's not as much fun to give a virtual garden away as it would be to, say, have a chance at winning a car or a trip or something, but the KARMIC payoff is MUCH LARGER. (If you can talk about payoff in the same sentence as the word Karma.) (Which is probably really wrong.) (I'm totally going to hell, aren't I?)

6 comments:

Judy said...

Sweet angel lady, as special as you are, and believe me ... your dearest closest friends and I know how special you are ... you are not beyond help. A dear old friend of mine use to say "there is a nut for every screw" ... she was Irish. I'm not sure if that explains the comment or not, but it seems somehow appropriate for an explanation.
The point is, and there is a point, there is a perfect "helper" out there for you, if you decide that you want a helper. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Not the other way around. I don't really know what your understanding of God/Spirit/Love/Universe/Higher Power is, but whatever He/She/It is, you simply must take the limit off of what you will let Him/Her/It do for you. That has been the mantra that got me through many a PTSD episode ... Take the Limit Off ... There's nothing God can't do for me, and for you. Sending much love and healing energy <3

Lynn said...

Oh my. It does seem to have been the weekend for PTSD. I'll email you privately. Here, I'll just say that breathing is a lovely thing, yogic or otherwise.

Tiny Tyrant said...

Hugs honey. It's hard to adjust. I've only been 'mostly' pain free 9 months (wow that surgery was that long ago?!?!) and if anything at ALL feels off in that area I just want to curl up into a ball and hide.

You're strong! You're amazing! And you will get through this.

Susan said...

As a person with chronic pain (fibromyalgia, TMJ), my definition of a good day has evolved to a day with pain that I can live with after taking all of the heavy-duty pain meds. I can remember waking up with absolutely no pain twice in the last few years. Both of those times took me completely by surprise. In some ways it was depressing because my mind had forgotten what it feels like to have no pain. I need to have things that give me joy to balance living with chronic pain and then life is bearable. My joys are simple ones - a happy marriage, a son, my dogs, spinning, basking in the light in the sunroom, etc. Life is good. There are so many people with problems that are much, much worse than my own.

jennyp said...

I met a woman on Saturday who has MS, which I understand to often involve chronic pain. She has just started yoga, and I mentioned your blog and what you have said and she just kept nodding her head. It is the one thing she has found that helps her deal with the pain. I told her to start reading your blog~

Ann in NJ said...

The arthritis in my back has been flaring up the last few weeks (even though I JUST finished a round of physical therapy). I find I'm doing exactly what you describe - anticipating pain. Is this the motion that will trigger it again?

You're talking me into trying yoga, though I haven't started around asking about studios around here. How do you find a good one?