I rarely post these health updates but I just thought I would share the ups and downs. I think the hardest lesson I have had to grasp about healing is that it is in no way linear. My mind still tries to focus on cause and effect but it just doesn’t seem to work that way.
This past month has been pretty killer. I had a pretty good January and was feeling back to my normal healthy self. I would only have nerve pain on very cold days and I only had one or two days with fatigue. Then at the end of January everything fell apart. First, I got food poisoning and then four days later my nerve pain increased severely. After five days straight I finally broke down and took two gabapentin. The pain went from a 9/10 to a 3/10 within the next hour. I instantly felt a little silly for waiting so long and then the brain fog I experienced the next day brought full clarity to why I waited. The following day after the brain fog my arm was finally feeling like a 3/10 without any medication and then I injured my arm that night! I was teaching a class when a resistance band snapped and the plastic handle hit me in the elbow so hard it broke the skin and an electric wave of pins and needles dropped me to the floor in tears. I severely injured the ulnar nerve in my right arm and lost all feeling from my elbow to my ring and pinky finger. My doctor said it will take a couple of months to regain the feeling again and everytime I use my right hand to push I get electric pins and needles up to my elbow. A few days later I started losing sensation in my right arm completely and it was extremely weak. It felt difficult to move and lift in any direction.
My mantra throughout this month was “Don’t stress, just rest.” I went from having normal energy levels and actually making plans again to having to spend the day in bed in hopes I would wake up feeling better. I started to get a little bit nervous about heading to Nicaragua in two weeks. I saw my PCP and my neurologist that week to ensure I wasn’t making a bad decision and get full clearance to travel. With those two visits actually came good news. I finally have my reflexes back! It is the first time in the last year and a half that I had any reaction. Because of that, my neurologist felt that I was improving and all the pain I have been having is actually my nerves beginning to wake up and heal. He said enjoy the trip and stay safe. The next day I woke up with the stomach flu. It felt like a practical joke. I had one week left in Boston to pack up my apartment and squeeze in all my clients one last time with a funky right arm and a to-do list a mile long. I have never been about to take a trip with so much intrepidation.
Having Gullain Barre has changed me a little bit. I am so used to just doing whatever I want, whenever I want and when I make a plan it is set in stone. Now I have to continually check in with my body and let it make the decisions. My mind is not a big fan of this new process. Then the day before my flight I woke up with terrible lower back pain and could barely move at all. Luckily a couple friends rescued me and took my final car load of belongings to storage. We had no idea if I would be able to make it through a full day of travel with heavy bags to carry the next day. Luckily I made it because I have had the best week in Nicaragua and am extremely happy to be here.
The weird thing about this past month is that I felt like I had hit a new phase in my journey of healing. For the past year and a half my main focus has been to work a little and rest a lot. My solution to everything has been eating mostly raw food and sleeping as much as I possibly can. Other than that I haven’t tried too many different healing methods. My body can’t really handle working out too much, I am always punished later with severe fatigue so I haven’t worked on regaining my strength until this past month. I was doing physical therapy twice a week to work on getting my body back in balance. When I do step ups on my left side my heart rate is 112 and on my right side it is 220. It takes a significant amount of effort to move my right side and I am not aware of that until we started looking at the numbers and the significant lack of strength between the two sides. I began doing resistance stretching once a week to help me regain sensation in my right leg and I started going to the chiropractor twice a week to make sure nothing was out of alignment that was causing the numbness and weakness. I also developed new friendships and reconnected with old ones so I am finally gaining a sense of community in Boston. When you generally only work with private clients and then rest as much as possible, it makes you become pretty isolated so having a social life has been a nice change. I feel like even though I had a rough month health wise, I was very happy in all other areas of life.
I invested about $1000 into self care/healing this month and had my worst month in a few months lol. I am slightly perplexed by this. I still want to continue this phase of healing and self care though. My back is just starting to feel better today after a week of fairly intense pain but I did get a massage and acupuncture that provided relief. On Monday I am hoping to start focusing on physical therapy while I am here and getting a massage and acupuncture every week. I am going to assume the extra self care and having the worst month coincide was just a fluke. My nerve pain is way less in the warm weather and I am getting plenty of down time to rest and restore each day. That will change a little once I start running my training but there is a full week left before I have any long days.
Healing is hard. Whether it is emotional healing or physical, I think it requires a great deal of mental fortitude. I’m happy I am an introvert. I can tune in and listen to my intuition very easily, I have enjoyed all the quiet time to myself… well maybe not all of it but for the most part, and I have worked daily on self development. Some days I feel so great I forget there is anything wrong with my body and some days it smacks me in the head like a ton of bricks. I am so grateful for the good days. I am happy to be traveling again, building my community, working part time, and contributing to the world. Even though it has been a really rough month I still feel like I am progressing. There is an inner whisper of hope that feels wonderful.