January 26h, 2014
I have made the agonizingly difficult and disappointing decision to cancel my "epic" tour along the southern tier. Below is the email I wrote to my loved ones, and am including here as part of the closure. It is long, many of you may have already received it in an email, and many more of you may have no interest -- so skip it. I have it here for my own history of the "happening".
But do read on after the end of the email.
On Jan 23, 2014, at 1:25 PM, Nancy Graham <email@example.com> wrote:
The Tour That Almost Was…. isn’t
Most of you know of the back/sciatica issue I have been dealing with (for way too long actually), that has been debilitating to me, and the care and treatment I have searched out. Briefly, for those who may not know, I have chosen nonsurgical decompression treatments rather than more invasive care such as surgery – or narcotics, epidural injections or other drugs. This treatment is outside of my insurance company, and is quite pricey, but what price for health and pain relief? It is gentle, safe and has no risk (unlike those other “traditional” options I listed).
(Only) because of Susan’s insistence, I kept my previous appointment with the neurosurgeon that my primary doc referred me to and met with him today. He has no control over which care providers Group Health will make referral to, and is a “traditional” practitioner of course, but says there is no harm (except to my wallet) to having this procedure done. So I move on with my choice. (I can always opt for surgery later if I so choose). I am only a little conflicted by the accepted policy of Group Health willing to refer to a chiropractor but not to one who does this procedure. He says there is no study that proves it works (is there for other chiropractic procedures?) and the bottom line seems to be cost – however less costly compared to surgery?
My chiropractor (Dr. Shelly) is very positive that I can get great relief and cure from this treatment, and I am rapidly becoming a believer! Until this morning I have gotten out of bed in the morning and could not stand up straight, and almost crawled to the bathroom – a few feet from the bed. After 45-60 minutes the pain would mostly work itself out and I could continue with most of my day even if with some pain. (Morning pain would be 10+, through the day would be anywhere from 3-7 – everyday). This week I have had only one decompression session, and two cold laser treatments and this morning I was able to stand and walk upright directly from the bed. I felt like I was on one of those miracle t.v. shows ready to shout “I can walk! I am healed!”.
I am not trying to preach this procedure, and it may not even work for everybody. As well, many would feel better about the other medical choices. But I cannot begin to say how wonderful it feels to have almost no pain today! It has been sooooooo long since I have been pain free.
To complete the process takes three months of 3-4 times a week (and monthly maintenance after that). I had planned to be gone for two of those months on the southern tier bike tour with Woman Tours. Dr. Shelly said from the outset that he felt he could get me to 50-80% better by the start of my tour, and I would continue the treatments on my return home. He said, even though it was not “optimal” or “preferable”, he thought I could do the tour.
I have agonized and caused myself tons of stress, leading to feeling physically ill, over the decision I have made – to cancel this wonderful tour. I talked with Dr. Shelly about why I was considering this move (listing the reasons one by one) and, after listening patiently and intently, he said that if I could do that it would be much preferable for my treatment and care. He said I could “survive” doing this trip, but if I wait to do it at another time I could “go after it”. I liked that terminology, and think that is how I have been looking at it: I don’t want to wake up every morning in pain or worrying when the pain will start again; I don’t want worry about my back while cycling to be my focus; I am not paying the grand fee for the bike tour to ride in a van for much of the trip.
I know that getting my body healthy is the best avenue to take and is my major focus. I may choose to do this tour next year (even though I will be yet a year older!!), or I may choose more, shorter tours rather than one long one. Whatever I choose will be much more enjoyable, safe and done with a stronger (pain free) body.
I hope I am not disappointing anyone with the decision of not doing the epic tour I had planned to do and talked so much about to many of you. Thank you for your care and love – and stay tuned for I will be back with more stories!!
Much love to each and all,
I have been looking at the positive side of the decision: the refund helps pay for the procedure; I will be able to focus on my body and treatment rather than obsessing about riding my bike (or being depressed when I cannot); I will now have that time to enjoy with my friends and family rather than be away from everyone for two months; I have time to get healthier for a trip in the future and do it with no pain.
I am not the neatest person in the world -- at least not obsessive about it -- but much clutter can cause me stress. When it gets to that point I tell Susan she needs to clear up some of those piles of things that are hither and yon. Even if reluctantly, she does do it because she knows I will be happier ;'-) -- and do less nagging!
For this past entire week we have had our neighbor (and professional painter), Steve, working on removing wall paper and getting ready to paint the middle level of the house. In the middle of this, we had to get a new water heater installed. This means EVERYTHING has been turned upside down in our house -- including all that stuff from the closet that houses the water heater.
I repeat -- this has been the case for the past ENTIRE week (plus some). While I have been thinking, stressing and focusing ME, I have been blindly and unconcernedly walking through and around this disarray every day with little thought. Then, the decision was made, the paper work was done for trip insurance and I looked up and thought GOOD GREIF!! THIS HOUSE IS IN A DISASTOROUS MESS! A mess I barely saw until that moment.
Let me show you.
|Our living room|
|Our dining room|
|Part of the downstairs rec room|
|The "desk" room|
Because of the stress I was going through about ME, I am finding it not as difficult to live with the stress about this mess! The stress is not gone, but different. Patience, I say to myself.