For those who don’t know me, I’m an all-or-nothing person.
I give 110% or I give nothing at all. Mediocrity isn’t my thing, in my mind, if you’re able to do something, do it properly; it’s unfair to not give you’re everything.
Who doesn’t remember Wild E Coyote ‘s dedication? Plotting each and every trap for Roadrunner? As a child I was in awe. The mix of braveness and stupidity in all its glory!
But the lesson I took is if it doesn’t work – try and try again.
This might explain why after almost two years on various auto-immune drugs I decided enough. Let’s go drug free and see what happens. Read: the doctors have it wrong.
That explains how I managed to get back on a bike and cycle 200kms in three days, 9 months after my disastrous freefall into AI hell. Read: I think I’ve beat this now. Lesson learned…thank you. Let me get back to my life.
And that also explains why I think (and maybe still believe) that the only why I am going to be able to reclaim my life is to keep pushing the wheelbarrow…uphill….by myself. Read: the doctors have no idea and I’ve got to work this out myself.
The last month has seen an increasing level of bone grinding joint pain and hot-coal walking nerve pain. By the end of the days my hands ache so much it’s hard to hold the toothbrush.
I spend most of my day trying to find creative places to shove my feet, to keep them cool. And more creative ways, a la MacGyver, to deliver me efficiently and effectively from the 3rd floor living to terra firma, minus the 45 stairs.
I spend 10 minutes every morning reminding myself that no matter how much my knees, shoulders or hands hurt, things will be better once I’m out of bed.
After all, I will be showered by a plethora of Franki kisses. And kisses from Mr Metamucil, if he hasn’t already left for work.
Last Friday, I woke up to my neck seizing and an electrical charge flying up and down the right side of my spinal column. I felt like Wile E Coyote, so excited that he has found the power source, but forgetting to let go.
I hobbled to the physiotherapist with tears streaming down my face… “please make this stop.”
My physio asked what type of pain I was experiencing and how I would rate the pain. Was I still drug free? Now it was her turn to plead, “please go back on the drugs”.
So as I lay on the table, wiping away tears with one hand and trying to keep my shoulder up with the other, I asked, “why is it that my shoulders are so weak?”
And she explained, “you’ve lost your structural strength and being in pain exacerbates this.”
Because it is appears that when the brain has been registering pain for an extended period, collagen which is a protein critical and basic building block that facilitates tendon, ligament and muscle strength can no longer do its job properly.
Researchers have shown that in a chronic pain patient the amount of collagen produced decreases, and of the 19 different types of collagen required the ratio of collagen rebuilding is off-kilter. But the dysfunction continues as the parallel structure which tendons and ligaments align themselves is disturbed and microtears and fibre separations are commonly seen in MRI’s.
It appears in my gung-ho, “I can manage this illness without drugs” approach, what I failed to realise that the creeping pain in my body isn’t the beginning of a bad turn, in fact at a molecular level it’s clear, the bad turn is approaching the end of a cliff.
I haven’t been able to manage the pain messages through mindfulness or meditation. I believe it can work. I have experienced the benefit. The relief.
But that was when my body was still receiving some synthetic assistance. The synthetic assistance I thought I could do without.
It appears, I’m simply not ready yet.
Part of me was hoping that the past 24 months had been one hell of a bad dream and an over-reaction by not only myself but also by the doctors.
Part of me was hoping that I could cure myself by understanding and eating “real food”, being mindful, exercising within reason, getting good sleep and listening to my body.
I’m not proclaiming this is a cure for A.I., but I do believe this has the ability to help heal not only my body, but my mind. And I suspect it is my mind that tortures me more than my body.
But it appears I’m still a little off that nirvana as well.
Intellectually, and deep down, I believe that I can create a healthy and wholesome existence, despite the A.I. honour roll and minus the synthetic assistance.
But I think I got a little cocky. I thought I could see the finish line. I started to take short cuts. And I cheated myself.
And I should know by now…you can’t cheat with A.I. and there’s nowhere to hide.
So at 4pm last Friday, I walked into my GP’s office and placed my white flag on the table and asked, “can we start again please?”