For as long as I can remember, I’ve been in pain. Growing up, I had a mild to severe headaches about 95% of the time. I lived on Anacin. It was just how it was and I didn’t know any difference. Doctors had no idea and just wrote it off as “headaches.” Duh. No reason; just had them.
When I got into my late 20’s, they got worse. I just took the Anacin and carried on. Each headache was different, but known. My most common one was in my left temple. Always present. Always there.
One day I had another “bad one” and the Anacin didn’t touch it. I was at work and ended up putting my head on my desk, wrapped my arms around my head and cried. This scared a few people (understandably) and my husband was called and I was rushed to my doctor.
As luck would have it, he was out of town and I was referred to another doctor. I didn’t think we had time because no one could be in this amount of pain and not die. I screamed the whole way there.
The nurse quickly ushered me into an exam room. I had stopped screaming by then and just quietly held my head and rocked back and forth.
The doctor came in and asked me a few questions and then started to examine me. He was young, calm and reassuring. He shined a light in my eyes and looked. He turned off the light, stepped back and said “You’ve got a migraine.”
Relief flooded through me. “So not a brain tumor or an aneurysm?”
“Nope. Just a migraine. You’ll be OK. I’ll give you something to ease the pain and help you sleep.”
And so I did. I slept for 2 days. It was gone but I was fragile for a few days. From then on, I kept the magic pills with me in case it returned. It did a few more times and I decided I wasn’t going to spend my life doped up or screaming at my desk.
I was also pissed that I had never been correctly diagnosed. I don’t know why I wasn’t. Maybe I didn’t complain enough and just took severe pain as a way of life.
I eventually did my own research (this was pre-Google, so not as easy as it is today) and decided to get acupuncture. Within 2 weeks of treatment, the headaches were gone and never to return.
But the headaches and resulting medication had hidden a slow growing problem with my back and neck. I had hurt it badly a few times when I was younger and never thought about it. I was young so I just got up and walked it off.
But it eventually reared its ugly head years later and that resulted in extensive chiropractic treatment as I had lost all feeling in my left hand and arm and it was slowly working its way up and down the left side of my body.
I got through that and continued on with my life. Over the last couple of years, I have been under tremendous stress with my work situation. I had to find a new job at the age of 60 and smack in the middle of menopause with no insurance (I wouldn’t wish that on ANYONE) and I somehow made it through each day, fed, and bills paid.
The stress has taken its toll these last few months. Exhaustion and weight gain arrived about a year ago and with no way to combat it. The pain had returned and I was in despair. I hadn’t been able to write or do much more than go to work and come home and stay in bed with Netflix for the last year. It physically hurts to type and the constant pain causes an unrelenting brain fog. I would try to write and couldn’t.
Pain sucks all life and creativity out of you. It exhausts you because you fight it 24/7.
A few weeks ago, I started back up with my chiropractor (he’s also one of my bosses and a miracle worker), got the right supplements for me and started walking Blue again. Even the walking is hard, so we do a little bit at a time. Yesterday I started the Keto diet and already am starting to feel better. I got the “Keto-flu” which is simply symptoms of coming off carbs and teaching your body to switch from burning glucose and start to find and burn fat. But the symptoms made me feel better because it confirmed I’ve been ill with a metabolic problem that is now healing.
I’ve done similar eating plans of no bad carbs and know that in a few days, I will feel better. I had all these projects for the 3 day Memorial holiday, but I’ve put those on hold and am resting. I’m giving myself permission to get well and everything else can wait. So far, Earth has continued to spin and life continues.
I finally realized that no matter what was going on, my health was most important and I had never really put it as a priority. Oh, it was there to take care of myself as long as it was convenient.
I finally had to admit to myself I hurt and I hurt a lot and had for a long time. Even as I type this, my body aches and I am tired. But I am starting to feel better. I changed my daily routine and now walk every day. I started doing beginners yoga for my neck. I’m eating the foods my body needs. I drink 1-2 litres of water every day.
I no longer feel ashamed when I’m tired as if it’s some sort of character flaw or that I’m just lazy. No. I just hurt. And when I’m tired, I rest.
Constant pain reduces your desire to do anything to zero. I became a hermit because I hurt and it was too difficult to socialize and carry on coherent conversation or put on a bra and make-up and smile.
I don’t have anyone to help much, so I’m glad that I learned a long time ago to be strong and independent and to only rely on myself. I don’t mean that in a negative or victim way. I mean everyone should learn to take care of themselves because people come and go. Life can change in a second and at the end of the day, you always have you. No one can take you away from you.
I chose this title because this is the first time I’ve not only admitted this to myself but it’s the first time I’ve ever talked about it. I keep my problems to myself. I am not comfortable talking about my needs. Never have been and never will be.
Why am I talking about it now? Well funny you should ask…
I came across a blog from a woman whom I haven’t seen in years. We did not part as friends years ago. We parted on very bad terms. I had no good thoughts about her and had nothing nice to say about her, so I kept my opinions to myself amongst friends we have in common who adore her.
In the 7 years or so since I’ve seen her, she lost a tremendous amount of weight. She blogged honestly and transparently about her transformation and I admired her. I was proud of her. I enjoyed her blog and I found myself happy for her.
She inspired me and I realized that maybe my honesty and transparency might help someone else. Not in a million years did I ever suspect I would get inspiration this way, but you take it when you get it and don’t question it.
So I’ll be blogging about this as I go through my new eating and health program. I’ll tell you the good, the bad and the ugly and I’d love to know if it helps you. I hope so.
This picture was taken of me about 3 weeks ago. I’ll be turning 63 in a couple of weeks and I’d love to have you along for the last part of my life.
Wish me luck!