Recently I’ve had to table a few of my goals — one being yoga teacher training. My yoga practice for the last few months has been hardly what you would call a practice — a couple of occasions would be accurate. I’ve been dealing with what I thought were allergy issues. I’ve given vials and vials of blood that would feed Bill Compton and Edward Cullen for at least a week. According to my internist, I have the blood of a healthy person, and she had no idea, recommendation or guidance as to my next step. (She’s no longer my internist, but that’s not the point of this post.) I’ve since gotten a second opinion, which was the same as the first; however, a few options were at least suggested. After numerous visits to my ENT and allergist and 105 needle pricks on my back exposing me to all kinds of allergens, I (happily?) found out that I am not allergic to anything. Nothing. This is a good thing, and I kind of feel like an allergy superhero. Like, if it’s cat dander that’s causing a problem, have no fear, Paige is on the way in her invisible jet wearing her kick-ass, sexy body-hugging leather outfit and thigh-high stiletto boots and will kick the cat dander’s ass (not the cat’s ass) before you can say, “Who was that hot chick? No, really, she must be hot in that leather outfit in the middle of the New Orleans summer. She may be invincible, but not too bright.” It is a bad thing because, other than eliminating allergies as a cause, it also did not provide answers for my symptoms. The half-full glass tells me it was a step forward to a solution by eliminating a possibility. The half-empty glass whines and cries that I am no closer to a diagnosis than I was before, no better off, still stuck and powerless.
Putting aside my training and my personal practice was like admitting defeat. However, after I did it, it was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. No longer did I have the pressure and the guilt of not making a yoga class at least 3 times a week. No more trying to convince myself in the morning that I was going to make an afternoon class only to disappoint myself at 5:00 because I was just too exhausted. It was freeing at the same time it was defeating. I tried to at least have a daily meditation practice. That never happened. I can’t say why other than I just did not do it. I didn’t make it a priority, so it wasn’t something I felt I must to do. Not placing blame (because that’s not a healthy approach), but I totally blame it on my overall unwell feeling brought on by my betraying body. I’ve been experiencing extreme fatigue and constant pressure headaches. It’s been taxing on me physically and mentally and been quite some time since I’ve felt I have been the best I know I can be. It’s frustrating and disappointing not feeling like you are operating at 100 percent. I feel I am letting myself down. I fear I’m disappointing My Love. I’m not nourishing friendships or being on top of my game at work.
A lack of diagnosis, fatigue, chronic headache and overall crappy feeling, career dissatisfaction and postponement of that course correction attempt to change my “job” into a future fulfilling career (yoga teacher training) has left me feeling a bit thin. I read articles on everything — the benefits of drinking warm lemon water in the morning, 10 steps to reduce stress, juicing versus blending, or creating morning rituals in an effort to find things I can do to combat whatever is draining me.
As an aside, let me just say that I do have a morning ritual. It involves getting up, dressed and out the door to make it to work for 8:00. When I read that setting yourself up for the best day possible means mindfully sipping your warm lemon water immediately after you have acknowledge the three things for which you are grateful before bounding from the bed, then a quick 20 minutes of yoga, followed by sipping a green smoothie while writing in your journal and listening to affirmations on your iPod, I call bullshit. This was obviously not written by someone whose income depends on getting to their desk at a specific time (8:08 is officially late) and doesn’t wear their hair in a ponytail everyday.
Some of the things I’ve read have given me a tremendous boost or eye-opening insight (see what I did there) into things I can change. Some illuminated ways of looking differently at and reacting to situations and people to pave a smoother way on life’s pothole-filled road. Some things I read are absolutely not within the realm of my reality. I understand this. I take away what I feel applies.
My allergist prescribed a treatment for my sinus ailment that involves me lying upside down on the bed with a cortisone liquid squirted into my nose to drain deep into the sinus cavity. This medieval procedure is akin to bloodletting or leaching. I know I could withstand waterboarding if I am ever tortured for valuable information. Oh, I have valuable information. Anyway, I would imagine the medicine creeping into the nasal abyss of my sinus cavities eradicating whatever chronic infection has been lurking in those caverns that has eluded conventional forms of medication and kept me from my life’s work. If this didn’t work, the next step was going to be a CAT scan of my sinuses. I was determined it was going to be the answer. Rhinal magical thinking! If I can imagine it, it will be so. Right? Wrong! I started feeling terrible again four days from the end of the treatment.
I was tired of seeing doctors without answers, so in a desperate act borne out of frustration (and an incapacitating pain in my neck I attributed to a pinched nerve or muscle sprain), I drove myself to the emergency room (it’s only like 10 short blocks from our house) and waited for four — that’s right, F-O-U-R — hours in the germ-infested, baby mama drama waiting room before being called. Fast forward 30 minutes and there I was lying on a hospital gurney, wearing the open-in-the-back standard issue for patients and a needle in my vein injecting me with fluids and antibiotics after bleeding five gigantic vials from me. Meningitis was mentioned. My response to the doctor was, “Oh, shit. Really? Fuck me.” I know. Such intelligent words from such a bright woman. Next, I was in the CAT scan room and when I got back to my little room, they were waiting for me with their lumbar puncture (spinal tap) prepackaged, sterile kit. Holy shit! A spinal tap! I was so scared, but I tried to mask it with humor (a common coping mechanism for me). After giving me the local anesthetic shot, the doctor explained what was going to happen and asked if I was ready. The only thing I could think to say at that time was, “Yes,” and “This Is Spinal Tap.” I got a couple of laughs from the doctors and nurse. Had I not been so nervous and scared, I could’ve come up with a lot more than that. I’m sure of it. After that, I concentrated on not moving lest I become paralyzed for life. In keeping with tradition, I did not have meningitis, a brain tumor, a thrombus or anything that was going to kill me in the immediate future. The doctor assured me that I would live to see the sun rise the next day. Whew!
It’s been almost a week and my neck pain has improved with the help of my friends, Flexeril and Advil. I am feeling better overall. Now that I know all of the things I DON’T have, the list of things that I possibly DO have grows shorter and shorter. Another solution came to mind yesterday — maybe I should redefine what “normal” is. Drawing from yoga teachings, maybe I should just accept how I feel, deal with it on a day-to-day basis and resume living and moving forward on my journey down the Paige Path. I’m still trying a few things — getting off a couple of meds I take, committing to a little baby yoga practice right now and not being so scared of what may be lurking deep in the cells of my body. I’ve done my due diligence in finding an answer, so now I have to move forward.