IT WAS A WILD RIDE
My month of My Adventures in Alternative therapy have come to an end. I go back to work on Monday. I feel better. My joint inflammation is way down. My energy level is up and my head is in a much better place. I miss my Cooper Family, especially my Medication Reconciliation Chicks…I mean team. I am ready for Cooper.
So after all the treatments I tried, what worked or felt good or do I want to keep in my tools? I learned that Rheumatoid Arthritis is strongly affected by sleep, eating well, exercise, stress and anxiety. The more I can keep them in check, the better my RA is. I think this is true for a lot of chronic conditions especially conditions involving the immune system and chronic pain.
My best tool is counseling. For me the most important thing was finding someone I really trust and feels like a friend. And smart. Real smart. (You know who you are.) Pain is as much mental as physical. Counseling helped me with stress from the last few months, handling the chronic pain, learning to manage that and much more. People keep counseling such a secret. That’s just stupid. Counseling was the best thing I did for myself.
This is a no brainer but super important. Stay compliant with your medications. I often put off my Enbrel injections because they hurt so much. Then the RA gets worse and I have to take the painful injection AND my my joints are red hot. The medications help. I should just take them and shut up.
Now the interesting stuff. The alternative therapies. They are in no special order. These are what worked best for me. Everyone is different.

Floating Therapy.

I was in a panic for about half my session but I finally relaxed. The relaxation was great but the part that I think helped the most was the concentrated Epson Salt Solution that I was floating in. I think the 90 minutes that solution it pulled a lot of the swelling out of my joints. I felt better for days. I have another appointment tomorrow before I go back to work.

Far Infrared Sauna

I liked it . The heat was so deep and intense. For me it was much better than a traditional sauna. The heat seemed to sooth my inflamed joints. Also it was mentally relaxing for me. It’s hard for your mind to wander very far in that extreme heat. All I could think about was the heat. I will make another appointment soon.

Chair Yoga

Since I know my joints were not up to real yoga, I gave this a try. I really liked the meditation at the beginning and end. The positions and stretching were things I could do without pain and the entire process was just plain nice. I walked out feeling good mentally and physically.

Essential Oils

The olfactory sense is the Rodney Dangerfield of our senses. It just doesn’t get any respect. Smells intensify every experience. Hospice even suggested we bake some apples with cinnamon for Dad during his last few days. They told us comforting smells help the patient relax. I used to burn candles but now I am using a diffuser to aerosolize my essential oils. I am still using one for the products topically and get good results for controlling pain. I am ordering a few more products from the DoTerra line. Essential oils are a nice addition to my life.

A Creative Outlet

Writing this blog helped me. Some nights I cannot sleep from the pain. I often got up and wrote you a story or whatever I was thinking . Sometimes I don’t know what I am thinking until I write it down. I am SO happy that the blog has had over 500 hits. To me that means you all are enjoying it too. I love your feedback on the blog and thru Facebook. It means so much to me.

Exercise

I hate to admit this one. I hate exercise. But my counselor really pushed this one. And not a nice walk around the mall. She wanted me to……go outside! I’ve been walking at the Paint Works in Gibbsboro. There is something about walking near water. And damn it, she was right. I felt better every time I went.

Massage

Find the right person. Take off your clothes. Feel the tension get rubbed away. Need I say more?

Reiki

A strange spiritual version of meditation and relaxation. Too weird to even try to understand. It was an unexpected help to me when I really needed it.

Tapping (EFT)

Energy Meridians, Focus ,Tapping and other things I still don’t understand.I have to admit this one has become more and more of a help to me. I really fought it because I just couldn’t see how it would do anything. Somehow is does. At least for me. It helped with physical pain an anxiety. You kind of have to explore this one on your own to really get it,

Grief

I was totally unprepared for grief. I thought I would be real real sad for a while then everything would go back to normal. I was so wrong. It was so much more complicated than that. Why doesn’t anyone talk about grief? We talk about everything these days but not grief. I guess it makes people uncomfortable or maybe because they want to help and there is nothing they can do. After a month or two it seems like society wants you to quit struggling and get back to normal, but normal is gone. I found a few good books that helped. My biggest help was talking to friends and family about it. Hearing about their losses too. If someone you love is in grief, be with them. Listen. Talk. Give lots of hugs. Don’t try to make it better or go away.

 
That was my month. I learned a lot about myself . I learned that you cannot separate the mind and the body. I have to take care of them both. Going forward, how am I going to do that? I am going to do what I know works. I am going to keep an open mind to new and very old ideas. I am surround myself with people and things that make me happy. I am going to treasure my friends and family. They are my rock. They are my gifts. My Italian Grandfather used to call us grandchildren his Tesora Mia. It meant my treasure, but a treasure more than money or gold. That’s is what my friends and family are to me. They stayed by my side through it all. They still do. They are my Tesora Mia.

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