Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Taking stock

As is so often the case, the biggest hurdle is fear. I am going to have to live with a degree of pain. Not all the time, thank God, and not always excruciating, but flare-ups happen regularly. The usual contributory factors, stress, tiredness and so on and sometimes the sacroiliac joints just inflame and stiffen for no reason. But pain per se I can manage.

What scares me is the prospect of the recurrence of the sacroiliac instability that dogged me for months, in spite of treatment, at the outset of all this. The fear of the instability that the pain conjures up is the stuff of nightmares. According to the doctors, because of the strengthening effects of the course of prolotherapy that I underwent, a reasonably active life within limits should be possible. I'm trying to believe them but I'm dubious; in my experience doctors definitely don't have all the answers when it comes to backs, particularly my back. Nonetheless I am reclaiming - slowly - my beloved walking and I might learn to at least tolerate swimming because it's such good therapy. But the body will need kindness and attention. It has to be the priority. No exceptions.

Now to learn this, digest it, face it. Live it. Learn when to take the painkillers and apply icepacks and rest. Learn how to take care. When and how to exercise. How to try and desensitise myself to the uncertainty, because it's a given. Learn not to panic and sink into despair with every ache and twinge. And the incentive is there because I want my damn life back. There's so much I want to do.

Today I'm in a no-man's-land in the recovery process. Can't remember what it felt like to be fully fit. Body and mind are taking their own time to heal. Energy levels can and do plummet frighteningly at the drop of a hat and muscles are still too weak, but I'm not as prostrate nor as debilitated as I was. I do some basic pilates exercises daily. A, the cranial osteopath, has helped more than I can say. I'm thinner, so I'm told, and also my hair is greyer. Things will be very different going forward, I know that, and not just because of physical stuff. In the isolation of the past two years I've changed, become tougher, but in a good way. The boundaries are firmer. Integrity now matters more than anything. So life and my relationships will change.

Right now the craving is for human company, human warmth - not all day every day, that would be too tiring, but for short spells. There's a way to go but I'll get there. I will.

****

Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions. Hafiz - trans. Daniel Ladinsky

10 comments:

Dale said...

Oh, I wish I lived near you! xo

Relatively Retiring said...

Thinking of you, dear mm. You know where I am.

mm said...

Dale and RR: Thank you both.x

Leslee said...

Ugh. Had my own bout with low back spasms and SI joint stuff this summer, missed work for many days and limited me for much of the summer. And I know that's a fraction of what you've been through. It is scary, and I worry about continuing issues. I'm committed to the core strengthening exercises my PT gave me, once the spasms finally diminished, but I do think I need to do more. Anyway, hang in there and take good care of yourself. Sending you long-distance human warmth!

mm said...

Thanks for the support, Leslee!

Re yr comment about fear of ongoing issues, I've done a lot of thinking about the time leading up to this bout of back trouble. The truth is in early 2009 I was badly out of kilter in several areas without realising it. I'd taken on responsibilities (non-work) that were far too heavy for me and I was very stressed in consequence. Also since moving out of London, because the back seemed OK I'd neglected the search for a replacement physical therapist down here. In London I used to have regular "maintenance" treatments for the back.

I really believe I was ready for a relapse on several levels. Going forward, I hope I don't make the same mistake again. Priorities, priorities ...

mm said...

Leslee: ... and needless to say, I'm very glad you're over your recent problems. Not nice, any of it.

Jenny Woolf said...

I'm so sorry you've suffered for so long with your back. I'm glad you are looking forward in a constructive and hopeful way.
I've just found your blog and I do think you're an awfully good and perceptive writer.

mm said...

Jenny: Welcome! And thank you for your kind comments. A pleasure to discover you and your fascinating blog, which I am adding to my Google Reader .....

herhimnbryn said...

Dear mm one step at a time and a little more each day. You WILL get there.

mm said...

Thank you HHB. Encouragement helps.