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Monday, March 8, 2010

Connected

"Julie, it's just not natural for someone to be as knotted up in the shoulder and neck area as you are presenting." And thus confirmed by Dr. McMurry was my body's need for something to give. Literally. Hence, my appointment today with Jane, an Occupational Therapist & MFR (Myofascial Release) Practitioner.

"MFR" what? You may be wondering. Well, here's a super-duper quick overview simiar to the education I received today.

"Fascia is a specialized system of the body which has an appearance similiar to a spider's web or sweater. It's very densely woven and interpenetrates every structure of our body. It is a tough connective tissue which spreads throughout the body in a three-dimensional web from your head to your feet without interruption. [Amazing, huh?] Trauma or inflammation can create a binding down of fascia resulting in excessive pressure on nerves, muscles, blood vessels, osseous structures [huh?] and/or organs. Since all of the standard tests such as x-rays, myelograms, CAT scans, etc., do not show the fascial restrictions, it is thought that an extremely high percentage of people suffering with pains, headaches, and/or lack of motion [me! me! me!] may be having fascial problems, but most go undiagnosed." (As noted in non-referenced photocopy material given by Jane the Occupational Therapist.)


And while all of the above is indeed fascinating my interest lies more in discovering MFR's actual success rate when it comes to alleviating near constant neck & shoulder pain and increasing limited mobility in my life.

Three times I've injected my spine with steroids (well, not me personally, I let a doctor help.)

I've filled numerous prescriptions and swallowed horse-size anti-inflammation pills. (No small feat, mind you.)

While pacing the living room carpet in an effort to ward off intense discomfort at 2:34 AM., I've dialed 1-800 numbers and purchased cheap plastic "ONLY $19.95! Back Savers!"

And I still hurt.

Hence Jane getting personal with my fascia. *smile*

After mandatory forms were properly noted and at the end of a lovely give-and-go conversation regarding my symptoms (a lengthier time period than any of my visits with previous Dr.'s combined!) it was time for Release.

Over the course of 40-minutes or so, Jane applied sustained pressure to various tissue areas of my body. While doing so, she encouraged me to relax and to visualize the tissue restriction (i.e. pain/tightness/pull) sofening like "butter melting." (Stop rolling your eyes, I can see you through the monitor.) She engaged and manipulated the tissue restrictions presented (oh, boy, did they present) by moving gently into them, then gently (there was no barbaric pressure, whew!) elogating or telescoping to facilitate and follow the tissue as it released.

As she did her MFR thing I was struck by a few realities:

1. I do not know how to visualize my body tissue as "melting butter." Picturing butter on a cob of sweet corn? You betcha. But not so much the inner dynamics of my physical make-up. Which led me to the following...

2. I do not naturally follow very well. Again and again, I noticed I wanted to "anticipate" how and where my body would relax. I wanted to be ahead of the game. And when, on occassion, I did "go with it," as soon as I thought, "Hey, I'm going with it," BOOM! back to Tissue Control Girl became I. (I'm pretty sure that's not proper grammar or sentence structure but we're going to let it go.) Good grief, can you say, "Control Freak"?! And then in the midst of stretching fascia and self-loathing the following scripture verse came to mind....

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. ~Psalm 139:13


The densely woven, sweater like tissue was formed, was connected, was "knit together" by the very will and creative hand of God.

Me! A woman who since earliest childhood has always detested biological "Family Tree" projects. For mine more closely resembles a stump.

Father unknown.
Ethnicity unknown.
The attempted grafting of half-brothers and sisters relationships largely unsuccessful.
Rootless.
A stump I tell you, a stump.

But today, in the somewhat sterile and oh, so, humbling (um, standing in ones skivvies before a complete stranger will certainly do that for you) confines of an office suite, God saw me. He tenderly and kindly warmed the soul of this self-confessed, control-freakish, 44-year old woman with the sweater of Divine connectedness.

And for that, I am most thankful this late evening.





Thursday, March 4, 2010

It's All About Relationship

I've typed...backspaced (I'm still old-school IBM Electric trained)...typed....backspaced, at least a half-dozen times over the past few minutes. There's something I want to say. Something I must say. But for one of the few times in my cyber-life, I'm nearly speechless.

What my fingers and mind are attempting to do is splatter this page with the joy welling up and overflowing in my heart and emotions right now. But each time I try, well, it falls flat. So, I'll just tell you what has happened and leave sentence structure and threads to another post.

Yesterday I spent the better part of six-hours scanning and posting photographs from high school days as well as college. Dozens of confirmed "friends" posted comments and more than a few sent an invite. I was about to wrap things up when a high-school friend's name popped up in the IM (Instant Message) FB window. This was a girl who could make me laugh so hard I'd nearly get kicked out of class or be given a death-ray stare from basketball coache who didn't appreciate my inattentiveness to the zone defense at hand.

I hadn't spoken to or with Tracy since 1983 and there she was in front of my screen.
So we began conversing while I clicked over to her Wall. Her status garnered my attention and I thought, "I bet she's a Christian." It didn't take us but 20-seconds or so into our conversation when she confirmed just that and told me about her desire to "run hard after Jesus," too. Well, I was over-the-moon thrilled and before the night ended we exchanged emails and I've no doubt we'll keep in touch.

That was great yet better still while trolling through her friends list I came across the brother of one of my high school friends who I've been trying to get in touch with for years. I sent a friend request and e-mail message and hoped Doug would forward his sisters contact information to me. Sleep beckoned so I shut down both the computer and my brain and waited until the following day or so for his response (if any).

Small group bible study kept me active until early afternoon today and then travel details for an event this weekend. At last, I was able to plop down in my favorite chair and head directly to FB. Weeding through comments and tackling some "I'm-not-a-Ph.D-but-I'll-sure-listen-and-pray-for-you" counseling, I then saw he had clicked "Accept."

Quicker than a scrolling heartbeat, I picked up on a Wall post he had written and thought, "That sounds sorta Jesusy." A few more clicks here. A blog-post reading moment there. And sure enough this young man whom I remember as an adorable 6 or 7 year-old, is now a "running hard after Jesus" with his Jesusy wife right there beside him.

Amazing.

And all together humbling.

You see, I'm sitting here with my eyes closed typing because I want to feel...FEEL...the magnitude and ferocity of God the Father's love and pursuit of those He created. I'm also closing my eyes and shaking my head a bit back-and-forth a bit as I can do nothing but confess, "Lord, I know I've pridefully thought my beloved hometown and those I have cared about for so long somehow required me to really get it...to really get You."

Nope. That's not the case. Jesus seems to be doing just fine with the Father and the Spirit. As well as countless individuals strategically placed in each of our lives to shape us and lead/point to Him.

Tonight something has happened in my faith, to my faith, and for my faith that I can't begin to articulate. A weird lesson in humility cloaked in joy. There's a sense of release, while at the same time, a re-inforced urgency to stop dinkin' around with that which is holy...eternal...and relationship.

"For it is God who is at work in you both to will and to do His good pleasure." ~Philippians 2:13