My chronic life is unpredictable. What knocks me down one week might not the next. My energy level and physical ability varies on a daily basis. The same is true while traveling, I never know how often I will be able to participate in activities or outings or if I will spend most of the trip in bed. Nor do I know how much time my body is going to require to recover from each getaway. For the average person going on vacation equates to escaping their regular schedule for a week or weekend and picking right back up where they left when they returned. It’s a completely different ball game for the chronically ill.
Many of us are exhausted before we hop in the car or board our flights. The time spent doing laundry, packing, and planning our excursions decreases and sometimes depletes our already limited energy supply. Then there is the trip itself. No matter how relaxing of a getaway I plan, it is always tiring for my body because of the prep and traveling involved. One thing that I can always count on is the fact that my body will require some amount of time to recover before I can resume my “normal” life. There is no rhyme or reason for how much time is needed, sometimes I am back in action within a day and other times it takes days or weeks to recover. Prior to learning how to vacation with my chronic illnesses in mind I would be knocked down for months afterwards. You can learn more about the changes I have made to decrease my after vacation downtime by clicking here.
Although I haven’t been able to eliminate the need of an after vacation holiday, I have found ways to make it easier on myself and others. Instead of just clearing my calendar for the time spent away from home, I also clear it for the week following. Sometimes I need less and sometimes I need more, but a week gives me time to see if I will need to extend my after holiday break. By doing this I also reduce the stress and worry of needing my body to recover faster than it is ready to and decreases how often I cancel plans. Planning a post trip break allows me to relax, address new pain, decrease pain that I made worse while away, and slowly adjust back to what my body considers normal. I spend my post holiday downtime allowing my body to rest when it wants to; this may mean taking multiple naps or following an undesirable sleep schedule until my body gets back into its groove. This time is also for replenishing my body of what I may have denied it while away. I drink more water, eat healthier, and listen to its needs. Long hot baths and a massage are musts for me!
Planning post trip recovery breaks has made my returns tolerable and pleasurable. Do you plan an after vacation holiday or do you find yourself frustrated by trying to force your body into its normal routine?
July 24, 2017 marks my four month anniversary of using Oska Pulse as part of my daily treatment plan. For those who are new to my blog, I have been combatting chronic pain from fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, and endometriosis for over 17 years. I followed my doctor’s protocols for the first 12 years. Not only did I not improve during this time, I never experienced any relief, and my conditions did nothing by get worse. Five years ago I stopped all pharmaceutical treatments and began treating my conditions with medical marijuana. I immediately experienced some relief and improvements. In the past five years I went from not being able to stand, sit, or walk for five minutes to be able to go grocery shopping on foot using the shopping cart for balance. Last year abdominal adhesions from endometriosis and surgical scarring attacked my bowels. They were literally killing me. Then something amazing happened. Last fall I was asked to try Oska Pulse. I did and was impressed with how quickly it addressed inflammation in my knee when I experienced swelling after overuse. But I didn’t realize how much more I could benefit from this drug-free device if I were to use it on a daily basis. That is until March 24, 2017.
Disclaimer: While I originally received this product as a gift to review via Chronic Illness Bloggers and am an affiliate for Oska Wellness, my original review and my entire Oska Pulse series were not influenced by the company. All thoughts, opinions, and experiences are mine and mine alone.
On March 24th I received a message from Julie Ryan, founder of Chronic Illness Bloggers and she mentioned how her Oska Pulse was helping her recover from her latest endo related surgery. My first thought was, why the heck didn’t I think of treating my abdomen with mine!!??? From that day forward I committed to use my Oska Pulse every day and the results have been amazing.
To my surprise I experienced relief from abdominal adhesions immediately. Within the first 48 hours I stopped feeling the excruciating ripping pain that has plagued me since 2004. The pain was caused by adhesions ripping from my sidewall and internal organs. Not only that but I could finally eat without experiencing bloating, nausea, or explosive diarrhea. My bowels had been set free! The only pain I felt was muscle tenderness throughout my abdomen which was a normal sensation that I have always experienced after the adhesions ripped from them. Until now the only way I could rip the adhesions enough to free them from my internal organs was to ride the thrill rides at Disneyland over and over. I would exit the rides in tears because of the pain. Now I enjoy the rides and no longer experience abdominal pain while riding them.
Continued improvement with abdominal adhesions.
I began treating my right knee during my workouts to reduce and sometimes eliminate the need to treat it afterwards. I had surgery on this knee in 2002. There were loose bone fragments and cartilage floating around my knee that would become lodged in the joint. I would have to use crutches until the fragments moved. Since that surgery I have experienced extreme swelling whenever I walked for a few minutes or exercised. With Oska Pulse I experience relief from pain and reduce swelling with 2-4 treatments when I begin treatment after exercising or walking. Later I discovered that I was able to cut down my after treatment by strapping it above my knee while working out. Some days my knee doesn’t require after treatments and on others it only needs 1 or 2. The key I found is to treat it as soon as I notice swelling or pain and to not let it fester.
My stamina increased. My productivity increased. While medical marijuana increased the amount of good days I experienced each month, it was Oska Pulse that gave me more good than bad days. I began sleeping better too!
For the first time in 17 years I went to bed without having to find a way to get comfortable from hip pain. I hadn’t even been focused on treating my hips, but because I had concentrated my treatment on my abdomen Oska Pulse was also treating my hips! Oska Pulse works within a 22 inch radius. Click here to learn more. The only time I have experienced extreme hip pain since was during our move in June and that was because I was standing and bending more than I had in 7 years. But because of my Oska Pulse, I was up and ready to go the next day.
For the first time since 2004 I could sleep on my stomach, have my sweet Chihuahua Zeva the Diva curl up on my lap, and poke my belly without pain!
I would have been just as thrilled with my Oska Pulse if my improvements stopped here, but they didn’t and I just want to climb up to the top of the Matterhorn at Disneyland and shout out how much I love my little blue friend. For the first time since 2011 I experienced complete relief from lower back pain, specifically in my sacrum and tailbone. Again, like my hips I had not concentrated my treatment to that area but it was treating it while I focused on my abdomen. After 3 days without pain in that region I made a mistake. I went to Disneyland and rode the new Guardian’s of the Galaxy Mission Breakout ride. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it is the ride formally known as the Tower of Terror. The ride itself is an elevator shaft that guests sit in while being dropped repeatedly. While I love the ride, being dropped on my tailbone and jarring my spine was not a good idea and I paid for it. In the past few years it has taken 3-6 weeks for me to just reduce my pain level. This time I was only completely down for ONE day and my pain was reduced to a level that didn’t stop me from doing what I wanted afterwards.
Three weeks after injuring my spine at Disneyland, I am once again pain-free. I only experience pain in that area when I push too hard, do something stupid, or when I am experiencing a weather related flare.
Which brings me to my next improvement. In the past month the only flares that have knocked me down and sent me to bed were weather related or my own stupidity of riding an attraction that wasn’t spine friendly.
I have been able to decrease how much medical marijuana I use!
I can walk more throughout the week! In fact last week I spent the day at Ocean Beach in San Diego with my family and walked approximately 2 miles throughout the course of the day!! Click here to hear about my day. Granted it wasn’t all at once and there were many breaks, but I haven’t been able to be that active in one day in I don’t know how long!! The next day I was tender, but still able to work on projects and future blog posts while sitting in my recliner. The rest of the week I was able to exercise anywhere from 30-60 minutes per day!
Last week I realized that it had been 4 weeks since I last experienced any bladder leakage. Last summer one of the surgeons I consulted with said that my pelvic floor was collapsing. I have had to wear a pad or a diaper for the past 2 years. Currently I have been wearing one if I am going somewhere that I am not familiar with the restroom locations. It’s taking me a little while to process the fact that wetting myself is no longer a daily problem.
And last but not least Oska Pulse has decreased the amount of nerve pain that was the result of a surgical error in 2008. During that surgery my surgeon sliced a set of nerves between my left thigh and vagina while releasing my cervix. Since then I have experienced daily nerve pain deep inside and it would shoot down my leg and across my pelvis. I have also lost feeling and use of that leg at least once a day in the past 9 years. In the past month I have only lost feeling in that leg twice and my nerve pain is no longer maddening. This too was something that my doctors said would never improve.
Let’s get real
Am I cured? No. Do I still have bad days? Yes. But like I stated earlier, in the past 6 weeks all extreme flares have been weather related or from my own stupidity. My good days not only outnumber my bad, my bad days aren’t as bad as they used to be. Speaking of weather related flares, by using Oska Pulse throughout them my recovery time has decreased. The most one of those flares has knocked me down for has been 3 days. My weather related flares begin with swelling around my spine, this leads to nerve pain down my leg and up through my skull. My pain points are in my lower back and neck. I alternate treating each area with Oska Pulse and ice.
Oska Pulse has truly given me a new lease on life. I am doing more and having loads of fun! I cry when I think of how remarkable this is because just five years ago I was ready to commit suicide. I couldn’t imagine living with the pain that my conditions had caused. I had lost all hope. I prayed for a miracle and while he took his time, God answered. I no longer have to do what my doctors said, which was to deal with the pain for the rest of my life. Their only solution was to heavily drug me with morphine, which was not an option for me.
Keep this in mind if you are considering using Oska Pulse, improvement takes time! To achieve results you must commit to using it!! I use mine daily from the moment I wake up until I go to bed. I take it everywhere! Be patient. It was totally amazing that I experienced relief from abdominal pain so quickly, but not all of my improvements occurred that fast. Some took weeks and months. I can’t wait to see where I am at in four more months and then a year and so on and so on…..
You seriously have nothing to lose except pain!
Click here read my entire Oska Pulse Journey series.
Looking for tips on how to use Oska Pulse on your neck? Click here to see how I use mine.
In the early stages I detested the amount of time wasted in bed suffering from extra pain. I say extra because I haven’t experienced a pain free day in over 12 years. I would fret about all that needed to be done, what was still waiting for me to do, and all the things that I wanted to do. I would drive myself crazy, to the point that when my pain finally decreased to a level I thought was acceptable, I would attack my list like a mad woman. This would just knock me back down and in a few days I would do it all over again. It was an ugly vicious cycle. Hopefully it didn’t or doesn’t take you as long as it did me, but it took me 11 years to finally learn how to relax and enjoy my downtime and to not worry about what is not getting done. My days of playing catch up are over. Life is too short to spend all of my “good” hours and days tending to or worrying about what household chore is being neglected. Over the past year I have learned to embrace my down days. Sooner or later the chores will get done.
Will my house be immaculate? No, I will always have dust bunnies and some dirty dishes hanging around, but I don’t care. If I were to spend all my “good” days focused on my list I would never have any quality or fun time with my family. So the dishes sit in the sink, it more important for me to have a day at Disneyland creating memories with my family. Currently I am riding out a severe flare and wrote this because this morning I realized how relaxed my attitude has gotten regarding how long a flare lasts and that I stopped worrying about catching up afterwards. My house is not pristine nor is it a pig sty, it’s lived in by someone who values time spent with family more than having floors so clean that you need to wear sunglasses to avoid the glare.
In the past I would start tackling my to do list as soon as my pain began to decrease, no matter how little that amount was. But this would only make things worse and would extend my down time. Now I wait…. Obviously I can’t wait to be pain free, but I have learned to listen to my body and how to recognize when it’s ready to resume “normal” activities.
My down time is spent watching movie and TV series marathons via Netflix and Hulu. I spend more time socializing online during this time as well. My family has learned to treat my bedroom as the family room during long flares, keeping us connected and not leaving me feeling like I am lost on a deserted island.
In the past I spent my good days trying to keep up with the world while catching up on housework and other tasks. Of course I would be down for the count long before I made a noticeable dent in my list. This caused me unnecessary stress and to be a cranky witch. Currently my goals after a severe flare is to tackle ONE item on my to do list, do something fun with my family, and to do other activities that bring me and my family joy while I can physically handle it. I used to worry about having friends or family seeing dust on my entertainment center and dishes in the sink if they were to drop by unannounced. No more, if it really bothers someone that drops by they are welcome to wash my dishes, dust, mop, etc… Basically I have accepted that my conditions are never going away, and that if I want to enjoy life I need to let go of the dream of being the perfect housewife, stop comparing myself to others, and HAVE FUN.
My advice to you? Relax! Don’t try to be a Super Hero! Be you! Find what gives you joy during your down time and during the days that aren’t so bad.
Till next time,