Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Back to the Studs

I don't know that I've ever gone this long without writing something non-work related. Moreover, I'm not sure that there's anyone who still checks this space. But sometimes one needs to talk, listeners notwithstanding.

In case you're wondering, I could not begin to outline the events of the past 3 months. Just on the topic of the reno alone, Scott's managing a spreadsheet with 180 deliverables BEFORE we move into the rental. (Note to potential readers: We have rented a house to live in for the duration of the reno. It's in the "real"end of a swanky 'hood. Once you are on the hook for 4K a month in rent whether you go to a good hood or a slum, you might as well live large. That's home rental in the big city... Alas, it's more like 9K to go furnished so we have the fun of moving twice and renovating!) That spreadsheet doesn't outline our work DURING the reno, which (it has somehow just occurred to me) includes a shit ton of interior (and landscape) design. When my mother asked me who my designer was, I told her she was part of my team. FWIW, Scott and I are the other members of that team.

She told me to send her the stamped plans.

I am not moving my sewing gear to the rental cuz, fuck, I'm designing a home and I've been too absorbed by the endless trivia of pre-design (contract negotiations - that fucking contract just got signed, engineering, moving and architectural plans) to even begin to think about things like tiles and fireplaces and floors and windows. Don't worry. I've got this. There are few things I like more than making decisions.

Anyway, this post is not about the reno. It's about the current watchword of my life: reconstruction.

To me, it feels like there is nothing that isn't being ripped back, excavated, exhumed. My office building has gone through 6 months of serious refacing - with all the noise and grime that goes along with it. My job is about reforming an entire sector of the health care system. I've given up almost every food I love for health reasons (that's about 10 posts-worth of info I'd just as soon not write down) and, truly, I am existentially transformed and grief-stricken by the loss of my favourite touch point, of self. One thing I'm sure to write 10 posts on, eventually, is my addiction to sugar which - do not be under any illusion - is hardcore. If we were talking about heroin, I'd be institutionalized. Instead, I just pick my ass up every morning and go to work.

I'm not going to tell you I'm tired. I was tired a year ago. Now I float by on my sleep-deprived wits (part of that overarching Kristin health item), or so I tell myself. My career is omnipresent. I'm working at 7 am, at 7pm. I do all kinds of things I'm unsuited to. But this post is not about my job.

I feel I need to provide the broadest health strokes before I can tell you what this post is about. In brief: I have osteoarthritis everywhere they've looked, namely hips, entire back, neck, jaw. It's fairly entrenched, which is to say it's been there for at least 20 years. Based on the genetic testing I've done, I personally believe this has to do with my propensity to have difficulties metabolizing vitamin D (which affects bones and joints as y'all know). To wit: I had my vit D levels tested after months of taking 6000 IUs a day and my levels are still only borderline normal to the low end. Note: The doctors have no opinion of my theory so take this as you will.

The most problematic zone for the OA is my jaw. You may recall I've referred to my most intolerable health concern, which I don't like to discuss, very bad TMJD. At this time, it seems there's no disc left on my left side so it's bone on bone and a joint that dislocates routinely. Explains my hideous headaches though! It also explains tinitis that started a few months ago. Alas, the problem is exacerbated by a structural issue from birth, as my jaw didn't form properly (numerous expensive scans have recently proven). This probably allowed the OA to take hold in a joint that is rarely implicated as it isn't weight-bearing. Just FYI, It's not a good joint to fuck up.

There's much more to this story like the fact that the structural issue interferes with my breathing when I sleep (I did a sleep test). I don't have apnea but my blood deoxygenates numerous times a night, which moves me from deep sleep to light sleep. They estimate (on the basis of test results) that I get very little REM sleep and likely haven't for a decade.

I just like to point out that I am a fully functional human being who doesn't get much REM sleep. I think, under the circumstances, I am fucking killing it, even if I haven't had a chance to interior design my new home three weeks before tear down.

The story is more involved than this, and rather concerning, but let's leave it at: knowledge is power.* Because, really, it is.

You can see where I'm going with this theme of reconstruction.

Yesterday I was doing some weird yoga pose, something I have rarely done in the last 2 months because a) I have no time to pee and b) changing my entire diet has left me with no time to do anything other than cook (unless it's work). While I was experiencing the pose, it suddenly hit me: my body was tireless in seeking what it knew. It was grasping, trying to find a space it had fallen into thousands of times before in the guise of "desirable structure". Those who do yoga know what I mean about how you find your pose with muscle memory and, occasionally, grit.

There's this bodywork construct wherein muscles are "locked long". The theory is that a muscle may get "locked", by tight fascia, in its lengthened position (recognizing that muscles don't lengthen from the centre like taffy). It's the very definition of how "doing what you always do" "brings what it always brings". And if that were biophysical closure, it wouldn't be a sensory trap. Add a little order-induced OCD (man, I sound like a fucking mess! :-)) and you can entrench some pretty deep kenisiological troughs.

Here's my point finally, thank god I'm sure you'll agree: I need to take my practice back to the studs. Every yogi is advised to bring the mind of the beginner to her practice but I've got to bring the movement too. I need to isolate the glitch spots so that I can retrain them. This ain't no small task.

I suspect it's easier to renovate a fucking house.

I have recently discovered my neuroplastic gifts, which we all have in miraculous reserve, though many will never exploit them. I'm exploiting them. And I urge you to do the same because encountering yourself at the meta-level is really all that. I mean, it's kind of everything (she says, floating in a vat of her own bourgeoisie).

Way to add another reconstruction to the mix. At some point I'm going to get good at this.

PS: If you're still there, please say hi! I have truly missed you.


*FYI, I'm working many medical and alternative angles which I can't possibly get into now, but know that I am managing the shit out of this thing.

55 comments:

  1. Hi ... good luck. I agree with you with bringing the beginner back to the yoga practise. I was doing it daily... got a full time job and then do it only a few times a week at best. My agonies and pains that I had twenty years ago reared their ugly heads. But it did prove a point to me... that yoga does indeed keep me maintained to a level that I want to stay at. At 55 (in a month) I can bend and twist in a way my 12 year old can't even fathom let alone most people I know. Yoga has saved me untold agonies and pain and it will again the legacy I have is that I did not lose my flexibility and if I do nothing else (I do lots tho) I will always do a hamstring stretch on the kitchen bench every morning to wake the body up. Good luck again I say. Keep in touch.

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    1. Hello Summer! Isn't yoga the gift that keeps on giving?! I will keep in touch - more often in the future, I hope. Cuz this place keeps me sane :-)

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  2. I am most definitely still here. I am looking forward to a peak or two at the reno. While I don't know if I am in as much pain/troubles as you, I left a good paying job at 58 because sitting was agony, and know one seemed to know what was wrong with me. Living in northern BC has its pluses but health care isn't one of them. It took years just to get a doctor to take an xray... We have to be our own advocate for decent health care and as well, to take care of ourselves as best we can. I have come along way the last two years, but will always have some pain (back and hips- mostly OA). I enjoy your tips and ideas. Yes, sugar is very addictive. I started noticing a recurring issue, starting with Thanksgiving goodies, then Halloween candy, leading to Christmas baking and the holidays thereafter.... oh my poor blood sugar. I started eating clean, and doing my own recipes to control the types and amounts of sugar and I feel so much better. All the best over this crazy year! Barb

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    1. Peaks at reno will come. It just needs to start Barb! I know a bit about BC health care and I imagine that you expect more. Here's hoping there will be more federal funding soon. On the topic of sugar, I had to go cold turkey. I couldn't just eat less. And I'm so disinterested in eating now that sugar's nowhere to be found. But I'm developing new perspective and I know I'll find a way to to be grateful for my new and much healthier (physically) diet.

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  3. Hi! :)

    Always interested in your posts.

    I don't have anything to offer except support and friendship. But HI nonetheless. :)

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    1. Support and friendship are the best things of all Hearth. Thank you so much.

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  4. Hi Kristin! So glad to see a post - it has been a long time. Just hang in there. Reconstruction is ugly and not much fun, but it is full of potential and that is a great reason to persevere. Lois K

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    1. Lois: It IS full of potential. That's why I haven't moved to Tahiti under cover of darkness :-)

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  5. Just hi. I'm not informed enough to comment about yoga, but I get reconstruction. All the best to you as you rebuild.

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    1. Brenda - thank you. I need the good wishes for the reno at this nail-biting stage!

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  6. Hi! Glad to catch a fresh post from you. Remember this one word: temporary. Things WILL improve. All the best.

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    1. When my daughter was little and going through very challenging phases, I would freak out and my mother would say to me, it's just a phase. Every time you get used to something, it'll change. And it works both ways. This is a hard time but there will be easy ones again, I trust. I'm digging deep and doubling down because I believe in my future. This is a time where I have to pull it together for later. And it's impossible not to learn shit, even when nothing's fun.

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  7. Hi! I read the whole thing, wow....you're going to get through even by the mere fact that you described it so well. This too shall pass and once it does and you look back, it will all have been worth it because it will all be healthy and beautiful and you will be in awe with a smile on your face and your jaw will no longer click. Peace out. J

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    1. I can't believe the one day I write a post in 2 months and that's when you decide to read?? I believe you J.

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  8. Hi Kristin, so sorry to hear about your health issues. Wishing you all the best

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    1. Thanks so much Catherine. Will you show us a cute baby pic on your blog sometime?

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  9. I salute your determination. You go girl! My own renovation is more like a minor slap of paint in comparison!

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    1. Oh, Roo. You had a serious fucking life renovation. And so glad to see your latest posts...

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  10. Oh...wow. I'm sorry to hear about the osteoarthritis being everywhere, even your jaw. What bad luck!!! You're amazing, functioning at such a high level, in so many areas, for such a long time. I hope taking your yoga practice down to the studs helps you rebuild your body to be a more comfortable place to live. Your house renovation should be a piece of cake by comparison. Glad to see your update. Good luck!

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    1. It is seriously fucking bad luck!! Well said. Thank you.

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  11. Hi Kristin :)
    I'm a long time lurker on your blog, and so happy you've posted again - I've missed reading your always interesting posts. Good luck with the Reno and your health!!

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    1. Eugenie I love your name. Thank you for saying hello and for reading. xo

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  12. Hello! You have such incredible force of will that I know you'll get through all of this... but hot damn woman, give yourself a break from time to time! Hire a cleaning lady, pay someone to do your laundry, I dunno... outsource!!!!! Good luck, hon!

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    1. It may scare you to know that my kid puts my force of will to shame. If only she used it for good :-) Just have to admit that I haven't done my laundry in 15 years (with rare exceptions). I do have a cleaning lady and I'm a total freak for cleanness so nothing is ever dirty. (Wow, I sound like a crazy lady G!) I am totally with you on the outsourcing and the self care. So I want to put it out there that I am doing some knitting (not a ton but lots given how little time I have). I believe in self-care (massage, meals with friends, an occasional online treat - though I should NOT be spending discretionary income. I keep it under 60 bucks and infrequent). I'm really searching out the silver linings. Spring is around the corner.

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  13. Oh. My. Word. You are a strong woman. I wish you success with ALL your renos. (And I agree with Gillian about outsourcing.)

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  14. Also, just curious if there is not a possibility of supplemental oxygen since you are desaturating at night?

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    1. Maybe but I'm working another angle first that has to do with reshaping my jaw and palate (not surgically at this point or hopefully ever) to address what's happening. Mind you, it occurs to me that I might be wise to do something in the meanwhile (I"m going to have additional sleep testing first) so that I can get around exhaustion. The bizarre thing is that I "sleep" 9 hours a night.I thought they were crazy when they suggested I might not be sleeping well. I don't want an oxygen gizmo if it can possibly be avoided.

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  15. Hello! I'm still here reading. :D

    I have no idea how you're functioning, but I heartily applaud your grit! Like serious grit!!!

    I'd be lying if I didn't giggle at this as I was thinking the exact same thing " I think, under the circumstances, I am fucking killing it, even if I haven't had a chance to interior design my new home three weeks before tear down."

    You're amazing.

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    1. You are very sweet Liz. I cannot believe your fortitude with your reno. I am a wuss compared to you - although I would have lived here if they weren't getting rid of all of the bathrooms and the kitchen, gotta love scope creep. But you're doing the manual, artisinal work yourself and that impresses me endlessly. I mean, it's not like you don't have a day job!!

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    2. Thanks Kristin. :D I hear you... it is hard work. Living during a reno is just my 'new normal'.

      Our latest accomplishment - new support beam in the basement in which we raised a sagging portion of our house by 2". heh

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  16. Still here and very pleased to see this post in my Feedly.
    I think folks with specific conditions oftentimes acquire more knowledge than the medics. You monitor and analyse your health and managing it will be down to trial and error. Sugar may be a contributing factor it has little nutritional value yet many of us are enslaved to it, it is truly addictive. Do let us know how you get on.

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    1. Ann - I sense I will not be able to stop myself from keeping you in the loop :-)

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  17. I cannot give this comment the response it deserves right now, but need to wave a happy hello -- you're back! still thinking hard! still writing so elegantly and trenchantly and wryly -- Sorry there's been so much undoing to contend with, but I know that you'll manage the redo with astonishing aplomb. You will, I know you will! xoxoxo (p.s. a motto of mine for years now has been "Embrace complexity" and oh, I love how you really do. With rigour!

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    1. meant that I couldn't give the post the response it deserves. . . you got that, right?

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    2. I love that motto! And I totally got what you were saying. Thank you xo

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  18. wow were you talking about me!!! all my symptoms

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    1. Lizzie: If you have all of these symptoms, please go get yourself a bunch of scans and find a good doctor. But most of all, educate yourself. There's a lot of comorbitity in this diagnosis and I'm confident it's manageable but it has to be pretty well managed to delay further degeneration. How old are you?

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  19. hmm... with all the physical anomalies, the ability to contort into a variety of positions, and the lack of REM sleep, have you ever considered the possibility that you are actually an armadillo? :)

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    1. I have not - but that is seriously my next consideration! :-)

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  20. I am always glad to read your musings. It sounds like you could use a break from your body. Wouldn't that be nice for all of us once in a while? It is amazing what you accomplish on no REM sleep. I would look at the interior design as a bonus in a trying process. It sounds like fun.

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    1. It would be so nice to just feel free of this sometimes. And I think the design is going to be fun. I'm looking forward to it more than all the prep work!

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  21. Still here. Still hoping things will improve, but from your talk of reconstruction all around it means that improvement will probably be coming in increments (e.g. one step forward, one step back). Life. The little darling.

    As for Vitamin D, my doc now keeps me on a prescription dose of 50k a week (1 pill, once a week). I've been on it for more than 2 years and I still just barely maintain a score of 30. But considering I started at 8...

    Best of luck with all the levels of reconstruction in your life.

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    1. Wow! Just goes to show that some people really do eat through, or need a lot of, vit d. And increments are challenging, though much less so than status quo, right?

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  22. As always, I love to read your posts, even when you're going through way too much and hurting. The grace and humor with which you describe your experiences is . . . I can't find an adjective that doesn't seem weird. Like, it's enjoyable to read, yes, but more importantly, it's authentic and offers us connection. I cherish that. I hope you can find some respite soon. Sending gentle hug energy!

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    1. Rebecca, thank you for this lovely comment. I think connection matters supremely and I am being all too real so I'm glad that it sounds authentic :-) Truth is, I'm so fortunate to have the resources I do have. So I am very grateful, even as I wish I didn't have to think about this.

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  23. not trying to talk you into anything, but this is helping my arthritis (& believe me it was painful and getting worse!). I know it sounds unbelievable, but here's a page of videos - there's a couple of arthritis ones. The one by Paula brought tears to my eyes:
    https://www.drmcdougall.com/health/education/health-science/stars/stars-video/paula-rheumatoid-arthritis/

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  24. PS if you decide to try the McDougall Program for a month, you can do it for free:
    http://tinyurl.com/kjby2sp

    I did buy the "McDougall Quick and Easy Cookbook" on Amazon, because I don't really like spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

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  25. I am so happy to "hear" your voice here as I read this post. Of course I'm always willing to read what you post, and you deal with everything with grace and aplomb. I know you will get through this to wherever you need to be, and I am honored that you share even the tiniest bit.

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    1. Mardel - it's so nice to see you here. I hope you're well! Thank you for listening. I'm very thankful not to be alone in this.

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  26. I hesitate to offer suggestions to someone who has much more knowledge about osteoarthritis than I do, but in case this helps you or anyone else reading here, I will post what has helped me.

    I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis at least 20 years ago. I started taking Cosamin DS and it relieved the symptoms. I once picked up another brand of glucosamine/chondroitin at Whole Foods, and my symptoms came back. At one point, I started taking a high-quality fish oil (omegabrite.com) and I was able to stop the Cosamin. About a year ago, I started to notice symptoms and I started taking Cosamin again, this time the ASU version. It keeps the symptoms at bay. I have full range of motion and very little pain or stiffness, as long as I exercise regularly.

    I also do Yamuna body rolling. She has a "save your face" program which I do. I find it very relaxing. She claims that it helps TMJ.

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    1. Marie - thanks for these ideas! I have not heard of either so I'm off to check them out.

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  27. Hi!!! Waves madly from across the Atlantic.
    Lord life sounds challenging at the moment. But if anyone can pull this shit out if the bag it's you! Your strength and self awareness are a gift. And, as others have commented, if they waver just hold onto the truth that this too shall pass.

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    1. Evie I've missed you! They say when things are hard you have to just keep going. I'm hopeful that I won't lose my perspective on all of this, something which would be easy to do. Thanks so much for your comment. xo

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  28. I'm glad to read your updates!

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