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Do You Believe in Magic?? I do - sometimes!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

I guess it boils down to how you define the word 'magic' but maybe I'm just not that picky about definitions - when something surprises me and seems to defy my ordinary expectations, I call it 'magic'

One example is when I met my husband - I'm not talking about those tingly feelings we get when we meet someone special - I'm talking about 'above and beyond' things that I absolutely cannot explain. Things that had never occurred before and have never occurred since - here is one of those examples:

I had a cat who was 'paranoid schizophrenic' - that is, he automatically assumed everyone in the world was out to get him except me and he ran in terror at the slightest hint someone else was going to be in the room. My son, who lived with us, is extremely good with cats and who has even charmed a number of feral cats, which must be the most skittish category around, mentioned one day that he had never seen BB's face, only his rear end - and that was fairly rare! OK, you get the picture - this went on for YEARS and involved people who lived in the same house with me so it wasn't simply a matter of getting used to the other person - BB just was not going to accept anyone else on earth, period, no matter what. After 9 years, we just expected this behavior from BB.

So imaging my shock and surprise when Tom came over for the very first time and BB not only did not run away, he hopped up on the arm of the couch, leaned over and started KISSING TOM!! In fact, BB went kiss-kiss-kiss, then turned to look at me as if to say 'watch this, Mom' and turned back to kiss-kiss-kiss. He repeated this over several minutes and then settled down in Tom's lap, purring away. I was so shocked, I hardly knew what to say. That is magic!!

LESSON: THERE ARE THINGS NOBODY CAN EXPLAIN AND SOMETIMES ANIMALS KNOW THINGS HUMANS CANNOT UNDERSTAND. [Tom and I got married about 18 months after that and are still married, 22 yrs later - BB knew what he was doing!]

Another instance of 'magic' is the effect exercise has on me - and everyone else who tries it long enough to let it work!! This is 'magic' that has occurred over and over in my life and it has manifested several ways. I'm not talking about weight loss, either - here are a couple of recent examples.

Last Tuesday, I went to a hike and shortly before we started, got involved in a conversation with someone talking about a recent series of events that had upset me a lot. I felt my emotions welling up, I started feeling angry, fought back tears, and given another few minutes could have worked myself into being quite a mess!! Fortunately, we started hiking just then and within 10 minutes all of those ugly emotions had dissipated. By the time I was finished with the hike, I felt soooo good, thinking about the same situation that had me so upset earlier did not ruffle my feathers in the slightest. I've learned that I can be so angry or sad or upset that I'm borderline volcanic, perhaps even borderline homicidal in some cases [not literally but I mean when you're so angry at someone you feel like you could tear them into pieces with your bare hands!!] and after a good hike, I'm ready to be best friends with the person - or at least ready to resolve whatever differences we had just an hour earlier!!


Another example of the 'magic' I get from hiking is that there have been soooooo many times [countless!!] when I've been 'too tired' to go after a long day of some exhausting work. Even when I feel like the absolutely LAST thing I want to do is move my body, it rarely takes more than 10 minutes before I feel re-invigorated and energetic again! To be sure, if I'm feeling physically tired after doing some major physical exertion, this 'new energy' doesn't sustain me through a long, hard hike - but a 1-2 mile walk actually seems to generate more energy than I imagined I could feel. If it's 'stress exhaustion,' then going for a longer hike is more than do-able - sort-of like the 'acute emotion' cure, hiking seems to have a magical effect on stress exhaustion, too.


Finally, I have another example of 'magic' that might sound a lot like a product endorsement but I want to emphasize that I do not own stock in the company [although maybe I should, haha!] and there is nothing in this recommendation for me. I just want to share a amazing, unbelieveable thing that has made it possible for me to take advantage of the 'exercise magic' that has often been impossible for me to do because of physical pain. I also want to say that I'm sure this stuff will not work for everyone or everything - but it sure has made a difference for me and if it helps you, great - if not, sorry.

So with that 'disclaimer,' let me start by saying I have a LOT of problems with my feet and back - there have been so few moments when I don't hurt somewhere, I've just learned to ignore it and keep going anyway. However, there are still a LOT of times when the pain is too great and it sidelines me - I've taken a lot of Advil, Aleve and even Vicodin, all of which work to some degree but they just mask the pain and have negative side effects so long-term usage is potentially very dangerous. And even with these things, there are times when I can only 'take off the top' of the pain and its still crippling.

The pain is from arthritis, prior injuries and all sorts of things - on my feet, I have what's called a Morton's Toe so I get Morton's Neuromas very easily, have frequent bouts with plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia, problems with my big toe joint [can't remember what it's called], have broken several toes and had a stress fracture, tendencies to getting tendonitis, just for starters - in other words, a podiatrist's dream or nightmare, depending on how you want to look at it. I wear orthotics, have had physical therapy, do foot exercises, pay close attention to footwear and 'you name it' but I LOVE TO HIKE [in case you hadn't already figured that out!!] and sadly my feet are not as happy with my passion as the rest of me is. So this is a BIG problem and my right foot is the one that has the most trouble. When I was really little, I wore special ankle/foot braces so it has some sort of congenital origin - I spend a lot of time icing my foot, wrapping it, elevating it, soaking it, massaging it and an enormous amount of time limping.

Nothing has helped - until I discovered my magic cream earlier this month. This is where the product endorsement starts so stop reading if you don't want to hear about a specific brand name - there are probably other similar products that do the same thing and as I mentioned, this probably doesn't work for everyone. But - my 'magic cream' is called Topricin Foot Therapy. I also have the 'regular' Topricin cream for my back and neck. Here's the story of the magic.

After a hike earlier this month, I was in a lot of pain - my back was killing me, my right foot hurt so much I could barely walk and all I wanted to do was go home and take a Vicodin. For those of you who don't know me, that is my 'drug of last resort' because I avoid it unless I'm in extreme pain and I'm extremely conservative about taking it even then. I did have to get a couple of things and stopped at Sprouts on my way home where a lady was giving out samples of this cream. She could see I was obviously in pain and offered me several sample packets. I talked with her and what she described was 'over the top' too good to be true but there was a special promo at the time and I could get a $40 bottle for $16 so I went for it, figuring I was probably throwing my money away but was willing to give it a try. I truly thought it would worth it even if it just lowered the pain level from 9 to, say a 7 or maybe a 6.

I went home, elevated my foot, put some of the cream on it and kicked back for a couple of hours. I wanted to see if it really worked so I didn't do anything else. When I got out of bed later that day, I expected the pain to shoot through my foot as it usually does when I first step on it but surprise, surprise, it only hurt about 50% of what I expected. Still a lot but I was impressed! I put the cream on my foot again before I went to sleep and by morning, the pain was down to about 20% - I used it again and by noon, there was zero pain in my foot! Amazing!

To tell the truth, I was flabbergasted! I used it again for a few days and it really works! I experimented by stopping the cream and the pain slowly came back but not nearly as bad as before so I think it really is healing the problem as the label claims. I took it to my podiatrist and he said there are a lot of homeopathic medicines that really work but it's outside his expertise - however, his advice was 'if it works, keep using it' and he did not think I would be doing any harm to my feet by using it. He told me my feet were actually HEALING, although he couldn't explain it.

I was so encouraged by the foot therapy cream, I bought a jar of the regular cream and started using it on my back, shoulders and neck - lo and behold, it worked the same magic there, too, even after spending 3 hours working on a very strenuous land stewardship project that wiped me out - ordinarily I would have felt like I needed large doses of painkillers for a few days but one small swipe of Topricin and I was good to go painwise. I think the active ingredient is arnica montana but it's a blend of other things and maybe there's 'extra magic' in the combo - I cannot explain it, that's why I call this my 'magic cream.'


Anyway, sorry about mentioning the brand name and hope that doesn't offend anyone - my purpose is not to send everyone running to the store to buy this particular product but really to give hope to people who have had pain prevent them from exercising. There might not be any relief for some conditions but this might help others. Unfortunately, it's not cheap but the good news is that I only need to use a tiny little dab at a time so a 4-oz jar looks like it will last a couple of months, making the $25 price a little easier to handle. You might want to do your own research to see if you can find something similar that works - for instance, I did see a generic Arnica cream at my local drug store for a fraction of the price - but for me, I'm sticking with the thing that has worked and hope my 'magic lessons' will inspire you to find your own MAGIC
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • STRINGI719
    Thanks for sharing, I think I need to finally try some arnica, I've had friends telling me about it for year!
    1968 days ago
    Hey, if it works for you, that's great! I thought my foot problems were bad, yours sounds like a nightmare!
    1969 days ago
    our cats really do know things we don't know
    1970 days ago
    I can confirm the magic of Topricin and, I can also confirm the magic of hiking.
    Can't speak to cats and husbands though :)
    1971 days ago
    So glad you did find something that really works! That's amazing! I do know how conservative you are about the pain pills, and if that's what you thought you needed that was PAIN! I admire you for getting out and following your passions even when it causes physical pain. But the mental benefits we get far outweigh the physical pain. I also can relate so much to the "magic" exercise produces to help us get over things that upset us, or when feel too tired to go another foot. Great blog!
    1971 days ago
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