Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Prescription for My Restlessness: Psalms 46:10
"Be Still and Know that I am God." 
Approximately over a week ago as of this writing (May 16, 2012), I realized my restlessness attacks were getting more frequent. I remembered that I have already been having episodes of restless feet even when I was younger, but only rarely. Then I thought I could attribute this to my frozen shoulder, I am not sure, but I just thought so because my restlessness attacks did not only limit to my feet, but to my whole body as well, and it would go on for almost a whole day. Restless feet, as I read from the net, is "a neurological disorder characterized by an irresistible urge to move one's body to stop uncomfortable or odd sensations.[1] It most commonly affects the legs, but can affect the arms, torso, and even phantom limbs.[2] Moving the affected body part modulates the sensations, providing temporary relief" (Wikipedia). I also learned that it could also mean deciency in some nutrients/vitamins such as iron, folate, vit B, magnesium. (So i plan to buy and take vitamin supplements, asap.) I noticed this restlessness attack became frequent and took longer hours. I would look normal to others but people around me don't know I'm already having this attack. I would pray and pray, and try to calm myself and relax. I realized that this could be due to my lifestyle and work for the past 4- years as a freelance book designer. Being one, my life is characterized by constant necessity to be always in a hurry. Especially when I had some deadlines, I would always do things other than my work, in a hurry. I'd say that most of my home chores are done in a haste, always thinking that I had projects and deadlines. I realized that other than my work, I have not been enjoying moments of doing anything at all-whether it be cooking, cleaning the house, etc. I noticed I already developed this habit of living each day of my life in a hurry. This habit already took captive of my whole being, my inner self. It may be unnoticeable, but whenever this restlessness attacks, deep inside my being, in my heart and mind, i have the urge to be in a hurry. When I realized this worsening condition, I knew I had to do something concrete and do it fast. I remembered God's word in Psalms 46:10, saying "Be Still and Know that I am God." I knew that for years, there was always the temptation to have control over things, especially, time. Now, I really have to let go of that habit, really have to have God in complete control, even over my work, my deadlines, everything. Now, with God's help, I always remind myself that I have a lot of time, that I need to slow down, and condition my heart and mind that I do not have to be in a hurry. This is not easy for me, because the urge to do things as fast as I could seems to be deeply embedded in my innermost being, and became a part of me, of my everyday life. But as I am doing something about it, I noticed that I am slowly getting rid of it. As I draw strength from the Lord, and with His constant reminders through His Word and the Holy Spirit, I am sure I will conquer this weakness and have victory to this yet another challenge. This year, 2012, I already encountered a number of health challenges and trials, and as always, God has been with me. And I know He is with me all the time. 
"HE WHO dwells in the secret place of the Most High 
shall remain stable and fixed 
under the shadow of the Almighty.."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

On the Road to Recovery: My Second Session of Acupuncture
April 17, Tuesday

The doctor was happy seeing that my left shoulder and arm have had significant improvement, and much to his surprise, I also lost 2 kilos in a span of 2 weeks.  I would, perhaps, attribute this weight loss more to my lack of sleep due to arm and shoulder pain, and restlessness. Nevertheless, it still is a good thing to lose weight, though my doctor said 2 kilos of weight loss within a month is just right, particularly if it is based only on diet, exercise excluded.  I still have more or less 5 kilos to lose..I guess I really have to start doing exercises, and do it religiously. My doctor found out that I have edema, as he did some acupressure on my legs.  He said that it shows that my kidney is having a hard time doing its job of absorbing fluids from my body. He told me to cut on my sodium and sugar intake, and be sure not to stay sitting nor standing for too long a time. He also gave me prescription for a diuretic medicine. It's really good to have a regular medical check up especially in my problems could be detected early and preventive measures could be easily done. So, today, I had 5 needles (3 on my left shoulder, 1 on the left arm, and 1 on my left ankle--for the edema).  My doctor also did acupressure on my left lower arm as I complained sudden attacks of pain and restlessness.  I went home feeling satisfied and thankful that I was able to find a doctor who share the same health principles I have -- more on natural remedies and promoting healthy lifestyle. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Terrible Days and Nights with my Frozen Shoulder

April 13, 2012
As far as I can remember, I my left upper arm, shoulder, and back began to hurt approximately 5 months ago (November, 2011).  It really hurt but it was still tolerable so I didn’t give it much thought, except that I’d complain to my family about it everyday. I had it massaged for a few times and took some anti-inflammatory meds, thinking that it was just arthritis or rheumatism. In January or maybe, February, I was thinking of having a medical check-up, but could not do so immediately because of some reasons. Until came the day when I couldn’t move my left arm anymore ---
It came very suddenly, on a Sunday, March 31, 2012.  Though the day before, I felt the pain was becoming intolerable that I texted our church pastor, Ptr. Ariel and asked for prayers.  The next day, I couldn’t move my left arm anymore, I felt my left shoulder was stiff and my left arm was very very painful. I wasn’t able to attend the worship service that Sunday. I suddenly remembered the term “frozen shoulder syndrome”, which came out of google searches I did earlier on the possible reasons of the pain on my left arm. I googled it again, then, got it confirmed: I really have it, frozen shoulder. I read a lot about it-the possible causes, the symptoms, the treatments, etc.  Another thing that added to my already frustrating and fearsome condition is that all the readings I had about it say one thing: It could take several months to 4 years for a full recovery – I was really, really afraid and could I end up like this? I never thought that a bad posture while working could result to this almost hopeless situation. I received a call from my husband, Edmond (he and the kids are in our church in Elysian, Meycauyan), saying that he already knew my problem was frozen shoulder, according to a tennis co-player, who also got it some time ago. From that time on (Sunday, March 31), until Tuesday morning, I experienced the pain that was most excruciating, and seemed endless – very constant and seemed to be forever. On Sunday night, I did’t have any sleep at all – i decided to (supposedly) sleep in the sala (my husband accompanied me)—and exhausted all possible positions where I could sleep comfortably and with the least pain, at least the level that I could bear.. but NO, I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t find the right position, nor the right place. ‘Tried the sofa, the dining chair, the computer chair, another sofa, ALAS, it was already 5:00 a.m., and I didn’t have a single minute of sleep. Thankfully, I was able to have at least an hour and a half sleep from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.(that was already a Monday)
2nd day of shoulder stiffness – Monday, April 1, 2012   I endured the agony for the whole day. It was so frustrating because it felt like I was partially paralyzed..couldn’t dress by myself, couldn’t cook nor prepare food, etc. I realized how hard it could be if one was disabled (or differently able, if we may say) – have to depend on others to do things for me. I could barely move my left arm sideways, and would always want to assist my left arm and hand with my right hand. I basically didn’t do anything that day – just lie down and bear the debilitating pain that suddenly struck me…and pray.
3rd day – Tuesday, April 2, 2012 (Holy Week)   Erika (my daughter) and I went to a doctor who does acupuncture for check-up. Evie, a very close friend of mine, who recommended the doctor, was with us. And there, I received the MOST excruciating pain I ever had in my life, almost similar to the labor pains when I had my kids. After a brief interview and preliminary acupressure, the doctor led me to wear a patient’s robe and lie on the bed. I thought, this is it – acupuncture! I was excited and curious and wanting to get better. I lay on the bed, unknowingly that the next moment, terrible pain awaited me. Without any warning, the doctor suddenly twisted my left arm in several directions, giving me soooo much pain, I nearly fainted. During that brief moment of grave discomfort and terrible, terrible pain, I almost could see myself dying, and to somehow endure it, I just silently shouted (the doctor told me to close my mouth if there was pain), with my mouth closed and stomped my feet on the bed. Evie told me she was praying for me not to faint because she saw the whole thing. Erika was waiting outside and she could hear me and was worried about me. The other patients thought someone was giving birth. I endured that agonizing pain, praise God, and at last, I had my first  taste of acupuncture. 
After Acupuncture
Day 1 - after my first session of acupuncture, and doing some exercises the doctor gave me, I already noticed and felt slight improvement, in terms of mobility and pain alleviation. I searched for more appropriate exercises from the net and did them religiously, in spite of the pain they'd cause me. I also did more readings relative to this syndrome to be able to understand it better, and to know how to hasten my healing. And everyday since then, I would notice big improvements – and more than a week after that, I could say that almost 50% of mobility and function got back already. It is amazing that I got this exeptionally speedy rehab, considering that I only got 1 acupuncture session and it has only been past a week since I got a stiff shoulder. Fear of having to suffer the debilitating pain for a long time – months or worse, years -- really got into me. All I could do was to pray, endure, cry, and pray..and still be thankful that I could still move around and do simple tasks, and I know I would get through all this. I am also thankful that I have my family to support and assist me and help with the home chores. I am also happy that I have my churchmates, relatives and friends to pray for me. I will still have my 2nd acupuncture treatment next week but I can feel that I am on the road to full recovery. I am not sure when my left shoulder and arm would fully recover, but one thing I’m so sure of – it’s not that far. My tears and pains were all worth it, because being in this situation, I learned to depend on God more, lean on His loving arms, and  trust in His love and awesome power. Truly, He … “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” (Ephesians 3:20).
All glory belongs to our greatest doctor, God Almighty.