I keep trying to do this blog routinely.. I think about it but do not actually write anything. I have spent the last year trying to find ways to eliminate this pain or at the very least minimize it so I can be active again. I struggle with shutting my mind off, I think that is why hiking became so important to me. I could go in the woods and think, I do not think I was really shutting my brain down as much as just consumed with going faster and further than the day before but my mind focused on that instead of going all over the place. My goal is to be able to hike again. I know I will likely not be able to do the miles I was, at least not daily and honestly I should not. But I want to get back out there, take a book and hike a bit and then just sit, read, write, breathe deep and be mindful. Mindfulness is so difficult. I want to slow my mind so I can sleep rather than walk myself into exhaustion.
2 years ago when I decided to get healthy I never thought I would be full circle back where I started only worse. I started doing it to lose weight so I did not have to go back on Metformin for my diabetes. I could barely walk because I was so heavy and when I did start I got the worst shin splints. Those were painful and I never thought it could be worse but here I am. I spent 11 months losing 120 pounds. I ate super healthy but I have a very addictive personality so worked my way up to walking/hiking 10 to 15 miles a day. I brutalized my body and now I am paying for it.
I am exhausted, I barely sleep, my day is spent in pain. My doctor asked me to explain it and it ranges from constant non stop pain that consumes my every thought to excruciating tear and nausea inducing flares. I notice the flares last longer in fact this time it does not seem to be going away. I have decided to log my food daily to see if I can figure out what if anything is causing the pain. I am trying to focus on anti inflammatory foods.
Being in chronic pain is exhausting, putting on a smiling happy face is equally exhausting. I read and google and talk with my doctors to try to find solutions. I went from not putting anything processed in my body to a year of steroids. A year of spine shots, oral steroids, MRI’s and x-rays and still not answers. I am unable to exercise and between that, the steroids, and if I am being honest, not eating healthy as I could, I have put 90 of those pounds lost back on. It is crushing…. the diabetes I cured, the cholesterol and blood pressure I lowered have gone back up. I am breathless while walking even minimally. None of my clothes fit, I know all of these are first world problems but that does not make it easier.
I had been trying to do yoga which is difficult when you are so bloated and overweight you cannot bend, add the pain and well… it does not happen. Then I found out that yoga is one of the worse things to do if you have active piriformis syndrome in fact it can do more damage. It is a double edge sword, I need to strengthen my core and back since I had RAF but those exercises can make the syndrome worse. I have physical therapy stretches and I can do short walks/hikes but that causes pain, not doing anything causes pain, sitting, standing, laying down, you name it causes pain. When you cannot bend to put in or take out laundry, when you have to drip dry when you get out of the shower because you go into spasms and literally cannot turn or bend enough to dry off.
I have never felt so helpless than I have the last year. I hope that maybe by blogging about my journey to find answers for this I might help someone else suffering this pain. I hope that others reading it will share what they have done or read about. Sharing your life in the open is not easy but it can push you to be more honest with yourself and it can bring others into your life who have walked this same path.
I still believe this should not be about the scale or the size of my body, but should be about being the healthiest me I can be. I have to be so careful to not fall into the lose weight mantra so many follow. Does it bother me being overweight, of course it does. Being uncomfortable in your body is depressing. It is so easy to say do not let it bother you but we live in a world where that is not always easy.
With all that said, one thing I did learn from taking a pain class, is I am leaps and bounds better off than some people. I refuse to be on pain meds, I refuse to give up like so many in the classes I took have. I know I will never be 100% pain free and I can absolutely live with that, I just want to not have it be my every waking moments thoughts. I want to be able to go up to the mountain on weekends and hike, to be able to drive long distances so I can visit my family. To not put on the I am happy mask but truly be happy. Looking back on the pictures from last year I was truly, genuinely happy. Not because I was thin but because I could move, I had pride that I had altered all my medical numbers, that I was able to go to a normal store and buy normal clothes. The knowledge I was extending my life.
Please do not feel sorry for me, this is not me feeling sorry for myself although it certainly sounds like it! It is me trying to work through this, to perhaps find someone else who has gone through the same thing. To get ideas that may or may not help me or my being able to help someone else. Sometimes venting is the best medicine so I guess this is me venting rather than just driving myself crazy over thinking it in this brain of chaos!