Sunday, November 25, 2007

How the Body Falls Apart*, or Swerve Now to Avoid Pity Party Ahead

I don't know how much of it is having turned 40 and how much of it is karmic payback for all the fast living risk taking partying experimenting I did in my 20s, but so far my body is most emphatically NOT enjoying the fifth decade of my life, and not content to be miserable alone, it's dragging me along for the ride.

Recent weight gain aside, my body is sulky. It is acting like a spoiled teenager. It is metaphorically slouching around the house in ripped jeans that hang around the hips, exposing three inches of boxer shorts, and refusing to hang up its jacket. When I make simple requests of it, it either curls its lip and says "You're not the boss of me" or heaves great sighs of martyrdom while stomping upstairs to its room, where it slams the door and cranks some U-2 all the way up to eleven.

Tortured metaphors notwithstanding, it sucks.

My body and I got off to a pretty shaky start together, what with the fashion magazine brainwashing and the neighborhood pedophile and the eating disorders and all. But in my late 20s, our relationship blossomed. I took care of it and it took care of me. I ate well and healthfully. I stretched and exercised with something like regularity. My old back injury (from a dance class in 1984) bothered me rarely and I popped out 2 kids without much ill effect. Hell, I could even do cartwheels and a split as recently as 3-4 years ago. I felt good most of the time, and when I didn't feel good, it didn't take much to put things right again.

What a difference 18 months make. In the past few years, my back injury has gone from dormant to exceedingly active, my PKD has gone from symptom-free to symptom-full, and I suddenly feel very old. I do not have the strength (due to back pain) or energy (due to impaired kidney function) to indulge in the things I love to do without consequences that turn me into a raving beeyotch on wheels, which is really quite unfair to my husband and children, who have to put up with me.

And yes, I am indulging in a bit of a pity party. (Where better to indulge in a bit of self-indulgence than on one's indulgent-by-definition blog?) My back hurts all the time and it sucks. Due to the enlargement of my kidneys and liver, when I eat more than about 1 cup of food by volume at one sitting, it hurts for hours afterward and that sucks. (Yes, Thanksgiving was QUITE A JOY in that regard, thankyouverymuch.) I am getting less than optimal sleep (ref. "back pain") which exacerbates the fatigue inherent in being down to 40% kidney function. I am exhausted all of the time and it sucks. It is the holiday season, which I love and look forward to all year, and I don't know if I'm going to have the strength to do the entertaining and baking and gifting and celebrating that I want want WANT to do and it sucks great big hairy donkey balls.

But you should know, dear internets, that I am not taking this crap lying down. The PKD is the PKD, and there's not much I can do about it besides stick to my low-protein diet. I am spending a small fortune on receiving weekly massage for the @#$%^&* back, and tested the waters this morning with a yoga class. (Initial report -- ouch. Not sure I'm ready to anything as FREAKIN' STRENUOUS as yoga.) But I am going to fix this damn back problem, whatever it takes. Acupuncture may be next. Also large infusions of tequila.

Send limes and soothing yoga music.

*Double extra-credit to anyone who can name the show this song comes from without resorting to Google.


Phoebe J. Southwood said...

I don't know the song!


No double extra credit for me.

I can say that there are a zillion types of yoga classes. I looked a lot until I found a teacher/style that I was in love with.

One of my favorite things about it? The teacher was all about teaching self-compassion - and it radiates out into the world and makes life better, and wounds heal faster.

Good luck! I hope you feel better and get those swollen organs under control as best you can.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Ruth, hugs to you. I'm so sorry you're going through all this--it does suck big time. :-)

I highly recommend the Alexander Technique for your back. It has kept me not only mobile, but active and able to do all the strenuous activity that I need to do to keep the farm going, despite 2 serious back injuries. After the first back injury, I had 2 doctors (one a neurologist) and a physical therapist tell me that I may as well get used to not being as active as I had been. Well, so much for western medicine! It is totally non-invasive, won't hurt you at all and can only help. It will also help you to do the yoga without hurting yourself.

Here's a link to a website with info and whaddya know--there's a teacher right there in Swarthmore! :-)

I wish I could offer more, but this is all I got.


we_be_toys said...

Girl, I know what you mean about your body not feeling like your body anymore, and I haven't your excuse of diminished kidney function. I am SO impressed with your baking - if I felt like shit, the family would be eating oreos for dessert - you are awesome!

Anonymous said...

I'm just so sorry for all your troubles, Ruth, but it has been an incredible stressful year for you. It would be a surprise if you didn't feel the effects, and the PKD can only make them more evident.
I know nothing about the Alexander Technique, but heard Andrew Weil recommend it without reservations. If you have a place in Swarthmore, it's surely worth a try, as Ann suggests.


Anonymous said...

Eeek, I didn't edit. I meant to say it's been an incredibly stressful year. Duh.

O said...

Also, around Swarthmore, re: yoga. Look for classes taught by Panna Flower. (I know, what a yoga name, right?) She is one of the most gentle teachers I've ever heard of and can somehow lead a class with rigorous workouts for jocks that senior citizens can still take. She's a real master. She sometimes teaches at the Healthplex, sometimes at the Swat Community Center, and sometimes in the Community Classes taught at the high school.
And if you are thinking of the chiropractic route, Jeannie Ohm (love the name, right?) is a specialist in women's chiropractic. She's right by the Granite Run Mall.
Oy & good luck.
Low protein, huh? We're Jack Spratt and his wife at a dinner party. I'm the Atkins ready queen with my high triglycerides and lower than anyone's ever heard of cholesterol.

BOSSY said...

Bossy thinks Pity Parties should be a real thing -- and the dress code is Bathrobe.

Vinkus07 said...

Little late with the sympathy, but it's there . . .feel better, much better. Best wishes.