feet on the ground

Posted: January 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

This morning I walked, and it made me cry – good tears!

If you’ve been around this blog awhile, you know I’ve been in a long, two-pronged battle.  First it was arthritis in my feet, and then a few years later, debilitating fatigue was brought on as a second element for more than a year and a half now.  I talk about it a lot here, but I try to mostly leave the subject alone when I’m “in person,” other than with a few people who are unlucky enough to be considered safe places to share the struggle, which must surely sound like whining more often than not.

I’m healing.  I’ve been getting prayer for my feet every Sunday at church from a friend who believes that my arthritis doesn’t have to be a permanent handicap.  At first, I had to just choose to go along with the prayer despite what felt like certainty that she was wrong.  That’s how faith works sometimes – staring at the impossible, seeing and understanding it as utterly impossible, feeling all the yucky feels that go with the impossibility, and choosing to ask God anyway and remember that nothing is impossible with Him.  If you are thinking that it’s not faith if it’s ugly and dark and doubtful, all I can say is my experience says otherwise.  It doesn’t always start out ethereal and strong.

Also I’ve been following the directions of my chiropractor, who is also a practitioner of “functional medicine.”  Her directions include a ton of supplements, some dietary things, and working on my stress levels.  In case you’re wondering whether functional medicine is a valid medical field, I can only say that I know of a couple of medical doctors who include it in their arsenal.  I just wasn’t able to get in with either of them – they’re not on my insurance plan.

I’ve been making my life work since last May by sleeping 10 hours each night.  This was a desperate measure I took when my fatigue started to hamstring me in regular life in ways that I couldn’t deal with, some of which were safety issues.  This was after I had asked my medical doctor for help and been dismissed – “all my ladies going through menopause are tired and lack focus.”  I found that if I put in a full 10 hours of sleep each night, at least I could function during the day and not worry about falling asleep at the wheel while driving.  I was still tired all the time and my brain was foggy (I didn’t know how foggy until it started to clear this past month), but I could get by.  I never saw 10-hour nights as a sustainable long-term solution – it was a stopgap measure.  My hope was that the chiro could bring me to a better answer.  I started with her solutions on December 29, so about a month ago.

Is it working?  Well, there’s this:  last night was the third night in a row that I slept only 8 hours.  I’ve finally begun waking up when G’s alarm goes off at 2:50 AM and just staying up for the day (if that sounds crazy, it IS the 8-hour mark).  I had started out having weird hours of wakefulness in the middle of the night, but it seems my body is starting to figure it out.  I’m going to bed, going to sleep, staying asleep, and then waking up – crazy, right?!

I’m waking up functional, rather than in the usual morning zombie stupor.  I’m still not a “little toaster” like G, popping up grinning and full of bonus energy, but I’m also not the undead.  I don’t have that “just pulled an all-nighter” belly ache that has been the usual at the 8 hour mark for a long time now.  This is an improvement, which has led to a return to exercise.

Monday morning I felt good enough to get myself to the basement, where G has thoughtfully set my bike up on a trainer, converting it to a stationary bike for the winter.  I put in 20 minutes of riding and did some stretches before my shower.  In the past, it has been my practice to push myself very hard, but I’m doing it differently this time.  My chiro is all about doing things gently and slowly – easing into them.  Being kind to myself.  I’m following her lead and starting small on the exercise.  I can go all hardcore later, maybe.  Right now, my body is not a hardcore body.  Right now, my body is a thing that’s been struggling and suffering for a long time.  It is healing.  I won’t disrupt the healing process by Getting In a Big Damned Hurry.

Yesterday I was thrilled to find myself waking again with G’s alarm and climbing on the bike again.  This morning it was even easier to get up.  I got on the bike, but the whole time, I was thinking how much I wanted to try walking.  Walking might work now!  While the pain in my feet is not gone, it is markedly reduced.  My friend at church who prays for me prays I will RUN again, and as I’m beginning to experience healing, I’m starting to yearn for my feet on the ground again.  I pedaled, and I thought how delicious it would be to get outside and walk.  At the 10-minute mark, I couldn’t take it anymore.  I got off the bike, put on my coat, and went out for a walk.

I only walked 10 minutes.  I’m not trying to overdo and set myself back.  But the air was clean and delicious.  The dark of the morning was as luscious as it’s ever been.  The quiet was perfect.  The deer roaming the neighborhood were a bonus.  I walked, and I smiled…and then I grinned…and then I wept for joy.

I’m healing.  I’m not forcing my body to perform with artificial stimulants.  I’m not “muscling through” – I used to do that, but I had lost all my margin, which took that option away from me.  I’m not taking medicine that brings a side effect that requires another medicine that brings another side effect.  I’m healing.

(Note:  every time I write about this, I actually feel embarrassed.  These entries are way too “live journal” or “public diary” for my comfort.  I don’t suppose all my usual readers are chomping at the bit to read about Karen’s Journey of Fatigue and Arthritis.  The only reason I make myself write and click “publish” anyway is the thought that there are other Karens out there, suffering and struggling with the same kind of thing.  If that’s you, I want you to know that it looks like THERE IS HOPE.  It looks to me like we can escape this prison of exhaustion and pain.  I’d also like it if your struggle didn’t stretch out as long as mine – maybe you’ll get the right help sooner than I have.  I look like a dork sharing about it, but if it helps even ONE of you, it was worth the embarrassment.)

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Comments
  1. Karen:
    Hang in there.
    Ive got a similar battle, only a fuctional medicine MD isnt in my insurance, either, (and the local chiropractor is a strict ‘crack your back’ believer).
    You COULD tell me what suppliments you’re using… I’m taking vitamins and minerals.

    About sleeping over eight hours, and a wakefulness in the middle: Its the standard winter sleep pattern throughout history, before the industrial revolution. There is “first sleep” and “second sleep”. People cuddled, got up, had a snack, maybe did something they didnt need broad daylight to do. Somebody wrote about visiting his neighbor!
    Its the standard pattern for long periods of sleep. Probably a brain wave pattern: so many REM, so many deep sleep, and UP. Then REM, deep, cycle.
    Keep writing. And God bless your feet!!

    • karen says:

      Kathy:

      I’ll write what I’m taking below, along with the few notes I have. Most of it comes from Standard Process – I get it through my chiro at her price, but here is the website: https://www.standardprocess.com/ – I’ll mark the stuff that comes from elsewhere.

      Adrenal Complex
      Withania – seems to be energy related
      Diaplex – for digestion, blood sugar regulation, and liver and kidney cleanse
      Immuplex – a multivitamin
      Adrenal Pack
      Ultra B Complex – from Pure Encapsulations (http://www.pureencapsulations.com/) – supports mitochondria function/energy; can help with morning cortisol level
      Purebiome GI – also from Pure Encapsulations, a probiotic
      Omega Rx – from ZoneLabs (http://www.zonediet.com) – I order this myself, as she can’t get it cheaper for me.

      I also have strict instructions to “eat my vitamin C” – it’s worth googling good sources of that, as I was surprised at some of the good sources. And to use Celtic sea salt. And to use Whey Basics as needed for quick protein (haven’t done that one yet). Finally, I am to ensure protein, fat, and carb at each meal or snack, and I’m to eat within an hour of waking each morning (which I still have not yet started to do).

      Sorry for the delay in answering!

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