Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Digging Deeper Into The Pain

So last week,
I was feeling pretty great that I had gone 10 days
migraine free,
pain med free.
I'm still 19 days prescription pain med free.
But I had a headache 
and now

even though I have frustration,
I am at peace for the moment.

I am just curious
about why I hurt.
I am wondering what the message of the pain is today.
I'll be seeing both a chiropractor and physical therapist later today.
I am trying to give myself grace.
To do this "self-care" thing

It is leading me to things.
Good things.
Taking care of my diet and getting exercise 
have overall benefits
I am motivated
to do that
if I still get the pain.
So I eat greens, greens, greens.
Three times a day:
iceberg lettuce,
whatever greens I have.
I have my B's:
B12, B6, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Niacin.
Peppermint oil.
EFT ~ tapping.

I am trying to keep my mind and spirit
at a healthy pace.

This is hard.

But I am working on it

I acknowledge all of it
in my writing and creating,
trying to lean into it, listen to it, learn from it
rather than rage against it
or numb it.

I am gently seeking
in the Bible,
looking at the birds,
and kindly
putting together creative opportunities
for others to join me
in the fruit
of this journey.

Not doing art,
not sharing and teaching also,
is just as stressful to me
as doing it at 
a frantic, pressured pace.

So I am putting one foot in front of the other,
carefully, kindly, tenderly.
Learning, sharing, preparing to teach again.

Some days are good.
I feel good and hopeful.
Other days are discouraging, painful, frustrating.
But that is the nature of life.
And today I am ok with that.

Digging deeper into my heart and mind,
beyond the physical
into emotional and spiritual
looking for clues in all of it,
that show me
how to be well,
live well,
work well,
love well.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Backwards Progress

This is Part 2 of dealing with migraines.
Part 1 is here: Backwards Steps 

I'm walking.
I'm taking steps.
Forwards and backwards.
The backwards steps are to strengthen muscles
to hold my spine in place
in various places,
in particularly, my foundation... my bum
and to strengthen myself into better health.
Taking steps.
Physical steps.
Mental processes.
Prayer. Even imperfect, messy prayer.
Letting go steps.
Taking new ground steps.
Slowing down some things.
Accelerating others.

I am accepting.
Accepting that I do get migraines.
Accepting that they have robbed joyful moments.
Accepting the anger that has surfaced with that.
Accepting limitations.
Accepting possibilities too.
Accepting that more tea and less coffee is better for me.
Accepting that I cannot keep up a certain pace.
Accepting that a slower pace does not mean poorer quality, but could mean better.
Accepting that there are times for good enough instead of excellence.
Accepting that excellence can begin with taking care of the little things
like my health,
or accepting that my health is a big thing
and not a
I am accepting myself.
Fully.  Deeply. With love.

Taking time to walk
means less time for other things.

I am learning to accept that this is ok.

I am learning 
to be kind and gentle
instead of harsh and critical 
in my thoughts
and also
in the
and time frames
I choose.

If I continue to do
what I have always done,
I will continue to receive
the same things.

I have to do some things differently.
this will be a path
to being headache free,
or at least,
rarely having them.

I am learning to listen
for the voice of God.
Speaking to me of
unforced rhythms of grace,
rest for my soul,
keeping pace with Jesus,
working with Him,
recovering my life.

I am seeking help.
Physical therapy.
Unique techniques for emotions and pain.
Changing pace and attitude.
From the inside out.
Whole person help.
Not just one part.

I am learning
to nourish my 
body, mind, soul, spirit.
I am learning that
is humbling and human
not prideful and selfish.
I am learning that when I do not
nourish my whole self
good foods,
fresh air,
my body screams at me to
with pain.

It is that starvation of
self from good nourishment
that steals the joy from
precious moments.
That stealing is through things like
pressure for perfection,
doing everything alone,
expecting myself to have all the answers,
forgetting who I am in Christ,
eating junk,
not walking,
working hours on end in a chair,
thinking harsh, pressure laden,
frantic, anxious, critical thoughts.

I had a moment this week
when I had this vision pass through my mind
of Jesus
taking me by the shoulders,
looking me square in the eye,
with love and understanding, but firmness,
and saying,
"Just stop it. Stop doing this to yourself.
I am not expecting what you are expecting of you."

Matthew 11:28-30 came to mind as I walked this week.
The phrasing in The Message.

28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? 
Burned out on religion? 
Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. 
I’ll show you how to take a real rest. 
Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. 
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. 
I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. 
Keep company with me 
you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

 I'm learning that God's rules
are life giving
life stealing.
He is not the thief.
He is the one who came to give 
and you

I am learning that
taking care
of my human self
with things
and His Word
His pace
the path
to abundant life.

He WILL show me the path of LIFE.
In His presence is FULLNESS of JOY.
At His right hand are PLEASURES FOREVERMORE.
from Psalm 16:11
(my caps and paraphrase there)

there is this lie
I believe sometimes
exercise, nutrition, and God's way
steals my happiness, my joy.

But I am discovering
even just walking, 
not a power workout,
a variety of good, nutritious, flavorful, simple food,
not complicated fancy recipes,
even just chewing on a few 
of God's word,
just one small bite at a time
not engulfing the whole thing and theology at once,
paths of

And I can do it
one gentle
step at a time

That's the pace
for now.

there is good news.
Fewer migraines.
Down to one headache last week from three in previous weeks.
Much less pain medication.
Less painful adjustment this time.
My bum doesn't hurt as much.
It is getting better.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Backwards Steps

I toss around
writing about this
Because I want to share
good things.

But, here I am.
To tell my little story of pain.
Because sometimes
it is just good to know 
you are not 

I "deal with" migraines.
I struggled my first two years of college.
I remember going to the U of Wyoming campus clinic in Laramie,
and the doctor asked me if I had a heavy load of classes.
I didn't think so.
He did.
His orders: 
take four ibuprofen 
every day regardless of how I felt.
Stay ahead of the pain. 
And don't take so many credits next semester.

For the past 10 years, I have noticed patterns.

Fluctuation in hormones: migraine.

Public presentation: migraine either right before, during or the day after.

Opportunity to share in art: migraine

Christmas Day: migraine

Treatments vary
and I do all of them:
chiropractic care
essential oils
ice packs
prescribed pain killers

There have been seasons in which
my headaches
disappear for long stretches,
or show up,
with predictability,
one day a month.

But in the past few months
 they escalated to one, two

In fact if I look over the past six months,
almost every opportunity to share
to share my artwork,
even to have my family
at our new home for Christmas,
a long awaited moment,
accompanied with pain
that I then medicated
in order to press through.

All very good moments.
Joyful things.
People I love.
Work that I enjoy.
Good things.
Coming true.
Accompanied with pain.
Followed by medication.
And slow, hesitant returns to 
"the land of the living".

Three weeks ago,
I went back to my chiropractors
from five years ago.
My chiropractor ordered an x-ray.
Currently my sacrum (otherwise known as tailbone)
is tilted up and pointing backwards like a tail
instead of pointing down at the ground.

I could describe all the rest of it.
But I won't.
Simply put.
The adjustments are painful.
The day after is painful.

But hopefully,
I will find relief.
In the meantime,
my orders to 
"tuck my tail":
walk daily,
some of it
with other "tail tucking" exercises.

Physical therapy
will be added to
chiropractic treatment.

The hard part:
finding ways to manage my stress,
be with my family,
to teach, create art, create videos,
work with photographs,
do the things I love
in a way that does not
aggravate the condition
bring on
more pain.

I am
I am frustrated.
That every good thing,
it seems every "yes"
to a great opportunity
with it
physical pain
that steals my joy.

Certainly I battle
voices of condemnation
in my mind
accusing me of
phrases and words like
"collapsing under pressure"
"you can't cut it"
"choke artist"
"weakling, fragile, pitiful"
"you can't handle anything"
"other people have it worse, quit feeling sorry for yourself"
"suck it up".

Certainly, also,
I will make the best of it.
I love walking.
I seek ways to press on and press through.

I pray.
I struggle here too.
My faith for physical healing
almost none.
Honestly, I believe
that God would rather teach me something
through my pain
instead of outright
healing me of it.
Sometimes I ask,
 I ask without belief.
I don't know what to pray
about it anymore.
I ask for prayer.
People pray for me.
The pain comes.
The pain goes.
I still believe in Jesus.
I still trust Him.
I still have faith.
My pain and health are here.
My faith is there.
They seem to be in separate compartments of life.
I don't know if that is right or wrong.
Probably wrong.
But it just is like this right now.
I own it. 
I'm not going to pretend.
I've tried to push health and faith
 together and they seem to spring apart
like pillows pushed together
and then released.

I hope to find ways to work,
to say yes,
to experience life, 
without a guarantee
of physical pain
to accompany
what should be moments
of celebration and joy.
Right now
those moments that should be
most filled with celebration and joy
feel robbed
by pain.
That makes me angry.
I am tired of my joy being stolen.
I am tired of opportunities being painful.
I am tired of holidays with my family being painful
or lost in a fog of pain killers.
I want to enjoy life.
I hesitate to set goals now
because of fear it will
be so pain filled that I will fail
or I will work through it just to make it through
until I collapse in painful exhaustion on the other side,
or again fogginess reigns because of medication.

Maybe I say yes to too much.
Maybe I say yes to the wrong things.
Maybe I over work in my brain.
Maybe I have too much anxiety and not enough faith.
Maybe I just need to "chill out".
Maybe . . . . too much of this and not enough of that.

I just know that I am trying to let myself heal
 and find solutions 
and get better
all the while feeling like I am not 
doing enough,
earning enough, 
working hard enough.

I am trying to find peace of heart, mind and soul
while trying to get better.
Just keeping it real, my friends.
We all have stuff.
I know you do.
And I want you to know that I do too.
It is living life in this world.

I will find a way.
And you will too.
Always seeking 
beauty in the mess, 
the chaos, 
the pain,
the uncertain,
the confusing.
It is there.
It is here.
I know it is.
And I will keep seeking
I will.
So here I go, walking backwards,
and the cows watch me with
and it makes me smile.
There, right there,
Heart shaped stones and little bits of nature.
Beauty in the midst of it all.