Planning for Balance

My cognitive-behavioral chronic pain therapist is brilliant at her work. She paid attention to me—the patient and the person—until she figured out how to nudge me, ever so gently, into a place where I could see things with my own eyes.

I’ve always resisted anything that involves the words: “You can’t do this or that anymore.” The aforementioned chronic pain therapist worked with me, gained my trust, let me see that she, too, believed that my opinion about how to deal with my body’s pain is as (if not more) important than what any health care professional could ever suggest. She watched me rage and shake my fist at the pain until I—not her; never her; never anyone other than me—was ready to say, “Maybe my body can no longer do this… But with a lot of work, I can certainly do that without hurting myself. All I need is some learning and planning until I find my balance.”

In the past, other physicians tried to feed me the I’m-a-Doctor-So-I-Know-What’s-Best-for-You approach. Even typing the words makes me bare my teeth and growl. Seriously, my Wicked Luvs, those doctors would’ve had an easier time convincing a jaded mule to moderate a symposium on the benefits of pliability, than getting me to accept a theory I can’t make sense of or to try a medical treatment I can’t understand.

When I started having serious shoulder and hip problems, about a decade ago, my doctor at the time suggested that I should stop writing. I submitted a request for a new doctor as soon as I got home. For me, writing is not just something I do… writing soothes my mind, keeps unwelcome thoughts and nightmares away, lets me go to all those places my beat up body can no longer visit in the flesh.

If I ever stopped writing, a bit of me would begin to die before I put down the pen… and the rest wouldn’t be far behind. No one who has known me for more than three days could miss this fact about me: words are my souls food and the way I share the best parts of my Self with others. If I had to keep all my tales inside, I would probably implode… worse yet, everything that makes me who I am would spill into the world without shape. I know me well enough, my Luvs, to know this wouldn’t be a good thing for anyone…

I’m sure the tone of this post has already warned your hearts; told you that this won’t be a happy entry. And it isn’t. I ramble when I’m nervous… when I’m sad… when I’m crying… Well, I’m grinning, too… mostly because my weird always finds a way to balance my pain… Anyhoo, I said I would stop rambling, right? So here it goes: the issues with my hip, shoulder, nerves (in the neurological sense), back, respiratory system and more recently, my eyeball situation, are forcing me to slow down even more.

A few months ago, I cut my writing productivity by more than half… Now I must reduce it to about one third of the original. Reading on computers must follow the same cuts—focusing on a screen for more than fifteen minutes, even with minimal or no illumination, hurts my eyes and gives me a headache. Reading paper books and electronic books has gone down to only three pages for the first and about five for the second. It’s not just my eyes… I haven’t been able to find a way to hold a book or ereader without aggravating my shoulder, lower back, neck or the left side of my ribs.

But all isn’t lost. Fate can be mean, even cruel, but she is never evil: I can do the audiobook thing all night long! (And all day long, too, but “all night long” sounds way sexier *tee-hee*).

So how will the changes affect my blogging? I will publish posts only twice a week. And I will visit your cyber-homes with less frequency than I’ve done it in the past. After today, I plan to post on Tuesdays and Fridays. My Tuesday posts will bring a short story… a poem… or a general entry about words and/or the writing process. Friday will offer a combination of poetry and living… which, if you think about it is actually the same thing. For what’s life if not a circular poem about the world and its creatures?

After writing this post, I feel one thousand and thirteen times better than I felt when I started thinking about my latest health issues. That’s what words do to me and for me: when my circumstances suggest that the world my body has always known is about to end, writing reminds me that “everything exists in the word.” While I have words, I will always be able to plot and shape my own tale. And my characters’ of course… ;-)

I’m smiling right now… Just so you know… Oh, if the Ellipses Police questions you about my whereabouts, tell them you’ve never heard of anyone matching my description. Then run fast. 

this lacey shoe was made for writing;
try telling me otherwise…
and I’ll kick you

Note: If any Real Toad is reading this, know that the change won’t affect my posts at the Imaginary Garden. And to my Wicked Luvs, who haven’t visited The Garden, I urge you to stop by for a reading stroll: yummy words sprout there.

51 comments:

  1. You keep writing in what ever way works best for both you and your body. We'll be here to hungrily gobble up all those delicious words when they appear and enjoy savoring them in between. No one can ever tell us what we don't want to hear, somethings we just gradually need to figure out for ourselves, when we do then it's often easier to look for the solutions that we know will work for us. Words soothe your soul Witchy Wordsmith and souls need soothing just as much as bodies, those words will still be in your head, they won't leave you. Have you got a recorder that you could speak them into? too save your precious writing time for when your body is feeling at it's best.

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    1. I have a recorder--it's one of the reasons why I gave in and let me nephew get me a smartphone. And I started using a speech to text program a little while back. I think I've been having more difficulty with the denial than with anything else... but it seems that nasty fellow is going away. Thank goodness!

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  2. Find a way that helps you to cope with what you need to do. The computer will read to you (and isn't it a giggle that the app is called the Narrator?). We'll be here, whenever you can get here. I'm sorry to learn you have to adjust something that means so much, and is so important. I'm very worried about the eye, too. I hope this situation improves or, failing that, you're able to find a way to make it all work for you. That's what's important.

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    1. My Piano Man and I were discussing the issue last night--I think he worried more than I do. Not in a bad way, but you know how hard it is to see someone you love hurting and not being able to do anything about it. But I told him that I got lucky. If all these things would have happened 15 years ago, I would have a very difficult time. As it is, there are so many ways to make it work than right now my stubbornness and annoyance because I can't do things exactly the way I want them is worst than the actual illnesses... if that makes any sense.

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  3. If anyone can turn life's lemons into lemon cheesecake it's YOU, Magaly! I know you will rise to these challenges and not only triumph over them, but no doubt discover unexpected silver linings. ❤ ❤ ❤

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    1. I've been telling myself that Fate just wants to remind me how strong I am. And how yummy lemon-everything can be. ;-)

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  4. Dear sweet Witch, I rage against the fancies of Fate with you. I'm so thankful you have some good healthcare professionals with whom to work now. I gnash my teeth at the necessity, but it is what it is and will be what it will be.all we can do in life is adapt to the changes. That shoe looks like it was made for the purpose of wearing while one wiggles ones poetry maker. Hang in there my dear. I feel your pain.

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    1. Now, I must write something titel "Wiggling My Poetry Maker"or a variation thereof. What a delicious imagery.

      We shall rage together. Then make the best of it!

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  5. We adjust where we must. I hope it gives you ease.

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  6. Magaly this post makes me both happy and sad, I'm sad because you are again having to make adjustments you don't like or want to do; At the same time I'm also happy because much like myself you always find a way to smile through the pain.

    Like the others have said you do what you need to do, and we will be here for you no matter what.

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    1. If we had been sitting on a bench together all the passersby would be terribly confused by our mixture of emotional displays, lol!

      Thank you, Ash. ♥

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  7. Magaly, you must do what is best for your health and pain management. I'm so glad you will still be posting twice a week! You will always find a way to keep sending your beautiful soul and artistry out into the world!

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  8. I am so sad that I won't be reading more of your beautiful words.

    You do what you have to do, though, and take care of you.

    And please know that I ask the following out of genuine curiosity and feeling like I have to cover all of my bases (it's the nurse in my, I'm sure), and not because I don't think you are smart enough and capable enough to cover them yourself. Clearly you are.

    It's just that I know from walking with friends and loved ones down new paths of ability (or lack thereof) that there is a lot of adaptive equipment out there. Programs that can read to you, programs that can type for you. Have you looked into any?

    I love your voice, and like I said, hate to lose any of it. Especially since I feel like I just found you, and you're clearly a Kindred Spirit.

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    1. I started using different assisting programs about a year ago. I started with text-to-speech and then speech-to-text and then screen reader. I know how lucky I am to be experiencing these things at this technological time. But you know how it is, the moment Fate tells us that we must do this or that, most of us kick and buck. Or maybe it's just me and my bullheadedness. This, too, shall pass. But I'll probably complain every second until then, lol!

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    2. You can complain all you want. Just don't go away. ;)

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  9. After I read this post I lay down on the bed for a while, trying to imagine a life where people constantly told me I couldn't do this and that - and I realized I couldn't. My whole life people have been telling me I CAN do this and that and the other (or even SHOULD), "all" I need to do is to change my outlook on things/life.

    I wish I had something comforting to say, but from looking at our two different experiences all I feel I can do today is quote Geena Davis in A Long Kiss Goodnight; "Life is pain, get used to it."

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    1. “Life is pain,” huh? Well, I’m a Guerrero (warrior in Spanish) I will fight until pain feels good. That will show Life and her sadistic ways. Damn, it seems in the end Life still wins… Hm, I might have to think this becoming a masochist business through…

      In a more serious note, I think those who tell me “you can’t do this, you’re broken” and the ones who tell you, “you can do that, only if you tried harder” are the same people. They live in an unrealistic self-crafted world where everyone is just like them. I think that if any of them was ever taken by your depression or my chronic pain, they would probably crumble and die.

      I don’t think “life is pain.” But living is indeed full of hurtful things. I’m sure your terrible days make you value the happy days with your Cinnamon Man. Just like my horrible days help me treasure the days in which the pain is just a dull annoyance shadowed by my smile and a good dance.

      You know, I think we need to write something together one of these days… Now, I’m off to see a man about an eyeball. ;-)

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    2. P.S. Can you imagine a painless world? What other feelings would be missing from such a life? Yep, we need to write something together.

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    3. Trust Magaly to put a smile on a depressed person's face :)

      How would two people living on opposite sides of the world go about writing something together? It sounds intriguing.

      Good luck at the doctor's!

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    4. Hooray! And that puts a smile on my own face.

      I've often coauthor pieces with writers I've never met. Mostly via email. I've been thinking that if a few of us put our pains together (describe some of the bad, the worse and the surprisingly not so horrible) we would be able to understand each other so much better. Just a thought...

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    5. I love that thought.

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    6. Good! I shall email you about it as soon as life gets a tad less insane. ♥

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  10. Well at least now we will have time to read other blogs as well as yours...I'm sure I've missed about a gazillion posts....you are such a bounteous giver of word <3 XXX

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    1. You are so right; writing fewer posts will give others time to catch up. And it will give me time to read (listen to) words by others, too. Win, win. ;-)

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  11. Dear One,
    I haven't known you long but in that short time I've come to love your energy, infectious writing style, the way you say "Piano Man" ~ I had no idea you were experiencing pain of this magnitude. Whatever you need, however you structure each day of your life .. I know the choices you make will be intelligent, well crafted ~ and basically YOU!

    Sending bunches and barrels of love,
    Helen

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    1. ... And now after exploring more of your blog I see how much you share .. in comments, in your stories and in your poems. Forgive me ~ I have not been a 'good' listener ~

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    2. Good listener sometimes have to listen to so many at the same time. The important thing is to get there eventually. That's what I say. Thanks so much for your words and your melodious energy. Yep, I can't think of you without thinking of music. ;-)

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  12. *hugs* Limits suck, though their job is to protect us from even more suckage and limitation down the road. I know I have a hard time accepting them, just as much as my children had a hard time accepting naps were in their best interest when they were small. But I'm hoping the limits buy you the rest your body needs to function and stay relatively OK for a long time to come.

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    1. I'm discovering that limitations are great focusing tools!

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  13. The things we love can only be done if we're able to do them. Make whatever cuts and wriggles you need to. Your health has to come first, and besides, you might find the limitations on your time force the creativity to come out in new ways. Inspiration and Art is like water. It fits the shape of its container and always finds a way through whatever obstacle is in its path. You'll excel, I'm sure. We all are. Just get a reading program, use voice to text, whatever you can. Those limitations will start becoming the new way you express yourself, mark my words. Keep Paddling, Magaly, and keep us all informed.

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    1. Such a wise, gent, Señor Narrator.

      Paddling...

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  14. Reading your post caused me to rage my way through dinner, vocalising to my hubbie EXACTLY what I thought of Fate and what I wanted to do with it.....the unfairness, the bare faced cheek of it.........how such an atrocity, a deprivation could be presented to you, to us all...........My dear Magaly, I'm sorry that this sucks, more than you could know and more than anything I want to thank you - your blog has and still means so much to me personally and has helped me cling on to the' me' that has often felt obliterated by the darkness of Life, certain family and stuff - so much stuff - and has helped me fight against it all and finally find the true me again.(sorry for the dramatic cliche sounding spiel but it is true - every word - and I can't think how else to say it! ;) )

    What causes a smile to spread across my face is the fact that I know you are a stubborn Witch who kicks butt and doesn't take being told no without a fight, a cackle and a few mangoes thrown in for luck and that you are being cared for and loved by the best Piano Man (with the exception of mine!) in the whole world and a Little Princess who sparkles as all princesses should As for your writing......quality matters more than quantity and I know that whether you write 2 or 200 words you will leave us reeling and wanting more!!!!

    P.S Going swimming with your daughter at 42 and doing numerous lengths, when your body is overwight, unfit and hasn't seen a swimming costume,pool or indeed any exercise very much for a long, LONG time, is a choice that results in chronic pain, the inability to move and back to back ibruprofen for 48 hours. Denial and a bucket load of realisation about my body for afters.

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    1. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0049V8ZBM/ref=s9_simh_gw_p229_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-5&pf_rd_r=0HMG0AV3K2T3XJ3MZP4E&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938811&pf_rd_i=507846

      Don't know if this link will work as am not tech savvie at all, but in case it doesn't, I found something called a Book Seat - Book holder on Amazon.com which I though looked really cool and wondered if it might help re the issue of you holding a book/kindle ?

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    2. Yesterday, I was telling my brother and his wife that one of the reasons I blog is that it helps stay in contact with kindred souls who make me feel like nothing is too much. You are certainly one of those. We are good for each other. Thank goodness for the internet!

      I LOVE the Book Seat. I haven't seen it before. Everything I've found in my searches is made of wood or some kind of hard material. This seems perfect to set on my legs and shift around if needed. I think I'm getting it. Thank you! ♥

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  15. Thank goodness for the internet indeed!

    Yey - am glad you love the book seat! I first saw it on TV a year or so ago on The Book Channel when we had Sky TV and remembered it when you saif the problem you were having. Pics please if you get one!!! There are various colours too.

    Hope your eye is feeling a bit better...?

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    1. My eye is getting a bit better. Rather s l o w l y, but better is good at any rate so I'll take it!

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  16. My friend, we are with you 100%! I am so happy, you will continue to blog! I know I always say this, but PLEASE take care of you! You are a special lady!
    Big Hugs ;o)

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    1. Sending you all kinds of hugs.

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    2. Right back at you, my dear Crow Goddess. ♥

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  17. As someone who suffers with chronic pain (atypical facial neuralgia) I can relate to many of the things you talk about here. Writing and art both help me deal with pain. Hoping you find some relief. Enjoy the audio books. Hugs.

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    1. Right back at you. May you, too, always find relief. ♥

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  18. I think it is good that you are setting boundaries about how many times you can post per week and how many visits you can make to others. When it comes to your health these things must be done! I will still look forward to your posts, and send so much love and good energy to you!

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    1. Indeed. Self-established boundaries are often times the last be of control we can have over our situation. Thanks sooo much for the energy!

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  19. Being a chronic pain sufferer myself, I marvel at your ability to laugh in pain's face! I always found therapists to be akin to torturers and the title "chronic pain therapist" brings forth some pretty vivid images!

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    1. I've had some physical and occupational therapists who will probably be the faces of my nightmares for quite some time. But this latest team is a gift from the Universe. I've never had a team of physicians who are this gentle and this dedicated to their work.

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    2. I hope you find relief, Gail. Chronic pain can be such a bastard!

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