Chronic Pain, Creative Writing, Inspiration, Sacroiliac Joint

The push & pull of when to keep going, and when to rest

Yesterday I was trying to drive home in rush hour traffic, along a route I wasn’t familiar with, and I ended up taking one wrong turn after another.

For those that know Boston, I was trying to get on Storrow Drive West, but somehow ended up going up Route 1 North, over the Tobin Bridge.

I took an exit and tried to turn around, only to find I kept making more wrong turns.  I thought I was going up a ramp to get back to Route 1, only to realize I was driving on something I wasn’t quite sure was a road.  (By the way, normally I’m a very good driver, it was just a weird area!).

And then, the next thing I know, I ended up in Chelsea, driving up this beautiful hill towards a residential area, and I look out and see this as my view:

Don’t worry, I pulled over to take these photos!

For some reason, it got me thinking of all the twists and turns in my journey.

All the times I’ve been mad at myself for trying too hard (like starving myself and running a billion miles a week cause I was afraid I was going to get fat).

And all the times when, looking back, I was afraid to try too hard and so gave up too soon.

***

Honestly, what I think now is that you just never know what lies ahead. And blaming yourself and giving up are, in a way, just our attempts to try to have control over a difficult situation.

The older I’ve gotten and the more I’ve learned, the more counter-productive I’ve seen that self-blame can be.

I‎t just isn’t useful; it doesn’t prove a point; it doesn’t get us any closer to the answers.

The truth is that there are answers I’ve found through hard work, and there are answers I only found because I happened to stumble upon them.

The one thing I wish I could really change, though, is all the times I held back because I was afraid of looking too hard. As if giving in and admitting I truly had a problem was the same as giving in to it, when actually that’s what it was going to take for me to overcome it.

Sometimes the right path will look like the wrong one, or the one that couldn’t possibly work (like me driving on a road I wasn’t quite sure was a road).

You just have to keep going and have enough faith in yourself to know that, ultimately, you’ll figure it out if something is or isn’t right for you.

***

Someone asked me the other day how I found my physical therapist Paula– the person who finally really helped me with the SI joint.

The answer is simple, but also complex.

Technically, I found her because I happened to do a Google search for “physical therapy sacroiliac joint” and the name of my hometown (where I was living at the time). The website for the practice she worked at popped up, with her online staff bio, where it listed the SI joint as one of clinical interests. Simple, right?

But there are so many more layers to this. Such as the fact that she’d been working there for over five years, and somehow never came up in any of my millions of Google searches. (I’m still not sure how this happened, if someone redesigned their website at just the right time, or what).

I’d looked and looked and thought I knew of everyone in our area, but somehow, I’d missed her.

***

I wasn’t going to look at all, actually.  I’d already seen FOUR other physical therapists, all of whom had either failed to help me, or made things worse.  I felt done.

It was my ex-boyfriend Tim who convinced me to look again.   He pointed out that maybe this was just what it took for me to find answers.  He got me to see that maybe four physical therapists wasn’t really that many.   Not if my entire life was on hold.

He told me about one of his friends, who, for years, suffered from constant sinus infections.  This friend saw multiple doctors who said there was nothing they could do, yet he refused to take no for an answer and kept seeking out other opinions.  Finally, he saw a specialist who told him that by luck of the draw, he’d been born with nasal passages that were too narrow.  This doctor was able to fix the problem with minor surgery.

So there are no hard and fast rules here. There’s no way to guarantee an easy answer.

The only guarantee is that if you waste time judging yourself, or being afraid to admit that you really have a problem, or assuming that no one will be able to help you… you’ll be more likely to push away your chances to find answers.

I finally found Paula through luck, probably because my search engine results changed.

But I also only found her because I had someone who cared about me to tell me I was judging myself and my situation too harshly; that I was jumping to conclusions about not being able to find help.

***

This started off as a post about finding answers, but in a way this post has turned into somewhat of a thank-you to Tim, as well.

So thank you, Tim. (We’re still friends and I’ll be sending him the link to this after I hit publish).

I hope you all are able to believe in yourselves and keep fighting.

And I hope you also, in one way or another, have a Tim.

Interesting Articles

My thoughts on the Boston Marathon Bombings

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When I first started this blog, I promised myself I wouldn’t get into any political issues on it.  I actually love discussing politics and current events, but in this space, I want to help people regardless of their political views.

However, this blog means a lot to me personally, and I have poured a lot of my heart and soul into it.  At this point I don’t feel it would be authentic for me to go forward without sharing with you all the things that have been filling my heart and mind for the past week.

I am a Massachusetts girl, and have been for all of my life.  The majority of my family is here; my friends are here; everything is here.  I don’t even like baseball, but I know what David Ortiz meant when he said, “This is our fucking city.”  If you have spent time in Boston, you know it, too.

My cousin ran the Marathon on Monday.  He was being sponsored by his employer, and was raising money for charity.  My aunt and my uncle came up from Delaware to watch, and the whole family was watching in Brighton when he passed by.

The explosions happened about a half hour later.  My cousin was unhurt, but he only crossed the finish line about a minute before the first one went off.  If you’ve watched news coverage of the explosions, you know that means that if he had been only a minute slower, he would probably have been hurt.

The thing is, it almost doesn’t matter that everyone close to me was okay.  I have never experienced another tragedy like this, but when it happens in your city it is somehow different from hearing it on the news.  When it happens far away, it’s more abstract.  You know it’s horrible, but, at least for me, it takes actually turning on the news, or seeing the newspaper, and seeing pictures of the victims and people mourning to make me cry.

Not when it’s in your own backyard.  I didn’t need to turn on the TV, or see images of anyone, for it to feel like a part of me had been attacked.

I know New Englanders have a reputation for being a bit cold, compared to people from other parts of the country.  And I will be the first to admit, we don’t seem very friendly when we’re behind the wheel of a car.

But this doesn’t mean we don’t have an unspoken bond.  I didn’t need to see the faces of the victims, or learn their names, to feel as though people I cared about had been hurt.   When I heard the news I immediately went to turn on the TV, but I was already shaking and crying.

There has been an amazing outpouring of support for Boston from all over the world.   A million gestures of kindness from people in all parts of the globe have meant more to us here than I can convey.

But there has also been something uglier that has emerged in the past few days, something that has made it a little harder to move forward with the healing process.

What I’m referring to here is the bizarre backlash that has occurred against the way Boston handled this situation, amongst people who don’t even live in Massachusetts.  Various bloggers and Internet pundits from other states and countries have published articles criticizing the people of Boston for “cowering” in their homes during Friday’s “lockdown.”  They’ve criticized our law enforcement and government officials, and some have even gone so far to see this situation as a big conspiracy theory.

Now I don’t know if this means I’m spending too much time on the Internet, or what.  People here are being nothing but kind to each other.  We all know that it could have been worse, that it could have gone on for a lot longer.  I think many of us expected to be living in fear for months.

But I know I’m not the only person who feels this way.  At this point it’s a pretty unanimous conversation among my Boston-area friends.  Why are people who’ve probably never even been to Boston freaking out about what happened here and claiming they know more about it than we do?

Of course, my frustration isn’t directed at any of my blog followers.  You are all a bunch of really smart people, and I have been grateful for your support.  I would, however, like to enlist you in my fight against misinformation.  I don’t want this narrative of Bostonians “cowering” in their homes to spread.  So here, instead, is a collection of things I want you to know.

Thoughtful posts reflecting on the experience of the past week:

The Boston spirit:

On people who feel the need to compare Boston to other tragedies:

On the criticism of the Boston lockdown:

Thank you to everyone who has written these amazing posts.  We are in this together.  And thank you to Pete Tschudy for the above picture.

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A moving response to the Boston Marathon explosions, from comedian Patton Oswalt.

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A picture of Boston from the harbor, on a better day.

This was originally posted on Oswalt’s Facebook page.

“Boston. Fucking horrible.

I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, “Well, I’ve had it with humanity.”

But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.

But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out… This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”

Thank you, Mr. Oswalt.  Your words have expressed what many of us are feeling today.