Friday, June 22, 2012

Facing Fear

I have had a new challenge of late that has set me back on my heels in the literal sense.  It has forced me to look at what about my body I take for granted.  I have been on Disability for 19 years for a back injury and CFIDS/FM.  During this time I've had periods of being very, very ill to some periods of what I would call "remission' if there is such a thing in the CFIDS/FM spectrum.

I have had constant pain at varying levels and fatigue at varying levels. I have had the elements of my bipolar at play as well but other than just a few notable times where I've suffered an acute injury from a fall I have had complete and trusted access to the use of my legs.

I have something new lately.  I'm telling my doctors, chiropractor, physical therapist, massage therapist and acupuncurist and their response so far has been universal:  "Hmmm". 

I'm not sure why the response is so...what would you call that...laissez-faire?  I'm weary of trying to decipher the "back story" that explains the odd responses I get from the medical community.  It can be illuminating but quite an effort to figure it all out.

I'm telling them there is something strange going on with my legs and I'm having a hard time swallowing.  My legs feel uncoordinated and floppy except for my quad muscles which are permanantely flexed.  When I walk I feel very unsure of my feet and my legs.  Each step feels very choppy and robotic and the more I walk the worse it gets.

Is this alarming? I'm not sure.  I have been trying to not over dramatize it, especially given the lacksadaisical response I've gotten from my medical care providers, but it has been eating away at my psyche.  Playing doctor a little bit it could be: 1) The disseminated HSV1 has gone somewhere in addition to my lungs. 2) A side effect of the physical therapy I have been getting on my back or 3) multiple sclerosis or a bunch of other equally ominous possibilities.  Or...I could call one of the Indian doctors who treated me in the hospital and they would likely tell me I'm having a panic attack.  (Honestly, I've been casting about trying to produce any explanation that would indeed make it a panic attack.) 

Aloe blooming in the next site over
It turns out - upon close introspection - that I now do not trust my legs.  I am afraid to go walking very far by myself and I'm afraid to go swimming by myself.  I don't have a car most of the time so even going to get the mail or going to the pool on the other side of the Park has seemed daunting.  I am afraid to go swimming because I dont know how my legs will do in the water.

This is all very foreign to me.  I have taken for granted my ability to put one foot in front of the other without thinking about it.  The swallowing issue is freaking me out too but not as much as the leg issue.  So yesterday I decided to face my fear demons and walk no matter how much fear I was feeling.

I walked once around our loop yesterday and once around the whole Park in the middle of the night.  The walking did not get easier, by the time I got back to the RV I was barely moving and just shuffling along but I felt empowered - like I didn't let fear keep me stuck.  Today I walked around the loop twice and around the Park once with the same result. 

The walking test just further enforces to me that I need to invest the energy needed to get at least one doctor to give a shit.  It infused me with strength as I faced yet another fear and overcame it.  I know this about myself - letting fear keep me from progressing makes me crazy.  The noisy message I have to tell myself to keep myself from doing something I know I need to do will drive me literally insane.  If I want to be at peace and have serenity I HAVE to face my fears.

Copyright (c) 2012 - Chardale Irvine.  All rights reserved.  You may not publish or reprint this article without the permission of Chardale Irvine.  Thank you.

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