The following is a guest post written by Sujata Patel. You can read about Sujata’s journey through fluoroquinolone toxicity in her Floxie Hope Story and on her web site, Journey with Sujata. If you would like to write a guest-post for Floxiehope.com, please let me know through THIS LINK.
When it comes to feeling good and regaining your health, self-care is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves. I am sure you are thinking, “Yeah right…I barely have the energy to shower in the morning, let alone focus on self-care practices…” I get it. Please keep reading.
Prior to my fluoroquinolone poisoning in July of 2014, my self- care practices kept me fit, healthy, optimistic, peaceful, grounded and vibrant. There was nothing I couldn’t tackle, because my mindset and my physical health were well taken care of.
As a single mother with four teenagers at the time, it was very important that I kept myself in great health. I took that seriously. I did many things to keep myself in optimal health. I slept 8 hours a night. I took basic supplements. I ate very well (aside from the occasional doughnut or ice cream). I worked out five days a week. This included spinning classes, boot camps, yoga, walking, running, cycling and hiking. The endorphins that were released during those activities made me feel amazing. I also meditated 30 minutes twice a day. I meditated first thing in the morning, and in the afternoon before my children would come home from school. This kept me centered throughout the day and fully present for my children in the evenings. I spent a lot of time with friends. We would meet for coffee, hike trails in our local parks, ride bikes, or meet for dinner. We laughed and laughed at anything and everything that came up. My emotional and physical tanks were full. So when a friend in need called me, I could drop everything and be there to help in any way possible. Regardless of what stressors presented themselves…and they did…I was well equipped to handle them and the ups and downs that came along with them. And even if something threw me to the ground, I didn’t stay down very long. I could always connect with my self-care practices and lift my mood in a healthy way.
When I got floxed, everything changed. Almost every single thing that kept me grounded, centered, optimistic, fit, uplifted, and hopeful was taken away from me. I fell into the hole of a victim. My tendons were brittle, my muscles were in immense pain. The nerve pain that shot through my entire body was unbearable at times. My joints hurt so much along with the rest of my body, that it was even difficult to just sit or lie down. Anywhere there was pressure put onto my body sent impulses to my brain that registered as pain. And as many of you know, that pressure doesn’t have to be significant. It could be the soft touch of someone just resting his hand on your thigh in an attempt to reassure you.
Because of the completely debilitating condition, I could not walk to do things for myself, let alone spin, cycle, do yoga, hike, and run. Those endorphins that used to coarse through my veins? Gone. I couldn’t sleep at night because of the incessant pain. Anyone who has experienced chronic pain can understand what that does to someone’s psyche. The pain was so unbearable and my mobility so impaired, that I stopped reaching out to friends to get together. It was impossible to sit on a hard chair at a coffee shop without wanting to ball up and cry…let alone use precious energy to attempt to be there for a friend in need. The friends, the laughter, the social aspects of my life disappeared. Time in nature on trails at our local parks? Well that fell by the wayside also. It was too painful to even think about expending that sort of energy. The prospect of living like this at age 45 with 4 children that I was raising on my own was devastating. Of course major depression set in, and everything I had in my tool box to lift me out of it was inaccessible.
What now? Well I had to think about how I was going to help myself. Clearly, a part of me is always looking for a way to get better and heal. If I didn’t have that deep down badass drive, I would not be here sharing my success story with you.
In my hours of self-pity for no longer being able to do advanced yoga poses, I came across an article written by a monk who had suffered some physical limitations. He spoke about his daily yoga practice and how he adjusted to his situation. The main point that helped me was that even if he could not do asanas (poses), he could still connect to pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation. Breathing exercises are a part of yoga, and when he woke up in the morning, if he couldn’t do poses he would connect with breathing. Day after day, his yoga practice consisted of only breathing and meditation. And he was gentle with himself, knowing that he was still practicing yoga…just not in the way most people view yoga. This article changed a few things in me. It helped me be gentle with myself and release expectations of doing things the way I used to. And not just in my yoga practice, but in my life. There were many things I had to relinquish. If I did it with resistance and self-pity, it was not helpful. But if I did it with compassion and gentleness for myself, I FELT better emotionally.
I started using breathing exercises and meditation to help relieve my pain. Of course, being in incessant pain, any reprieve from it was welcome. My meditation practice during this time was in no way one of those things where you see someone in full lotus position with proper hand positions and crown of the head reaching toward the sky. I was balled up in fetal position on the sofa or in my bed as I was practicing. What a beautiful gift it was to find that I could lessen the pain and even find brief moments of no pain while I was meditating. Finally – I was able to connect with a self-care practice that actually helped! Breathing and Meditation…
The next thing that came to my awareness was Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) baths. Along with being extremely beneficial for drawing toxins out of the body, magnesium baths have so many more benefits (more about this in future blogs). I started taking Epsom salt baths a few times a week as part of my self-care practices. It was something I could totally do, cripple and all. All I had to do was fill up the tub, add some salts and sit there. While I was there, I would light candles, dim the lights, and use this time to connect with silence and softness. This was incredibly nourishing for my body as well as my mind and spirit. Very powerful.
I did start to find that I was so focused on researching solutions for this condition, that the other side of my brain was stagnating. I needed to do something to give my analytical brain a break. In an effort to do this, I started doing periodic creative nights. I am by no means an artist, but I would sit down with my girls and create whatever I could. It wasn’t about creating a masterpiece. It was about taking the time to DO it. Taking that paintbrush and dipping it in paint, then doing something…anything…with it on my canvas or paper. It is amazing how focused I could get on my creative project, that I could escape, for some moments, from the reality of my condition.
Massage therapy became a mainstay of my self-care practices, and still is to this day. Before being floxed, I might have had a massage once a year. It was usually on vacation as a well-deserved treat. I highly recommend this to anyone who has been floxed. But be careful. You don’t want anyone to press too hard on brittle tendons and have them rupture. Make sure you communicate clearly with your massage therapist and be selective about where you go! Massage therapy was great. It has helped me to release the trigger points, the constant contraction of the muscles and spasms. And all I had to do was get there, lie down, close my eyes, and breathe.
These few practices were a great start to being able to take care of myself in some way. These basic self-care practices took me from completely and utterly face down in the dirt to offering a little hope for relief, healing, and reclaiming my life.
What can you do, even in your condition, to help your body, mind and spirit?
- Learn meditation and breathing exercises and practice them DAILY.
- Take Epsom salt baths.
- Schedule regular creative nights and do whatever comes naturally to you.
- Get regular massages.
- Above all, be gentle with yourself.
In love and healing light,