Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sometimes a cold is just a cold

My body has often been a barometer for what is going on in my life.

Almost half way through my sophomore year in college, I experienced debilitating chronic joint pain in my hips. None of the Doctors could figure it out. I missed class, because it hurt too much to sit, let alone walk there and back. Walking back from the Art building I would call Peter in tears, begging him to please come pick me up in his car. The building was only a mile away from the dorms.

I went for CT scans and MRIs which all came back normal. It was very frustrating business to suffer so, with no attributable cause to validate the pain. As quickly as it came, it left a mere 6 months latter.

Looking back I can see how stuck I felt, and how much my life was moving in the wrong direction. Not until my situation changed, did my symptoms resolve.

I have also experienced, thankfully not in many years,TMJ symptoms so severe that I could hardly open my mouth. The onset has always coincided with a situation where I felt completely unable to express my thoughts and feelings. And not so mysteriously lasts as long as I am in said situation.

Another example is terrible wrist pain that I get from time to time. The doctors diagnosed it ten years ago as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I had/have all the symptoms of CTS, however it comes and goes, usually only staying a week or so at a time. It only occurs a few times a year and can effect either hand. So it is obviously NOT Carpel Tunnel. I figured out 5 years ago that it only kicked in when I felt unsupported and over extended. That is when it would start hurting and I would put on one of those oh so attractive wrist braces. My wrist would get the support it needed till it felt better and I would do some soul searching to find where I needed more support. With in the week, I would be as good as new.

While this communication with my body is helpful and healthful for me, it helps further what I think is an ultimately misguided belief that my health and well being are in my control. I received the message growing up, that illness is an outward manifestation of dis ease in ones own life. While that belief empowers, it also fosters the illusion of control. There are things I can control, and I can make healthy choices, but still get sick for no reason. Not everything means something. Like dreams. Some dreams are like your brain just threw up the entire contents of the previous day, but others are important, and meaningful.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and a cold
is just a cold!