Exercising! – Or At Least Trying To…

I have decided that my goal is to get my energy back, even with the lingering, burning muscle pain in my back. It occurred to me that my next step  should be to find a gentle, regular exercise that I can do each day. I have been so sedentary even with my semi-regular walks. The heat in the San Fernando Valley has stayed in the triple digits for most of the summer, so I have to take my walks at night, and sometimes I am just too tired. Tired only brings more tired. I have to change this.

The plan is to try Tai Chi. I bought two DVDs from Amazon: Tai Chi for Beginners (with master Chris Pei) and Discover Tai Chi for Back Care with Scott Cole. I started with Tai Chi for beginners, thoroughly enjoying the 10 minute warm up. It got me to breath deeply and had me move muscles that I usually ignore, such as my neck and shoulder muscles. The warm up felt great. And I could actually do it! Hooray!

After the warm up,  I began the first lesson: The Opening, and Parting the Horses Mane. Master Pei has you stand still and breath for what feels like a lifetime before going into the Opening, and then does it three times. Standing still in one place hurt like hell. My lower back burned. I tried very hard to make it through the lesson, but almost as soon as it had begun, I had to stop.

The next day, I considered just doing the warm up, but couldn’t give myself permission for only that. I felt that I should at least try to learn how to do Tai Chi! It is only Tai Chi for crying out loud! But again, I could not stand still for more than a minute (after the warm up). It was so disappointing, but on the bright side the warm up really energized me, which was my goal in the first place. So, I may not have learned Tai Chi, but I am feeling better!

I am not giving up on the Tai Chi idea. Tomorrow I will try the other DVD. I will let you know how it goes!

Getting Better…

I am pulling myself out of my usual lethargy to write today. I started this blog on October 14, 2015, intending to write for one year about living with chronic pain and the struggle to get my life back. Recently, however, I don’t know if I will complete the year of writing. I am so tired of focusing on pain and all my attempts to recover. Now, I know this sounds like giving up, but it is quite the opposite! I am getting better! My work with The Griner Technique and Rodger Phillips, DC. has moved me out of “the stuck place.” I am not out of the woods, yet, but the pain is changing, my muscles are loosening up, my ability to go for walks has improved 100%, and my ability to sit seems to be improving by a small margin. The progress is slow, but measurable. This is the right treatment for me and I am getting better. There is a chance that I will not be in this chronic pain for the rest of my life. There is light at the end of the tunnel. I should be jumping up and cheering and running around, but I’m not. I am afraid to get my hopes up. I don’t really know what will happen. I don’t know if I can trust this. I feel so close and yet so far away from the life I once knew and the self I once inhabited.

I used to be a very enthusiastic person, motivated and ambitious and full of life. I used to inhale books on psychology, my field of work and interest. I used to speak and write on the subject and wanted to write a book one day. But I don’t know who I will be if I indeed get better. Chronic pain has changed me. There were 4 straight years on opioid pain medications, then over a half a year on Kratom. Although I am off all pain meds, including anti-inflammatories, (with the exception of the occasional Gabapentin 100 mg), I am certain the meds have taken a toll from which I am still recovering. Then there is the sedentary lifestyle I had no choice but to fall into. My daily walks are helping me counteract that, but I am easily pulled into the lethargy that I struggle with each day. My energy and motivation has been replaced by a narrow comfort zone.

My interest in socializing is extremely low. Sitting at restaurants or parties or movies or anywhere, for that matter, has been so painful that all I really want to do is go home and escape the pain. The ability to sit without pain has not returned yet, but I have moments when I notice it doesn’t hurt as much as it used to for a while. If I sit too long the pain comes back with a vengeance. Sometimes too long is 20 minutes, sometimes an hour, as opposed to the beginning of this ordeal during which I could not sit for a second without searing pain.

I am in a strange, somewhat depressed, in-between place. I do not say this to feel sorry for myself. I am just telling it like it is. I am not in searing pain (Yay! Counting blessings right now!), I am not out of pain (Yada yada yada… same old, same old), I don’t want to take on responsibilities I can not fulfill, so I am not increasing my work or socializing yet. So I am waiting, working part time, and going to my treatment sessions with Rodger. That’s it! And trying to get something done each day, whether it is for my work, my home, my cats, or my husband. Or my car… My life is dull, but mostly comfortable. I enjoy my time with my husband, simply being in the same room. I enjoy snuggling with my cats. And this is how things are….