If it’s Monday evening and Thursday was the last time I put up a post, I get emails. I’m OK. Barely, but OK. Thanks for the concern. I’m in the midst of one of these deals, somewhat of a revisit of about a six-month period in 2010:
That was a post about 2/3 through the ordeal of getting over a cervical disc herniation that left me wanting to cut off my right arm and/or eat lead for lunch. Thankfully, Dr. Kurt Harris and Dr. Doug McGuff saw instantly from earlier mentions in posts and turned me onto John Sarno: Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection. It’s a long story. In short, I wanted neither a shot in the neck, nor someone cutting around my spinal cord—especially where it’s quadriplegia territory.
Call me chicken if you like. But, Kurt Harris said he wouldn’t do it either. I sent him my MRI (he’s a radiologist) and he confirmed the diagnosis. But here’s what’s important. He said that a majority of MRI images he looks at from those over 50 have various cervical and lumbar herniations and in the vast majority of cases, patients don’t even know it. They have no symptoms. Their MRIs were for other things and Kurt was just taking note. At the same time, he told me he’s had people with very minor herniations pacing his office talking suicide.
Ah, the dots connected.
I started looking at myself in the mirror and telling myself (verbally, audibly) to just go fuck myself. Literally (for me, strong medicine is required). And you might be amazed how well it can work. But it takes weeks to overcome your mind like that if you’re not practiced in meditation—in the art of getting personal insights into how fucking stupid you and I are, generally. It gives you insight also into how much might be automatic “thinking” where you think it’s ideas you’ve evaluated and held.
Or, you can drug up and get surgery. I’m not without some drug therapy myself. Primarily, that would be alcohol and herb. That’s because sometimes, either can give you relief, or added and multiplied torture and you can’t predict which. And that in itself is part of the larger picture to get your own mind around.
I tell people: the pain is there for a reason; It’s a raw material for thinking. You don’t need to know why; i.e., the ultimate source. In Sarno’s world, it suffices to understand that your own mind is capable of making any little part of your body hurt like hell (it restricts oxygen supply to blood vessels—hint: localized heat application fucks with this). Understanding leads to an onion of enlightenment.
…Anyway, a few months ago this began as a lower back issue that went away after a week or so. I was surprised when it came back so soon. Then came the telltale signs I was dealing with a disc herniation. Phantom chronic, serious injury-like pains in places that had no perceptible injury. For instance, my left calf aches like it just got chewed up in a wood chipper; right now, as I write this. My left buttocks feels like I need a whipping to get my mind off the deeper pain. And if I stand up, someone’s going to jab a knife into my left hip and twist it. This is my existential reality.
Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy, eh?
…Yesterday, all of a sudden, I have massive, tightening left-chest pain where every breath hurt. I began my thought process wondering how many people would jump up, end up in hospital with a suspected heart attack. But, I noted: my mind is perfectly clear. I’m not short of breath—though it hurts to inhale and expand my chest cavity. This is totally skeletal-muscular. I’m clearly not being deprived of oxygen to the brain and I’m seeing nothing that’s leading to that.
But it was great it happened, because I’d been taking it real easy for more than a week. Ha, you fucker! You just played your hand, “Richard,” and now I know for sure you’re fucking with me! This happened about noon and throughout the day, the pain moved from my left pectoral to whatever it is under my left shoulder blade. No possible injury, yet if I move just wrong, sneeze, or cough, it lets me “know” that I have a very serious injury that must require immediate medical attention.
This has to be a genetic shortcoming. My dad and two of my younger brothers have had lumbar surgery. Similar symptoms. They are all super fine, now. So, ultimately, I know a similar surgery is an option and I’m confident it would come out OK; and if it doesn’t, it’s only paraplegic territory.
For now, I’m coming up on a week in mostly solitude, taking it easy, but also doing lots of stuff gently, just enough to touch the pain and get what I want doing, done.
I’ll be in touch.