*Trigger warning: chronic pain, psoas syndrome, hypertensive pelvic floor, generalized anxiety disorder, ovarian cyst, coronavirus*
Hey hi. Doing something a little different today. I did have a pasta salad post all lined up but I started writing and decided to just do a life post. First of all, how are you over there in your little corner of the universe today? If life in self-quarantine is taking it’s toll on you, I’m with you. I feel SO lame for complaining when health workers, grocery store employees, and any essential personnel are out there risking exposure to the coronavirus so that we can stay healthy and safe. That doesn’t even include the people that are currently infected and fighting covid-19 with everything they have. So who am I to grumble on about isolating at home when I’m free of the flu, able to work from my couch slash kitchen and get to spend my nights playing the Witcher 3?
Well, here’s the thing. I’ve written about these issues a couple times but never really delved into it because…this is a food blog. However, today I’m taking the time to get this out, which helps me feel a little better and maybe help someone else experiencing any of these things feel a little better too.
(Reminiscing about traveling to Scotland, slash traveling in general ⬆ – it was very rainy, very windy, and very cold).
If you’ve been a friend to the blog for a while, you’ve heard about my back issue before and know I had surgery to remove a large ovarian cyst in December. For those that are new, here’s the sitch (cue Kim Impossible music): I don’t have an exact diagnosis for my back but it’s somewhere along the lines of chronic psoas syndrome. Basically, I overused and relied heavily on my psoas muscle for about 5 years (whoops) when I worked in a kitchen and wasn’t aware that I was injuring myself.
As a result, my left lower to mid back “spasms” whenever it is required to stretch out aka hold me up…which is all the time. Imagine not being able to use your back to stand, sit, lay down, basically support you in any way without it clenching. Forget about cooking and photography! Sometimes the spasm is so bad I just fall down 🤷🏻♀️. To avoid this, my body subconsciously found other ways to support itself. Enter hypertensive pelvic floor dysfunction.
Essentially, my pelvic floor is SO good at supporting me in place of my back, it’s too good at job. My pelvic floor is so strong that it’s in a constant state of tension. The muscles there don’t remember how to relax and have become trained to see this state of chronic contraction as the new normal. Sometimes it gets so bad, muscles within my pelvic floor also spasm. It’s very disruptive and hurts. Quite a bit.
Not fun. Pair this with the chronic psoas syndrome, my generalized anxiety disorder and my mild OCD. The struggle is real…I currently feel like a HOT mess. I have trouble exercising because of the back spasms leading to body confidence issues, trouble completing most kinds of physical tasks for work or around the house, trouble sleeping because of the pelvic floor tension, and sometimes (like now) I even have trouble just sitting up without pain.
Luckily, I have quite a few absolutely amazing physical therapists and massage therapists (along with a counselor for that aforementioned anxiety) that help me treat these issues on pretty much a weekly basis. I also had that ovarian cyst surgically removed as it was pissing off my pelvic floor even more and was taking up valuable real estate in my abdomen. It was squishing my psoas deeper into my left side and giving it no room to breathe, stretch, and heal. Ever since the cyst removal and the continuous help of my therapy team (thank you Flow Rehab and Seattle Spine and Sport!), everything seemed to be on the mend. Baby steps!
But now with covid-19 all up in our business, massage and physical therapy offices are (completely understandably) closed until further notice. I was doing so much better, slightly improving every week. Ever since life in self quarantine became the standard, I’ve “back slid” (pun not really intended but appropriate) and it just really sucks 😣. A chronically tweaked out psoas muscle and an overcompensating pelvic floor messes with pretty much everything in my daily personal and professional life.
(Cocktail and Witcher 3 relax time with the world’s grossest thumb nail⬆. Note to self: painting my nails would not be the worst thing, get on it Aberdeen).
Before anyone comes forward and says anything about #firstworldproblems, I’m aware. I know. I know there are so many out there that deal with horrors I’ve only read about or seen in movies. I live in a house in a safe suburb in a beautiful city. I have the privilege of being a white American citizen. I have a loving husband, family, and adorable fur baby. I always have food in my kitchen. I have electricity, plumbing, and clean water…the list goes on.
Yet, especially now when I can’t get the physical help that I need to heal, I get frustrated, pissed off, feel sad and down.
SO! After that massive soliloquy of blah, it’s time to try and focus on something positive. Here are some things that help me during this life in self quarantine phase:
- Snuggles with Calypso even when she steals the remote ⬆ and my hubby.
- Full disclosure: I do take prescribed medication for my hamster wheeling mind. My anxiety levels massively decreased once I started on them. If you experience ANY kind of anxiety that overly affects your life, make sure to talk to your doctor about your options!
- Video conferencing with my therapist. Thank the lord for that. If you have insurance coverage or any option to speak to a licensed professional about LITERALLY ANYTHING, I cannot recommend this enough.
- Mile long walks, gentle gentle gentle yoga (on the occasion). One of my physical therapists is actually posting videos of of her yoga classes online! She’s fantastic and her adorable dog Elly the Pomeranian makes a frequent occurrence. Check out her page here -> KBWell Yoga
- The Headspace app. This is NOT an ad, I just love Headspace. I use it on the daily. When I can’t sleep because of the pelvic floor tension or the constant tingling in my back even while laying down, this always gets me snoozing. It even has “meditations” for movement!
- Turning on my favorite movies and shows in the background no matter how many times I’ve seen them (I’m looking at you Lucifer, Witcher, Lord of the Rings, and basically all of Disney+).
- Massage stick, medicine ball, TENS-unit, heated back massager, foam roller…the list goes on. Anything to help release that psoas muscle.
- Playing adventure video games that take place in a beautifully animated fantasy world, particularly with quests/levels. Finishing quests and levels keeps my OCD in check and the fantasy world/adventure genre allows me escape into places only found in books and movies. My favorites – Witcher 3, Skyrim, Ori and the Blind Forest, and of course The Legend of Zelda (specifically Ocarina of Time and Breathe of the Wild). If you’re looking for a family friendly option with a smaller world, Zelda BOTW would be my first recommendation.
- Messing around with color depositing conditioner from Overtone. I’ve always wanted pink in my hair and now seems like the perfect time to try! I’ve currently ordered their rose gold, pastel and vibrant pink and purple colors. I’ll share more pics on my Instagram 😎 but here’s one from my first attempt ⬇ .
Life in self quarantine. Let’s all try to breathe and get through this together. Follow Calypso’s lead and self distance like a pro ⬇. You with me?
PS. Your regular food based Aberdeen’s Kitchen blog will be back this weekend 🥰.