It has been a very lazy morning here, but a much needed one. Though the sun is shining and the dogs have yet to get out to play (they’ve done their duties, of course a few times over), I am reminded of how nice it is to wake up, with others sleeping in the house, and feeling that sense of family, of closeness.
I want to share with you that I met a woman on facebook who is a Pain Relief Educator and Therapist. She specializes in trigger point therapy, myofascial pain syndrome which is something I have had since 1995. She lives 7 miles from me in Brattleboro! I was fortunate to have visited with her for a couple of hours and learned more in those 2 hours about what I can do to help myself than years of doctors appointments and unwanted or refused drugs. I have not taken narcotics for pain other than post surgical.
While familiar with and aware of trigger points (areas of pain that refer pain into other areas), I was not aware of how to address them. I have had only one back massage in almost 20 years because it hurt to allow anyone to even touch my back in areas. Since my surgeries for breast cancer and surgeries I have had neck and shoulder issues and constant pressure and pain on my sternum and breast bone. I unsuccessfully tried to massage and remove this, though after manipulating the area at times I did get relief. I want to share what I remember that was done, and how I felt when I left. I was there a total of five minutes when she asked me to take off a shoe, and diagnosed me with a foot problem that I cannot remember the name of it, but that we will be treating by slowly raising up the areas under my big toes by placing soft cushioned pads in my shoes. Her environment was one filled with healing. It was very peaceful, serene. I felt very safe and relaxed.
My body, on a massage table, was straightened out to the manner that it is designed to be…. straight! There was no massaging involved. I will do my best to explain this, as this is brand new to me, but it not only helped reduce my pain level 50% at that time, but it was fascinating. She would take her hand and softly touched parts of my body, looking for the trigger points. If you put your hand over an area, the trigger point areas will exude heat. Then with one finger, and a slight amount of pressure (I am still not sure how much) she held it in that position for a period of time. On at least 3 occasions I asked her if she was using her first…. she showed me, it was only one finger. The pain that came out of that area was immense and felt like she was pressing her fist with all her might. After a bit she would move her finger upwards, which by this time, the pain was decreasing. Standing behind me, she had her arm wrapped around my neck, which felt like it was in a slight upward position and her pulling my head back to her. I will tell you, this brought initial relief in my ailing neck and shoulders BUT it affected every area that was knotted or “lumped”. The large lump on my left side, my sternum/breast bone area, my shoulders felt this pull and while it hurt, I could literally feel these areas start to loosen up. My visualization was that they were disinigrating It seemed that she did this for a long time, perhaps 10 minutes or more? I started to feel blood flow in my head, which this is probably going to sound strange, but it felt so good. Obviously I have had blood flow, but not like this. She taught me a few stretches with my heels (pushing down on them and not my toes), and my fingers, pushing out on them. She also taught me a position to roll into to get up (or out of bed) without pain. When I stood up I felt a little light headed, but the areas in which were causing me agony when I arrived there had immense relief.
Filled with gratitude, I sat talking to her and visiting with her and her ailing, yet very sweet and healing cat Ani. We discussed the importance of stretching, medications (including pain meds and muscle relaxants). She told me that I was a miracle, to have gone all these years in this condition without going insane or taking my life. This made me cry, as I had met someone who not only could help me, but also who understood, by her own experiences and body this difficult path I have walked. She validated what I have felt for a very long time. She validated my struggles, my pain, and is offering me relief and hopefully freedom from these debilitating syndrome(s).
Blessed with a strong demeanor (and stubborness), I have defied the pain for years and kept trudging on even at times when I felt I no longer could. While with others, I did my best to put a smile on my face and allow my optimism to shine through. I am an optimist, despite all that tries to strip it from me. Those closest to me, those who are in my daily life, they have known and seen the destruction that this has caused in my life. One painting convention would lift my spirits and instill exciting inspiration, only to fall flat in bed for a week or two following in agonizing pain. For years I have lived a reduced quality life due to health. I have struggled almost daily with this monkey literally on my back, legs, and arms. It is faith that God has a purpose for me, and while I may not like this journey, or understand it, it always goes back to him and what I believe to be true, he has a plan for me, a plan so much better than my own heart or eyes could ever understand.
Having fallen on my face in December, and January, my body no longer offering respite or ability to move forward, I am forced to make changes that I have pushed off for years. With my family and friends help, I am making these changes, and with God guiding me, I am exciting to think that I am embarking now, on a path of wellness, self kindness, and healing for my tired body and soul. I asked and prayed for guidance, this therapist appeared on the upper right hand side of my facebook and she lives 7 miles from me! 7 miles from me! Walking into her home, to the warmth, the love, the healing that I knew had and will continue to take place there, I kept thanking God. As I said goodbye, and heard her final words “Congratulations, there is hope for you!” I slowly drove away with this inherant feeling that this is right where I am supposed to be. Everything that is being put in my path right now including new connections and friends, revisiting and embracing old friendships, even others strife, has purpose and meaning. I can choose to involve myself and allow myself to fall victim to anothers unhealthiness, mental illnesses or even evil, or I can choose to walk away and into the door of this woman who I truly believe, with the guidance and love of God, will bring me to a point of healing. He will work through her body, through her hands, and I shall achieve a life that I deserve.
I believe that fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome(s) are present in my body because of all the years of trauma, of living in chaos, thus putting my body in fight or flight mode. I have believed this for a few years now and have been working with therapists, taking meditation and classes that would help me learn how to relax. My body is only relaxed when I sleep, and I have had so little of that in the past few months and years… well I needn’t say more. Upon meeting with my physical therapist for my hand, he (this cute young man who is fun to work with) has pointed out repeatedly that when I move my fingers I include the muscles in my forearm, my upperarm and my shoulder. This is how tense I am. Partly due to the pain I am in, I also know very well, that this is what my body was trained to do. Living with the chaos of alcoholism since my early twenties, allowing others problems to affect what should have been my center, my peace, my serenity. Placing myself in ridiculously situations that were unhealthy, and trying to help people who did not want or believe they needed the help. I now help them by offering prayers for them only. I set my boundaries, I respect myself, and will not be the target of others inability to look within or face the extremely difficult path of self discovery, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I remember my ex husband agreeing to go to marital counseling. ONE visit is all that came about. After dumping all the things I have done wrong in the center of the floor in that tiny room, the therapist, Mary said “And what is your responsibility in this? What are you doing here that is contributing negatively to this marriage”. Hindsight is always 20/20, I realize now that he fully expected her to agree with him, he had NO ability to own let alone LOOK at his part, his shortcomings or the like. Prior to that question he blurted out “resentments” that dated back a decade. Things I didn’t have the slightest idea he held inside, like cancer. He never went back and the marriage came to an end, but only after he used my vulnerability and desire to save the marriage as a playing ground to point his finger at me and my “sick mind” because I had questioned him and his loyalty. This was probably the cruelist thing anyone has ever done to me, other than some things of late. To impress upon me in my fragile state, that I was to blame, to use my good efforts and attempts to save the marriage, to fill my head with self doubt, about how ill I was… only to be revealed that this was (I can only hope unwittingly) his way of covering up and justifying the affair he was having, the negligence that went on for a few years, and his inability to look within himself and grow. I have long since forgiven him and myself for all that went on 20 years ago. I pray for him and his new wife. I wish him well.
Yes, I know about self discovery. I know about physical and emotional pain, and in spite of all of that, I also know about love, true love, healthy love. I know that we have the ability to heal if we put ourselves in the hands of God, and allow him to carry us and present us with all that we need to get through difficult situations or times. I know what it feels like to blame others, I also know what it feels like to be blamed for others problems. I have cleaned out the closets of my past. I have placed things back into these closets compartmentalized. Sometimes they will need to come back out, sometimes the closet door will become so full that I need to transfer things to a newer bigger closet. I also know what it is like to walk away, to take action and responsibility for my life and say “No more”. It doesn’t come easy, nor without pain or personal growth, but it is my journey to self, to healing, to being the best person I can be. I like and I know who I am today, and I am pleased with what I see in the mirror, deep within and external. Others strife will first be dealt with an offering hand. Once bitten twice shy, any attemps to involve me later are unwelcomed. I no longer feel the need to defend myself from wrongful accusations or others fingers, they can believe what they want to believe… and further attempts to blame will be met with a shield as strong and as powerful as the shield that was built at the local power plant to block the elementary school and keep them from harm. This is about taking care of myself, choosing the path to wellness and healing, and walking not only the path that God has laid out for me, but also within his love and guidance.
I am healing…