Tag Archives: healing

Naturally Adjusted: Treating Neck Pain (Part 1)

Part I: The Problem

My neck has been bothersome for a very long time… decades really.  Goodness knows why I never really did anything about it. I just got used to being stiff or sore and having tight shoulders.  Yoga always helped.  I just explained away the occasional tingles in my fingers as a result of my bag being too heavy.

After I fell in March of 2013, my neck issues became significantly worse.  I had so many other things to worry about, like how to get my mouth put back together, I couldn’t handle that too.  I just figured with yoga and time, it would improve.  It always did before.  Not this time.  By March of this year, it caused me so much pain and discomfort, I could barely stand it. It would start in the left side of my neck and radiate up to my temple and down my shoulder.  Sometimes, I even felt it in my fingers.  Desperate for some relief, I found a chiropractor who took my health insurance.

My first appointment was an eye-opener.  My new chiropractor spent about an hour and 20 minutes with me.  I was impressed by how thorough he was. He asked me a lot of questions about and in addition to the paperwork I filled out.  He observed my standing and sitting posture.  He weighed me to see if I put more weight on one foot than the other (I do…10 pounds.)  He checked the sensitivity on both sides of my body and compared one side to the other.  He checked my spinal alignment and flexibility.  He took several X-rays of my neck.  He had been cracking jokes and telling stories while he worked but when he saw the X-rays, he looked concerned and grew quiet.

He didn’t want to give me a full diagnosis until after he got my MRI from the hospital but he showed me the X-ray and pointed at three of my vertebrae.  “You see how jagged those three are compared to the others?”  I did.  He went on to explain that he never saw that much damage in someone as young as I was and it couldn’t have been caused by just the fall.  Since he mentioned it, I remembered older injuries: a car accident at 17.  A cyst had been removed from my neck as baby.  Oh yeah, I had been born with a broken collar bone!

My first adjustment was subtle.  He wanted to do a full work-up before he put a treatment plan together for me but it was obvious I was suffering.  He wanted me to be more comfortable.  I can’t say that first appointment or even the first several were like a miracle fix.  I had a lot of damage and it was going to take some time to reverse.  I felt enough of a shift though that I knew I was on the right track.

The MRI revealed a bulging disc and two herniated discs.  One of the hernias even had its own little hernia.  The discs were pressing on the surrounding nerves, creating the radiating pain, intermittent numbness and tingling. The X-ray had, as mentioned, shown the three degenerated vertebrae.  Essentially, I have spinal arthritis due to injury.  The overall functionality of my neck was at about 65%.  Suffice it to say, my neck was (pardon my French) fucked up!  Luckily, I do have a knack for finding very confident, competent practitioners. My chiropractor felt certain he could get me back up to 90-95% functionality and relieve the pain.

To be continued….

Many blessings,

 

Cynthia

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justdragonfly

Naturally Beneficial: Behold The Mighty Dandelion!

Today, winter turns into spring but it’s snowing… So, it seems like a good time for you and me to discuss dandelions. That’s right, dandelions. Before you decide to kill them again this year, I implore you, let them live. Let them live!

I don’t know who convinced the American public- at-large that we all need lawns that look like pristine, lush, green carpets – probably some brilliant but evil marketing genius at a chemical company – but that person should have been sho- ahem, given a stern talking-to!

Anyway, however it happened, it’s a damn shame because the dandelion, and other so-called weeds with wonderful health-benefitting properties, went from friend to foe in the space of a generation, when all they ever wanted to do was heal us and the rest of the planet. That’s right! Those lovely, little yellow flowers are really nature’s medicine. Dandelions are meant to nourish us and many other species.

The bees, for example, rely on dandelions for food in the spring before many other flowers are blooming and again in the autumn, after less hearty blossoms have long been spent. Much has been made recently about the declining bee populations and the dire consequences that stem from their loss. You can help the little buggers out by leaving the dandelions alone! I mentioned in an earlier post that you may have noticed your dog or cat eating dandelions. They do this because instinctively they know that dandelions will clean them out and improve their health. Dandelions are a mild diuretic and they are high in vitamins and minerals. *

Guess what? Dandelions will help get you healthy and clean you out too! I can hear you now. “Oh Cynthia! You’re being weird again! There is no way I am picking dandelions from my yard and eating them!” Well, you don’t have to eat them straight from the yard. Bring them in the house and wash them first for Goodness’ Sake!

Early spring dandelion leaves are quite tender and delicious in a raw salad. I have also put them in smoothies. A lovely herbal tea can be made from fresh or dried dandelion leaves. Wildman Steve Brill has several interesting cooked dandelion root recipes on his website. You can even make the flowers into wine! (I gotta try that… one of these days!)

Have I convinced you not to poison or rip out and discard this misunderstood herb yet? Are you impressed by all the health-improving benefits offered by the mighty dandelion? If you still feel weird about picking these beautifully abundant plants, you can always go to Fairway and pay several dollars for a bunch instead of allowing them to grow in your own backyard!

What’s your take on dandelions? Friend or foe? Leave a comment and let me know!

 

*A somewhat decent but by no means complete list of dandelion’s beneficial properties:

  1. Food for animals and insects
  2. Diuretic
  3. Eases indigestion

Good source of:

  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Biotin
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorous
  • Inositol
  • B Vitamins
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin D

Love and Blessings to All,

 

Cynthia

 

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justdragonfly

Being (a) Patient: Progress Isn’t Always Pretty!

Five days from now,  I will go to my uber-talented prosthodontic clinician who will once again rebuild my much abused flipper.

What’s a flipper?  A flipper is a dental prosthesis that simulates teeth that are missing.  It’s used by damaged people like me and pint-sized beauty queens  who are in between their baby teeth and adult teeth.

I have not been able to wear my flipper for over a month, due to a complication with the augmentation bone graft, I had done in  September to restore the bone I lost when I fell.  Originally, my periodontist cut my flipper back to keep it away from the graft.  However, it was still cutting off the circulation to my gum.  So, I had to lose it to ensure the best possible result.

I have mixed feelings about wearing it again.  Physically, I am more comfortable without it.  It tastes like plastic.  It presses against my gum and hard palate all day.  It makes me gag.  It make me cough.  It makes me angry.  It reminds me to hold the handrail on stairs.  Emotionally though, it makes me feel safe.  It makes me feel like maybe people will think I just have adult braces.  It makes me feel less… vulnerable.  I don’t like to feel vulnerable.

I keep my top lip pulled down when talking to people.  When I laugh or even smile, my hand flies up to cover the gap left behind by my two missing front teeth.  I’ve realized since this has happened that a toothy grin can compensate for more than just physical insecurities though.  When you can’t flash a smile, tilt your head and toss your hair, your personality flaws become glaringly obvious.  When it comes to conversation, I’m not an artist.

I think, perhaps, writers are writers because it gives us a chance to express what we would have liked to have said in any given moment, if only we could have thought of it at the time.  If only…

I am determined to learn from this experience and be better for having gone through it.  I don’t know exactly what that looks like yet.  Habits form over decades; not all at once.  Change doesn’t happen all at once.  I hope that by the time this is all over that I can look back and see that I have taken one step at a time in the right direction.

Love and Many blessings to All,

Cynthia

justdragonfly

Being (A) Patient: The Next Step in My Dental Reconstruction

Tomorrow, I go to three of my dentists.  (I know, you must be so jealous!)  The next step in my dental reconstruction is demolition.  My lateral incisor (tooth next to the right front tooth…) is being extracted.  I have mixed feelings about this as you might imagine.

Of course, it’s nice to be making progress.  Every procedure puts me one step closer to a complete smile.  On the other hand, losing another tooth is a bummer.

I fought hard to keep my teeth after I fell.  Had the residents at the hospitals had their way, I ‘d be sporting plates and screws in my upper jaw and most of my front top teeth would have been… I can’t even write it.  Thankfully, my oral surgeon saved them all.  My lateral incisor though, every clinician agreed had to go.  Before it went though, it was put to work.  For the last eight months, my orthodontist has been slowly pulling it down with my braces.  The procedure is called a super eruption.  The tooth is helping to draw down bone, as it is slowly pulled out.  Any millimeters of bone growth I can gain will really help, as I am told it is difficult to grow vertical bone from a graft.

After my lateral is excised tomorrow, my periodontist will put in a socket graft.  Once that heals, I’ll be ready for the big one: ridge augmentation.  My perio will graft in the area where I lost jaw bone above where my right front tooth was knocked out.

I’m grateful to be moving forward.  And I’m grateful to this tooth.  I am also a little nervous.  I am hoping this is the end of the losses.  And things just get better and better from here.

Love and Blessings to All,

Cynthia

 

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justdragonfly

 

 

Being (a) Patient: A Moment of Gratitude

When you have been through as many dental consults as I have (six periodontal, four prosthodontic and two orthodontic) and several months of procedures with an oral surgeon, you can get pretty tired of going to dentists’ offices, especially when the actual dental reconstruction work hasn’t started yet.  It begins to feel endless before you even begin.  Then the blessing comes.

I had to have my broken bicuspid bonded in order to be able to have a brace put on it.  The entire front was missing. I am going to be in braces for over a year. So my prostho didn’t want to put a temporary crown on it for that long.  When he said he was going to bond it, I figured it would like a patch, similar to the blob of bonding material my oral surgeon put behind another tooth to save it.

So, you can imagine my surprise when he molded it to look like an actual tooth…  not just a tooth either, MY TOOTH.  I could barely talk when his assistant put the before and after photo up on the monitor. It looked like it had never been broken… like nothing at all had happened to it.  It looked perfect!

I know it’s just one tooth and a temporary solution at that.  I still have a looooooong way to go in this dental reconstruction but it’s hard to express how it good it felt to have that first little step be so beautiful!  I felt a little bit more like myself than I have in a long time.  Even with my appliance in, I felt uncomfortable smiling wide because I knew my broken tooth would still show.  Thursday night, I wore the widest, brightest (had a cleaning too) smile that I have had in almost six months when I showed his work to my family.

I knew the prosthodontist I had chosen was an artist.  …I can always spot one a mile away.  I wasn’t worried about whether he could do the work but it is awfully nice to see proof that I was right in my own mouth!

What was your big moment of gratitude this week?

Love and blessings to all.

Cynthia

 

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justdragonfly

Keeping the Faith: Going home to the Sea

Jones Beach has always been one of my favorite places.  Yet I had been avoiding the water, since Hurricane Sandy caused the bay to invade my little home last October, until yesterday.  I was in a great mood after two doctors’ appointments: 1) the first confirmed that I have enough bone in my upper jaw for successful grafting and tooth implantation. 2) the second cleared me for all normal activity.

I was driving home from the second appointment when the beach started calling me home.  I bypassed the parkway and kept heading south on instinct.  When I got there, I bounded out of the car and hit the boardwalk with a feeling of absolute elation.  It was like being welcomed with open arms to where I belong.  The feelings of peace and healing I have always felt near the water were there just as they always have been my whole life.  Any of the previous fear and disappointment I felt after the hurricane just evaporated.

I imagined if the ocean could talk, it would say, “It was nothing personal Cynthia.  I am here to heal you.  The storm had its’ way with all of us but we are both still here.  So, is the love and it is infinite!”

It reminds me of a quote I came across a few years ago:

“The willow knows what the storm does not: that the power to endure harm outlives the power to inflict it.”

Blood of the Martyr

My life has been a series of storms over the last seven months (punctuated by moments of happiness and the utmost gratefulness.)  When you are getting hit with one challenge after another, you finally learn that you cannot control everything.  The awareness that you cannot always know what is happening next and how to plan for it is overwhelming and frightening.  I realized though that when nothing is logical anymore, and the challenges that are thrown my way seem so daunting and unfair, that it comes down to faith.

I recognized this week that when I have done everything I can do but I am afraid because I still don’t know what is going to happen, that I have to have faith that somehow it will all work out.  When I look back over my life, I realize that it always has one way or the other.  It’s hard to remember that when you are focused on your current problem or challenges.  When you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s hard to remember what it looks like.

While I was walking the boardwalk yesterday, I kept peeking sideways to glance out over the ocean.  I noticed while I was walking that in some places the dunes were too high to see the water.  Although, I could not see it, I knew it was there and was still comforted by it.  I knew shortly it would appear again.  It occurred to me that faith is a lot like that.  You don’t always get to see a clear path right away in finding a solution but somehow you find a way to get where you need to go.  Challenges are how we grow and learn.  Faith (and favorite places) is how we get through the scary parts.

Love and Blessings to all,

Cynthia

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Gardening: Say Hello to my Leafy Friends

I am never quite sure where I come down on past lives but I think one of mine must have been as a hedge witch.  I love, love, love gardening and I am crazy about herbs.  I can spend hours outside amongst the plants.

Gardening may not be the sexiest or most glamorous pastime for most folks but I find myself more and more drawn to it every year.  I always liked it but I was more inclined to keep this passion to myself when I was younger.  When I was in my early 20s, life was about work then getting ready to go out and going out to clubs and bars; then starting it all over again.  Part of me always yearned to be closer to nature.  As much as I like music, I am much more comfortable at the beach, in a forest or a garden than in a club or bar.  I think the right phrase actually is “at home.”

I have no wish to unravel all the mystery of why I feel this way.  I think there is something very mystical about nature and how humans interact with it. It is something that needs to be felt more than studied.  I will say this though; walking in nature or gardening always makes me feel better.  Kasey Koe, from Healthy To the Core With Kasey Coe, shared a great post on Facebook the other day: “Gardening is cheaper than therapy… and you get tomatoes.”

It’s so true!  Any of you wonderful readers who have been with me from the beginning of my blog, know that the last 11 weeks have been challenging for me since I fell.  Recently, on top of dealing with the injuries from the fall, I broke out in hives from head to toe for 5 days in a row.  Then two days after that finally subsided, I got a stomach virus… bringing my weight, that was already down after my jaw was wired shut, to 110 pounds.  At 5’ 6”, that’s getting into weak and sickly-looking territory.  Also, my treatment hit an annoying snag which made me temporarily lose sight of the light at the end of tunnel.

The first thing I wanted to do after the nausea passed was pot up my new herbs, tomato and strawberry plants.  Like I said, I can’t explain it but something magical happens when I put my trowel into that beautiful soil and begin creating a new home for one of my plants in a real clay pot.  I feel bonded to the little guys, as I gently pull them from their temporary plastic containers (so bad for the environment, the plants and humans,) loosen their little roots a bit and then place them in their permanent pot.  I can’t really speak for anyone but myself but I believe the further we get from nature, often the worse we feel.  Gardening is a wonderful touch point to instantly reconnect with Mama Earth. … And as mentioned in Kasey Coe’s post, you get tomatoes … and herbs… and strawberries… and (fill in what you like to have) too!

Say "hello" to my leafy friends!

Say “hello” to my leafy friends!

What nurtures you?  How do you like to reconnect with Nature?  Please share your thoughts in the Comments Section or drop me a line.  I would love to hear from you.

Love and Blessings to All,

Cynthia

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