Saturday, August 17, 2013


I'm in a bit of a holding pattern at the moment. 

I guess by that, I mean that I don't have any new recovery-related stories to tell. No big epiphanies lately, no great leaps forward.

Part of this is probably due to the fact that I haven't been to see Dr. Oz in a month-- she had to miss two weeks to go on vacation, and I had to miss two weeks for various reasons, and our four missed weeks turned out to be consecutive. 

So. No therapy, no forced introspection. Ha.

But I think it's also because I'm in a coiling stage, preparing to spring. So far, that has tended to be the pattern, and the spring usually happens shortly after I notice the tension of the coil.

Time to jump, apparently.

In my last post, I laid out some initial plans for Project Monkey-Off My Back. This blog has been teetering on the brink of turning into a migraine blog, so pervasive are these devilish  headaches of mine, and after the disappointment of being rejected from the migraine trial, I decided to regroup and tackle the migraine issue more aggressively than I ever have before. 

The great thing about those plans is that they will very likely have a cascading effect on the PTSR as well. Better regulation of my medication, my depression, my food intake and trigger exposure can't help but impact more than just the headaches.

And then there's the physical aspect of this project: all the exercise, stretching, and flexibility and posture improvement I'll be doing could mitigate one of my biggest migraine triggers-- muscle tension and improper alignment. Not to mention the fact that it will make me healthier, improve my strength and endurance, and support my continued weight loss.

And there's more: that physical component might be a very important key to unlock this PTSR.

Serendipitously (as always seems to happen with this stuff), my sister and her family were visiting over the past week, and she was telling me about some amazing work that a friend of hers has been doing with veterans at Camp Pendleton in San Diego.

Before you go any further with this post, I strongly urge you to read this story, about Carly Rogers and Surf Therapy, a method she developed as a PhD student in Occupational Therapy to help children with autism and mental illness, and which she adapted to serve veterans returning from deployment with PTSR.

Go ahead. I'll wait.


Welcome back. Cool work, eh? 

I've met Carly and knew a bit about what she was doing, but hearing about it more extensively this time, it struck me in a completely different way. 

First of all, I thought that I'd really like to talk to her about her work with vets, because, as you know, helping veterans is something that is becoming more and more of a motivator for me as I write this blog. 

I wanted to hear more about it, and more about the VA system, and maybe get some information about how to become a resource. And I was thinking about my own work in this blog, and how I might be able to turn it into something more accessible to people like her students, who could use it to assist in their recovery.

I'd really like to do that for them.

But right now, as I'm writing this down, I'm seeing a more personal connection between the work Carly is doing and the plans I have for my own body over the next few years. 

I think she has a real point about how physical challenge makes you feel better. And I see-- I really see-- how the work those marines are doing with her can affect their PTSR.

And I see how it could affect me.

I think that my physical problems are part of what keeps me controlled by my PTSR. Physical weakness definitely contributes to paralysis and passivity, which are the hallmarks of my personal brand of suffering. I see how mastering a physical skill-- one that requires conditioning and focus as well as strength and stamina-- would go a long way toward mitigating those factors.

Strength, flexibility, fitness, physical mastery: in a world defined by constant physical threat, this is literally taking the power back.

I've never made this connection so viscerally before.



So, that just happened. A bit of a leap forward, after all. 

Don't forget: this is recovery in real time, folks. You saw it here first.

So I'm recommitting to my plans from that last post. Not that I'd lost the commitment-- I've got an appointment next week with the Northern California Headache Clinic, where two doctors take a holistic approach toward migraines: one works with you from the medical side, assessing and monitoring your physical condition, adjusting medication, etc., and the other comes from the behavioral side, doing bio-feedback, tracking food intake, identifying triggers.

This is essentially the same method they use at the Standford Headache Clinic at the renowned Stanford Medical Center, which is where I'm headed next. I thought I'd try these guys first because it's a smaller program and easier to get to. But I'm looking for a good fit, so I'll keep trying until I find it.

I'm also going back to Pilates, which did, for a short time last winter, begin to make me feel like I could possibly, one day, maaaybe get past my back injuries and build some real strength. It was a great feeling. It made a difference.

Just like Carly Rogers said it would.


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