Tuesday, March 27, 2012
I was always one of those “Thank goodness it wasn’t me” people. I watched friends and colleagues struggle with chronic pain issues and doctors who couldn’t quite place their hands on a diagnosis and would throw up their hands in frustration. I always felt so lucky. I sat and read GIRANIMAL’s blog this morning about trying to find a source and solution to her pain and I found myself nodding my head and uttering a soft “Amen,” to what she wrote. This blog is in support of her and so many of us who end up getting lost in the maze called the medical system.
Last May I woke up one morning with stiffness in my left leg. Nothing horrific, mind you, just stiffness. Being 58 I wrote it off to approaching old age and popped two Advil. I took my morning walk and noticed my leg was getting stiffer and tighter with each step. My lower back began to tighten. To compensate I began to favor my right leg which in turn began to stiffen as well. Pain started shooting up and down my legs and my lower back often felt like a knife was being stuck directly into my lower spinal column. My primary care physician was on vacation so I went to an Urgent Care facility. They X-rayed my back, gave me some muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory’s and sent me on my way. Other than a few bone spurs and the ever faithful catch all phrase “John you are not getting any younger,” I had most likely pulled a muscle. Heat and exercise was the prescription. Two weeks later I wasn’t any better, as a matter of fact it felt as if my ankles were fused and turning in a small circle was a real adventure. I was afraid of falling. Every time I stood up I ached. To compensate I was leaning backwards when I walked. My primary care said I looked like I was 9 months pregnant. She suggested working with my trainer on stretching exercises. By this time I was popping Advil like jelly beans and my hamstring muscles were shortening from lack of activity. A month later I was worse so we began the cycle of tests. Cat Scans, MRI’s and the like led to Neurosurgeons, Chiropractors and Physical Therapists. All began by telling me I was overweight and needed to exercise and once I did, well things would go back to normal. “Thank you John, lemme have your co-pay and have a nice day.”
“By the way doctor, I can’t exercise because I can’t move!!!” Everything was tight and stiff and everyone told me if I’d just lose weight everything would work out. I’m a compulsive over eater. I am a stress eater. It was like no one listened to what I was saying. I couldn’t move. I began walking with a cane and only traveled to places I had to travel to. I was ashamed and embarrassed. I walked like I was ready to fall over!!! I lived in fear of the pain. It consumed my entire life. I lived in fear of falling down and even taking a shower each morning was an anxiety ridden experience. What if I fell? Depression set in and I’d sit in my office and stressed that no one could tell me what was wrong. Emotionally I did a huge number on myself. “After all,” I reasoned “this had to be MY fault in some form or fashion, didn’t it?” I lost some alleged friends. People I had exercised with, had run with, had gotten healthy with began to avoid me. It was like they could “catch” my pain. Some alluded to lack of will power and discipline. I felt embarrassed and ashamed to visit clients. I did a lot of phone work. This was a long, painful and lonely walk. Nothing I did provided me with any relief. I hurt more and more and the doctors became tired of seeing me. By September I hate to tell you I was almost agoraphobic.
One Friday, shortly before Christmas a Spark friend, SPARKENISTA, suggested I read a book by a doctor that had been able to help her. I downloaded the book and two chapters in I was in tears. This dude was talking about ME!!! It was like he sat at my kitchen table and wrote the book based on my symptoms. With each page I was writing issues on a notepad to talk with my doctor about. The book is called Healing Back Pain by Dr John Sarno. I won’t do a lengthy review here but he basically says that while you are in pain, you are not hurt. The pain is real, it has a cause and that cause is stress and tension. It’s called Tension Myositis Syndrome or TMS. I didn’t have any organic issues, no slipped discs or ruptured discs or compressed nerves. My mind decided all my tension was going to settle in my lower back and legs. Once I understood what was happening I began a really slow road back. I had a number of issues I needed to deal with, all of which were causing stress and tension in my life and I began to notice that when a bad situation occurred my back got worse. My doctor(s) were and are skeptical. It doesn’t fit on an intake form or a box you can check.
I walked one half mile yesterday. I haven’t walked that far in close to a year. I was a bit sore and stiff but it felt good. I swim daily. I’m dealing with my “issues” and realizing that nowhere in my script does it say I have to be perfect. Like GIRANIMAL I still wonder why no one would listen. It’s not important now, only my recovery is. I have good days and bad days and this may be around for a while. There’s bitterness inside of me. The so called experts wouldn’t listen. They told me I was fat. “Lose weight and get over it.” The bright lining is I found out the why. My dad passing a few weeks back caused a bit of a setback, but I am learning.
My next vista is to lose the 90 pounds I gained back during this ordeal. I slid down a mountain and now I have to muster the resolve to climb back up once again.
Here is to all of us who are searching.
Monday, March 26, 2012
A friend shared this with over the weekend and unfortunatley it rang true in a number of ways. I thought I'd pass it on
An Obituary printed in the London Times....
Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense,
who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was,
since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn't always fair;
- And maybe it was my fault.
Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn)and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulationswere set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate;teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch;and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.
Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job
that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.
It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses;and criminals received better treatment than their victims.
Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar inyour own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.
Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize thata steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptlyawarded a huge settlement.
Common Sense was preceded in death,
-by his parents, Truth and Trust,
-by his wife, Discretion,
-by his daughter, Responsibility,
-and by his son, Reason.
He is survived by his 5 stepbrothers;
- I Know My Rights
- I Want It Now
- Someone Else Is To Blame
- I'm A Victim
- Pay me for Doing Nothing
Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
It is hard for me to say this: My dad was disappointed in me. He let me know it on a regular basis. I wasn't my brother. I didn't achieve great honors, design important buildings or marry an attorney. My kids didn't all graduate at the top of their classes, receive full rides to "name universities" and get plum jobs out of college. It was hard for him to get a handle around who I was and the things I do. "Life Coach and Consultant" just didn't ring right with him.
I got over the hurt a long time ago. It was replaced by a cold sort of resignation and a dwindling hope that sometime before he died he and I could talk things through. It never happened.
I thought about all of this as I lie in bed last night and then I thought about my own children. I have not always agreed with their choices or decisions, I have gotten angry at them and I know on more than one occasion said things like "You idiot....." There has been frustration and wondering why they didn't drink up my wisdom like a glass of cold water on a hot day. Despite them not living their lives the way I thought they should at times, I was never, ever disappointed in them.
I wondered if they knew it?
I sat down earlier today and wrote them each an email. I told them that no matter what differences we may have had or will have, I was nor will I ever be disappointed in them as people. I thought they should know. Many years from now I don't want them staring at the ceiling at 3AM wondering what they might have done better. They needed to know I loved them and was proud of them.
This is not a bash my dad blog. He was a good man but like all of us had weaknesses, failures and flaws. I'll never know how he really felt because neither he or I took the time to clarify matters. In this way he helped me. I don't want my children never knowing. I'll never be dad of the year and I have made my fair share of mistakes but they will always know I love, honor and respect them.
It's nice to know and even better to hear. I'll always be left wondering. If you have kids, let them know what they mean to you. Choose your own vehicle, but let them know. It'll mean the world to them.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
“It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.”
Lemony Snicket, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid
It’s amazing how everything that was so important just a short week ago really doesn’t hold much meaning to you. You are grateful for very small things: A kind word, someone handing you a cup of coffee or a blanket while you sit in an ICU waiting room and mark time. You stare at a sickly green wall a lot. You get up and hug people you haven’t seen in ages and after a bit that gets tiresome also. You want to be left alone.
You forget about Republican primaries, March madness and spring training. You spend a lot of time being silent. You find it to be soothing. When the moment comes you are surprised. There is no real dam of emotion that breaks inside of you. You feel really disconnected from everything; like you are watching yourself in a movie. Every time you close your eyes you see yourself on a huge rock in the center of an empty field. You feel no breeze, hear no birds or bees, and smell no flowers. You only realize how alone you are right now.
After the Monday funeral you have an opportunity to cubby yourself away and be alone. The cold, icy knife of grief begins to poke and prod you. You don’t fight it. In the midst of that storm, off in the distance you see a small ray of sunshine darting in and out of the storm. As it moves closer you smile a bit. In the midst of this storm and sense of loss you realize the lesson you are to learn. You are learning what’s important. It’s not all the goofy stuff you’ve concerned yourself with over the years, it is the people you have met, the places you have been and the love you hadn’t recognized. It’s the moments you wished you’d seen what was REALLY their and not conjured it into “What’s best for me……” There is a certain sort of peace there. The clouds clear and your emotional spectacles are clean, you see. You even laugh out loud a bit. The lesson, albeit a long and hard one, was that you’d been looking in the wrong direction for a really long time.
Thursday evening, just a few short hours before he passed from this existence, my dad said goodbye to all of his grandchildren, one at a time. My son Matt shared part of their conversation. It went like this: “I have had a good life Matt, but it went by so, so, fast.” (My dad was 88)
“We just get one ride around the sun in this dream of time. It goes so fast and one day we look back and we ask, “Was that my life?” Jo Dee Messina
Be blessed today and stop for just a few minutes and take in everything around you.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Dad left us around 3:00 pm Friday afternoon. his passing was peaceful and dignified and represented how he had lived his life for close to 88 years. In the end congestive heart failure was his cause of death. His funeral will be Monday.
I am doing ok. I had an opportunity to say good bye to him and sort of make my own peace with this process. Yes, I miss him but he isnt suffering any longer and that provides me with the most peace.
Thank all of you for the condolences and the Spark Goodies. They were greatly appreciated. I will be away for most of the week.
Much Love To You All and Be Blessed Today
Get An Email Alert Each Time JOHNTJ1 Posts