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Ailments of the heart

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I went to a workshop on addictions today. I’m not currently addicted to anything (that I know of…maybe blogging?), but I had to give up a bunch of things cold-turkey when I suddenly became debilitatingly ill. These included chocolate, cookies, and overworking. I still miss them. I went to the workshop to see if I could clean up the pull I feel when I think about no longer having food allergies or being well enough to be a productive, contributing member of the human species.

(If I don’t learn from previous mistakes, I’m sure I’ll repeat them again!)

The workshop was held on the third floor of a walk-up on the Lower East Side with very steep steps. Maybe in November this would have been no big deal. But now I’m back to problems going up and down stairs, problems with my legs/hips/back and problems with my heart.

By the time I reached the apartment, my heart was pounding and I felt something in the direction of faint. So I went in and lay down in fetal position on a bed for ten minutes. When I got up, I could tell my blood pressure was still low and I felt a constricting pressure in my chest. I’ve felt this after coiling, when I’ve started various antibiotics, in the subway, when I’ve tried to walk too far, in yoga, etc. It’s a familiar physical sensation.

I hooked myself up to a heating pad (for my never ending spine pain), started guzzling water, plopped in a chair and put my feet up on a ottoman. The sensation that I couldn’t breathe and of my heart feeling squeezed lasted another 40 minutes.

The rest of the day, I only had to contend with joint and spine pain.

Of course I was dealing with the other kind of heartbreak the rest of the day. We spent time thinking and talking about what we were using our addictions to suppress…like overworking in response to hopelessness about ever finding a partner.

Heartbreak 1

It got me to thinking about other heartbreak I’ve recently experienced. On an easy to share note, Punky and I have been mourning the loss of PJ, the second of my two cats, who died December 2. The three of us lived together for 10.5 years, in 4 different places,  with (not concurrently) 6 other pets belonging to other people, and got along really well together as a trio.

So I was sad to lose PJ. When I first got her, she didn’t let me pet her for about 2 years. By the time she started to get sick, she routinely cuddled up with me and chatted while I petted her. She even let some of my friends touch her…after she smelled their shoes of course. She and Punky were the best of friends, hanging out together all the time and huddling together when they were nervous about strangers. Punky still acts heartbroken, more so now that he’s given up hope that she’ll return.

(Yes, I can see it on his face and in his behavior. He used to wait by the door after she left. Now he goes over there and sulks for a few minutes before coming to cry at me.)

Heartbreak 2

Then there is the union movement. It’s been heartbreaking for an activist like me to sit out the election of Obama, some major fights that my union was in, and now the protests against the destruction of bargaining rights for state workers in Wisconsin and elsewhere.

To confess to something sappy,  I usually cried at protests, marches, picketlines and other gatherings where people were standing in solidarity with each other, for common cause, against their fears and the very real risks of retribution.

It’s hard to watch what is happening in the news and be able to do nothing more than sign an online petition. But given my current state, I’m not capable of being on the front lines. I hate to sit out a fight, especially one as pivotal as this one.

Heartbreak 3

This one is the hardest to write about. Last summer, I met someone I really liked when, because I was determined to get out of the house any time I felt more alive than dead, I went to a poetry reading. Alex and I hung out a few times. I agreed to help him lay out a chapbook. (It’s on my About page.) It was fun getting to know a new person.

Then his son, Marcelo, was hit by a car in Florida, where Alex’s children and ex-wife live. There were so many levels of heartbreak there. I felt so horrible as I helplessly waited for news about whether he would survive. I knew I wouldn’t see Alex very much, if ever, again. He needed to move back to Florida permanently to help care for his son who had suffered a severe traumatic brain injury.

I felt heartbroken for Alex and his ex-wife and their daughters as they sat bedside praying for a miracle (which they got when Marcelo pulled through), and again when I thought about the long road towards healing.

I was unable to walk without assistance for three years, sometimes I could barely stand, sometimes the cane was sufficient for me to walk to the corner and back. I understand the heartbreak of all of life’s hopes and dreams indefinitely postponed if not completely lost… Because no one ever knows how much healing will happen until it already has.

In any case, I just learned of an additional heartbreak this family is facing because of the completely screwed up health care system in this country (another topic I know way too much about). When I heard about Rep. Gabrielle Gifford and her TBI, I wanted her to have the best care possible, and she is getting it. When I heard about the limits of Marcelo gets from his health insurance, it made me ache inside, because an 11-year-old should have the same chances as a Congressperson.

The family is doing a fundraiser because they have to pay out-of-pocket for most of the treatments that will give him a shot at walking and using his left arm again.

My life has been magical in comparison. Somehow the money I need always appears, in part because the union I worked for had a real disability policy and medical plan, and when those ran out, I had government disability and health insurance. Meanwhile, my parents have been more generous than anyone could ever have a right to expect.

I wish Marcelo and his family the best as they all recover.

Coiling

My experiment with Babesia on the hands might have worked. I’m not totally sure. The extreme sensitivity on the back of my forearms is almost gone. Now the soft underside of my forearms is bothering me. I left Babesia off the agenda tonight to see if the sensitivity returns.

Every other day is Bartonella. Today is an “other” day.

  • Bartonella, abdomen, 2 minutes
  • Candida, abdomen, 5 minutes

Detox

Last night I did a castor oil pack on my liver. I’m not sure if I’m doing it the orthodox way. I smear a thin layer of castor oil over the part of my abdomen between an invisible line drawn horizontally through my belly button and the bottom of my rib cage. I put some clean cotton fabric over it and then put a heating pad (or a hot water bottle) over it. Then I leave it for 20-60 minutes (last night 30 minutes) depending on when I feel done.

I’ll do another one when I finish this post. The pack helps me not feel guilty about another day without a bath. So does sweating up a storm with a heating pad on my back for 5 hours at the workshop today.

Today’s detox recap:

  • skin brushing
  • homeopathic support
  • kombucha
  • juiced greens
  • sweating on a heating pad
  • castor oil pack on my liver

Body

I want this Herx to be over already. I can tell I’m nearing the end because I’m at the stage where my urine smells like turkey soup. Still, I’m having spine pain, ear pain, floaters in my vision, intermittent headaches, interrupted and insufficient sleep, joint pain, excess nerve sensitivity in my skin and fatigue.

Disclaimer

One comment

  1. […] my  healing process. With hope, I agreed to do an art project together (the book I mentioned in a previous post and on my About page). We got to hang out a bunch and get to know each other. I got to write a […]



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