What a Spaz - Shay's Back Spasm Adventure

by Wednesday, January 30, 2013
In the past week, I have been experiencing the most excruciating back pain I have ever experienced. Now I have had some doozies in my past, due to a disk issue I have had for years. At its worst, I had to crawl to the bathroom now and again during bad flare ups. This past week? I couldn't even crawl.

How I felt on Saturday
(not quite how I looked)
I had been having my regular disk issues last week, and without properly addressing the pain on the right side, my left side started compensating and WHAMMO. It started in earnest on Friday and I was icing and heating and ibuprofening all day. On Saturday I had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I had been sleeping in all kinds of nutty ways, with pillows to prop up my head, under my knees, behind my neck, in a desperate attempt to relax my body enough to stop spasming and get some rest. But it had not helped because when I tried to get out of bed, I couldn't even push myself up to a sitting position. So I kind of let myself agonizingly slide onto the floor figuring I would do the ol' crawl trick. I got to the floor and struggled to push myself onto my hands and knees. I managed, though barely, and waited, panting in pain. I tried to put one knee in front of the other and I was frozen. I knew I was in trouble then. So I figured I better just get back into bed. I got myself swiveled around back toward the edge of the bed and managed to use my arms to pull myself up until my torso was flopped unceremoniously onto the mattress, and I could go no further. Defeated, I knew it was time to wake the hubby.

"Chris," I croaked. "Chris," I tried louder. He stirred, rolled over and looked for me on my pillow, where I wasn't. "I'm down here. I tried to go to the bathroom and I can't move."

My hero, he leapt from the bed and immediately went to work trying to lift and leverage me up. We got my butt on the edge of the bed and from there he physically lifted me to standing. All the while I am moaning and gasping like he is beating me. He walked me all the way to the bathroom, helped me sit down, stand up, and get back to bed. Like I said, my hero. This is glamorous marriage, my friends. Lifting your wife onto a toilet in the middle of the night when her back goes out.

Needless to say I was still in misery the next day. I knew part of the problem was our mattress. We had a TempurPedic we had bought years ago which had sagged, and in the process of getting a warranty exchange had paid another several grand on "upgrading" to one of their higher-end models--the Rhapsody.  We had negotiated hard between this mattress, which was partly paid for by our warranty exchange, and switching out to a custom local-made latex mattress, which boasts many of the same benefits as memory foam, minus the heat and the price tag. I immediately loved/hated our Rhapsody.  It was much more "plush" feeling than our original Tempurpedic, which while great for our backs, kind of felt like a hospital bed--theraputic indeed, but not very luxurious to lay on. Unfortunately, that plushness was causing me pain. Nothing severe, nothing that wouldn't work itself out in the course of a morning, but enough that I knew I wasn't getting the support I needed to help my back when it was at its worst. Like now.

The next day, I begged Chris to buy me the latex mattress. ANYTHING to try and get my back to chill out. So we dug into our savings, and Chris ordered me the bed I wanted those months ago. Did I mention: hero! The gods smiled on us and they had a budget option on the mattress, saving us over $1000 on that portion of the purchase, and it was available for pick up today. The topper would be available mid-week. Chris called up a friend of ours with a long-bed truck, and they fetched me the mattress. Sadly, it had been misordered and it was the wrong length! I thought I would cry.  But my hero put on his cape yet again and went about his hero work. He called the mattress company and while they couldn't get me the right length for another 2-3 weeks, they would do so without charging us a penny more; AND if I kept the mattress protector on it they would let me sleep on the shorter mattress in the interim. Then in a few weeks, we can just swap it back when the new mattress and topper is completed. Now THAT is customer service!!

That night was better, and on Monday morning my back wasn't in full angry spasm now, but I was still hobbling around. Chris worked from home that day to keep an eye on me (HERO!). My friend Mel is a massage therapist, and she took me for an appointment and worked me over. During the course of our session, she told me about community acupuncture. This was a new concept to me, but intriguing in its flexibility and affordability. I tucked that away for reference.

Now Mel is normally just the ticket for my stiffness and pain, but this day I left feeling stiffer than when I came in and I was ready to cry with frustration. I immediately contacted my advanced students and lined them up to assist me in my classes all week. In the back of my mind was the idea of trying acupuncture. Back when I was an office manager, my boss had terrible back problems and her relief came in the form of acupuncture. Very similar to where I had been at just days before, she wouldn't be able to move unassisted. But would be fairly pain free after an acupuncture treatment. I always thought that sounded more mental than a physical reality, but this memory combined with Mel's endorsement nudged me to look up a nearby community acupuncture clinic on Tuesday morning...

which brings us to Shay's First Acupuncture Visit Adventure, coming soon!

Coconut Oil-Sugar Body Scrub

by Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Julie Klover commented with this little home recipe on Facebook. I want to note it for later, so am putting it here! Here's her post:
"...you may want to take "before pictures" it's a great way to see the changes in your skin. I have used coconut oil to shave with as well. I'm liking it so far. I've also made a sugar scrub for my body, not face. Legs feel great after! 2.5 cups sugar, 1 cup oil (i uses coconut) and 5 tbs citrus juice."

Thanks Julie!

Coconut Oil Experiments - shaving and moisturizing

by Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Coconut Oil Experiment Report: I have been using coconut oil to wash my face the past few days, and so far so good. (If you want to read more about other experiences with this, check the links at the bottom of this post) Too soon to really say what the true results will be as my face needs to adjust to the change, which will take a couple weeks; and I want to get through a full monthly cycle to see how it does during different natural hormonal shifts as well.

But so far, face feels soft and clean, the "glow" everyone speaks up is absolutely real, and it smells fantastic without making me smell like a coconut pie.

In the shower this morning I extended the experiment to shaving. And to make for a real "test" I did one leg with the coconut oil and the other with my usual aloe/Vitamin E shaving foam. I also used the oil on one arm as a cleanser/moisturizer. Worked easily as a shave lotion. A little less convenient just because I have to emulsify it with my hands more and it doesn't spread as fast or easily as the shaving foam. But I was pleasantly surprised to see how smoothly and easily the razor ran over my skin. I had no razor burn, and my skin came out very smooth and automatically moisturized. In fact, wherever I put it, I felt very soft...but kind of "waterproof", since water beaded up and ran off wherever I put the oil. But it didn't feel heavy or look oily, and my skin still feels fine hours later.

I also used the coconut oil on my fingers and cuticles, which is lovely. I have used almond oil for this in the past, but it did leave my fingers feeling oily. The coconut oil, likely because it is not liquid at room temperature and this doesn't stay as slippy as other oils might, just leaves my skin looking happy and moisturized without being slick or shiny. Nice!

QUESTION for those who are following along and have been using coconut oil for their cleansing routines, do you continue to use a moisturizer? I wear a mineral makeup which has SPF protection so I don't need my moisturizer for the SPF properties like some people might. And I wonder if as my face acclimates to this if I won't need to have a moisturizer step? I did my makeup today without moisturizer and it went on great over my face washed with the coconut oil in the shower and nothing else (no moisturizer, no primer).

10 Amazing Beauty Tricks with Coconut Oil
How to Clean Your Face Naturally
The Nitty Gritty on the Oil Cleansing Method
and lots lots more links out there...go read some more!


On this blog I share my personal posts about cooking and knitting, travel and other musings; while I will blog about dance-specific topics over on the Deep Roots Dance blog:

I hope you will enjoy both my sites. Thanks for visiting!
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