Learning to Walk, Part 2

November 16, 2017

That last column was actually written several years ago, and I’ve come a long way since then. Almost everything I learned to help me with back pain and walking I’ve been able to pass on to my patients. And while that’s all very well, it’s not my preferred way of research – to learn about pain through personal experience. (Although it is a powerful motivator to do that research.)

I looked into magnesium deficiency and muscle spasms. I finally arranged to have massage once a month. I upped my chiropractic visits. I started using lasers to give myself treatments. I started having Zero Balancing. I explored CBD oil. I had acupuncture. Finally, last Memorial Day weekend, I caved and decided to start using a cane.

For while all of the things I tried did improve my hip function and reduced the pain some, I was still feeling like I couldn’t quite trust my leg to support me when called upon to do so. My balance felt off. And since falling on my face while crossing the street is right up there with my worst nightmares, I figured having a third leg, as it were, was probably a wise thing to do. Dammit.

Because things had improved. I didn’t shuffle, I was able to walk longer distances without as much pain. I wasn’t waking up every time I rolled over in bed. It had shifted location. I decided that I would continue to work towards improvement – which could be derailed if I fell, so I would use a cane as long as I needed it.

That, btw, is the definition of acceptance. I realized that I wasn’t moving well, and it hurt. Deciding to use the cane was always a ‘use the cane for now’ choice, and I would continue to look for ways to help my hip improve. I accepted that in these moments it hurt to walk and I needed help. I stopped obsessing about everything pain-in-the-hip related. And I continued to keep my eyes open for things that would help my hip improve in function.

Here comes another small miracle part of the story. A few months ago, I came across Tibetan Medicinal Foot Soaks, something that was creating quite a stir among other acupuncturists. If these worked as well as people were claiming, not only would I benefit, but so would my patients. I had great hopes that I would be able to reduce the pain in my hip, and that I would be able to walk freely once more.

Well, I put aside the cane 6 weeks ago. My leg feels like it’s part of me again, not something that will desert me to go off on it’s own direction. I have far, far less pain – even during weather changes. My sleep is better, and not just because my hip doesn’t hurt. Now that the pain is much less, it has come as quite a shock to find how much strength I’ve lost because, you know, The Pain. Now that I can walk more freely, I’m beginning to feel stronger.

It’s all a journey, you see. Life is full of them. We’d like to skip some of them. Others are easier to embrace. That’s all right, I guess, at least from my perspective.

Oh, and keep an eye out. I’ll be bringing the foot soaks to you – as well as this most amazing tea that, as a stress reliever, can’t be beat. As soon as I can think of a more socially acceptable name for it than IDGAF Tea. (Think about it.)