Brew of the day: Cinnamon and Cardamom tea (www.pukkaherbs.com)
It’s funny what you get used to. As a child I spent a lot of time horse-riding ~ an inevitable consequence of growing up on a horse stud! Falling off, getting scraped, banging into things, being kicked ~ it was all part of the package. We were ‘wild’ riders, none of this hard hat in a neat little equestrian shed for us. While we did have a purpose built equestrian centre, most of our riding was done in the rough Australian bush, often without saddles, and sometimes without headgear on the horses.
One of my ‘bumps’ was when my sister was doubling me and she got off the horse first, leaving me sitting on its rump. The horse took off and I landed flat bang on my coccyx. Oh the pain!!!!! I don’t think I walked properly for weeks after that. But in those days, well, you just got on with it. I could walk, so clearly I didn’t need to get any medical care.
I couldn’t imagine as a mother, now, if that sort of thing happened to my child, not having any sort of ‘treatment’.
As it turns out my *body* didn’t forget the experience but instead learnt to deal with it, making the necessary accommodations so I could still run about like a ten year old.
Roll forward seventeen years to giving birth to Bethany, and OUCH! Not the giving birth, that was lovely, easy and peaceful, but at one point on her descent I felt something ‘go’ in my coccyx. “What was that?” I asked my midwife in surprise.
And that’s when the headaches started. Not just ‘annoying, mild headaches’ but excruciating, flat on your back headaches which lasted for about 5 days at a time. This continued for the next ten years! For most of that time I went through this without any painkillers because I was breastfeeding. The past year I gave in because, let's face it, you can't organise an expo, family camps, deal with a two day court case, etc., if you are flat on your back and nearly vomiting from the pain. Trouble was, though, even the heavy duty painkillers barely touched it.
I had a lot of craniosacral work done, which I love. It is a great healing modality. But it never ‘fixed’ the problem.
Eliza’s birth, 22 months after Bethany’s, banged on the coccyx again. This time I literally couldn’t walk for a few days after birth. Our craniosacral therapist at the time, Madhu Bhana (bless her) came to the hospital to treat Eliza (who had shoulder dystocia) and I. It made an enormous difference.
We moved from NZ to Australia, then to the UK. The headaches became worse (if that is possible). I tried different healing modalities, changes of diet, visualisation. You name it, I tried it. The closest I came to getting some answers was a medical intuitive telling me something was wrong with my nerves. Unfortunately, the remedy she suggested, which I tried for a year (adding up to £300) didn't really sort the problem.
The past three years were the most difficult, as I noticed a pattern emerging. The first day of each period, like clockwork, would see my ‘back go out’. I was at a loss. I ate well (nutritionally sound); took supplements, walked a lot. I had no other menstrual symptoms of any description. Apart from the back/headache thing, I simply wouldn’t have known that I had my period.
And then about the middle of last year I noticed, to my absolute horror, that I was experiencing signs of PMT! (unheard of for me) The week before my period I was like a bear with a sore head…growling at the kids even when I ‘consciously’ knew there was nothing worth being cross at. I really couldn’t understand what was going on. I felt like there were two different people inside me.
I knew I’d had a ridiculously busy year and that the kids had had to put up with me being somewhat distracted (and majorly stressed) even though I was still at home with them.
So I made a vow that 2006 was to be the Year of Veronika...my needs were coming first and that was that. No ‘Mother magazine’ family camp, no expo, no ‘projects’ of any description.
I made this decision at the back end of 2005 and decided that there was no point waiting for January to roll around.
The first thing I did was book to see a homeopath so I could have a constitutional remedy. We had two sessions but I felt that it was all a bit hit and miss and that some of the remedies were so NOT me. I also felt that (and I know that it is about treating the whole person, not the symptoms) it wasn’t quite getting at what was going on for me.
I’d not been to a chiropractor since my early 20s…mostly because they seemed to have a ‘bad rap’ from some people I knew. I decided to give it another shot. I intuitively felt that something needed ‘adjusting’ at the most basic level of my spine.
Well, in just four months my life has been transformed beyond recognition.
No longer do I get laid up when my period arrives…my spine is remembering how it should be and my nervous system is adjusting to a new way of responding. It turns out that the headaches from my period were a chemical reaction and my nerves, not responding properly, created the pain.
The other headaches (which felt the same) were related to having subluxations (where the vertebrae are out of alignment). So regardless of whether the pain was from a chemical or a physical stress, my nerves were going into overdrive. And because this was such a habit, it essentially meant each time it happened it felt even worse! Something to do with going over the same pathway all the time.
For years now, I just assumed it was my nature to be a grumpy old cow, but in these past few months a sense of peace has overtaken me and a general happiness. (Apparently regular chiropractic care releases the ‘happy hormone’) I’ve been struck by how chiropractic works in that although it is the spine being adjusted, the real work is about freeing up the nerves so they can function fully and thereby it allows us to see the world as it is rather than through a different, perhaps, smudged eyeglass.
The first time I really noticed the happy hormone was the day before Christmas Eve, 2005. The girls and I were in Carlisle, our nearest city. I ‘hate’ cities…crowds, Christmas shopping madness and all that. The thought of it stresses me. But that day, just after I’d had a chiropractic treatment, the girls and I were in the city for three hours. As I drove home it hit me! I was happy. Not once had I experienced stress, and it was the busiest time of the year at the shops too!
For years I’ve barely been able to turn my head when having to look back for reversing the car out of car parks. My neck didn’t hurt, it simply didn’t move! But again, it is funny what you live with or what you think is ‘normal’. Nowadays my head just about does a 360 degree swivel! It is incredible to me. I love having to turn my neck now when I’m reversing the car!
One of the great things about the Family Chiropractic Clinic where I go is that they do kids’ treatments for free if they go with the parent. I love knowing that my girls will grow up with this natural health care to support their growing immune systems and developing bodies.
For almost a fortnight, the girls and I have slobbed about in the lounge room. We came down with a horrid cough and had no energy. Hopefully the detox to end all detoxes. We’d recently gone wheat free so don’t know if there is any connections.
My body needs exercise or it literally seizes up. Earlier this week I slept crookedly (used a different sized pillow). Woke with a headache from hell and was rather confused. I could turn my neck without discomfort so surely it wasn’t related to my spine?
Anyway, after two days of this I went to my chiropractor (a gorgeous Canadian lady, Rozeela) and as it turned out the very top of my spine was out. One click/crunch from her and the headache was gone. As was my crankiness and lack of energy. That afternoon I walked 7 ½ miles. It felt great! The girls were cycling along beside me. After those two days of having a rather poor world view and feeling antisocial, I am back to feeling great. A feeling I now know is my true self. When I’ve been in the cycles of excruciating pain I couldn’t have cared less if I lived or died…the preference would have been the latter. I don’t know if that is something most people can appreciate if they haven’t lived through pain like this. My normal bright self disappears and just evaporates.
After that session yesterday, the girls and I had a wonderful afternoon. First we went to the Druid’s Circle ~ Long Meg. And then we went to another village so they could go to the park. Although windy and cold, the sun was out and it was so glorious. The fells (hills/Pennines) were gorgeous, capped with a light touch of snow. It’s funny but Eliza said to me she was having a great day, that she loved it when I spent time with her. Spent time with her?!
I’ve just spent the last eight years of my life with her! It really threw me for six. I felt upset at my deepest being. And then I figured what she meant. It isn’t enough me being a home-based mother and them being home educated. They want me to be mentally present in a way that is impossible for me to do if I’m making meals, doing housework, answering emails, returning phone calls, proof reading, having visitors! ….
We’ve not exercised much in the past couple of months. I’m looking forward to the warmer weather and being outside for hours together each day…walking, cycling, gardening. And then she will truly ‘have me’. And the blessing is, for the first time in her life there’ll be a Spring and Summer with a happy mother rather than a Grizzly Bear!