Sunday, September 30, 2018

Pain: Sensations vs. Danger

As I notice numerous sensations traveling through my lower body, I acknowledge they are only sensations... the pain, burning, tingling, numbness in my glutes, legs, and feet are not dangerous... just uncomfortable.

When I think of danger, my fight or flight response kicks in... and this could lead to danger as blood pressure goes up and adrenaline kicks in. With an adrenaline rush, I don't necessarily make good decisions. (Nobody does.)

It would be so nice if I can really convince myself I am not in danger. I am doing a lot better job of it these days... controlling anxious thoughts and reactions. However, my fight or flight kicks in (White Coat Fever) every time I go see an allopathic doctor ... terrorized by memories of what they might decide to do with me. I do not experience this when I see a chiropractor or my holistic nutritionist. With them, I feel calm and safe. How can I get to feeling safe with allopathic?

What part of it all could be dangerous, I wonder?

I am wiser and more informed... so I have more knowledge to base decisions on instead of allowing procedures to be done to me or pharmaceuticals to be prescribed without knowing the whole picture... the risks vs. benefits. The trouble is, I have seen when children are taken away from parents who decline allopathic treatment and seek out holistic treatment instead. Just knowing this is happening... that those parents are not given choices... I don't feel safe that I will always be able to make my own choices.

I suppose danger would be a matter of perception... what I tell myself the discomfort means. I've fallen into the black hole of depression before... not a safe place to be. And this is in my medical records. Also what is in my medical records is my refusal to take anti-depressants again.

I am clumsy on my feet and fall over like a toddler who has just learned to walk... so I use a walker. The danger here is that I could hurt myself when I fall... which I have done on numerous occasions. There are places I go without using the said walker.

Two weeks ago, my ears perked up when Annie (a new acquaintance) told me about compounding creams she is prescribed for her back pain. I had not heard of them before. This led to me finding out the doctor she sees (pain management) who comes to my town every Tuesday.

I avoid going to my GP as long as possible while getting chiropractic and holistic care (which she is not exactly in favor of). In order to get a referral to someone new, I had to go. First, since the last MRIs were taken 11 years ago, she wanted me to get new ones. Then she referred me to Annie's doctor at Capitol Pain Institute.

I go to doctors prepared... with type-written reports. After all, doctors, in general, only have 15 minutes at the most to evaluate your situation and make recommendations. (Maybe this is why I have adrenaline rushes? There is so much to do in just 15 minutes!) I had typed up a report for my GP and a separate one for Dr. Desai. (I got 15 minutes with the GP and 30 minutes first visit with Dr. Desai.)

Just like it takes me weeks-months to work on a speech for Toastmasters, it takes me weeks-months to write this report. You should try this sometime. I have revised these reports numerous times... and worry that I will miss noting an important detail. In reality, the physician is going to speed-read it and not pay attention to each and every detail.

Capitol Pain Institute has intake forms you download ahead of time to fill out. Half of page 2 was an extensive summary of all the dangers and side effects of pharmaceutical drugs... including ones I had been prescribed in the past. I felt relieved to know they cared and were aware. I also noted they are INTEGRATIVE which is different than past experiences. I am hopeful.

I now wait to receive: compounding cream (was told it would be mailed to me), a new back brace (the one I purchased on Amazon is not suitable), and the results of the new MRIs. I also have to get new x-rays for flexion and extension.

Information, I tell myself. It is just for information. Don't make up stories and meanings about what these images will show or what they might want to do to you.

The only thing that is broken is pars connection to L5.

As many times as I have fallen or have been in car accidents, none of my body parts have ever fractured. And I'm still here. Yes, the other thing I tell myself often is there must BE a reason I am still here. I must have PURPOSE.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Late Bloomer

Copyright (c) 2018 Renee Alter

This is a photo of a tree in my neighborhood that was the last to come back to life this last Spring. I thought it was dead. What a surprise when it began to bloom as Summer arrived. This tree inspired me to contemplate on the subject of being a late bloomer... and not giving up on what appears to be dead... like my health and my spirit.

I was, indeed, a late bloomer. My mother reported that I never crawled on all fours... I just pulled myself along like a Comanche. All these years later, I decided to look up what this word meant.

A Comanche is a member of an American Indian people ranging from Wyoming and Nebraska south into New Mexico and northwestern Texas.

Mom loved Westerns and must have been thinking about how Indians dropped to the ground and quietly pulled themselves around on their bellies just before attacking their target, whether it was a human or an animal. Yes, this must be what she meant. I was also very quiet.

I was a late bloomer when it came to walking, too, finally finding my 'balance' at 15 months of age, although, I am still challenged with finding my balance. I'm sure the bifocals I used to wear and the medications I used to take affected my depth perception and balance as well. Finding a balance in life has always been challenging as well. In trying to prove my worthiness to others, I often pushed myself too hard, suffering the consequences later. Now I know I only need to prove worthiness to myself.

In life, I was a late bloomer in many more ways. While all the other girls were growing mounds on their chests, I didn't sprout any until much later. For a fearful, introverted, shy female, this didn't go well when I was 'assaulted' by the sneers and bullying of other students while in school. I didn't fit in anywhere (in school). I also continued to look like a middle schooler well on after I graduated high school. While my skin stayed young throughout my years, I can't say the same for my body. Autoimmune issues can do that to you.

In relationships, I was a late bloomer when relating to others. I was a good listener, felt compassion for others, but had no clue how to actually communicate. Instead, I withdrew into my own inner world, while my body turned against itself. As I read and studied more about human behavior and psychology over the last seven years, I began to understand both myself and others. I finally began to bloom.

All these years later, I realize I am a "normal" introvert with some extrovert tendencies. There is even a term for this: Ambivert. I spend most of my time in solitude, will not step foot into an event with a lot of people--preferring small groups, and after I am with a group of people, I need downtime to recover from the energy drain. Knowing there are many others who are similar makes a huge difference.

The term “ambivert” may be new to you, but it may also define and shed some light on your own personality traits. To simplify it, an ambivert is a person who has both introvert and extrovert qualities and may bounce between the two.