WARNING: potential bulimia trigger. I do not suffer bulimia but those who do should read with caution. This post talks about vomit and some other gross stuff.
I made a lot of progress during last months' severe menstrual cramp episode. I've been having these badly since puberty, but last month was the first time I managed to stop resisting the vomit effect. I hate vomit and I hate vomiting even more. I've always instinctively resisted it until the last possible moment until it forces its way through, traumatizing tissue as it passes.
That began to change last month. As I sought to mentally console my body and listen for any way to ease all the agony and writhing, in this hyperaware state of partial meditation I suddenly understood that my body needed to vomit.
Something important happened in that moment. Have you ever had a friend who was making choices in life that you don't agree with and find personally difficult to accept? This was like that, except in this case I finally asked and then listened as that friend (a.k.a. my body) explained to me why they so desperately felt the need to do this. And something touched me deep inside. Compassion, I think. I still didn't like it, I still didn't agree with it, but I understood that "they" (my body) were terribly distressed and simply taking the only option they felt they could. I can relate to that feeling. And so I accepted my body for what it felt it had to do, and for the first time in my life I made no resistance to the instinct to heave.
And -- just like that -- vomiting became 50% less traumatic for me.
It's like instant healing. It's so cool when these moments happen. They happen a lot these days, I couldn't even begin to tell you.
So that was last month. All the vomiting that happened (there was a LOT) was somehow only half as bad as it's been all my life. Physically it was an easier recovery, and emotionally the difference was phenomenal. I felt so empowered. After over a decade of dealing with these and being completely out of control each time, here I've found a way to decrease my suffering.
I was curious what would happen this month. Of course I prefer it never gets out of hand in the first place, but once it was clear that I was in for a rough ride I tuned into last month's breakthrough. Only this time I did more than merely cease fighting myself. In that meditative state of listening to my body's needs, I discovered the growing urge to vomit was generating from a specific area just tot he left of my belly button. There was no "energy" flowing there. And as the tissues around it were going bonkers, that one area felt the need to contract, and heave.
I allowed it, observing closely, feeling the tissues with my mind.
There was only a brief contraction before my diaphragm relaxed, and lo and behold energy was flowing in the area. At last! But only for a moment. Then it stopped, and the need to heave built again, stronger this time. I felt the same thing happen again. While the rest of my body certainly wasn't enjoying it, this spot was.
And this isn't any old spot. This area to the left of my abdomen is what triggered my massive G.I. episodes sending me to the E.R. by ambulance. Multiple structural issues are concentrated there, including a certain nerve that can get triggered wrong, a major vein that should run down the center of my abdomen but instead curves around tot he left, and adhesions, by my doctor's count. The G.I. episodes happened when something pressed on that nerve and there was no direction for the nerve to accommodate it. Treatments have created enough room that the nerve has some breathing space, but the entire area is still a big ball of tension, practically immobile. "Like a rock" one naturopath described it upon examination. Years of massage couldn't unlock it. It's the reason behind why I suddenly get so hungry I become severely nauseous and collapse if I don't eat in time. My doctor has been trying to get movement there and encourages me to breathe movement into it, but my breathing rarely gets through to my abdomen (and forcing it is sheer stupidity).
And yet here in the midst of this intense misery and disgustingness I've just stumbled upon the key! The one that my body knew all along, surprise surprise. There might be additional ways through, but here in the throes of a severe cramping episode the path to take was obvious.
This time, I helped.
No, not with a finger down my throat, silly. I just explored a hunch that tensing my abdominal muscles would be beneficial. So the next time I felt heaving was imminent, I tensed my abdominal muscles just slightly and triggered it just a bit sooner than it would otherwise. Guess what - what was 50% less traumatic last month was now a mere fraction of complaint. Because instead of building to a crescendo of extreme vomit that needs to burst out a tall costs, I joined forces with my body and helped it along so that there was no need for such drastic measures.
Vomiting was no longer something that hurts, but something that heals.
And actually, this month no vomit emerged. There was plenty of dry heaving, but I suspect my new technique made it possible for my body to get what it needed without resorting to ejecting my stomach's contents, despite it's repeated threats to do so.
I still had the uncontrollable bowel movements with each heave, and of course the excruciating pain and all that comes with menstrual cramps. The trembling that happens with this stuff was more severe, especially concentrated in my ribcage, but because I wasn't emotionally traumatized that was easier for me to handle this time. I have my theories on the reasons behind that, which I'll probably have the chance to test out next month.
Right now, I feel empowered. Successful. I did more than just take care of myself through a period of extreme symptoms -- I figured out how to heal through it. I unraveled one more mystery of the plethora of things standing in the way of recovery and began addressing it. I made huge strides in learning to listen to and work with my body, and to comfort myself through difficulty so that afterwards there's nothing to recover from, only good stuff to share.
What does this have to do with ME/CFS? It's a fair question. The truth is, I get nowhere when focused on ME/CFS. I'm not even trying to find the source of what's causing issues. The philosophical approach of medical osteopathy is that our bodies have an inherent ability to heal themselves. Bot there can be obstacles to healing that prevent it from occurring. The process is simple: find things standing in the way of healing and then address those. Doing this has been more effective then even the most meticulous lifestyle management and all the numerous treatments I've tried and doctors I've seen. The threads are still here. I spent years upon years desperate for solutions and grasping at straws.
What I've shared here is how I live every day, now. Those breakthrough moments initially only happened perhaps once a month, but as my healing took off I began learning stuff every week, and now multiple breakthroughs a day are not uncommon when conditions are favorable.
Which they haven't been lately.
All in a day's healing, Part 2
Blog entry posted by Dainty, Nov 19, 2013.
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About the Author
Dainty became ill as a teenager and spent 7 years mostly bedridden from ME/CFS, life-threatening MCS reactions, extreme food allergies/sensitivities, cognitive impairment, fibromyalgia, episodes of temporary paralysis and various unexplained emergencies. The past couple years she has experienced profound improvement from various treatment approaches. With homelessness and PTSD presenting as significant obstacles, she continues to pursue healing full time and find incorrigible opportunities to enjoy life.