Overcoming and overcoming

Illustration of the pain pathway in René Desca...Image via Wikipedia

When this year closes next week I’ll look back and be glad that it’s over. In fact I can date many of my recent travails back to the moment I moved out of my comfortable home in North Melbourne and unexpectedly found myself at a loose end. It was all downhill from there and, despite the odd peak here or there, has continued that trend since.

You like to believe that something positive will come out of all this. Often that’s the last forlorn hope remaining. If it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger, right? And you learn from it, about yourself, about the world. Isn’t that true also? Well I guess it is, but it’s a bitter lesson sometimes. Still when all is collapsing around you you need something positive to latch onto.

I’ve always been a positive person, and have long thought that I am a resilient character. That’s proven to be the case over this period despite the occasional troughs. I’ve managed because I’ve looked ahead knowing things always turn, because I maintained belief in myself, and mostly because I had to. When the choice is between despair and hope then what are you going to do?

Perhaps one day I’ll write of all I’ve had to deal with over the period.

Occasionally I look back over what I have written throughout and I marvel at the mindset I’ve displayed. For whatever reason – pride mainly – I’ve only ever touched lightly and indirectly upon my troubles, if at all. I suspect there will come a time when I will examine it in this more public forum. I hope that in time I’ll be in a position to look back over this time of my life and be grateful that I got through it with no more than a few bruises and perhaps a good deal more wisdom.

Do these things happen for a reason? No, but it’s not a bad thing to find a reason to justify the pain. I have learned to let go, because I had to, hard as that was, and perhaps for now I put that down as one of the reasons.

There have been other elements of this period where there has been nothing positive. Some things happen and you just have to deal with it in any way you can. Among all the challenges I’ve had to deal with over the period it is my health that has been the most persistent concern. There is not a day goes by now when I don’t think back to the relative fitness I had 2 years ago travelling through North Africa. It seems amazing to consider that I could take my health and fitness for granted even given the extremities of exertion and heat I put myself through then. I did it day after day and felt myself strong and supple and ever-enduring, and returned trim and in a state of supreme fitness. How things have changed.

I am now in the situation where even simple things become difficult. This has been the case for much of the last 18 months. At times it has almost seemed like a conspiracy against me, that the ailments have been lining up to get at me: no sooner one is put away than the next one steps up. Besides the pain and inconvenience caused by this there is the great frustration at never being able to get myself right. I wonder if this is my destiny now, but refuse to accept it; in the meantime it’s impossible to deny: I have felt less a man because I can’t do what I once did without
thought.

As it stands right now I’ve managed to get by many of the issues dogging me. Though I am not always convinced, and though the cause remains a mystery, the DVT is hopefully of the past – though my calf remains swollen. The planar fasciitus and tennis elbow seem to have settled down, touch wood. I’m hopeful that the gastric problem I had is now cured, and the other smaller complaints part of the past.

Unfortunately my back is now the big concern. I had tests a few weeks ago to get to the bottom of the latest round of symptoms. It turns out I have a badly bulging disc – L4 – which pings on the nerve, which creates an almost electric pain and incredible stiffness in my back and shooting down my buttock and leg. At it’s worse it is very painful and quite incapacitating.

Most mornings I get up and I’m bent over like a very old man. With every step I feel it; even in bed and still it troubles me. I’m seeing both a physio and an osteopath to get it right. I’m doing exercises to cure the core muscles, and have learned some interesting things along the way – that, like a lot of footballers, my obliques are so strong that they have taken over and the core muscles beneath wasted away – a variation on OP. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been told about posture: well it turns out I’m too upright, that literally and possibly figuratively I look down my nose. I’ve been told to loosen it up.

All this I am doing but there seems no improvement, and as anyone who has ever suffered from lower back pain will tell you this is difficult to live with.

I trust I will overcome this, though I don’t think it will be soon. I’m tired of all this, but there is little I can do beyond what I am already. I just want to get to where I was, and to have trust again
in my body and the confidence to live life on my terms, without constraint.

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