My Treatment Program
Throughout my journey I have been contacted by hundreds wanting to know about my treatment program and how I have been able to accomplish being RX pain medication free, most days. Anyone who personally knows me, will tell you that I have always looked at things from a primal aspect, and my mind is highly analytical. I am not a surface person. My journey has led me down a path of being put on so many mind altering, organ destroying pain medications, that not only caused countless side effects, but almost took my life. More than once. I knew there had to be a better way. I wanted my brain back. But, I also knew that in order for me to achieve this, I would also have to research and experiment primal ways of treating my conditions. I’ve learned so much more than I ever imagined regarding the human anatomy on an anatomical, psychological, physiological, level. It was only natural for me to work my way through the core of every aspect, battle, complication presented to me.
Before this happened to me, my training and a large portion of my life consisted of being an animal behavior/care specialist, Handler/K9 Instructor, Equine/K9 trainer, and working with children of all ages through various programs. I spent a portion of my life as an Animal Cruelty and Neglect Investigator. I also mentored and served under veterinarians as a young adult. By the age of 26, I was overseeing animal care/behavior, kennel management, and the training/whelping program for a farm who provided German shepherds across the globe. This was not a small farm. There were days I served up to a hundred German shepherds. By the age of 29, I went to work for another Kennel Service Provider and remained there while I also continued to train horses until I began to contract out and work for myself. I furthered my education along the way, and was also blessed with an abundance of experiences. In time, I specialized in detection, area search/tracking, problem solving, patrol/protection, missing/lost person search operation protocols, pack structure and scent and scent theory to name a few.
When I was contacted for lost/missing persons search operations, I would be called in for not only my ability to deploy with a K9 (my Ms. Tish), or to oversee the handler/k9 deployment operation, but for my ability to operate at command levels with Incident Command and Search Command on every level of the operation. I can only recall one operation that was a flood disaster incident when my only responsibility was to deploy with Tish and clear areas. Tish was known for many things, but she was also known for her exceptional ability, commitment, and dedication to work through any cadaver scenario thrown at her.
You might be asking yourself, why I am sharing this here instead of getting straight to the treatment protocol. Enter, the Mental Battle, Part One. You see, the day that needle went through my spinal cord, I lost everything. Including who I previously was. I was no longer able to be that person. This was not self-inflicted. Another human being was negligent, and drove a needle through the cauda equina section of my spinal cord. To top it off, I wasn’t sedated in the least. This was torture. I was mentally and physically traumatized. As many of you reading this already know, my medical journey didn’t stop with this procedure. I remember the day I took down my dog wall, and put up my training gear. I could no longer even look at photos, or anything that reminded me of who I no longer was able to be. That choice was robbed from me. I also remember the day I put my dog wall back up, and brought my training gear out once again. A neighbor, who was also a part time care giver to me, came over with her children to help me. Some might think this is no big deal, and they would be wrong. It was a huge deal.
Since my journey began with spinal cord injury, I have been determined to find my new 100 percent. Not only did this mean finding it, it meant accepting it. This also meant accepting that what was my 100 percent one day, may not be so on the next day. This meant I would need to master the skillset of adapting and improvising in order to overcome. By overcoming, I achieved and I celebrated. Have I been knocked right back down on my buttocks along the way? Many times.
RSD/CRPS is the most painful condition known in the history of mankind. It is also labeled by the medical industry as hell and Suicide Disease. If you’re reading this, and you don’t suffer with this condition, please take a moment, pause, and think about that last sentence.
If hell were a clinical medical condition, it might look something like reflex sympathetic dystrophy or RSD. Dr. Nathan Rudin, John Hopkins University
Arachnoiditis and RSD/CRPS are each relentless and traumatizing conditions. Imagine for a moment if you will, that you are burning. I’m not talking about pulled or torn muscle burn, although we do experience that. We go through random spans of time where our muscles may do that in our sleep. I’m talking about the level of burning that would come from your veins being replaced with lighter fluid, and then ignited. I’m talking about the level of burning that would come from placing your hand, foot, or affected area in acid or lava. Only not being able to remove it. Imagine being stabbed by a knife or ice pick at random, without warning. Imagine an electrical war going on inside every fiber of your being, as if you had been shot with a Taser gun. Imagine the sensation of being covered in areas with road rash embedded with gravel. Imagine the air, or a slight breeze either feeling like flames, or ice, leaving you frost bitten. Imagine not being able to touch certain metals like stainless steel, grass with your bare feet, or a tile floor. Imagine having to go days without emerging in water to relax in a bath because the water burns you. Not being able to shower because the water either burns your skin, or the water from the nozzle hitting your skin feels like needles. Imagine your feet profusely sweating and swelling until the skin comes in layers and leaves them bleeding. Imagine the sensation of being attacked by hundreds of fire ants. Imagine never knowing what you can wear from day to day, because textures cause you pain. Imagine never knowing if what you could do one day, you were unable to the next.
Now, imagine this. You are left alone and isolated the majority of the time. Phone call conversations cease, either because they quit calling, or you quit answering. Family members disappear. Friends go on with their lives, as they should. But, the company, the human interaction with body language, tones and touch- that all but disappears.
Many who suffer from Arachnoiditis, RSD/CRPS (and other chronic pain conditions) spend more time with their treating physicians than with family and friends. The majority are either on the wrong medications all together, under medicated, or over medicated. Not every chronic pain patient shares the same chemical breakdown or response, nor they suffer the same the same symptoms. Yet the majority seem to be put through the same cycle and rotation of medications like clockwork, trying to find what works. Regardless, they are taking the only immediate solution that might prevent them from cutting off a limb, or committing suicide. They are taking physically dependent mind altering, organ destroying medications that produce side effects, which leads to more medications. They endure this looking for relief, to somehow survive. As time goes by, the body adapts to the medications and they are then prescribed a higher dosage, or switched to another medication. I personally feel just as is it mandatory for a patient to be psychology examined before certain surgical procedures, it should also be mandatory to perform genetic blood screening to test markers for interactions, metabolism rate, and to prevent adverse reactions. If you are interested in learning more about this a good place to begin can be found at www.genelex.com
I am an administrator for a global support group for Arachnoiditis, belong to several arachnoiditis/RDS/CRPS, and chronic pain support groups, and represent the International Pain Foundation as a Delegate. I have not run the actual statistics regarding this, but have you put thought into how many chronic pain sufferers also suffer from erosive esophagitis, gastritis, and GERD? What about opioid constipation? Let me share something with you. When you are unable to use the bathroom for days on end due to gastroparesis, opioid induced constipation, or any other reason- YOU’RE BODY BECOMES TOXIC! Those who suffer with chronic pain need to be concerned with the level of toxins contained within their body. This not only increases your pain, but it makes you sick.
I am not by any means stating that those who suffer from a chronic pain condition do not need prescription pain medicines. I am not saying they do not need opioid medications. There were times I would have eaten a bullet or cut off a limb had it not been for them. There were also plenty of times while medicated on opioids that I battled with thoughts of doing the same. However, I do think it’s possible for a large majority who suffer from arachnoiditis, RSD/CRPS to be able to get off extended release prescribed medications, and only use an instant release medication when absolutely necessary. After all, I have accomplished this. I hope that if you live with either of these conditions, that you could accomplish this in time as well. It does take time. More importantly, it takes a strong mind, consistency, determination and patience. I didn’t arrive at this level of owning my condition overnight. Not by a long shot.
I would like to believe that this would be the goal for the majority, if not all physicians treating chronic pain. I don’t know how many times I have heard, or read, where a pain doctor has stated that their responsibility was to control pain, not to know all about your condition. Meaning, they are not concerned with listening to you speak about the condition(s) you own. They don’t care to see your personal documentation of your pain. Meaning, they aren’t interested. Because you see, there are many practicing chronic pain doctors who simply shouldn’t be. I have lost count of the number of times that patients have been dropped and told to not come back because they have refused a spinal cord stimulator or pain pump. Why would any pain doctor who truly cared about their patient do this? Well, here are a few reasons that enter my mind. They spent their whole career as an anesthesiologist. Trained to look at a chart, and put the patient to sleep. They weren’t exposed to developing a doctor patient relationship. Maybe they took a look at how chronic pain is, and has been consistently on the rise and saw a Kah Ching factor. Another reason might be because you just prevented him or her from receiving his nice kickback. Or, perhaps they are burnt out. There could be a number of reasons. None of which are acceptable. These doctors have little to no compassion for their patients.
As a patient, you have to become your own advocate. Two things. Know your condition, and know your rights. For me personally, if I’m going to own a chronic pain condition(s) I want to know my condition to the core. If a diagnosing doctor isn’t capable or willing to provide this information, along with its given history and statistical prognosis, I will seek it out myself elsewhere. As a patient it is your responsibility to know and understand your condition, medications, recommended procedures and risks. It is your responsibility to make sure your medical records are current and organized. Whether you do it yourself, or someone helps you. It is also your responsibility and your right as a patient to view the documentation of your appointment before you leave. This is your medical record. If something isn’t correct, it needs to be addressed and resolved before you leave. You can also speak with your doctor regarding this and make an agreement that when you return for your next visit, you are provided a copy for review before they are added to your records. If your doctor gets an attitude regarding this, let them. They are still your records.
When I meet with a doctor, I see it like this. They are employed by me. The patient. Therefore, they work for me. My insurance pays them. What insurance doesn’t cover, is my responsibility to pay. If I am meeting with a doctor or specialist for the first time, that is when the doctor not only decides if I meet the criteria and prerequisites to become a patient, but also when I decide if the doctor meets mine. No different than when I take on a client or a dog. I work for them. If I don’t perform my job to the standard of my client, I will be fired. If I am meeting with a client for the first time, this is when they decide if I meet the criteria and prerequisites to hire me as their instructor/trainer, and when I decide if they meet the criteria and prerequisites to become my client.
I waited for over three years to meet with a specific doctor specializing in chronic pain. This is how my first visit went. Firstly, I endured the road trip while I was having a rough day with flare pain and inflammation. Secondly, I was dealing with the then undiagnosed complications of superior vena cava syndrome as well. Upon arrival, I was immediately taken back to get as comfortable as possible. The RN was friendly, pleasant and professional. As was the staff. The doctor comes in and introduces himself. I then introduce myself. I arrived with copies of my records, and I took my supplements with me as well to review. As he went through my records with me, we not only discussed them, he took his own personal notes. At one point, he had to exit the room. My journey was devastating to him. While he was out of the room his RN came in and told us that he may be minute, that he needed to take a moment to cope with his emotions due to what all I had been and was going through. He returned within a few minutes, and picked up where we left off. We discussed pain medications, and we discussed organics and supplements. Primal medications. He happened to be open, honest, and highly educated in that area. I hit the lottery with this doctor. He not only “got me” but he respected me and my wishes in regards to how I wanted to go about my treatment program. Thankfully, this was an afternoon appointment because we talked until it was time for him leave and pick up his children.
Fast forward. I arrive for my second appointment. The RN was exactly the same as she was before. Friendly, pleasant, and professional, as was the staff. I was taken back to get comfortable and wait for the doctor. He walks in with several papers stapled to one another, hands them to me, and asks me to please review them carefully and agree for them to be entered and filed as my medical records. He had documented and written several pages that included the timeline of events from the day of the spinal cord injury in 2009, to current. This included diagnoses and procedures, medications and reactions, trauma, trauma, and more trauma. I read his documentation carefully and agreed it was accurate. Before I left, I was provided a copy without asking for it. I honestly thought I was going to pass out from shock. This right here needs to be implemented as part of the standard operating procedures for all chronic pain doctors across the globe. And this doctor, well, he needs to be the one to teach it in my opinion.
Now, prepare for this. On this day I arrived in tears from pain. I was experiencing difficulty standing and walking as I was internally being electrocuted and set on fire. There were no rooms available immediately. I was taken back to the procedure room, helped onto the table, brought pillows and offered a blanket. The RN distracted my brain, gave me a tour of the procedure room and even open up cabinets to show me how clean and organized they were. She spoke highly of the doctor, how she was learning so much him, and how awesome of a leader and teacher he was. The doctor came in the procedure room, compassionate and understanding to my current condition, and shared with me that we could stay in the procedure room for my appointment time if we needed to. He didn’t want me to have to relocate to a room that was straight across the hall if I needed more down time.
In 2012, I met a doctor while admitted into the hospital for a horrific flare. Family and friends were in the room with me when he came in to meet me. He sat in a chair at the foot of my bed, and he asked me to describe what I was feeling. This is when my jellyfish in my spine analogy was born. It was the only thing I could think of to describe what I was feeling. He listened attentively with compassion in his eyes as I began to explain that I felt as if I had a gigantic jellyfish implanted in the center of spine wrapping its tentacles around my ribcage electrocuting me, sending high voltage frequencies throughout every fiber of my being. Tears flooded my face. I remember thinking to myself as I explained this to him that he was going to think I was either exaggerating, or nuts. You know what he did? He looked at every single person in the room, and said “what she has described, is no exaggeration. Have any of you ever been stung by a jellyfish?” The majority in the room replied with a yes. He then went on to say, “Now, imagine that sting amplified by 100 times.” I recall the shock on their faces, and tears ran down a very dear friend of mines face. He wasn’t finished though. He then said, “Now, imagine it amplified at least 1,000 times, and you can never make it stop. This is what she is fighting against. This is what she is living with. This is arachnoiditis.” We then went on to discuss my RSD/CRPS, and the history that comes with it.
Fast forward to 2013. When I was faced with fighting for my life. When I survived what I shouldn’t have. After ambulatory trips to local hospital which was epic failure, I requested on the last ambulatory trip that I be taken back to the hospital where I had met the kind doctor a year prior. I had been there several times since my journey began and the staff was always so kind and on their game. Every discharge, I would receive cards and letters from the nurses who took care of me. I arrived. Guess which doctor was on call. Yep. The very same doctor who not only understood, but who also finished my jellyfish analogy. He became one of my treating physicians, and he and his wife are now both very dear to my heart. He has not once told me I would never be capable of achieving any of my goals. Matter of fact, he has always encouraged them. He has always been supportive.
A little faith and encouragement can go a long way.
Now, for any doctors who may be reading this, isn’t this how you want to be known? Isn’t this the legacy you want to leave behind in the medical industry? Yes, it might take a little more of your time to actually listen, pay attention, and get to know your patient. But you know what else it takes? Compassion and understanding. If a doctor is practicing, and isn’t capable of exhibiting these traits, he or she is in the wrong field of expertise.
My Treatment Program
Go to the beach!!! Feel the sand beneath your feet!!! Float in the ocean!!!
Strict Anti-Inflammatory Organic Diet
I know, this just sounds awful doesn’t it? It actually isn’t. Once you implement an anti-inflammatory and organic diet, and stick with it for a few weeks, your body will thank you. You will feel so much better. After the three week mark, give or take, when you stray from this diet, you will notice an immediate difference. Your pain levels will increase, and you may even get sick.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Apple Cider Vinegar
I use apple cider vinegar in my smoothies. Adding a tablespoon to water will help prevent lactic acid buildup. You can rub ACV directly on your skin for aching and sore muscles. Bragg sells organic apple cider drinks that are absolutely delicious! AVC improves digestion, alkalizes and hydrates your body, boosts the immune system, contains antibacterial and antiviral properties, and boosts brain power. There are numerous ways ACV is beneficial to our wellbeing.
Maintaining healthy B-12 levels is essential in chronic nerve pain conditions. I keep my levels around the 1,000 mark. I have taken the injections for the majority of my life as I was diagnosed with pernicious anemia at a young age. B-12 prevents nerve damage by supporting the way our body replenishes the protective covering over our nerves, called the myelin sheaths. It is also essential for brain health.
Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium
I order my Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium supplement from MegaFood.
Dead Sea Salt/Pure Magnesium
It is of known fact that every single cell in our body needs magnesium in order to survive. If a cell doesn’t have magnesium, it dies. Although it is present in many foods, it is also primal for us to absorb magnesium through the transdermal route. Magnesium also becomes more difficult to absorb through the digestive system when one suffers with digestive disorders or opioid induced constipation. If you are unable to get in the bath tub, perhaps try a foot soak.
Builds immunity, treats infections and wounds. It relieves pain, reduces inflammation, and has hormonal, antiviral and antioxidant properties.
1200 mg 360 mg Omega 3
Be certain to verify it has been purified to remove all mercury.
Lypo Spheric Vitamin C
Lypo Spheric Vitamin C is absolutely a daily part of my routine. For those of you dealing OIC (Opioid Induced Constipation) 4 plus of these packets daily along with 4 tablespoons of coconut oil should fix you right up. Also soaking in pure magnesium will prove beneficial. If you remain consistent with this, you should be able to ditch the over the counter and prescription laxatives. This is coming from someone who could consume 1 ½ jugs of Go Lightly, take a Relistor injection, and still have no relief. If you have a low immunity, or get sick frequently, take the Lypo. If you are presumed healthy, take the Lypo. The link below is an informative video regarding high dose vitamin C infusions and Lypo Spheric Vitamin C.
MSM supports healthy connective tissue. It helps with arthritis and muscle pain.
Olive Leaf Extract (Organic)
Olive Leaf Extract promotes a healthy immune system, increases energy, and supports the cardiovascular system.
Organic Raw Honey
Pineapple Bromelain (Organic) 500 mg chewable tablets
Bromelain is an excellent enzyme to assist with the prevention and reduction of inflammation.
I take Raw Probiotics daily. I usually order from Garden of Life.
Pure Cranberry (Ordered from MegaFood)
Cranberries are high in antioxidants, and help prevent urinary tract infections.
Turmeric Strength for Whole Body (Ordered from MegaFood)
Turmeric is one of my favorite supplements. It anti-inflammatory properties are remarkable. I take the supplement daily as recommended. I use the spice to cook with, add a little to my smoothies, and I make a tea with it as well. It can also be added to coconut and applied to the body for aches and pains.
Vitamin D3 (plant derived) 50,000 IU weekly
Vitamin E 1000 IU
Wild Blueberry (Ordered from MegaFood)
Zinc helps to prevent bone loss, boost energy, fight against infection with its ability to stimulate white blood cell activity, and helps ease neuropathic pain.
Essential oils have changed my life, and are vital to my treatment program. Each of the ones listed below are the ones I currently use. They can be diffused, inhaled, and applied topically with a carrier oil. I do not recommend ingesting them. I mainly use pure, cold pressed, organic coconut oil as my carrier oil, but also will use sweet almond, apricot, jojoba, and olive oil.
I am a coconut oil addict! I use it to do oil pulling with coconut oil, and frequently use essential oils with this process as well. Peppermint is my favorite. Please research into oil pulling and consider giving it a try. I swallow up to 4 tablespoons per day. I cook with it. I use it in my organic smoothies. I highly recommend looking into all of the delicious and healthy coconut oil recipes.
Antidepressant, cures infections, helps the digestive system, reduces fever, relieves congestion and stress, stimulates hormonal secretions, and greatly reduces pain.
I diffuse, use topically with a carrier oil, and add a couple of drops to my bathwater for pleasant, relaxing soak.
Astringent, antiseptic, antispasmodic, respiratory tonic, sedative, and vasoconstriction are a few of the properties with cypress. It not only helps to prevent all types of spasms, but stops them upon onset. Cypress will also cause sweating, removing toxins.
I diffuse, inhale, and use topically.
Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiseptic. Works as an expectorant and helps cleanse the body of toxins.
I diffuse and use topically.
Anti- aging, Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, digestive, disinfectant, sedative.
I diffuse, use topically, and add a couple of drops to my bathwater.
Good Night Synergy Blend
All it takes is a couple of drops on the bottom of your feet to achieve a peaceful night of sleep.
Anti-fungal, antibiotic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antioxidant
Helps heart health, natural digestive and diuretic, liver detoxifier and stimulator, increases immunity, supports the neurological system and can alleviate symptoms multiple sclerosis. Works as a pain reliever and increases circulation.
I diffuse, inhale, use in bath water, and topically.
Antibacterial, anti-fungal, relaxant, sedative
Reduces anxiety, stress, and depression. Can be used for headaches, muscle aches, and nerve pain.
I use lavender oil topically with a carrier oil to treat my allodynia. I use it in the bathtub, diffuse it, and put a few drops in warm water and soak my feet in the evenings when I go to bed.
Antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, astringent, disinfectant, detoxifying
I diffuse and clean with this oil.
Analgesic, antidepressant, antimicrobial, antipyretic, antiseptic, astringent, bactericidal, diuretic, fungicidal, insecticidal, nervine, sedative
I diffuse, use in a bath soak, and clean with this oil.
Analgesic, antispasmodic, antiseptic, antiviral, bactericidal, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, fungicidal, laxative, nervine, sedative
I diffuse and use topically
Melaleuca (tea tree oil)
I use tea tree oil as a preventative and treatment for infections. I use in my bath soaks, topically and I oil pull with it. Melaleuca has cured my urinary tract infections by soaking in water for up to 30 minutes, and then applying topically with a carrier oil.
Muscle Relief Synergy Blend
This blend of essential oils helps me tremendously with muscle spasms and pain. I apply topically using coconut oil as my carrier oil.
Antibacterial, anti-fungal, antioxidant, anti-parasitic
I add a couple of drops to my toothpaste at times, and I also oil pull with Myrrh. I diffuse and use topically with a carrier oil. I have also found that myrrh helps with swelling.
Antibacterial, anti- inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, disinfectant
I oil pull with this oil, and use topically with carrier oil.
Anti- inflammatory, antimicrobial, balances hormones, expectorant, supports digestive system
Works great to reduce joint and muscle pain. And, it’s an excellent bug repellent! I spray it all around my home to keep the spiders away.
I diffuse, use topically with lavender essential oil, and I add a couple of drops to coconut oil first thing every morning to oil pull with.
Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Antispasmodic, anodyne, balances hormones, supports digestive system
I diffuse, use in a bath soak, and use topically,
Anti-arthritic, anti-rheumatic, antispasmodic, antiseptic, astringent, diuretic
I diffuse, and use topically. Keep in mind this is also a diuretic and you will urinate more frequently. This also speeds up the detoxification process to eliminate toxins that cause more inflammation and pain.
Antidepressant, anti- inflammatory, antiseptic, hypotensive, nervine, sedative
I diffuse and use topically.
I honestly can’t express how important it is to receive a massage. Other than the fact it is relaxing, which is good for your mental state and physical health, it also releases lactic acid built up in our muscles, increases circulation and stimulates the lymphatic system.
Meditation is essential to my overall mental and physical well-being. I am a Master Reiki Practitioner and also exercise yoga poses most every day.
Mind over Matter
Retraining my brain has enabled me to retrain my body.
There was a time where I little to no range of motion in my feet and legs. I was in physical therapy that took place in my home and could not accomplish simple tasks. My proprioception was all messed up, and to a small degree at the time of writing this, it still is. I was in a wheelchair and used a walker. The type of walker with a seat. This was most frustrating to me after leading such an active lifestyle. Being exposed to different textures was painful for me in areas I had feeling. Everything became a challenge for me. Everything. Through it all, my inner drive to achieve trumped that which my body was telling me could not be possible. This doesn’t mean I didn’t go down on the floor in tears wanting to throw in the towel. I did. This doesn’t mean I didn’t scream in pain, or out of frustration. I did. There were times I sat on my deck and seriously contemplated cutting my legs off below the knees, while I would all but drown in my own tears. I even spoke to my doctors about this to see if I was a candidate. I was told if I went that route the pain would still be there. This is referred to as phantom limb pain. Even though that part of the body has been removed, the nerves are still telling the brain it exists. This is an example of RSD/CRPS- HELL. I knew if I was going to stay in this battle, I had to be able to walk again. I had to train again. And you know what else? I needed to be able to stand in my kitchen and cook again.
Every single day I began working on my mobility. I would stretch, and attempt to rotate my ankles, move my toes. When they wouldn’t cooperate, I would physically manipulate them until they did. Even if I moved them in the slightest, this was an accomplishment. In time, after physically manipulating them, I began to be able to move them on my own. Every single time I would move them I was telling my brain exactly what I wanted to happen. If I were working on moving my toes, I would repeatedly tell my brain my toes are moving. Same with my legs. I wasn’t asking my brain. I was telling my brain. All doubt was removed. It didn’t matter if I were able to move them without physical manipulation or not, because in time, I did.
There have been so many times throughout my journey that I have been walking, and then bam. The legs become hindered and want to completely shut down. They would freeze. If I over- do it now, this will happen. There have been so many times when this has happened at random when in my mind I haven’t over-done it and I have screamed out to them, “Move Damn it! Move!” They did. Not every single time. But the point is, they did.
I practiced the same thing with textures. I would take items of different textures and touch them to my body. I would use a textured wash cloth and rub it on my body. Even though in the beginning this was painful to me, I told my brain this was a textured wash cloth and this was NOT painful. I would use sponges, stand on concrete and grass. Anything I could think of, I would do it. I would touch cold water, and tell my brain this is cold water, not hot water, and this does not burn me. I would get the water as hot as I could handle (I also had assistance with this so I would not burn myself as I could not always tell how the water actually was) and I would tell myself this is hot water. Another example would be the rain. I have always loved to feel the rain on my skin. When I lived in the Bahamas as a teenager, I would shower or wash my hair in the rain. When I was working training dogs and handlers, if it rained, we still trained. As long as there wasn’t any lightening, we trained. This was another aspect of my life that changed. Rain hurt me. When it hit my skin it felt as if I were a human pin cushion. In time, I began going outside in the rain and I would sit or stand in it. The whole time I was telling my brain “This does not hurt me” over and over. I can now feel the rain on my skin without crying from pain.
Retraining my brain and body allowed me to adapt, improvise, and overcome.
Adapt ~ Improvise ~ Overcome
In order to be successful at adapting, you must be prepared.
These are a few ways I adapt. Firstly, I never leave home without having a bag packed. Some of the items in my bag include, cool and warm clothes, Raynaud’s gloves, socks and extra shoes. If I’m not wearing my back brace, it is packed.
If I use my wheel chair, it is either because I’m doing something I need to keep up the pace with so to speak, or so I don’t overdo it causing inflammation, swelling, and absolute internal chaos. This means I have given up some pride, but in by doing I gained confidence. My condition requires me to get flat several times a day. I can only sit, stand or walk for so long. I will take a bench/booth and stretch right out, bend over and grab my knees if necessary. There is no shame. I will do whatever is necessary to relieve pressure from my head and spine. If I’m in a public place and getting flat isn’t option, I will go to my vehicle. No bench, no booth, no problem. I will take the floor or ground. I will do what I have to do. I absolutely must remove the intense pressure and pulsating in my head and spine, and cause as little inflammation as possible. If I don’t, my movements will become hindered, my muscles will begin to spasm, and nerves will begin firing off. If I cause too much inflammation, I will either have great difficulty walking, or won’t be able to walk.
When I go to someone else’s home, I may need to ask them to adjust the temperature or turn off a fan. I may need to put on my gloves to be able to touch certain things, get them warm, or protect them from air. Everything in our environment produces negative or positive energy, which is stimulation. For me, it is of intense stimulation. If I need a sensory break, I will go outside, ground, focus and meditate.
Grounding, is absolutely essential to my treatment program, as it should be to yours too. Earth is an electrical planet. We are bioelectrical beings, our body functions are electrical. Whether you suffer from chronic pain or not, Grounding should be a part of your daily routine. The human body generates more bioelectricity than a 120 volt battery. Every neuron in our body uses electricity to function. Every time you have a thought, experience pain or a sensation, electricity via our nerves is sent to the brain. This can be seen on a brainwave. Same thing with the heart. With every heartbeat, there is an electrical impulse. Our bodies require electrical transmitters in order to send messages within our body.
Some animals use bioelectricity to hunt prey, like the electric ray or shark. I classify grounding as being primal. I feel as we have evolved, and have advanced in technology that we have not only strayed further from of our primal ways, but we have simply forgotten about them. We now live a life surrounded by all sorts of household appliances, cell phones, cell phone towers, Wi-Fi, etc., which when in use, produce electromagnetic waves also known as EMF. Electromagnetic waves always disrupt our biological electrical currents and damage our physical health. ALWAYS. There was once a time we spent far more time barefoot, outside. We were balancing the energy within us, and absorbing minerals from earth. We also weren’t exposed to near the amount of electromagnetic waves. We weren’t attached to our cells phones, iPods, and headsets.
Suffering from a chronic pain condition means we don’t always have the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. Some may be suffering from depression, or maybe our pain won’t allow us to get out. Perhaps we are bedridden with a horrific flare. There have been times throughout my journey I have spent up to two weeks in the hospital due to a flare. I will be forever traumatized from the 2 plus weeks I fought for my life. Victorious, but traumatized. Coming off RX pain medications allowed me the opportunity to actually feel what was going on in my body, with a clear and coherent mind. I was able to see how much grounding helped me. The electricity surging throughout my body stopped. I also noticed that when I would use an electric blanket, the electricity in body would increase and then the burning would begin. Every single day I ground myself as often as possible. At night before I go to sleep I place my feet in a bowl of warm water and lavender essential oil. I am amazed at how much this has helped me.
I also began to research in great depths regarding nerve injury, nerve memory, and nerve regeneration. I began implementing essential oils that specifically assisted in proper nerve function. Now, as the nerves begin to regenerate, they will begin to fire off at random. This can cause increased burning, electrical pain, and spasms. There is so much information I could share on this topic, but I will save it for another blog post. For now, I will leave you with a few links pertaining to the central and peripheral nervous systems, and nerve regeneration.
One more important topic that needs to be addressed. I don’t feel arachnoiditis and RSD/CRPS patients should ever use ice in their treatment program. Ice can destroy the myelin sheath that protects our nerves, will cause blood vessels to constrict more reducing blood flow, and can actually cause progression. If you would like to read more about ice and RSD/CRPS please click on the following link. http://www.rsdhop.org/ice-and-crps.html
If you suffer from archnoiditis, RSD/CRPS, or any other chronic pain condition- you are on a journey that requires you to be fierce. Be up for the task, and own your condition. Beginning today, remove the words I can’t from your vocabulary, and watch as you begin to achieve what you once perceived as impossible.
Disclaimer: The contents of this publication are based upon the opinions of the respective author, unless otherwise noted. It is intended to share knowledge and information. This information is not intended to replace your relationship with a qualified health care physician. The respective author encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your own research, and to make decisions regarding your health care and treatment program with a qualified health care physician. If you are pregnant, nursing, or taking medications for a medical condition, consult your health care physician or professional before using any the products listed in this content.