Sunday, July 20, 2014

Another Day in my life with TOS

I roll out of bed and my first thought is about the list of exercises I have to get through before I can do anything else today.
The exercises take about 15-20 min, twice a day, every day.
I look around for the piece of rubber tube p.t. gave me for the jaw exercises.
The list of exercises is on my cell phone...where the hec did I put it?!

Welcome to my new normal.

I mentioned my dog in the last Day in my TOS life post.
My sons family moved  from out of state to live with us for a while. They settled closeby and unfortunately the grandkids are allergic to dogs. So now I have six chickens to let out and feed and water (and talk to) every morning.
Then it's time for green tea and breakfast.
I'm loving eating cleaner, feeling a lot lighter and way less achy than I felt a few months ago.
Todays breakfast: two poached eggs (farmers market, free-range) on a plate of cooked chopped spinach, one slice of Ezekiel bread toast, with real butter. Also a glass of water.  Yesterday, breakfast was a smoothie of fruit, ground flax, almond milk, protein powder.

I have errands to run, so I put a citrus green tea bag in a 64 oz. water bottle and fill it up to take with me.
I stick keys in front pocket, phone and wallet in back pockets, shove purse with emergency meds and a snack for lunch  (apple, Larabar) under car seat and I'm on my way.
As I drive, I notice I can reach to push the button to change the radio station without a zap going down my arm. Those nerve glides must be working.

I'm trying to stop the habit of always bending my arm up, curling my hand in to avoid nerve pain when I walk. I remind myself of this as I walk several blocks. I notice that it's ok today.  I'm walking normally, not pushing on the back of my head or neck, not curling up my arm, just plain ol' walking.
That's pretty exciting for this TOSer.

As I drive home, neck pain is starting to kick in a bit, up into my ear. I tilt my head toward the ear that hurts and turn up the volume on the radio for distraction. Once I get back home, my priority is heat for my neck to help relax the muscles that are overworked and causing the knife in my ear to dig in. Breathe, sit. I can unload the car in a few minutes.
I used to pop 800 mg ibuprofen out of habit when this sort of pain cropped up. But it really does nothing for the nervy pain, and I've realised over the last few months that so much of my pain is related to muscle tension and spasm. If the pain does not let up enough to be bearable, I'll slap on a lidocaine patch or rub on some prescription compounded pain cream, and drink some more water. Then it's time for dinner, which has been super easy since we got a grill (meat, veggies-done). In fact, my daughter who has TOS and I put the grill together...took us three hours. Picture it- Two TOSers put together an 87 piece Grill. Fun times.

I take veggie scraps out to the chickens. I pull some weeds on my way back to the house, which leads to being in the garden pulling more weeds and picking green beans; which I carry in the front of my folded-up tshirt since I wound up in the garden unprepared for picking, as usual. Arms throb a bit from the weed pulling.

The grandkids are over for a couple hours. The 18-month old runs in and immediately holds his arms up and grunts for me to pick him up. The kid loves his food. I bet he weights 30 lbs. I can never resist that sweet face. I pay for picking him up, every time- with a knife in my shoulderblade that aches down my arm as the night goes on. But I can not allow TOS to take picking up my grandkids away from me. I try to be as careful about it as I can, lift with my legs, but after years of limited activity and restricted lifting it's going to take a while yet to gain strength, one day at a time.

It's evening, time for pills. Just supplements now-magnesium, vitamin d, fish oil, tumeric, B complex. I have been off all prescription meds four months now, and while I will fight to stay that way, some days I'd love to give in and pop a vicodin or something for the pain. Then I remember the side effects and decide to rub on some lavender essential oil and magnesium lotion and re-heat my heating pad for my neck in the microwave.
Time for a snack and more water. A square of dark chocolate, or ice cream made with just frozen bananas, or popcorn with olive oil, sea salt, and nutritional yeast flakes (It's kinda cheesy tasting. Don't knock it til you try it).

I watched a tv show and now its 11:00 pm and shoot, I'm SO tired, but I haven't done my second set of p.t. exercises. So I take a cleansing breath and just start doing them. I start squeezing my shoulder blades and counting, turning my head, gliding my arms, tuck my chin(s), do the ten other things on the list, then fall into bed feeling right with myself for sticking to the plan. Good job me.

I still get breakthrough TOS pain, and the challenge on those days is in my mind. I have to stick to the plan and not let the pain suck me back down and hold me there in it's grip. It sure can be a tough to tell my mind to shutup and choose to focus on things that will build me up. So tough.
Sometimes my mind and the pain work overtime on me and the tears flow.

In those moments, I choose to remember an inspirational quote, "Tears are like a river, they flow through you, to cleanse you, and to carry you someplace new."
So I take a breath, let it out.

I look forward to seeing more new places.

Gentle hugs~