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Monday, May 17, 2010

Pain For Progress

Two weeks ago, I finally took the plunge and made an appointment with a chiropractor. She was my last hope.

After 3 years, I had given up on the 'specialists' who did nothing but pump me full of drugs to mask chronic pain.

The chiropractor did a thorough examination. I brought in my old x rays and MRIs and she studied them at length. Then she did a full x ray of my whole back. When she showed me the film, I finally realized the extent of the damage that had been done, and why no one had found the problem before.

For some reason, (probably from an old injury) my S-1 joint (sacroiliac) had become so scarred and inflamed that I could no longer sit for more than a few minutes. And because of a knee injury on the opposite leg, I was putting even more pressure on a hip joint that could no longer sustain itself.

I lost 22 mm of height on my left side. Abnormal is 5mm. I really messed up this time.

I'm telling you all this because if you have a joint issue that hasn't been adequately explained or treated, you need to keep asking questions. My other doctors assumed it was bursitis or arthritis. They blamed it on my age. (And I'm not even that old.)

It has been a painful process. She is having to tear down years of scar tissue and adhesions by manipulating the joint. It hurt so much on my first visit I nearly jumped off the table twice.

But I've been sucking it up. I understood what she was doing and why she had to do it. Worse yet, I understood from the get-go it was going to hurt like hell. There's no other way around it.

I have several more weeks of this. If it doesn't work, I might have to go to the hospital where they'll stick a needle between that hip joint and inject cortisone directly. They have to work the needle in while looking at a live x-ray. Obviously, I don't want it to get to that point.

I've been sleeping longer--and for the first time in three years, I'm sleeping on my back again. That part has been wonderful!

I know some of you deal with chronic pain and I want you to know, I feel for you. It's hard to explain to someone else how bad it can get. And most of us just live with the pain, especially when pain meds don't work.

There are still several weeks to go, but I can feel some progress, even if it's painful progress.

Don't give up the ship. There are answers somewhere out there.

And to bring this back to writing, I have to tell you this story about my chiropractor. On Friday, I mentioned to her that I had a book signing over the weekend and that I was dreading having to sit for such a long time.

(BTW, the book signing was a terrific experience, and I'll tell you more about that at a later date. There's a Killer Campaign lesson in it.)

Anyway, her eyes lit up and she said: A book signing? You have a book out now? Can I buy it?"

Yes. Yes. And yes.

I was so shocked by her enthusiasm, I didn't know what else to say. I sold a book without even trying. She knew I wrote for a living. I didn't tell her I had a book out.

Because of my day job, I always kept my writing career on the QT, but now that I'm retired, I forget to tell people I'm an author. Greg is the one who often volunteers that information happily.

Maybe I ought to hire him as my PR agent.

Authors: Are you good at telling strangers about your books? What do you say?


Marian said...

I'm sorry to hear about the painful procedures, Maria, but it's good to hear that there are already positive results.

We tend to take for granted things like sitting or sleeping, until we can no longer do them.

Two days ago I went to the public library to discuss doing a reading or signing - so I'd have something to add to the distributor's form. :) Most people are genuinely interested and helpful when they hear you have a book out, and the librarian was exceptionally so.

Maria Zannini said...

That is GREAT news! I'd love to hear more about your experience when you do your visit.

Joanne said...

I hope the procedures ahead of you will help to feel better. And how wonderful to receive such enthusiasm on news of your book. That must have put you in very positive spirits for your book signing :)

Dru said...

I feel your pain and wish you all the best in her help with avoiding the injections and possible surgery.

I think that is awesome that you sold a book without trying. That's the best kind of sale.

Devon Ellington said...

A good chiropractor saved my sacroiliac -- I know exactly what you're going through.

I use acupuncture for pain management -- which is odd, since I'm afraid of needles, but it's the only thing that's worked for me. You might want to add in some acupuncture treatments along with the chiropractic after your body's gotten used to the chiropractic for awhile.

My cat was diagnosed with cancer about a month ago and I was told I "had" to start her on radiation (she's 14). I did some research and found an integrated holistic care center. It's not cancer at all -- it's a sinus infection. She's on a homeopathic course of treatment and has made huge strides.

"Traditional" medicine misses too much and assumes too much. They look at one piece of the puzzle, not the whole being. Integrative care works much better, for me and mine, anyway.
Best wishes!

Maria Zannini said...

Joanne: It did! I had a lot of great company around me too. You could feel the good karma.

Maria Zannini said...

Dru: Thanks. I know you understand better than most. I hope you're getting better too.

Maria Zannini said...

Devon: Thanks for your insight. It feels good to hear from someone who knows firsthand.

I am considering acupuncture next if this doesn't fix it, but so far I am seeing significant improvement.

I was shocked by the story of your cat. That's terrible that they could misdiagnose that. I'm so glad to hear she's doing better.

Marianne Arkins said...

I truly think chiropractors are miracle workers ... I'm considering one to look into the pain I have in my toe (I struggle to take "big toe pain" seriously, though even though it affects everything including just walking around ... but, it's just a toe, right?).

I prefer holistic-type care because they do consider whole body and don't just treat symptoms. And I absolutely agree about acupuncture if you need more pain relief.

Good luck!!!

Maria Zannini said...

Marianne: A painful toe is nothing to sneeze at. You have to walk on those puppies. And you especially do a lot of walking.

I hope you get it fixed soon.

Ref: fixing symptoms
And there in a nutshell is the real problem with the medical system. They are so worried about getting you in and out of their office, they give you just enough to shut you up and send you on your way.

I'm with you. There is more than meets the eye. Doctors should assess the whole body and not the symptoms.

Shelley Munro said...

Maria - My fingers are crossed that you continue to see improvement. I don't have any experience with this sort of thing, and I'm just amazed that you can continue to function with ongoing pain like this.

Re the writing part: I tell people I'm a writer if they ask me what I do. Some people don't approve of erotic romance so I'm always careful. While I'm not going to apologize for my choice of career, I don't shove it in front of people either. In fact on the ship, an Australian immigration officer asked me what I wrote while he was stamping my passport. I think I embarrassed the young man. His cheeks went very red.

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: Do you think that immigration officer was sorry he asked?

My romance is on the sensual side, not erotic, but I still get the occasional 'look'.

I'm looking forward to hearing more of your travel stories on your blog.

Lynn Colt said...

Good luck with the procedures - I hope they continue to help.

I have trouble telling people I'm an author, but that's because I'm not published yet! But it's easy for me to crow about my artist sister, and she does the same for me. When I do talk about my book, I have to explain what selkies are. That part, at least, is fun!

catie james said...

Wow Maria. Though the years of misdiagnosis isn't surprising, it's always appalling and while I'm terribly sorry you have to endure even more pain to find relief, I'm so glad there's a light at the end of this tunnel that doesn't include massive amounts of "doping" drugs!

As for your question: Uh yeah, I have an extremely difficult time telling people about my "book," mostly because I haven't finished one yet, let alone published. :) Actually, the better way to put it: I don't like telling people I'm a writer because their immediate response is: "Have you been published?" Not being able to give a definitive "YES," I often see the mental shift in their eyes: "Oh, riiiiiiiight. She's a 'writer' and I'm the next American Idol favorite."

Maria Zannini said...

Hi Lynn: What is it about us that we can talk about someone else but not ourselves? I see that everywhere.

But I think you've given yourself an excellent segue when you talk about selkies. I'm willing to bet you are passionate about them and the enthusiasm shows. Just tell them it's an ongoing project--then you can tell them how S-L-O-W-L-Y publishing moves.

Maria Zannini said...

Catie: I was the same way. I told maybe two people while I was learning the ropes. When Touch Of Fire came out, I might have told another handful of (non-bloggy) friends.

It wasn't until I left my job that I told everyone I was an author. You should have seen their jaws drop to the floor. I wasn't the person they thought I was.

Imagine that.

Marian said...

Before I was published, the only people whom I told about the writing were my closest friends - and other writers, who know what it's like to be unpublished but trying.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I just mumble a lot. I am TERRIBLE at giving a summary. If I ever get published, I might just wear a placard wherever I go with the cover on it.

Maria Zannini said...

Marian: I preferred to play it close to the chest too. But I do that with everything until I know I'm in.

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: You know a placard isn't such a bad idea. LOL. Maybe I can tell everyone I'm a mute.

It would save me from undue embarrassment.

brokenbiro said...

So sorry you're sufffering - hope this treatment is going to fix it.

About telling people you're an author - do it! Just as they might not expect it of you, you don't know who will be interested and become your biggest fan. I don't have a book out but I pretty well tell most people most things about myself if it comes up in conversation and it often leads to interesting links and connections.