Chronicles of a Gravity Chair Addict

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Bad week. What can I say, the pity party has continued in full force. The left side rib pain has been excruciating. Nothing seems to help. Medication, bath, ice, heat, massage…doesn’t matter, the pain just continues. It’s like a dark shadow hanging over me, weighing me down, tearing at my hope…

Sleep has proved equally elusive. I get two or three hour chunks through the course of the day. But every time I move or cough, the pain wakes me up like a gun shot to my side. And it usually takes me a couple of hours to relax and find peace in sleep again. Torturous. Not to mention the fabulous sleep-deprived side effects…I am even more of a klutz and memory moron than before…what fun for hubby! Oh it’s a party here…

Although the doc sent me for X-rays last Monday (and I haven’t heard back from her), I finally gave in and hit the hospital yesterday with Jen. It wasn’t bad. In and out in two and a half hours. The doc was able to bring up my X-rays from Monday, and, just as I suspected, nothing showed. Nothing broken, nothing cracked, no pneumonia, no bronchitis. Everything all clear. Frustration was shooting out my nostrils while my shoulders hung in defeat…I swear to God I am not making this shit up, it isn’t all in my head.

At least with my ribs, there is ample swelling to prove I am not in lala land on this. It’s like a third tit has grown beneath my left breast. Ok, a small one but a tit none the less. Oh goodie, more fun for hubby. Maybe I’ll draw a nipple on it with my eyebrow pencil and really freak him out. I mean, what other fun can a girl have with a third tit…am I right or am I right?!

The doc said it’s likely that I’ve torn the muscles between my ribs when I had that awful cold three weeks ago (it’s still hanging around). And he assured me that although incredibly painful, all the drugs I am on should be offering me some relief. They aren’t. He is an outright liar. Bastard.

Jen was like a Mamma bear with her cub. It was awesome. She took control and demanded that the doctor do something, she told him that I’ve been in pain for months and that something had to be done…unacceptable!! My superstar health advocate!!! It was fun watching him try to dance around her razor sharp glare. She’s small but mighty. I think he was scared. Run and hide doctor man, she will find you!!!!

Sadly, no matter how much pressure she applied (and trust me, she made him work for it) the only concession he gave was that I could take my anti-inflammatory three times a day, instead of two, and I could double my dose of Tramadol (which I already had). Goodie goodie gumdrops…

I am sure he’d have prescribed some stronger narcotic pain meds if I asked, but I am trying my damndest to avoid them. Too many horror stories. If I have to live in pain, so be it. I’d rather that than risk addiction. Not to mention past experience tells me I can’t take them since I generally just barf them up. My body is naturally opposed I guess. LOL!

Doc said I can expect this pain party to last at least six to eight weeks. Woot woot. No worries, at this point I laugh in the face of long-term pain. Six to eight weeks…BAH….I’ve been in pain for months, this should be a joke!!! Bring it on pain man…I can rest and sit around like no one else can! Gravity chair ignite!!

Speaking of my trusted and long-loved super weapon, the gravity chair, I continue to live in it, by day and night. The deepest sadness is that it means hubby and I haven’t slept in the same bed together much in the past seven months. However, I take great comfort knowing I am not keeping him up all night with my tossing, turning, moaning and wandering. The gravity chair does offer me the most pain relief. It’s like God’s little gift to me. Thanks Big Guy!!! Hubby and I still find time to cuddle in bed for a couple hours (with endless back tickles and hair pulls…he is THE best) before I venture out to my gravity delight for bed…

And more light, to distract myself (and pass the long nights awake) I’ve gone on a documentary binge fest on Netflix.

I have to say, very interesting stuff that has kept my mind nicely occupied. Given everything going on with my health, I’ve certainly been looking into a radical lifestyle change. My ultimate goal/dream/hope is that I can get everything under control, get off all medications and return to vibrant health through healthy eating, exercise and meditation. And no matter my current situation, I hang on to that dream like a life preserve.

As you know, I started out about eight weeks ago doing the elimination diet outlined in The Plan with my Dad. And although I have seen some improvements in a slight weight decrease and a little bit more energy (not to mention I LOVE the food), thus far I haven’t seen any improvement in pain, sleep or depression. Actually things have gotten worse with this new rib pain.

Now, I get it, it’s only been eight weeks so maybe I have unreasonable expectations (shocker!!!) but I’ve felt the need to continue investigating. And I am really sold on this plant-based eating.

Slaughter house aside with great difficulty, I had no idea the damage the agriculture and animal food industries are doing to our beloved planet. We all need to do our part to reduce our carbon footprint, but did you know that these two interdependent industries are responsible for more environmental damage than the entire transport industry – WHAT?!?!?!

An acre of our rainforest is destroyed every second to create more pastures for grazing cattle. And, the land and resources required to grow the corn and grain to feed said animals could feed the entire world. Shut the front door! Now I look at a piece of steak or chicken and realize that children around the world continue to starve so that I can eat meat. Impactful.

And if that wasn’t enough to motivate me, a lot of research like the China Study has convinced me that a plant-based diet is just better for our health. I do say Jones, I may just have to give it a go. Now I am no expert, and I am certainly not posting this to have a lengthy moral debate about meat…I am just sayin’ this information has given me great deal of food for thought, and, in my situation, that’s like hope crack for a starving addict. I’ll take it where I can get it!

I borrowed the lovely Julie’s juicer, and think I may try a 10-14 day juice cleanse and then transition over to a plant-based diet. I picked up a couple of Vegan cookbooks, and Mom has enrolled us in a 4-week plant-based cooking course starting in late November. Squeee!!

Although the elimination diet has included testing meat (which for the most part I tested non-reactive to), one of the greatest things it did was get me trying veggies and cooking that was way outside my comfort level. And better yet, I’ve learned that I LOVE both.

It may sound crazy but I feel like The Plan (which I learned about from my aesthetician) came to me to help me open doors to new ways of eating and living that I love. I feel like it’s gotten me to the point where I actually feel ready, and freaking eager, to take the next step. We shall see. More research and reading to be done (not like I don’t have time), and I shall come up with a plan. Stay tuned…

Happy Day my peeps!

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Chronicles of the Dark & Desperate…Part 2

First I’d like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who is following the blog, leaving comments here and on Facebook, the messages and texts I’ve received with love, support and encouragement. I am so blessed to have you all in my corner!

Highlights:

  • Weight: 201
  • Pain: 
    • Left Ribs: 10
    • Lower Back: 6
    • Feet & Ankles: 3
    • Legs: 2
    • Left Arm: 2
  • Migraine: Monday & Tuesday
  • Water (116 Ounces Daily): No
  • Eating (According to The Plan): No

I saw the Doc Monday morning. I had a complete breakdown in her office. Understandable given my pain level in my left ribs was through the roof, I had a couple of migraines and had slept very little. I was very much still in my dark place.

She immediately sent me to the hospital for X-rays on the ribs. I didn’t really see the point, given my experience, I knew it was highly unlikely anything would show up and what do they do for injured ribs anyway? But I went up and haven’t heard from her so?! She’s also sending me for another complete blood panel since my last one is six months old.

She increased one of my antidepressants, Cymbalta (also on Citalopram). She added a pain medication to try, Tramadol. It’s not narcotic, so I was willing to give it a try. And I am continuing with my anti-inflammatory, nighttime meds and my muscle relaxer.

More prescriptions. More drugs. Disappointing but not surprised. I know it isn’t the long-term answer but I do know right now it’s necessary or I’d lose my mind further than I already have.

So yesterday was another very dark day. I cried most of the day. I felt hopeless, defeated and I wallowed. We’ve had a ton of break ins in our neighbourhood this year, and, as I drove in the yard, I was actually hoping the bastards were there so I could just beat the shit out of somebody. I’m angry. So fawking angry. I’m frustrated. I feel like screaming at my body in a mirror to shape the fawk up. Instead I ate McDonald’s and pizza and basically allowed myself to just throw in the towel.

Monday night I slept on and off in two/three hour chunks. And today, much the same. Even though it was broken, the sleep definitely helped take the edge off my overwhelming emotions. I don’t feel quite as down today. Unfortunately, I am not finding any relief from the meds the doc prescribed…at least not yet. I’ll keep taking them to see if a cumulative approach offers any relief. The migraine has also continued to stock me most of the day and evening. Damn it.

On a positive (because many of you fabulous peeps reminded me to find the wins, no matter how big or small), my aunt Andrea reached out after reading my last post regarding trying a plant-based diet next. Her and my uncle Jack have been doing a plant-based diet for two years now and are experiencing tremendous success. Uncle Jack told me about the amazing results he’s experienced fighting his fibromyalgia with his approach.

So instead of stalking potential thieves in the neighbourhood, I clicked on everything aunt Andrea sent, and I watched a couple documentaries on Netflix that totally blew my mind.

Forks Over Knives was the first one. Then I watched the two documentaries that Joe Cross did “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” and his sequel “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead II.” Then I also checked out “Engine to Diet” and “Chocolate, Cheese, Meat & Sugar – Physically Addictive.” Mind Blown!

I still have lots more to research and learning to do but I am leaning towards this being my next thing to try. I’d like to sort of combine The Plan with a more plant-based diet but am not 100% sure. So I shall take the rest of the week and weekend to rest and focus on learning everything I can about plant-based diets and then make a plan.

I know things take time. I know I need to be patient. But I find that doing research and expanding my knowledge is definitely one thing that helps me stay focused on what I can do, what might work etc….a wee bit of hope! Not to mention with my pain level so high and my energy in the shitter, sitting back surfing the net and watching Netflix or YouTube between naps is manageable.

Natalie

Today I live in the dark…

Dang. I swear I’ve been meaning to start writing every day. My friends and family have been encouraging me to share more often because my journey might help others. But honestly it feels weird to be posting less then super happy posts, just not my style but then again, not much is my style these days.

I’ve been trying my hardest to focus on how I can contribute to my health improvement. About six or even eight weeks ago, I started an elimination diet to identify foods that cause inflammation in my body. And more importantly, identify foods that don’t. It’s called The Plan by Lyn-Genet Recitas. I have to say the food and recipes are AMAZING, and I’ve felt pretty damn proud of myself for learning to cook, trying new foods and sticking with it. It’s been HARD because the grocery shopping and cooking are exhausting when I already feel deeply depleted but I keep at it. I’m down 10 pounds and have found foods and recipes I love and that work well with my body.

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen the pain reduction I was hoping for. The doc keeps telling me to be patient, it takes time, but I had really hoped this was going to be the ticket. That within a week or two, I would start to feel my body coming back into its own. That pain would release me from it’s constant, never ceasing clutches. Alas, not yet.

I’ve also joined a low-cost gym here in town. I go three times a week for a very light work out (20 minutes cardio and some light weights through a circuit). The gym has a hydro massage bed, which was really the motivation for joining. It’s delightful.

And I’ve started meditating twice a week to learn better stress management techniques. I gotta say this was the thing that has surprised me most – how much I absolutely LOVE doing it. It’s like a dream. Feels. So. Good!

To help me keep on track, I’ve implemented a buddy system. I am doing to the eating plan with my Dad who bought the book and is following The Plan with me. We get together weekly to try new foods and talk about our discoveries. For the gym, my gal pal Jennifer has joined me at this unsuspecting torture chamber. Jen is also helping me research about plant-based eating and…we started JUICING. Julie lending me the juicer to try and always at the ready to help walk and exercise the pups and lend a shoulder and ear. Laura with her limitless compassion, love and support encouraging me every single day….helping me to fight the darkness with understanding. And of course Mom, a meditation guru, is teaching me to meditate. We get together twice a week to zen ourselves into relaxation oblivion. Mom has also graciously signed us up for a weekly plant-based cooking course starting in November. And my amazing coworkers/friends with messages and text letting me know they have my back…

Not to mention hubby who is my champion, my strongest supporter and my world. He eats my food, offers to cook, cleans up after I destroy the kitchen, listens to my complaints and wins with equal interest. He who runs my baths, tickles my back for hours and pulls my hair just perfectly…his endless tender hugs, massages and limitless love…he who never gives up…he is my bright light holding my hand through the darkness….

All this work and effort and the pain is still as excruciating as ever. In some respects, worse because I know I am doing all the right things, but it feels like I am just banging my head up against a brick well. Hanging on by a thread. Frustration and anger threatening to swallow even more of my fragile spirit. What’s the point? I have such little energy and mental capacity to draw from, without seeing vast improvements, it’s hard to stay motivated. It’s hard to find the will and strength to keep trying.

I know it doesn’t help that yesterday and especially last night was an especially bad one. My back….my ribs (new pain that started a couple weeks ago)…my feet and ankles…my legs…and a migraine from hell just to top it all off. By 8 pm, I felt utterly consumed by pain. Unable to think, unable to breath, unable to move…my body torturing me for hours none stop. No matter what I ate, medication I took, relaxing breath I took…the pain wouldn’t stop, wouldn’t let up. It feels like I live constantly in its clutches…in the dark. Endless tears sliding down my cheeks as desperation fills my soul. I want to crawl into bed and never get out.

How does one stay centered on doing “all the right things” when bad days still outnumber decent days??? When the results you need to see, ache to experience, yearn to feel…are as elusive as winning the lottery…

Today I give in to the darkness…today I wallow in self-pity…today I give myself permission to throw in the towel and just be in pain and sadness. Today I allow myself to wonder if I’ll ever come out of this on the other side…today I eat McDonald’s and cry.

Tomorrow, I’ll hit the gym, cook and meditate. Tomorrow I’ll hope for better…

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