Spatchcocked Chicken Derailment

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This playful, bordering on silly, Easter photo mirrors the lightheartedness I currently sense inside and out. A blessed “rebirth” that truly reflects the joy of the Easter season. For the first time in a while, I relished a holiday outing instead of fixating on getting home and getting through it.

Every morning when I open my eyes, I am greeted by Jesus on the cross. It reminds me how He suffered for our sins and encourages me to continue forward in His name, especially during difficult times. Grasping my faith tightly, the double looped roller coaster of life whisked me on an even wilder ride! It has brought cherished highs and distressing lows.

After years of slowly and methodically aligning my bones with chiropractic adjustments, and building muscle through regular exercise, my SI pain was finally diminishing. I not only felt physically stronger, but visually, I looked more muscular than ever. I could perceive the painful fog finally lifting. That’s until the last nine months of 2016 flew off the rickety rails!

In early April, 2016, Dr. Cris performed a new adjustment. One in which I was unaware that I even needed. Due to forty years of sitting, she, correctly, repositioned my femoral heads from the sides of my hips to underneath my pelvis. Immediately after the adjustment, I felt a weird, but more natural shift in my body. After a few hours, I could tell that the femoral heads were trying to slip back into their old, familiar position on the sides of my hips. The fact that they weren’t secure was confusing and frustrating. Each adjustment brought alignment and immediate relief, but any movement would throw me out, making it worse. A vicious cycle ensued.

This cycle was the awakening of my “fight or flight mode”. The body’s primitive, automatic, and physiological reaction that prepares it to “fight” or “flee” from perceived attack, harm, or threat in order to survive. My body’s perception of this attack led it to revolt through cramping, muscle weakness, and anxiety. Little did I know what was in store.

Neurologically discombobulated, my body began reacting negatively to adjustments. The destabilization of my femoral heads was, also, reactivating my dang SI joint. As much as I knew I needed the adjustments to properly align my body and counteract the pain, my body was accepting none of it. The initiation of mild, unprecedented leg cramps began.

New positioning cautiously and purposefully moved my bones into their correct place. This was a good thing. Unfortunately, the cramps were gradually intensifying as muscles were uncomfortably lengthening; reminiscent of growing pains when I was a kid. Worse than my malibal muscles, the tight tendons had a tough time following suite. They were short, and wanted to stay that way. Their relentless pull so agonizingly strong, at times, they dislocated my knees.

Desperate to stop the unbearable cramps, Magnesium (MgBright/Cramp Defense) no longer brought solace. By October, something more powerful was required. Being respectful of my holistic preferences, my medical doctor recommended tonic water as an alternative muscle relaxer. As if things, couldn’t get weirder! Surprisingly, the active ingredient in tonic water is quinine. But, even if I would have added gin, the tonic water wasn’t powerful enough to do the trick. I had to call in the “big guns”. Reluctantly succumbing to modern medicine, my MD (Muscular Dystrophy) doctor wrote a life saving prescription for the muscle relaxer, Baclofen. Or, so I thought…

After months of cramps and sleepless nights, November brought immediate consolation thanks to Baclofen. The cramps had basically disappeared. What a relief! Towards Thanksgiving, however, I started noticing muscle weakness throughout my hips and pelvis. By December, the muscles became so weak that I couldn’t sit up on my own. I spent most of my day sitting in my wheelchair, holding myself up on my wheels, using my freshly calloused hands. Exhausting in all imaginary ways. The inability to push my chair was beyond frustrating since my hands were preoccupied. Writing my blog deemed impossible since I was busy holding myself up. The basic act of typing and sitting turned a futile task. My body felt like it was falling apart, and the only appropriate comparison: a spatchcocked chicken!

Spatchcocked what??? If you cut a whole chicken along its spine, and then lay it flat on a baking sheet. That’s a spatchcocked chicken …or, my pelvis!

As if the cramps from my hips to my toes weren’t bad enough, the main focus since 2012 was to stabilize the SI joint by loosing up the IT bands. This mighty and super tight tendon runs between the hip and the knee, connecting into the lower back or SI area. A continuous aggravation on my SI joint. The obvious solution was to loosen the IT bands through massage, allowing less tension on the sacrum and it’s joint. In theory, this sounds like a natural solution, but there’s always a caveat when it comes to my body.

What I didn’t realize was that my tight IT bands allowed me the ability to sit, slide, transfer, and scoot. They gave me mobility. They supported the entire pelvic region of my body. After 40 years of relying on them, I had little muscle strength left in my hamstring, glutes, pelvis, and hips. Once loosened up, my hamstrings and glutes weren’t strong enough to support my pelvis.due to years of inactivity. Lack of muscle strength attributed to my wobbly pelvis inappropriately rocking side to side like a captain’s ship. All the while, contributing to my femoral heads popping out of it, making my legs feel torturously detached from my body.

The perfect storm had brewed: Loose IT bands, a compromised SI joint, an unstable pelvis, funky femoral heads popping out of my hips, debilitating muscle cramps, and uncharacteristically weak muscles. All exacerbated by a powerful muscle relaxer. Each one contributing to a steady decline. My lack of muscle mass made it seem as if I was sitting on top of a pile of tousled bones.

Scared to death, I prayed I hadn’t done myself irreplicable harm. Once again, with no help from conventional doctors, I had to put two and two together, diagnosing myself. Under my chiropractor’s supervision and God’s intervention, I devised my own plan in order to pick myself up out of this pickle. I knew only three things to be true. I needed my chiropractor, a pool, and Jesus!

Visiting my chiropractor and exercising in a warm water pool with my trainer at least twice a week was mandatory. On hours when I wasn’t busy officially training, I would religiously practice self-motivated exercise. With lots of prayer, a new center of gravity was slowly regained, forcing me to relearn how to balance and, basically, sit. (Something I’ve always considered myself an expert in!). Relentless persistence guided my training regiment. Unsure this plan would work, the only net to fall back on was faith. It had to work!

Patience finally paid off. Besides regular exercise and chiropractic visits, I drank lemon water hand over fist to detox the muscle relaxer out of my system. Dr. Cris, also, strategically applied kinesiology tape in order to hold my adjustments and keep freshly adjusted bones in place. I was taped in places where the sun don’t shine. From lower back to pinky toe, Humpty Dumpty couldn’t hold a candle to me! Slowly, I could feel the muscles regaining a mild firmness. By the beginning of 2017, my SI joint, which was the catalyst for this whole adventure, experienced spurts of stabilization.

Ironically, my MD Doctor (the one who wrote the Baclofen prescription) recently informed me of the fine line a person with a compromised neurological system must be aware of when taking a muscle relaxer. If only she would have warned me BEFORE writing the prescription!

Nevertheless, I’ve always considered myself blessed. Pain has never been a part of my daily life. The latter half of 2016 physically challenged me like no other. Once experienced, chronic pain seemed to morph into a slow drip habitually eroding my body and sometimes disintegrating my sanity….but, thankfully, not my spirit. Often, I didn’t understand why, but never asked,” Why?”. Through prayer, I was able to stay focused on each moment, not lamenting the past, or fearing the future. With a phenomenal support team (my parents, Dr. Cris, trainer Bob, and Jesus), I kept pushing forward. I could feel that God had bigger plans if I could keep the faith.

Every day, improvement reigns! Things that aren’t supposed to be tight have loosened up and things that are too loose are gradually firming up.Conquering chronic pain makes me appreciate every day without it. Pure heaven on earth! And, I would grade myself at 80% pre-SI injury, even though, much work still lies ahead. I’m so grateful to be able to write my blog, and blessed for my life to be back on track! God is good!


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