I couldn't even stand in front of the x-ray machine.
The pain in my knees and back were unbearable.
I walked with a cane.
The thing about hitting bottom (bottom of the barrel, let's say) is that hitting bottom once may not be enough to bounce you up and out of the barrel. Once wasn't enough for me.
Back in 2000 I hit one of my bottoms.
I was tired, fatigued, depressed and in horrible pain.
My diabetes and sleep apnea were not yet diagnosed.
I figured I was suffering from fatness. Fatness causes fatigue. Fatness causes pain. Fatness causes depression. And what causes fatness???
lack of willpower,
That's the burden I was carrying around on my tiny 5'2" frame.
400+ pounds of ugly fat and a few tons of ugly guilt, shame and self-blame.
I was sick, in agony and it was all my fault.
No one told me a different story.
No one except Diane, my friend Lily's mother. She had the good sense to postulate that I must be very strong. She reasoned that if carrying 300 pounds of something - barbells, weights, sacks of grain, luggage - makes you a strong person, then carrying that much excess weight in the form of fat must make one strong, too. She told me that my joints and back hurt from being a world class weight lifter.
She showed me great compassion. She taught me how to make colloidal silver, kombucha tea and tamari almonds, ALL of which I still religiously use till this day.
Her kitchen door was always open. Her front door was always open, too, but only the mailperson and UPS driver used that one.
As a mother of 5 she was accustomed to having an army's worth of food prepared and edible at any given time for people who kept different schedules, were always on their way somewhere and who, at any moment would walk in and say they were sooooo hungry "what is there to eat?"
Her food was always good, wholesome, healthy and satisfying.
I felt cared for when I went there.
So, on this particular night in 2000 I had hit one of my bottoms. I remember using the phrase "death's door" to describe how I felt when I showed up in her kitchen that night, desperate and ready to give up. Then the miracle happened.
Her son, Josh (we called him Brian), had just introduced the family to a chiropractor in Passaic Park. They were on their way to see him. They invited me to come along.
I had seen one chiropractor before. She was kind, sympathetic but impatient when she couldn't do much to relieve my knee pain. Of course she suggested I was carrying too much weight. I didn't need a professional to tell me that. For the record, NO overweight person needs you to tell them they're too fat or that they eat too much. We know. We're fat, not stupid.
The chiropractor I had seen worked out of her living room and used an adjustment tool, like a gun with a padded hammer at that end of it. She gunned my knees, my neck my back and didn't make much of a difference. Only when she failed to help me did she resort to telling me that my weight was the cause of my pains.
I didn't have much faith in chiropractors based on my experience with her. I also didn't know Jack S**t about chiropractic care. Lucky for me, I was about to meet Jack S**t.
I could barely make it down the few steps to his office, my cane wobbling out in front of me searching for the next stair. My knees felt like they had needles sticking in them, my ankles burned, my lower back was on fire, and I was ashamed of every inch of myself.
The doctor was younger than I expected, my age to be exact. He was kind, professional and completely non-judgemental. I remember having trouble sitting on his examining table, getting up from a reclining position, standing in general, and like a gentleman, he offered his hand to help me. He gave me no dirty looks of impatience. He mentioned my obesity in such a clinical, conservative, yet kind way, that I didn't feel judged or offended by it. He didn't BLAME me.
When I returned the next day for my exray, I was unable to stand in front of the exray machine. I was hunched over, leaning on my cane. Standing was beyond difficult, it was impossible. He suggested I sit in the little exray chair attached to the machine. Ok, but the chair swiveled. I couldn't get a grip on it to hoist myself up into it.
He held the chair steady for me with one arm and helped me up into the chair with the other. With infinite patience he guided me into the seat. He told me to grasp the chair arm for support. I reached for it, got a grip on it and zhing! Out it came from its socket. He had already expertly guided my enormous bulk into the chair, so I plopped down into the seat holding the metal chair arm aloft and laughed, hard. The absurdity of me sitting there holding a piece of a chair struck me funny. No, it struck me silly. I laughed so hard and with such abandon, the doc couldn't help but join me. We laughed with relief. The tenseness of the situation was completely shattered. Some of my pain eased with the gleeful outburst. I was ready to heal.
The next time I saw him was a few days later after the initial spinal adjustment. I had 80% less pain and no longer needed the cane.
Our bodies are miracles. Our miraculous power to heal is called "innate intelligence" by my doc's school of chiropractic. Our bodies WANT to be well. Their natural inclination is toward wellness. Obstacles get in the way of our body's innate intelligence, our vitalistic, natural tendency toward optimum health.
For the chiropractor, a 'straight' chiropractor specializing in spinal adjustments, spinal misalignments or subluxations are removable obstacles. A well adjusted spine is free from
subluxations and allows the central nervous system and all those goopy nerves associated with the spinal cord to function properly.
He helped my spine to get healthy.
He helped me get out of my own way.
I haven't walked with a cane since.
The pain decreased, then nearly disappeared.
I see him once a month for a check up.
If no spinal adjustment is needed, he doesn't charge me.
That's his policy with ALL his patients.
He is the most ethical, professional and skilled chiropractor in the known universe.
Thank God for Dr. Alan Brewster.
(and deep, sincere thanks to his lovely wife, Maryann for her professionalism, kindness and overall beauty and to Doreen Vitkuske for all her encouragement and support)
*Movement for the Unmotivated*
Move and take a few seconds break.
Shake it out.
Take a deep breath.
If you can only do one leg lift and then you need to rest, rest.
Take it easy on yourself while you're being hard on yourself.
There is no Yang without a little bit of Yin and vice versa.
Yesterday's Weight: 269
Thursday, May 31, 2007
I couldn't even stand in front of the x-ray machine.