I never imagined I would understand what it felt like to be an evangelist. But I drank the chiropractic Kool Aid. And now I want to spread the good word!! I believe!! And now I will make it my mission on this Earth to spread the word….
Last week was a big week. I was equal parts worried about both appointments. And now that they are both behind me I feel a tremendous sense of relief. The quick and dirty run down – the chiropractor on Tuesday morning thought I had a bulging disc in my lower back. He adjusted me and gave me a brace (which, let me tell you is s.e.x.y.) and took an x-ray. We discussed a treatment plan and I felt at ease enough to be frank. I told him that this was not the only appointment I had that day. He told me that his wife is a chiropractor and practices a wide assortment of psychotherapies grounded in chiropractic care if I was interested. (On the off chance it was ye olde head making ye olde back a hot mess.)
Years ago when I started seeing a midwife I felt a dynamic shift in my thinking. A holistic approach to my health suddenly seemed the ONLY way to approach it. And I felt like the previous care I had received had actually been neglectful. When is the last time your dentist asked you about your marriage? Or your general practitioner really analyzed your diet? But shouldn’t they if you, for example, present with pain in your jaw or weight gain? I had that same feeling when I left his office. Like I had been bonked on the head by the “hand of chiropractic care” and had been saved. Someone was really looking at my symptoms and trying to treat them all, from the inside out.
I resisted the temptation to google my little heart out all day. Wait and see the results of my x-ray. And see what the therapist had to say. Tuesday evening I had a really excellent appointment with an LCSW in Carrboro that is a retired doula and childbirth educator. I picked her so I could skip past the “you breastfed for HOW long?” and “your daughter slept in your bed until WHEN?” questions, not defend my AP parenting and get to the meat of what was going on in my head. And I was not disappointed. While I felt reasonably secure in my answer to Karen’s question the other day regarding depression I was pleased after she ran through a series of questions regarding both anxiety and depression that I failed (?) or passed (?) them both. When she suggested medication as a quick fix for my blues I resisted with the explanation that it is not an ever-present feeling but a passing one. And it is not unbearable, I am wholly unwilling to trade my extreme highs (and the accompanying lows) for a constant neutral. Once we started talking about my menstrual cycle and I showed her my charts (not a link to my actual charts, c’mon, I will spare you that, but a link to the sahweeet app I use to keep them) it became really clear that I experience extreme lows twice a month. I had written off my emotional lows as PMS oriented previously because I was failing to take in to account the fluxuations in my hormone levels during ovulation. Once I was seeing ovulation as a factor, too, it became remarkably clear that my mood swings were in line with my menstrual cycles.
And then I saw the light for the second time that day. I left her office feeling better than I have felt in months. I had TWO different practitioners come to the same conclusion. I wasn’t a mess. Or nervous about my coming marriage. Or not over my divorce. Or a bad mother. Or a lousy partner. I had a jacked up back, aggravated by my IUD very likely, and probably was suffering from some hormone imbalance. While that might not sound like the best news to some it sure sounded good to me.
I had another appointment with the chiropractor the following morning and didn’t mention how things had turned out at the therapist. Reviewing my x-rays I can see the spot where my vertebrae are crunching together in my lower back. Again, seeing it with my eyes helped me to disassociate the pain in my back from me, from who I am, and I started to feel better instantly. If I wasn’t already flying high – when he told me that I was retaining anywhere from twelve to sixteen pounds of water (assessed with some magical machine that figures out your intracellular water retention and a bunch of other numbers that seemed totally relevant when he told them to me) well, I could have jumped for joy, bad back and all. “You mean if I get this all in check I will magically lose ten pounds? I have to tell you, that is all I just heard from what you just said.” He laughed.
When we started to discuss the possible reasons for this water retention and overall swelling his first suggestion was estrogen dominance. Which is… you may have already guessed…. the same suspicion the therapist had the night before. So, there you have it. My back is a wreck, in a manner that can take up to ten years to develop in to this kind of pain. My hormones are out of whack. Making me angry and sad and irritable. And I am pursuing treatment for both. Making myself and my health a priority. I feel like I have answers. Answers to why I have been feeling worse and worse in the last several years, even though I have been taking increasingly better care of myself.
I’m thinking with continued chiropractic care, assessment of my diet, balancing of my hormones through natural therapies or supplements…. I’m gonna be looking at this face a lot in the coming months. And that’s good news.