I have had Scoliosis, which is a curve in my spine, since I was around 10 years old. In the coming year after it was diagnosed, began the various treatments that were used at the time. There were metal and leather back braces, traction, surgery to stretch my spine and anchor a metal rod to it keeping the curve supported so it didn’t get worse, body casts, being bed ridden for three months, innumerable doctor visits, and several lengthy hospital stays. I can say that I am thankful the treatments were available to me, and that my parents were willing to make the sacrifices they had to in order for me to be able to live a virtually normal life. There hasn’t been much that I have ever really wanted to do that I haven’t been able to achieve. After my back was stable the doctors gave me permission to ride my bike and our horses again, learn to roller skate, and many other things. I have lived a very active and fun life.
As I have grown older I have adjusted the things I enjoy doing, both in what I do and in how I do those things. One of the challenges I deal with because of scoliosis is having restricted lungs due to the space available since my spinal curve is in my upper back. My lung capacity has been 50% for at least the past 30 years. When I get tired or fatigued, I rest. I have exercises to do to help strengthen my core, which helps with strength, occasional muscle spasms and pain. I also normally have unlevel hips, so I have exercises and stretches to bring that back into line. When my hip hurts, I rest. I try not to stand still with my weight on one hip, which feels better temporarily, but undoes my progress with keeping my hips level. When my hips are out of line, my upper back muscles pay for it, so I try to keep them level.
At some point I began having aching muscles in odd places like the backs of my arms, for no reason. Sometimes the back of my upper arms feel like they are being pricked with needles. It spread for a couple of years before a doctor told me it is Fibromyalgia. The nerve endings in my scalp are so tender at times, that it hurts to wear a cap at all, and it hurts for my hair to blow on a windy day. I have it other places, but you get the idea. A few of years ago, I also began falling at odd times. I fell hard and fast; with no control whatsoever. It was frightening for my family and for me. I went to another spinal doctor, a neurologist for nerve testing, and finally to a rheumatologist to see if we could find out what was going on. The tests he ran said I have; brace yourself, fibromyalgia. You might think that’s not much of an answer, but this doctor had a solution of sorts; physical therapy. He also has scoliosis, so he was able to send me to a therapist who designed a program for the combination of health issues I have to deal with which were contributing to my falls! The results were wonderful! I pay close attention to my steps when I am on uneven ground or concrete steps, and I’m not so afraid of falling anymore. I have my life back! This physical therapy is something I’ll need to do from now on, and I’m so thankful I have it. I can enjoy life again.
I like planting flowers; bulbs, seeds, plants, it doesn’t matter. I just love digging in the dirt. Because of the off and on pain, and living on a hard packed clay hill, I have adopted container gardening in lieu of putting any more flower beds than I already have in place. I keep record of what does well where I have my containers, to help me be more successful. Discouragement can be bothersome coupled with fatigue that is beyond one’s control, which goes with fibromyalgia. I create opportunities for my own success, which encourages me to do some more, and enjoy what I’ve accomplished. My beds all now have permanent plantings. I have used no-to-low-maintenance plants. Most of what I have is Azalea, Lantana, Hawthorn, Forsythia, Bridal Wreath, and various spring blooming bulbs. We can enjoy flowers this way, and this spurs me on to plant my containers at the back door. I love Inpatients, Periwinkle, Petunias, Red Salvia, Moss Rose, Sweet William, Begonias, and many others.
I also set myself up for success in house work. I don’t always keep it done the way it should be, but I allow myself to not be perfect. I allow myself breaks as I need.
I have two sets of bathroom cleaners; one for each bathroom, so I don’t have to make taxing trips back and forth from one end of the house to the other wearing me down. In the kitchen I have bread in a bread box, the peanut butter sits on bread box, with the toaster beside the bread. Spices are up above in the cabinet, and all this is between the refrigerator and the stove; handy for making cinnamon toast, garlic toast, peanut butter and jelly, sandwich. We can easily have a nutritious snack with a glass milk.
Mixing bowls are under the bar counter, with the stand mixer nearby on one side, and dry goods such as flour on the other side. Mixing up a quick dessert is handier this way.
I keep a couple of good books handy so I can grab one to read and sit out on the glider by the back door. I also like to do my Bible study there on a pretty day. I bought a glider for an anniversary gift for Roy and me. “We” put together at the back door with another place in mind to put it. We decided we like it sitting right there handy to just walk out and rest and enjoy the outdoors.
I hope you come away with something positive from this. Many of us have health issues as we get older at the least. There are things we can do to have a positive life, and not allow health issues to get us down. These are just a few of the ones I use to help me. I hope this helps someone else, and that you have a great rest of the week.
Be blessed, my friends.