It’s been a crazy week, but seeing Lauren Alaina live in concert at the local county fair was just what we needed. She was fun, made me laugh so much my face hurt fun. I find it’s always better to see these artists in smaller settings where their personalities truly shine and where I don’t get stressed out by large crowds and epic distances to the bathroom. Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band were also amazing. So amazing we walked away with an autographed CD and praise on our lips.
So if you’re out doing things like a concert, you must feel better. Yeah. Right now I do. Last weekend I got to thinking that although potatoes didn’t come up as something I’m allergic to, they seemed to be linked to my pain. I stopped eating them on Monday and by Tuesday I felt a lot better. We’re talking a drop in pain from a 10 to a 6 on my Pain Richter scale. All because of potatoes? Seems so.
There’s this unfortunate thing that happens when you have an overly sensitive body… you suddenly become sensitive to foods that were non-irritating. Back in May potatoes were the only thing that didn’t make me feel nauseous or IC horrible. So we never find a permanent food solution. We always have to be vigilant for things that may start hurting us out of the blue. It’s utterly exhausting, but there is truly no way around it.
I’ve also discovered these things are a no for me: coconut, ham/pork, and turkey. So for now it’s chicken or fish or bust, which is fine since I’ve never been a huge meat fan. I am, however, going to mourn the loss of coconut since many of its byproducts are in things I’d like to use.
Reflection: Inexorable Fear
My husband often points out that I must have some type of psychological trauma from being essentially tortured by my body more often than not. And he’s absolutely right. I know very little about psychology, but I do know that my fear is inexorable. Even when I start feeling better, when my pain drops to livable levels, my fear lingers in the background.
How long will this respite last? When will I start feeling bad again? How bad is the next pain going to be?
These questions and more constantly circulate through my brain. I don’t want to be thinking them; I don’t want to be perseverating on the negative and living in fear. But I can’t help it. My fear of the pain is a visceral thing. It snakes through me, twining about my every organ, making every beat of my heart pulse with its power (Can you tell I write a lot of angsty fiction?).
I do my best to try to think positively, to take a deep breath and live in the moment around me. It works sometimes, mostly when I’m skating or dancing and the world just falls away no matter what. But when I have half a second to think, the fear is back and I’m fighting again to simply live, to not be consumed by my very formidable set of demons.
I used to have a relaxation strategy that worked most of the time. I did yoga every day, but it wasn’t exactly the yoga that did the trick. It was Cymbal, my kind and loving kitty. She would join me and purr her face off and sit on my belly, becoming the perfect heating pad after I was done. She always got underfoot, but she didn’t care, she just wanted to be with me and to share the activity the only way she knew how. She did yoga with me for years, up until two days before she passed away from kitty breast cancer. Through all her chemo, her hell, she stuck with me. So you can understand how I can’t exactly use that strategy without her around.
So I have to dig deep and find something new that can calm the tempest of my nerves, my fears. Stress is one major factor in IC pain, so having this constant maelstrom doesn’t do me any favors. In fact, it creates a negative feedback loop that drives more pain. I know I need another strategy, another meditation that calms my soul, but for the life of me I can’t imagine one. I’m usually stuck simply wishing she were still here, wishing Cymbal could help me delve into that place of peace and serenity like she did for so many years.
So what to do? I’m honestly not sure. I know it will take time. Cymbal has been dead four months today. That’s no time at all. And since her death my health has been in free fall. I was nauseous for a month straight, then my IC pain flared to the highest it has ever been for two months straight, and then it fluctuated like crazy for a month while staying at generally epic levels. All this tells me I need to find a productive way to help my body while also healing from the loss of my main source of calm when it came to meditation and letting go of fear. That’s a lot to ask, but like every mountain this disease presents, it must be climbed. I only hope I can make my way through this journey with half the grace that Cymbal showed during her battle. You may argue she was only a cat, and that’s fine, but for me she was so much more.