Cirrhosis is a Pain in the Neck
I’ve been walking around like Gomer Pyle for a long time. It’s gotten worse since the transplant. You know, because of the big tummy scar and all…. So, the one thing that I was determined to work on in Sedona was neck and shoulder pain. Lucky me, my cousin’s bestests long time friend is a chiropractor. He’s not a hard jerking bone cracking type of man. He’s gentle. More than that, he’s an emotional baggage unpacker. Really, it’s on his business card. After going in twice a week all month, we got a lot of kinks worked out in my body – and my whole dad gummed self. New insights mean new skills for dealing with pain. Neck pain and any other kind of pain because cirrhosis is a pain in the neck.
One of the first things that came out as we talked and worked together was that I have been carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.
Here’s a list of the stuff I have felt personally responsible for:
Caring for my family
Finishing Hep C treatment
Getting through HCC cancer
Living through a transplant
Not being a burden on my family
Staying on medical insurance
Paying medical costs
Picking out a nursing home (just in case – oh yes I did)
Trying to look pretty when I felt like crap
Acting alert when my brain was foggy
Hiding the fact that I couldn’t figure out simple things
Smiling through the pain
Supporting my loved ones in their goals
Sneaking naps and not telling anyone
Worrying about all this and more, way way way too much
Well, as I began my last week of retreat, I looked back over all of the work I’d done. I sat in the canyon and wrote every day. (The journal is a scribbly mess) The above list is only a small part of what I’ve worked on. More stuff crops up every day. It needs to be cleared out.
So this blog is all about how I’m listening to my body now. When my neck and shoulders get stiff and achy, I stop and listen to my thoughts. Most of the time when I feel stiffness, I’m rehearsing a story about something I feel responsible to fix. My mind passes it’s pain onto my body. I try and write about it and it’s pretty incoherent…. except to me. You’re getting the semi edited version.
The whole point is this: I’m done. I’m done with the ceaseless storyline that started with the Hepatitis C diagnosis. I’m done with the burden of it all. You know that I’m a positive idealist. But that doesn’t mean I’m not without worry and fear. Read these simple steps to relieve shoulder and neck pain. See if any of them will benefit you. Here’s what that looks like for me:
I’m listening more closely to my thought life.
When tension builds up in my neck, I stop and feel the pain.
I pull my shoulders back and take deep breaths.
Sometimes I relax in a chair.
Sometimes lying down flat helps.
Each inhale goes straight into my shoulders.
I imagine my breath infusing my neck with life giving oxygen.
I simply count my breaths. 1 2 3 4 inhale and hold for 1 2 3 4 and exhale 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8.
I relax more and more with each exhale.
I continue breathing and then move to healing words, scriptures, mental images, or phrases.
Some of my new phrases include:
I am only responsible for this breath in this moment.
There is nothing that needs to be fixed right now.
Everything is working for my good.
I trust that life will unfold as it should.
There is no need for me to control any situation.
All of my needs will be met.
It is safe for me to rest and relax.
All of the resources I need will arrive on time.
It’s ok for me to let go of stress.
You can borrow a phrase from me. I’ve borrowed them from others. Please leave a comment with any of the phrases that work for you. When cirrhosis is a pain in the neck, we can stick tight because we get each other. I like it when we share our burdens and also share the stuff that helps us.
That’s what best friends do. We love, xoxox Karen:)