Sunday, March 15, 2009

a little light on a rainy day

thank-you for your loving comments and encouragement, my friends. i am here to report that after 72 hours of round-the-clock dosing with anti-inflammatories, both herbal and pharmaceutical, i am feeling relief. i am in a very manageable place with pain at the moment, thank heavens.

whoa, now that was a crazy ride!

it is still always worst in the morning and the early morning hours leading up to getting up. then as the day progresses, with movement and change in position, the pain subsides. this pattern is actually one of the primary signs that point to ankylosing spondylitis. the low back and hip pain and tightness i have had for years upon waking (that went away during the day, so i didn't seek treatment) were early warnings.

granted, i do not have a positive diagnosis yet. but of course, i have been doing lots of research and reading this week. and i have to admit, this auto-immune, arthritis thing makes sense, given my medical history. for a long time, i have thought something was wrong, but i couldn't figure it out. my chronic inflammation conditions have lingered and lingered, even with years of treatment and very careful, consistent care on my part. last summer my doctor said it just doesn't make are doing everything right, yet you are not getting better. at that time, she suggested that a systemic inflammation was going on, perhaps a reaction to gluten. i went 100% gluten-free in september 1st.

our whole immune system starts in the gut. that is why healing with food is so profound and powerful. yet, i have only been doing this for six months. not enough time to heal years of damage to the intestines. i don't know how long that takes, actually. or how to measure when i get 'there'.

many people with ankylosing spondylitis find following a strict no-starch diet works wonders for them. i may have to say good-bye to pizza (even the gluten-free kind) and potatoes forever. considering i have already given up all bread, cakes, cookies -one wouldn't think this is a hardship. yet i find i still need some comfort foods, once in a while. perhaps after a long period of healing, i can have those things in small amounts, occasionally. i have read of people who have managed to get there. so i have some hope.

at the same time, given the thought that this disease works to fuse my bones together and cripple me, giving up a couple of foods seems like, um, well, small potatoes. sorry - i get both bad puns and ankylosing spondylitis from my dad. i would do anything to avoid the pain i experienced the past two weeks.

now we are just waiting for the blood work to come back from the lab with some answers. i hope for real answers, some direction to pursue, something solid enough to get me into the specialist. you know me, i like to solve things. being in limbo is very difficult for most of us. being in limbo with an expiration date on my insurance is making me crazy with stress.

yet it is such a part of life. limbo. did you ever notice how much of our lives we spend waiting? waiting for answers, waiting for change, waiting for different weather, waiting to do this or that very important thing...waiting for life to settle down, waiting for something to save us, waiting to speak up, waiting to let go...

we like action, we hate limbo, yet we wait. sometimes patiently, often with fretting impatience. that would be me, the fretting, obsessing type of impatience. it is something i really don't like about myself, something i seek to meditate away.

and then i remember. in meditation, you just sit with what is. sit with that awful impatience and one breath at a time, try not to judge. allow the parts of myself i view as weak, nasty, just plain bad - to just be.

this is more challenging than giving up pizza, or sticking with exercise. yet i know this is where i must work. my stress level and how i manage it has a huge impact on the emotional life of each cell in my body. i have always held my stress in my gut, so it comes as no surprise there is damage to heal there. i am ready to accept that the lion's share of that healing may need to be spiritual and emotional. i can't afford to slack off on this and waiting is causing me true harm.

and by the way, i have learned that many people with
ankylosing spondylitis treat pain with medical marijuana. so my plea in the last post wasn't crazy at all. just like any other herb, you can take it in a tincture. although chocolate truffles sound like a great way to take medicine!

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