Sunday, October 19, 2014

"Is there something wrong with her?" Reflections on tremors and the simple pleasure of pouring tea

The short answer is no. The longer answer Benign essential tremors ?kinesthetic dystonia Rx Artane ?botox injections

"I thought you had Parkinson's Disease."

"Why does her head shake like that daddy."

Stage whisper "Is there something wrong with her?"

"Look in the mirror," the KMI structural integrator suggested. "I think they are kind of regal. After all Katherine Hepburn had tremors. It's all about perspective. I kind of wish I had them."

"Oh wow your tremors look like they are getting better...."

The first time I ever experienced a whole body tremor that looked like a seizure was when I was in gym class. The gym teacher, Miss Cochran forced me into a somersault. I tried to tell her that I couldn't do a somersault but she refused to listen to me. She got angry with me for "scaring her like that."

In the quiet of the treatment room at Sollievo Massage and Bodywork, I had the opportunity to observe my body and its tremors. This is what happens to a body when it has experienced the polio virus and violence.

Through Joseph's skilled, caring and compassionate touch, I experience moments of stillness in my body. I often joke with him that when that happens I don't want him to move from where he is holding but we both knew this is a process where nature is taking its course as I heal mind, body and Spirit. Everything is in motion; everything is changing.

In last week's treatment, as Joseph worked with my cervical spine, I felt a new pathway of energy flow. After the treatment I recalled the memory of when the doctor forced my torso over the side of the bed to see if my neck was stiff as part of his diagnostic assessment after I collapsed in gym class. I can feel how life is returning to the top of my spinal cord where it meets the base of my skull after all these years.

Last night Tom and I went out for dinner at Golden Temple. Tom always pours the tea. I've had open shoulder surgery on my right arm and lost use of my right arm for 6 months due to an infection in the bone. The combination of polio, assaults and surgery compromised the functioning of my right arm and hand.

I felt that something had shifted after last Thursday's treatment, and I wanted to pour the tea. No tremors. Steady and strong. Effort-less. New neuromuscular memory on which to build.

There were waves of sadness and happiness throughout my last treatment. Sadness for how hard it had been living in my body as a result of the effects from paralytic polio and violence; happiness for peace, stillness, healing and unlimited possibility for more healing. Sadness leaving behind a familiar way of being filled with struggle and challenge and happiness for ease and potential for greater ease in my life on and off of the roads.

I believed there was something wrong with me; that the tremors were something I needed to stop. I did take a short course of Artane but it didn't make a difference in the tremors. The side effects were awful for me. I was considering botox injections but something stopped me from pursuing them - thank goodness! The tremors are not something to glorify nor demonize; they are not something to feel ashamed of or embarrassed about. When I push myself to the edge, or if I experience intense emotions, they have been known to intensify. With a spinal cord injury, it can be challenging for the body to regulate its temperature. I notice that my thermostat is working much better now and I can maintain my body temperature with greater ease. I no longer immediately shiver if the air is cool. As I continue to heal with the help of regular treatments with Joseph, as I continue to build strength at Spaulding Rehab through Aquatics Therapy, my energy can flow with greater ease and I have more of my body available to enjoy the tasks of daily living. What a joy to experience the simple pleasure of pouring a cup of tea. Is there something wrong with her? Oh no - there is everything right with her!

Knowing the challenges first hand of living with a neuromuscular condition, on Thanksgiving, I will be running the Boston Volvo 5K Village Road Race to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society New England Chapter. When we unlock the key to one neuromuscular condition, we can unlock the door to many. You can donate to my run on my fund raising page.

The first 7 years of my healing odyssey are chronicled in Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility available on Amazon. I donate 50% of royalty payments to The One Fund Boston to help survivors and their families who were affected by the tragic events of 4/15/13.

I'm working on my 2nd book, "Journey Well," due out later this year:

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