” When things get really bad, just raise your glass and stamp your feet and do a little jig”, Leonard Cohen
As I have been limping along these past few months following hip surgery I began to have foot pain, a condition I had never had before. I was speculating about the cause. Too little walking of late? Plantar fasciitis? Shifting from soft sponge shoes (GoWalk) to sneakers which are heavier? Shuffling after the surgery? The possibilities are endless. No one can tell me what the issues are that inhibit my walking and cause almost shock-like pain in arches and the top of foot.
“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life:it goes on”, Robert Frost
I have frequently cited the works of adiemusfree from her HealthSkills Blog. She has become my guru for updates on research regarding pain. I take hope because of her personal struggles with the issues surrounding living with acceptance in lieu of catastrophising. Daily pain is exhausting, depletes our energy, leaves us with a sense of hopelessness. Each new symptom (and there are many) can be like taking one step forward and two backward. How do we continue? As she says in her October 18/15 blog: “After all, life doesn’t stop just because pain is a daily companion”. The same could be said of the other myriad of symptoms we experience.
“Nothing vivifies, and nothing kills, like emotions”, Joseph Roux
It’s almost the end of December already and I missed writing a blog in November. Seems I was trying to recover from the many crises (or at least perceived crises) in my life. The physiotherapist (Nick) said my nervous system was “completely exhausted” and to rest. For the past few weeks things have finally quieted down and I am having Feldenkrais movement treatments/activities (I am somewhat certain that Tai Chi would be equally as effective, or any kind of movement) to help revitalize me somewhat. The fatigue is slowly dissipating and with it some of the pain from all the hyperactivity and intense stressful emotions in my life. I am back on my recumbent bike a couple of times a week for about 20 minutes a day now (again!).
As I write this I watch little light snow flakes outside; there’s a fire in the fireplace; I have just spent 20 minutes meditating and I am at peace with my heating pad on my shoulders and hot tea to comfort me. The winter skylight is incredible at dusk. Now that we have had Solstice the days will be getting longer. If only there were more days like this, but of course, crises happen…stuff happens. I can’t stop the world. I am though working on focused practices such as mild exercise and meditation which is what my emotional roller coaster craves and my brain ( that darn amygdala!) has a difficult time understanding. My brain wants to go that well worn path to emotional chaos instead of the new calming pathways I am trying to cultivate. The stresses that many of us experience during the festive season create in us emotions that can make us sick, or conversely could make us well.
“Every man (sic) can, if he so desires, become the sculptor of his own brain”, Santiago Ramon Cajal
I have before me books, newspaper clippings, magazines that speak to the phenomenal advances that are occurring in the area of brain science and remapping the brain. Just this week I have read in our Canadian newspaper (The Globe and Mail) about brain research exploring the differences in social economic status (SES) of children, in particular regarding children raised in poverty. The June edition of Yoga Journal speaks to training the brain through meditation. The book Buddha’s Brain explores the brains of those who meditate, while the magazine ShambhalaSun has an article (May edition) on this very topic as well. All of these I have read (or re-read) in just one week. Interestingly, apart from the Buddha’s Brain book, and the research cited in the newspaper, the other two are magazines not known to be ‘scientific’ in nature.
“If you can anchor yourself to a ship of tranquility, you won’t be tossed about by the waves of stimulation”, Ted Zeff
I recently asked my spouse what lessons he learned from his father. His reply was how to ‘pace’ himself; to be cautious and not overly frenetic. His father lived to be 90, was a factory worker and a musician and helped raise five children. He was a calm man, did not complain about aches or pains, was easy going and like his son, my partner of many years, a relaxed man. He was like this in spite of the stimulation of five children and two jobs. It was a pleasure to be around him. He moved about slowly, pacing himself. Neither he, nor his son, have , nor had fibromyalgia. That goes without saying.
“What I am looking for is not out there; it is in me”, Helen Keller
The idea that fibromyalgia can be ‘cured’ through medications is erroneous. Drugs such as Neurontin or Lyrica can sometimes be effective to control the symptoms in some people with fibromyalgia some of the time. Is this really treatment or merely masking the symptoms?
I will make this blog very short and suggest that the best way to treat fibromyalgia is 1) to remap the brain; 2)control the excess arousal of the nervous system; 3) unlearn what we have believed to be either a biological/viral/bacterial cause of fibromyaliga; 4) stop the talk therapy that only brings up the same negative stories we have told ourselves over and over and continues to reactivate our nervous sytem; 5) stop looking for a ‘cure’ with medicines.