Despite the many supplements and remedies my sweetheart has tried throughout this painful year -- many of which I've reviewed here on Ribbons & Pearls -- he can't seem to keep the pain away for very long. And well, supplements for something like back pain are not exactly budget-friendly, not when one needs to take them daily in order to get any relief from the pain.
He began working longer hours this winter, and as many of you chronic back pain-sufferers are all too familiar with, the cold weather isn't kind on pain.
These long hours, plus the tiny sliver of sleep he's lucky if he gets each night (the pain tends to wake him up after only a few hours of sleep) has just totally broken him, and over the last three months, we've finally arrived at the conclusion that my love-bird needed to start looking into professional care, as scary as that has been to think about.
While he does want to be "fixed," he doesn't want the typical blankets that only cover up and mask some symptoms of pain. He wants to simply be "fixed," he says.
So, initially, my first suggestion was to look into something of a holistic practitioner, someone who can help him get to the root of the issues and use their own techniques to "fix him," even if his issue cannot be completely cured, although personally, I am a believer that anything is possible.
Imagine the disappointment, when after he started to feel some excitement about seeing a holistic practitioner and began expressing feelings of hopeful-ness (for the first time since he fell off that ladder back in the summer), we came up with nothing. Not a single thing close to holistic care in our area! None.
So, my second suggestion came tonight as I worked through my mind all day yesterday and today what types of options he may have was seeing a Reiki worker! Why I didn't think of this before, as someone who's highly into this sort of healing modalities.
After the severe let-down we were stuck with when we found nothing but conventional practitioners in our area, he was leery when I made the Reiki suggestion this evening. I asked if he'd be willing to try it, and he responded with a desperate "yes," although the fear of yet another disappointment was pasted to his face.
I don't want him to stay in pain, or be let-down anymore. I have been working him to get hopeful, feel excitement because it's my thinking (and experience) that those feelings put us in a positive vibration that can have hugely positive impacts on our outcomes. It can make all the difference in the world when we seek more positive thinking on something like pain.
"I just don't want to be disappointed again. It's too much, so if I just don't let myself believe too much that there is any hope, then being let-down again won't be so hard to take," he told me, totally deflated and drained.
The black half circles under his eyes, and the complete sag in his frame stood out bigger than ever before as I watched him closely while he expressed those fears of disappointment.
This stuff is really taking a toll on him.
No, it took its toll long ago.
And now more than ever before, it showed to the extent that my stomach lurched up into my throat.
We scheduled a chat-session with a Naturopath who I was blessed enough to find, somewhat near to us.
Due to our not being able to schedule an in-person visit anytime soon with this new practitioner, we settled for an hour long discussion with her, and she had some pretty amazing, if not odd suggestions for him.
In fact, her suggestions sound more like vacation.
Not that we can complain about a vacation! Especially considering we had to skip our annual trip to the beach this year, something that my significant other did not take well. It's something our entire family looks forward to all year long, so that was quite the added disappointment to a year that had already earned struggles for all of us.
I'd heard of hydro-therapy before, but my significant other and I haven't ever used it before. We've delved into some energy healing, something I was incredibly responsive to doing from day 1. In fact, I've surprised myself with the techniques of energy healing. I'm more of a beginner, but have been able to get results from it.
I'm no expert, by no means, and I want him to have nothing other than the best care available.
Of all the things to "try" for his pain, and all the possible routes of relief, the most out-there suggestion our brand new friend and future Naturopath gave us was the vacation.
"Is it at all possible that you can take at least 3 days off right now, right this minute?" She asked, and he responded with a strained "I have no idea. Why?"
We both stared into each others faces for a lengthy duration before I shrugged and asked "well, can you?"
Neither of us were sure where this was going, and he wasn't even sure if he would be able to take an hour off from work right now, much less a 3-day mini vacation.
When our friend carefully and almost hesitantly laid out exactly what she had in mind for him, I think we both thought she was joking us. A vacation? Out of nowhere? An actual vacation? Somewhere tropical and warm, with more water than the typical ponds and lakes here in our area. The ocean.
Our all-time favorite place on earth.
She had her own ideas of the "best" oceans that a person in ill-health could visit, but obviously, someone on a budget and a last-minute mini vacation needed to compromise, so she basically told us that any ocean, as long as it was one that we felt we could feel fulfilled and truly enjoy an experience visiting would do just fine, for now.
"Just until you can actually get in and see me," she said.
I was still waiting for her to laugh in our faces and say "April fool's!" or something.
Like I said, I'd heard of hydro-therapy, and fully believe in its possible benefits because I've always kind of felt like my best ideas came when I am indulging in a warm shower or bath, and even some of my most spiritual moments, oddly enough.
I figure there must be some link to water and our well-being. So I was all for visiting the beach, any beach, for his benefit. Oh, what a beautiful "prescription!"
Even as we packed our belongings, left a bill to go un-paid, and took off to the nearest beach (more than 6 hours away), there was still a sense of uncertainty, and maybe even a touch of fear in the air as we began the drive.
Despite the oddness of this suggestion that we take off to a beach, and despite the great feelings of uncertainty we both had as we took off virtually without a clue as to what we'd do or how anything would go, the 2 1/2 day trip was absolutely unlike anything either of us had ever experienced.
We stayed in touch, via Skype with our new friend and healer for the entire trip, her giving us specific suggestions on how to go about our days in order to put him in the "receiving" and "relaxed" state.
He was totally open to yoga techniques, and even breathing techniques that she instructed us through. I'd never seen him so ... not tense and truly relaxed.
I still didn't know how this would help his back. At all. In fact, there were times that I felt like we were being scammed somehow!
As we made our way back after our last night, and after the Naturopath asked us a handful of seemingly strange and out of nowhere questions, it hit me.
I knew exactly why we were told to take off, at random, to a beach. I knew why she asked the questions, and everything that had happened made complete sense to me.
He needed to be pushed into a receptive state, and as someone who was so filled with fear that he was stubborn, there was really only one way to get him in that state of mind quickly.
And I can't believe it, but it worked!
Now, he's on his way to a multitude of "fix-him-up visits," as I call them, and I can't begin to describe how much has changed. Even though his back isn't healed, so many other areas of him (and me!) have been that the entire experience so far has already been beyond worth it.
Hope, excitement, relaxed, joy, and a little bit of peace -- those are all things he now has that he had none of before.
The dark eye circles are looking better as he continues the many breathing techniques and diet suggestions.
This was all about getting him in the "right" state of mind, and healing him in areas that were contributing so negatively to his entire health, well-being, and pain.
We are filled with hope that progress will be made any time now. We feel like as we progress with the proper care by our side, helping us along the way, we'll really get him somewhere much better than the previous pain-filled life.
We don't know what will happen, or how he will get fully better and completely recover from the injury to his back, but we both are certain it will happen.
Who knew going to the beach -- in the middle of a full-force, stress-filled life -- could be so therapeutic?
Ever since we arrived back home, our attitudes and mind-sets have totally changed, and we often joke anytime something "goes wrong" in our day "well, I guess we'll have to go back to the beach!"
Next time, though, I told him we'd be staying at Las Ventanas Del Mar, located in Costa Rica, somewhere we've never even been, but where our close friends recently vacationed and sent us photos of them lounging in what appears to be the world's most fabulous 9,000 thousand square foot infinity pool (and boy did I ever feel the jealousy monster strike when I seen their images!)
We have to stay in the Las Ventanas Del Mar! I tell him anytime the topic of vacation comes up.
Thankfully, he was just as intrigued by the monstrosity of an infinity pool, and the massages, which are done in your own room were all we had to hear and we were sold. In fact, we've already discussed taking a trip back with our friends who stayed there before, and splitting the expenses between the four of us.
Our couple friend said that while they didn't "get around to it," the Las Ventanas place where they stayed offered yoga -- which will be perfect for keeping him in that peaceful, relaxed state of mind, -- fishing, whitewater rafting, helicopter tours, and even volcano tours -- all things my sweet love-bucket absolutely loves, or has expressed a desire to try before (like the helicopter and volcano experiences.) The coffee plantation tour, access to organic fruit and veggie markets, and zip lining will be the first things I get in line for. I never knew you could do so much at one resort.
Needless to say, no convincing was necessary to get him to want to stay at such a place for our next vacation, the annual one we won't be missing this year.
So, it looks like we'll be getting a refill on that "prescription" vacation, only this time, we'll have already planned our entire journey of fun-things-to-try before we ever arrive.
Have any of you ever had an experience similar to this? Care to share it? We'd all love if you did.
What would your idea of the perfect "healing" vacation be? Have you ever been to this resort? What was your experience? Do tell!