You may recall that a few months ago, my cat tried to kill me. Guess what? I am still suffering the consequences of calling my cat overweight and making fun of her butt. I have learned my lesson.
It seems that in the fall, I injured my bicep tendons, and according to my brand-new physical therapist, my neck holds untold amounts of tension (being both a chronic sloucher and a chronic typist) which means that I'm not getting enough circulation to the area to heal the damage. And lo, the inflammation, it has worsened, and this is why I scream whenever I have to lift my arms past my waist. This arm-lifting scenario seems to come up a lot, so that's why all the screams. Neighbors, do not call the police.
Today was my first p.t. appointment, and as I drove, cursing from the fucking pain (you see?), I told myself that I had to take whatever this therapist guy told me with a grain of salt.
This is all going to get a little complicated, but here's why:
When I was pregnant with Henry, I developed all manner of repetitive strain injuries. Within months of beginning a job that required a lot of writing, I had developed a stunning array of symptoms in my arms and hands. I suffered shooting pains down both arms, numbness and tingling, and every other RSI symptom I had ever heard about. Eventually I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, and thoracic outlet syndrome, which is pretty much every kind of syndrome you can have, in the RSI world. My doctor told me I had the worst case he'd seen in twenty years. I totally won the RSI Olympics. Not only could I not go near a keyboard—I couldn't button a shirt. I could not clip my nails, use a can opener, or hold a bag of groceries. I couldn't hold a book open or a phone to my ear. I did everything the professionals told me to do, but it only got worse. I went on disability from my job. I took loads of medications (after I had Henry, of course) and applied strips of lidocaine patches to my arms. Every day I went to some kind of therapist or doctor. This went on for two years.
Then I read about John Sarno. John Sarno's argument (simplified) is that these type of pain syndromes are a load of hooey, that something else is going on, some kind of complicated internal rage that the mind doesn't want to deal with, so it has shut off oxygen in the affected area, creating pain as a distraction. I read one of his books, and people, I started to improve. Just like that. Then I stopped the medication, I stopped the therapy, and lo, I got better. Within six months I was fine.
Ever since then I have approached any new kind of chronic problem with skepticism, and it's always worked. Clearly my brain is out to get me, too, because I've had a bunch. Vertigo! Vision problems! More vertigo! Chronic bladder pain! And each time, I've re-read Sarno's book, I've asked myself what was really going on, and my brain has muttered, okay, you got me, and the condition disappeared.
Except this time, damn it, it's just not. I have tried and tried to use the Power of the Mind to get past this, and it is not working one tiny bit. So, I don't know, maybe I really do have an actual injury. It still sounds fishy to me—after three months, it still hurts? Really? It's not like I'm lifting boulders every day, and I'm not ancient; shouldn't my body recover by itself? And yet, despite my attempts to minimize and dismiss what I thought was my brains creating another weirdo syndrome, the pain has only gotten worse. So physical therapy it is, but I'm not happy about it.
And listen, brain, if you are fucking with me again, so help me. I have just about had it with you.