I’m wired such that if something feels good than more of it will feel better. Lately I’ve been looking into alternative ways to deal with the pain. I got one of those shiatsu back massagers you can put on a chair. I brought it home, put it on the chair, and didn’t get up for about 90 minutes. It felt so good to have those knobby things kneading my back. When I did get up I noticed that my back was hurting more than usual. The instructions said you should use it for 15 minutes.
So my back was already compromised to begin with, and I made it worse by digging into it for too long with the massager. But that wasn’t enough. I’ve been getting massage and the masseuse has been using those cup things on my back to suck out the bad stuff. I really like the sensation and it helps with the pain. So I picked up some of those cups to use at home. I just began putting them on the painful spots and moving them around. I left them on for longer than advised, of course. After that I could barely walk. Yesterday was slightly better. Today again, slightly better but I am mostly immobilized due to the pain. I will likely have to spend most of the day flat on my back. I tell myself it will pass, just like everything else.
I’ve been extremely hyperthyroid for an entire month. Even after a dose reduction, I am still off the charts. This leaves me feeling extremely weak and exhausted. Sweat pores randomly off my body. I’ve developed a heart arrhythmia that happens everyday now. My heart starts beating erratically and rapid. I get dizzy and nauseous. The Rheumatologist ordered a holter monitor that recorded my heartbeat and they tell me its Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation. The word Paroxysmal indicates that it doesn’t happen all of the time. On Wednesday I am having an echocardiogram. Luckily I requested a female tech and they had one. The last time I had an echo it was with a dude. He did a really lousy job of covering me while he slid his device all over my chest. My breasts were hanging out and I was super pregnant so they were huge. It was humiliating and hopefully this one won’t be so bad.
Sometimes I think about how similar my health problems are to my fathers. He developed some kind of pain and fatigue disorder. No doctor could tell him what was wrong with him. Then he developed atrial fibrillation. They did multiple interventions but none of them were successful. Then slowly over time he lost the ability to breathe. And then he died. The doctor wanted to do an autopsy to determine the cause of death. I said no at the time because I didn’t see any purpose. I wish now that I would have said yes.
There have been so many times throughout the last 6 years of illness that I wonder how I can feel so incredibly bad and not be dead. Lately my focus has been on trying to create a life that is satisfying in spite of whatever symptoms I might be having. I’ve been playing my guitar. I’ve been meditating. I’ve been trying to let things slide off my back. I’ve been trying to let go of anger. I’ve been putting energy into making my apartment feel more homey.
I know that the most important factor in all of this is my mindset. Can I accept how I feel today, even if I don’t like it, even if I hate it? Somehow it seems that things are better when the answer to this question is “Yes”.
Most importantly I must have a compassionate approach with myself. If I am doing all of these things and still treating myself like I am to blame for the illness or the pain than I get nowhere. The illness happened. Illness happens, even debilitating illness happens in life. It’s a very difficult path and I should wake up every morning congratulating myself for sticking it out. Even though I do things to sabotage myself sometimes, like overdoing the massage chair, the underlying reason is always that I am attempting to relieve unrelenting pain. There is no shame in that.