the other side
In case you don’t know me / follow me on social media / have read any of my blog posts until this moment, I spent the last month in the Chronic Pain Treatment and Recovery Center at Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut. It was over a year ago that my brother and sister-in-law floated the idea that an inpatient treatment center might be the answer, a way to finally get a handle on my pain. It sounded cool at the time, but ridiculously impractical, not to mention expensive. But those were just excuses not to go. The real reasons were simple : I was scared to surrender my medications, the things I knew were hurting me the most but I wasn’t sure I could live without, and I didn’t think that my quality of life or happiness mattered anymore.
When the possibility of more surgeries came up as we discussed “the next step” I realized how profoundly I opposed the idea. It was as if I was experiencing déjà vu for the dozenth time, and I was unwilling to play along. Add that to my [then] looming thirtieth birthday and a 50% increase in my daily Oxycodone dose, and I’d officially had it. I was stuck in a pattern of repeating past mistakes, and doing so with no hope that things would be any different this time around. So, off I went to Silver Hill at what I thought was the end of my rope.
My desperation worked to my advantage for the first time in my recollection, as I was ready for the program before it even started. I decided weeks in advance that I was going there to work, and that is exactly what I did. I spent mornings doing physical therapy and aquatherapy, and afternoons in an informal classroom setting learning everything from what happens to our brains as a result of longterm opioid use to the biology behind meditation and why it’s actually a viable option for pain control. I learned tai chi, a laundry list of ways to improve my sleep, and the emotional components and processes that are contributing to my individual pain perception. I learned answers to questions I never asked, or never thought to ask, yet each piece of information was [and will continue to be] invaluable to not only manage my pain but also live a better life. I’m stronger and have more endurance than I’ve had in years, and I’m doing all of this without the help of one single medication.
With that, welcome to [still]moving, a blog that celebrates the “less traditional” but more accurately ancient ways of treating chronic illness. Since my new pain management plan is rooted in meditation [still] and exercise [moving] this blog will be, as well. And, if you choose to join me on this journey, I guarantee that I will continue to display my pitfalls and embarrassing blunders as much, if not more, than ever. I did not transform over this past month to a holier-than-thou-juice-drinking-vegan who only wears clothes made from sustainably-grown organic wheat…although that doesn’t sound too bad!
But I’m through with playing the victim, and I’m ready to actually take control of my health. So, if you’re looking for a blog that goes through all the procedures and surgeries and medications associated with a particular disease or condition, this isn’t the place for you. But, if you’re looking for real, attainable ways to deal with the lousy hand you’ve been dealt, you might find some helpful nuggets of information.
Or if you’re one of my family members / friends just using this blog to check up on me and make sure I’m maintaining my new skills and not letting old habits get the best of me, that works, too. Either way, I’m happy to have you.