People generally want to read good or interesting things on LiveJournal, about people’s accomplishments, projects, views on the world, hopes and dreams. (Ironically enough, the same people often like to read the news.) I’m extremely sensitive to this, even though I greatly enjoy reading about the more intimate internal aspects of my real and virtual friends’ lives. A few months ago, K mentioned to me that I hadn’t posted anything about my own emotions in a very long time – how I feel, what I’m thinking, what’s going on behind the curtain. I’ve become quite self-censoring here because I’m not completely keen on using this public journal as a forum for release, but rather for reflection and for status reports on what I’ve been doing. The Internet, after all, is best swallowed in perfect little bite-sized pieces. With some chagrin, I recently realized that status reports for inside processes are also perfectly fine. I trust that you’ll read if you want to, to scroll by if you catch me rambling. I don’t have to entertain anyone, regardless of my desires to do so. And right now, I need that to be the case.

This past week has been the most difficult and harrowing of my life. In an otherwise amazingly exciting and busy pattern of work, hobby, and project-planning, a health-related speedbump and its cognate anxiety has essentially rendered me unable to function more than cursorily, and it’s had me scared as hell. I’ve been blessed until now with an extremely hearty constitution. I rarely get sick and I’ve never had any major injuries that didn’t heal quickly. So when something goes wrong or I feel bad for any considerable length of time, I get freaked out. Added to the fact that six people I know have died this past year, I’m particularly susceptible to fears of an untimely doom.

Toward the end of my tenure in Scotland, I began having some strange tingling and aching pains in my right leg. It never stayed in one place, or manifested in a particular manner, and though it was frightening and a bit disheartening, it never became too much for me to deal with. It lasted about a month, and the collective minds of three NHS and one BUPA doctor couldn’t even harbor a diagnosis other than something to do with my nerves. Since I was returning to the States soon after, no one wanted to pursue tests, and it faded and disappeared before too long, forgotten amidst re-establishing my life back in San Francisco.

That was two years ago, and since then it has returned once for a few weeks, about this time last year. Aching, gnawing pain that turns to tingles and buzzing in my femur, then down to my calf, in my hip, then across my knee joint. I got it checked out with a my doctor and also a pain specialist, both of whom said it was most likely a sciatic nervous reaction to a lower back impaction. Pretty common from what I understand, and no real cause for alarm, especially as it hadn’t lasted very long and was on its way out by the time I had it checked out.

Late last month, it slowly came on again, this time stronger than ever. I headed back to each doctor, who both repeated the same information. Common sciatica. To take a closer look, the specialist ordered an x-ray of my lumbar spine region to view the impaction. Last week, the results came through and he called me on a Friday evening to tell me that the results were inconclusive and I’d need an MRI. I must have misheard him in this conversation, because I ended up thinking he’d found a mass on my spine, and we actually talked about it for some time before he reiterated that the x-ray was actually clean. The seed of anxiety was planted, though, and I got no rest that weekend, manifesting a host of other immediate symptoms that had me in a panic. I went to the emergency room the following day and endured a five-hour wait before the doctor took my vitals, re-checked my x-rays, and told me that I looked perfectly healthy. Anxiety. Worry. Stress. But no emergent signs of cancer or other life-threatening illness.

This information helped me for a day or so, but I couldn’t get the fear out of my system, which added pressure in the back of my head, slight tingling and dizziness, and loss of appetite. The bouts of pain and numbness continued about once a day, and the dull, aching pain in my hip and femur began to make me sick with its immediacy. After many panicked calls to advice nurses, both of my doctors, and a handful of crisis therapy sessions, I got an MRI scheduled and desperately fought with the notion that I was surely going to die. I can’t explain this in a lighter way. Though it may sound silly now, I’m realizing that I have a serious problem with anxiety, when all I could think of is the end of my life, snuffed out in a terrible way with no diagnosis, just like Sarah. I could not sleep, I could not eat. I could not look forward to my trip to Scotland (would I even be able to go?), to the impending business enterprise I’m about to launch, to the long list of Dynamophone needs expected of me. All I could think of was fear and death and ending this life before I was able to make good on my promises.

I love living, and I relish in each moment. I have so much I want to do, and I’m hyper-aware of every second breathed in – I take nothing for granted. I want to be a good person and to make people happy around me. I want to smile and crack jokes, play and love. I want to sing in the shower and cry at sad movies. I want my store to be a staple of the community, and I want to see my customers’ kids grow up and become responsible adults. I want to visit my far-away friends and I want to plumb dusty archives, gathering lecture material for my second career, already in-session. I want to meet the girl of my dreams, and love her more passionately than any novel could convey. I want this to continue, at least for one more lifetime, if not two. I want life to be fair, and for us to get as well as we give.

I’ve been waiting for over a week to find out my fate, and today came the first sane news I’d had in a while. The MRI test came back clean, and my doctors are the farthest thing from worried. They seem to think this is nothing dire, but rather some sort of chronic, intermittent nerve irritation, something that happens to tons of people all around the world. There’s no real way to figure out how or why it’s happening, only to treat it with pain medication and hope it passes like the other bouts have passed. Hell, I’ll take that news and be happy for it. But I still don’t feel very good, and I’m still anxious as heck. I think of all the typical scenarios: what if they missed something? What if I’m not explaining the pain the right way? What if this continues infinitely or gets worse while I’m out of the country? What if my other symptoms aren’t just anxiety? What if I panic and lose my grip on everything?

I’m absolutely exhausted from this last week of thinking the worst. I need a vacation just to recover from it. But I have to think of the best and hope this condition improves. I’m infinitely more calm than before, but still quite worried about the state of my health, regardless of the doctors’ assuredness that it doesn’t fit the pattern of anything terrible. At a time when I must be sharp and cogent for work and free and adventurous for my upcoming trip, I’m scared, withdrawn, and very delicate. I’m confident that I can pull myself out of this as long as my pain stabilizes. As long as I’m not getting sick and dying, I can do anything, and I’ve always felt this way. This is why I don’t complain about my life in this journal. This is why I know I can make changes to how I live if I’m unhappy. I have control unless something takes that control away. So do we all.

These are my fears and concerns, spaced in between huge tracts of beauty and delight. I do trust that I’ll improve, and I’ll be keeping a close eye on how I’m feeling. I’m sure many of you have dealt with similar symptoms, and that some of you live with chronic pain every day. Life continues on, and we deal with things the best we can. My friends and family have been amazing supporters, letting me lean on them repeatedly and letting me express anything I need to. I wouldn’t have made it through this fear without them. And now I see that any journal, even a public one, can be good for recording the harrowing tales as well as the beautiful ones. With health and good fortune, there’ll be many more of both to spin here.

44 Responses to “Delicacy.”

  1. hermiston Says:
    September 16th, 2006 at 1:22 am

    I am so relieved that your test came back clear. I hope that this means we can expect you in Scotland, giddy like a child, and as enrgetic. This ordeal has sat unhealthily at the back of my mind too, and I have not had the pain or the first person to think of. This has allowed me to understand, to some extent, why you are anxious. But I think you should aim for the opposite, because you will make yourself ill otherwise. Nobody wants that.
    Your journal is a good way of keeping in touch. It brings us closer and your words, your style of prose, your subjects make your journal one of my favourites. This is a different tone, but in the corpus of your posts remarkable and poignant. Maybe, when you feel better, you will look back over it and be pleased you expressed yourself.

  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 17th, 2006 at 9:57 am

    I think I'm coming out of it, Kieran, and you should definitely expect me in just a couple of short weeks. I'm stabilizing here and gaining confidence as I move farther away from the pain. Thank you for your concern and your bolstering words; I would have regretted not being able to see you for many years to come, so I'm happy to say that we'll have much to discuss very soon.

  3. pirategrrl Says:
    September 16th, 2006 at 1:27 am

    Death and illness are scary because they can't be explained or controlled. Somehow an illness with no name or label is far worse than one with a title. I hope this one passes quickly and doesn't return.

  4. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 17th, 2006 at 9:59 am

    Thank you very much for your empathy and good wishes. Things are looking up.

  5. verdandiweaves Says:
    September 16th, 2006 at 2:04 am

    I believe it's really hard for an MRI to miss something, but I know where you're coming from. I had a series of symptoms last year which were checked out, but they're still with me and I've arranged to go back for more tests. Even opening the appointment card gave me a headeache the like of which I havent had for a long time. It's too reassure me, but it's extremely stressful. Of course I can't help thinking of S and how she was not diagnoised until it was far too late. OTOH S was never given any kind of scan. She was never taken seriously – and while this left her with much pain. Her condition was incurable from the start.
    All I'm tiring to say is that we can never know what's coming. We have to push for tests – and we have to trust those answers. We have to live our lives without fear.
    BTW when you find out how to do this, please drop a set of instructions. 🙂

  6. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 17th, 2006 at 10:04 am

    You're right on every account, Carol, and thanks so much for your clarity and sanity here. While I can't offer a blueprint, there is a process to gaining health-conscious confidence, and I'm beginning to get a handle on it now with lots of outside help. That has never been an established pattern of mine until now, so I was essentially left without the crisis management tools to deal with an occurrence like this, and anxiety made it untenable.
    My own symptoms are flagging and waning now, and I sincerely hope the same goes for yours. We've both lost enough this year; it's time for some healthy and happy living.

  7. blu_matt Says:
    September 16th, 2006 at 3:49 am

    I, for one, always read your journal, appreciating the stories, the characters, the photographs and the eloquence. I don't, however, always have a response that can't be summarised as a trite-sounding one-liner.
    I'm glad to hear that the medics are reporting that it appears to be nothing to worry about, but I'm also aware that they can sometimes miss things (as was demonstrated all too dramatically earlier this year) and sincerely hope that they're right in this case. At least you're being pro-active about obtaining a diagnosis and utilising a breadth of expertise. This should mitigate the threat somewhat: a second and third opinions with such things are always a good idea.
    I really hope you do come back over as planned. I too sometimes have feelings of not having enough time in this life, and not seeing you again is one thing I would regret, were I to be aware of it, too late.
    Take care fella.

  8. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 17th, 2006 at 10:07 am

    You're an incredibly sweet man, and I'm quite sure that you will be seeing me over there next week. A little care and confidence has helped this situation immensely, thank goodness, and I believe I'll be ready for adventure in very short order. You're a true, blue friend of the staunchest magnitude; thank you for that.

  9. podle Says:
    September 16th, 2006 at 8:09 am

    I don't know how much you know about my adventures in spineland – and I don't need to fill up space here detailing them. Suffice it to say that I very much sympathize with your anxiety and with chronic pain – I've got both, in spades. If you ever want to talk about this stuff (or need help getting talked out of the tree and back onto the ground) please consider this an open invitation. I don't think you are silly at all for being scared. Medical issues can be absolutely maddening – nerve pain, too. MRI's are a wonderful diagnostic tool, and while not so fun to go through (what with the being in a sarcophagus being hit with hammers while not moving) tend to reveal every little detail.
    I'd write more, but I think I need a lot more coffee first. Seriously, if I can help – you have only to let me know.

  10. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 17th, 2006 at 10:18 am

    This is really calming stuff, G. I hadn't understood that pain without identifiable cause and treatment was possible, especially at this intensity, so I'd feared the worst, which of course exacerbated the symptoms – and added new ones, to boot. Having never experienced something so terrible, I immediately compared it to all the other morbidly horrible things that had recently happened to people in my life.
    I know you've been dealing with horrible spine problems, and I'm sure that your experience makes mine look pale, but it's clear that you understand the incapacity and the fear of it all. I have no doubt that some words between us would be helpful. Thank you for your care and support, and please expect a call very soon.

  11. podle Says:
    September 18th, 2006 at 10:10 am

    Please don't worry about the whose pain is bigger thing, sweetie. Its all perspective. I completely understand your panic – and will be happy to thrill you with tails of my medical paranoia. You can call me any time – I'd love to talk to you before you head off on your further adventures. I'm a chowderhead and have lost your number, otherwise I would have called you this past weekend.
    I'm home doing chores tonight while vegasjohnny is out gaming – and I can easily haul myself into the city for tea or what have you after work this week or next(particularly if we can find an amenable place that is near a BART station).
    I'm glad to know you've gotten your hooves back on the ground.

  12. dirtbaby Says:
    September 16th, 2006 at 8:31 am

    Just a thought, but have you recently either started running again after some time off, or stopped running after a long period of consistent running? I get pain in my legs under both conditions; the regrowth of muscle mass and bone density as well as the deterioration of either.
    And on the other hand, because everything is so connected, it could be because you are painting too much one hand and the tightness of the muscles are pulling your back out of alignment, wihch causes nerves to get irritated. At least I have heard something similar from the chiropractor.
    Stay well, the world would sorely miss your enthusiasm (and I would be rather pissed too).

  13. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 17th, 2006 at 10:22 am

    Now that it seems to have abated a bit, I'm pretty sure that I can address future bouts through other types of holistic care. So many people have suggested so many things, and all of them seem appealing in some way. The important thing, obviously, is that it doesn't seem to be anything dire, and that gives me great calm.
    Thanks for your words here. Just saw A at the market with the smaller version of you. I send my love to both of you, and would really like to see you after I return from my trip.

  14. divineseduction Says:
    September 16th, 2006 at 9:26 am

    A couple of thoughts…
    Especially when you've not been plagued with chronic pain before, it can be frightening and confusing. And downright annoying. Especially when it comes to nerves, or basically anything that isn't patently obvious.
    That being said, I have a few pieces of advice. You know those pilates balls that have cropped up everywhere? Get one. When your back and legs are giving you grief, lay on it. Just, face down, and relax. Alternately lean slightly back (towards your legs) to let your torso and arms just dangle. Then lean forward and support yourself with your arms (if the ball is the right size, you can just put your forearms on the ground, and it's enough stability) and let your legs dangle. Instant, easy on the body and checkbook traction. It'll let your muscles actually relax and release. I expect you'd probably want to do it even if you're not having problems, as preventative maintainance.
    Be sure to drink enough water. That almost always helps everything.
    I've had similar pains like this, all of my life. Doctors could never figure out what it was. When I was younger, it was just in my legs, focused around my knees usually. It'd wake me up in the middle of the night and leave me crying. Still does, actually. Now that I've gotten older, it usually focuses in my hips, and sometimes I get it in my arms. Feels like something down deep in the bone, and expanding outward, and nothing I can do to make it go away.
    Since then, due to problems with knees and other things, I have developed honest-to-goodness sciatica. And let me tell you, it's not the same as this wierd pain.
    A few years ago, I began seeing an acupuncturist for an entirely different condition. I was feeling better, things were okay. Then I went in for a treatment, and I got needled in a new place. And it felt exactly like my leg pains. This was weird. So, I asked about it, and mentioned these pains. I -think- I got needled on a kidney spot. Kidney 40, I want to say (probably means not much to you). But. Through research and talking to different acupuncturists, I've gathered that my issues have something to do with my liver and kidneys. I don't know how much stock you put into alternative medicine, but damn, this acupuncture shit works.
    I would urge you to think about seeing an acupuncturist. If you find a good one (and if you need help finding one, let me know), it's amazing the things they can do for you. And seeing under the skin, as it were, is something they're good at. If you do have any existing problems, well, you're a strapping lad, and are smart enough to make the changes you need to make to get better, especially considering your hearty constitution. 😉 Seriously, though, if you want to talk about it, or have questions, please drop me a line.
    Chronic pain is not easy to live with, but you do tend to get used to it. But just because it's there all the time, that doesn't mean that it should warrant less attention or time than someone with a compound fracture.
    I think I've rambled on quite long enough. I'm here if you need me. 🙂

  15. divineseduction Says:
    September 16th, 2006 at 9:32 am

    Re: A couple of thoughts…
    All that being said, please don't take what I've said as a new diagnosis to get freaked out about. If the docs have not been able to figure out what's wrong, whatever is going on (if it's more than just pinched nerves) is very likely successfully treatable and reversible.
    Damn, I'm trying to say something to make you feel better, and I can't help but think everything I'm saying is going to make you feel worse. Feh!

  16. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 17th, 2006 at 12:49 pm

    Re: A couple of thoughts…
    You actually have made me feel better; you've alerted me to the fact that other people go through this kind of thing all the time, and it doesn't necessarily mean that death is imminent. Your experiences prove that people can be strong enough to live with pain and continue to function. Acupuncture comes highly recommended by many close friends, and I shall be certain to look into it upon my return from Scotland.
    Thank you for your extended reply.

  17. dougygyro Says:
    September 16th, 2006 at 12:24 pm

    I had no idea that you had anything like that. Whenever we have seen each other, it has always been a rash, rushed attempt at catching up that details like that don't seem to surface.
    I'm glad that all seems under control, and I want you to know that if you need any assistance from me in this please to let me know.

  18. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 17th, 2006 at 12:52 pm

    Thanks for this, D. I don't like to complain about things, and our time is so intermittent that I'd rather concern myself with catching up on hopes and plans rather than pain and fear. But we'll have lots more time in the very near future, and I imagine you'll find out all sorts of things you never knew before, hopefully not to your horror. 🙂
    Thanks for your support and friendship; I've been feeling better the past couple of days, and I'm closely monitoring what's going on on a systemic level.

  19. gingiber Says:
    September 16th, 2006 at 12:58 pm

    Sorry to hear you are still suffering from the leg pain. I fervently hope that it doesn't stop you from making it over here soon.
    It sounds like you are doing all the right things to make sure that is nothing serious, so try not to stress too much.
    take care and see you soon.

  20. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 17th, 2006 at 12:58 pm

    I know you remember that this was going on when I was last there. I never know how long it's going to last, but I'm pretty confident now that it's nothing too incapacitating. I'd greatly regret not following through on these long-expected plans to visit with you, so I'll push through it and ensure that a good time will help to restore my focus. Thank you for your reassuring words.

  21. aureliasveil Says:
    September 16th, 2006 at 3:39 pm

    Sorry to hear that you've been going through all this. I hope the pain, both physical and mental will pass swiftly. Unfortunately there's nothing I can do about the physical suffering, but perhaps this:
    or this:
    Will lift your spirits!
    Hang in there…

  22. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 17th, 2006 at 1:00 pm

    I sure do love the Lonely Island guys, and I've never seen this particular series, so thank you! Feeling somewhat better today, and I greatly appreciate your kind sentiments.

  23. dichroicynosure Says:
    September 16th, 2006 at 7:12 pm

    I think this whole write up is about paragraph 7–
    love to you.

  24. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 17th, 2006 at 1:05 pm

    Of course it is. And the rest of the paragraphs threaten this. The trick for me is making the other nine more illustrative of the seventh. You've dealt with a great deal of physical pain in your life, so you understand how scary it is when it first happens – when it's new and unknown.

  25. velvetdahlia Says:
    September 17th, 2006 at 1:00 am

    I'm so sorry to hear about this stress. I am no stranger to hospitals, etc. But it's the *not knowing* that is so exhaustingly scary.
    Take care of yourself. xoxo

  26. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 17th, 2006 at 1:02 pm

    Thanks, Ally. Yes, you've certainly gone through your share of worry and anxiety. If we could put a cap on it somehow, better health would almost seem a matter of course. I'm fast learning how inextricably twined the body and mind are.

  27. pisica Says:
    September 17th, 2006 at 11:17 am

    So sorry. As you know, much of this year has been devoted to You're Ill but We Don't Know The Hell Why, and the stress of the Not Knowing sometimes seemed more damaging than the actual illness (whatever it is). I can't actually say how we moved on – the diminishing pain and lack of need for hospitalization, really, which kind of pushed it into the background. Also, reading about strategies to handle chronic pain helped.
    I think it's just that one does have to go on and not keep thinking about it All The Time, some kind of automatic override to keep yourself from going nuts. (Like the way women who give birth apparently forget how bad the pain really was, or they'd never have another kid.)

  28. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 17th, 2006 at 1:10 pm

    What you and Drum have gone through this year is a perfect analog, and watching it transpire from across the ocean was very difficult. I'm so glad to hear that his pain has abated, and it gives me great joy to know that he pushed through it despite countless half-assed medical staffers and their inconclusive diagnoses. Proof that sometimes pain just happens, and it comes down to how we deal with it on a day-to-day basis. Also, literature like the kind you mention proves that this kind of thing occurs more commonly than we might think.

  29. no_mans_land Says:
    September 17th, 2006 at 2:17 pm

    <small>i know what it's like to fall through the cracks of western medicine. when i first came down with chronic fatigue, i had no inkling as to the causative factors. it wasn't long before i was plagued with a relentless fear of impending doom. i woke up every morning in a state of severe vertigo . . swirling and reeling . . throat constricting . . thoughts scrambled . . equilibrium skewed. this was all from the anxiety / panic related to the unknown. i just didn't understand how i could feel so terrible without having a deathly disease. turns out it is very possible and common.
    i am relieved to hear that at least the most serious of causes have been mostly ruled out. although conditions fall under the radar at times, it is unlikely in your case. my father has recurrent sciatic nerve issues. no one has an explanation, but he has learned to cope with it rather well.
    no matter what, you have to be in charge of your health. no one understands your body like you do. stay aware, but try not to obsess. [easier said than done, i know]
    take care, darren. make the most of your trip to scotland . . and don't forget to bring the pain meds !</small>

  30. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 17th, 2006 at 5:43 pm

    Excellent advice, Sarah, and thanks for your kind words and understanding. You experienced and reiterated my fear of the unknown perfectly; it's just amazing what anxiety and an active imagination can do to the body and mind. Makes me know that I have to be able to control that part of the process.

  31. thistlelurid Says:
    September 17th, 2006 at 2:52 pm

    Im off the interwebs for a few days and look what happens…..
    this is GOOD.
    and I am SO glad that YOU are good too….
    and extremely glad you finally have some
    answers for your ailments. Im anxiety-ridden
    as well…..I know how that goes…and I know
    how it can shut you down.
    mucho-lovo funkus-plaidus!!!

  32. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 17th, 2006 at 5:46 pm

    Thanks, Kat. I'm hoping I'm good. The specter of fear still looms over me, but I must be thankful that I've had a day of relief and that I don't have to blow this out of proportion until there's really something to worry about. I've learned that we have to forge ahead, even in the face of great physical pain that seemingly has no cause – something I'd never experienced before.

  33. sharck Says:
    September 18th, 2006 at 10:46 am

    Just a note to say I actually know exactly how you feel. I was lucky enough to grow out of what was probably a psychosomatic condition (not implying that yours is at all). The greatest comfort during that time was simply that even when countless medical exams came out negative my family still believed that I was actually in pain, and so did my doctors.
    It sounds like you have medical professionals who trust in your judgement and don't try to play you off. You have a support network of people who care about you, and you're physically, mentally and spiritually strong.
    Take Care.

  34. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 19th, 2006 at 1:31 pm

    Your bolstering means a lot to me, and I thank you sincerely. The funny thing about psychosomatic conditions is that they really exist; in fact, that's the very nature of the definition of the word. But there's a mind-body connection that we just don't explore in this society, and I'm quickly learning how much good physical health has to do with mental fortitude and clarity. It's the cycle that keeps getting messed up, a sticky web that is difficult to keep straight when you're in pain.

  35. hannah_henchman Says:
    September 18th, 2006 at 2:26 pm

    First off, I love your posts–whether they're about your innermost thoughts or just something nifty you saw on the sidewalk. I also get the whole "self-censoring" thing. Sometimes I want to let everyone crawl in my brain…sometimes I just don't.
    The number one rule of writing anything, journal to novel, write what feels natural. Otherwise it takes twice the effort to produce something half as readable.
    Now, on your pain issue. For one thing, I think I held my breath through half of this post because I was worried you WERE going to say they found something serious. I'm so glad they didn't.
    However, I know that even something "non-serious" can be disturbing and putting up with any chronic pain can drive you to distraction.
    From what I know, it does sound like a problem with a nerve. I've known so many people with what I've termed "blue-collar back", a generic term for the collection of chronic conditions that result from abusing our muscles for years.
    My sister has something similar from a herniated disk that worsened after she had Jade–Basically, when she overuses the muscles in her back or is just tense for ahwile, the resulting inflammation presses a nerve and she gets a peculiar collection of sensations all down her left side/leg.
    When I'm tense, have injured my back, or spent hours hunched over a computer, I feel like I have something crawling down my left shoulder. Sometimes, I forget and slap at it…a bit embarrassing. 🙂 It's from a nasty back injury a few years back. Same basic deal as my sis. I've also got arthritis in most major joints, particularly hips and knees–That produces quite a bit of tingling, etc.
    I could give you a gaggle of examples. It really is incredibly common and though the symptoms are unpleasant, they're often managable. You've covered all the bases to make sure it's nothing major–sounds like your docs have been very thorough so I seriously doubt they missed anything. You almost certainly are just having a case of life catching up with you.
    What I've found works best to deal with this sort of pain: Most of all, isolate what makes it worse. Stress (or a hectic time that keeps you on edge) is often the culprit. Pay attention to what you've been doing (in your head and physically) around the time you have a pain increase. See if there's a pattern.
    Of course that doesn't mean you have to avoid the cause–just recognize that you have to take better care of yourself around those times. Massage is helpful (as long as the person knows what they're doing), hot baths, regular exercise, proper nutrition…all the usual "good-for-you" stuff. It's about experimentation and finding out what works.
    Meds are helpful for when it's really bad…but be careful not to rely on them exclusively and assume that they're the only way to actively make yourself feel better.
    …and don't think your response to this was overly anxious. I would have been losing marbles all over the place if I thought I heard something about a mass in an xray. Mortality is scary for us all, especially when you have a lot to live for.
    Take care of yourself, sweetie, inside and out. You're a wonderful creature.

  36. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 19th, 2006 at 1:42 pm

    Your level of support and caring is truly warming, Rachel. Thanks for taking the time to engage and comment so completely. Clearly you've gone through times like this, yourself, and you understand some of the physiological and emotional reactions that stem from pain and anxiety. Your advice is sound and I'll use it to good effect if this continues in the future.
    As long as I know what it is, I feel I can handle it from a cause->effect->treatment methodology; being proactive and forward-moving in a situation like this somehow makes it better. It's the sitting and waiting and conjuring terrible visions in my mind that ruins me. I can be very strong at times in a variety of harrowing situations. But when it comes to not knowing whether I'm going to live or die, I lose my shit. And you're right – it's not uncommon or freakish to have those thoughts. How I process them and deal with them, however, certainly leaves something to be desired, and I'll be continuing to work on this for as long as my physical body holds together. 🙂

  37. Anonymous Says:
    September 21st, 2006 at 5:03 am

    acupuncture back pain
    very good blogger site!.
    Do you know BBC News (14/09/2006) Acupuncture for low back pain is cost-effective and works, according to medical researchers. Two studies on suggest a short course of acupuncture would benefit patients and healthcare providersThe cost is well below the threshold used by officials to decide whether the NHS can afford to fund a set treatment, they said. Up to 80% of UK residents experience back pain at some point in their lives, costing the NHS £480m a year.—(BBC News 14/09/2006)
    And, What do you think about it? Something as follow:
    Chinese acupuncture practitioner had almost been accused for website’s ads in Bristol
    Dr Zhentong Han is a Chinese registered acupuncturist with twenty years of clinical experience. He is very popular among the patients in the area with outstanding technique. The appointments for him in the clinic in Bradford were always full, however, at Bristol, another place where he set up his business; there were troubles from the competitions in the same field.
    It started at the acupunctural website of Dr Han (, which occupied the NO.1 place in a international websites about acupuncture ( Because of the large number of patients attracted by this website which introduced traditional Chinese acupuncture for backache therapy,and top position in yahoo and google. it caught great attention of other businesses in the same field in a very short time. Some practitioner even registered company names using key words about acupuncture , and notified Dr Han and other practitioners to stop using the some key words for advertising the website. Or else they would probably be charged by the law.
    Dr Han claimed that he regretted deeply for the matter, but he didn’t want to get involved in this legal dispute, for the purpose of having a website is not to score high on the network, but to have more patients understand the most veracious Chinese traditional acupunctural techniques through his website, so to help more patients get rid of the pain.
    Bristol Chinese Pain relief Acupuncture <a href="” target=”_blank”>

  38. hannah_henchman Says:
    September 21st, 2006 at 1:43 pm

    Just glad I could help. 🙂
    I feel you on the anxiety thing. As long as I'm moving, I'm fine…give me 5 minutes of waiting with no way to work on the problem and I'm a bibbling lunatic.
    …So yeah, if you figure out the secret to being calm in the face of such things, clue me in, okay?

  39. darkshifter Says:
    September 19th, 2006 at 10:40 am

    Hey kid. I'm glad to hear that you're doing better. I for one enjoy reading your posts, on whatever topic they may be. You have an amazing insight to life's mysteries, and you live life in a way that I try to emulate. Have faith in the doctors. They're there to ease your mind, and heal your body.
    And if that doesn't work, get a cleric to cast Heal light wounds on ya. I hear that works wonders.

  40. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 19th, 2006 at 1:57 pm

    This is very sweet, A.J. I'm really honored by your statements here. Thanks so much.

  41. seide Says:
    September 22nd, 2006 at 8:52 pm

    I'm so glad to hear that the tests came out clear. Sometimes pain/worry is a vicious cycle, and coupled with perhaps some ruminations on the harsh nature of mortality it can really create a crisis. It sounds like you have that fundamental capacity to pull yourself back to center, though, and are coping well. Hope you are feeling prime again soon!

  42. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 1st, 2006 at 2:58 pm

    Thanks for these good words. You've identified the vicious cycle of (perhaps needless) worry very clearly, and that's the worst of it all until something more dire is discovered. The fact that it very well could be nothing is a strong indicator that anxiety and stress need to be eliminated to ensure a prompt emotional and physical recovery.

  43. fraulein_doktor Says:
    September 23rd, 2006 at 2:13 am

    Dearest Darren, even though at the moment I'm not really using LJ and not properly catching up with everyone's entries, whenever I can, I read every single entry of yours. There are loads of things that I would like to say, but they'll come soon in a nice proper letter or e-mail, because well, that's between me and you 😉
    I'm so relieved and glad that the tests are clear, really really glad.
    Now, one last thing for today: your next trip is to Italy. Remember 😉
    Missing you as always and looking forward to take you around for a tour of my strange country.

  44. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 1st, 2006 at 3:02 pm

    How wonderful to hear from you, and to receive such kind and warm words. You're a staunch supporter and excellent friend; you're missed here in Edinburgh and there's definitely a hole without you here. I'd always welcome a letter from you with open arms, and Italy is the next place I'm ready to explore. With you leading the tour, I know it would be more fabulous than I can imagine now.

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