Thursday, December 13, 2012

Breathing better

I finished another semester of my college courses yesterday, so I'm feeling a lot of relief today.  This semester was one of the more challenging ones for me.  Not because of the courses I took, but dealing with all the medical stuff, working full time, trying to fit in exercise and attempting to do well in school.  I felt like I was waving the white flag of surrender constantly during these last few days. 

Yesterday was the appointment I had for the MRI.  As you may recall, I posted recently about not being able to fit in the enclosed MRI machine back in February and how the office staff grilled me about whether or not I was bigger than I was back then.  So here's what happened:

I got the the office building and felt incredibly nervous.  I can't tell you why ... these people are relative strangers, so what they think about me shouldn't matter, but I suppose the truth is that I didn't want to be judged and I had no say that it was exactly what they were doing.  So I went into the restroom beforehand, washed my hands and looked at myself in the mirror.  There has been such drastic change in me since February, yet up to that moment, I had myself convinced that I wouldn't fit in the stupid MRI donut.  I had to ask God for courage to walk in that medical office and not turn around and run away from the fear I was feeling.  I walked in and immediately I remembered everything ... the smells, the way the magazines were piled and the western style saloon doors that separated the waiting area from the exam rooms. The receptionist who greeted me was the same one from the phone call inquiring about my size but she had never met me in person before.  As I was filling out the paperwork, she asked me why I wasn't seen last time if I had paperwork from before.  I looked at her with this are you serious? kind of look.  Didn't we just have a conversation on the phone about it??  I told her the reason I didn't have the MRI completed there last time was because the technician told me I was too big to fit in the machine.    She just looked at me and said, "Oh."  Hmm, oh is all you can say to that, huh?  I wasn't about to lose my dignity in that moment, so I finished the paperwork and just sat down to wait for my turn.

Then the technician came out.  I stood up and this man gasped when he saw me.  He remembered me, it was quite obvious from the expression on his face.  Although he tried to cover himself, that moment was priceless for me.  Absolutely, one hundred percent priceless.  He scanned my body up and down and tried to compose himself before officially greeting me.  I tell you what people - it's something I will never forget.  I silenced this critic of my life and I'll never forget it.  I was utterly humiliated in a way I can't quite describe when I was there before.  I wanted to crawl under a rock at the time.  Now I just wanted to fling a rock directly at him!  Maybe that's not the healthiest reaction and I totally recognize that, but it's what I was honestly feeling inside. 

So I went into a dressing room and had to take off everything except my pants.  I put on the gown that tied in the back and it fit perfectly.  My bootie was not hanging out, it wasn't tight around my arms and I could comfortably move around in it.  Now, it was the moment of truth.  I climbed up on the table, got into position with my back against the table and looking up towards the ceiling.  I put my arms to my side and the technician slid me in ... with absolutely no problem at all.  I fit, and quite easily I must say.  I wanted to cry, I really did.  It was a moment of pure triumph for me.

Fast forward to today.  I had an appointment with both my physical therapist and my acupuncturist.  I have been working hard at following the directions and doing all of the exercises the physical therapist has given me and it showed in how much more flexible my body was.  We talked about the pain I am continuing to experience and what makes it feel better.  Frankly, it's the exercise.  You know that old adage that doctors would always tell us that getting some exercise will do wonders for our health and we might have shunned that because it felt like a route thing they were all saying?  Well, there is definitely validity there, at least for a great number of ailments.  I realized today that although I don't want to be in pain and I don't want to have the physical limitations I do, in a sense the osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia have both actually been a blessing for me because I have discovered that doing exercise helps me feel so much better and I am in significantly less pain if I exercise in the day.  In fact, I wasn't going to exercise today, but ended up going much later because I knew it would help with pain.  When I saw the acupuncturist, she did a lot of extensive work on my legs and hips, which really help take significant pain away.  What my experience with her has taught me is that there are definite advantages out of stepping outside of the box (the box being traditional medical professionals).  The acupuncture helps me tremendously.

So it seems that I'm in a really good place of taking care of myself.  The food has been going great, although the early evenings when I get home from work are a challenge.  I just feel so hungry.  Hopefully that will get better as I remember to keep drinking my water and eating every few hours.  I am so glad I made the decision to go on the full food portion of the program.  The light headedness I was experiencing every day is miraculously gone.  In one fell swoop, it went away.  I am enjoying the taste of food again .. the sweetness in strawberries and apples, the freshness of salads, the savoriness of protein.  I am trying my best to appreciate the food and not have an inappropriate relationship with it like I used to have.  I'm feeling pretty grateful to be traveling on the road I find myself on right now.  Thanks for journeying along with me. 


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