When Life Hands You Lemons – It Makes Your Lips Pucker!

author/source: Deb Maher

lemonade-out-of-lemonsI don’t think I am very good at making lemonade out of lemons. Even if you add a bit of alcohol and a tiny umbrella! I have been in pain from Piriformis Syndrome since late April. It came without warning. Was it an overzealous morning exercise routine on the treadmill or too many years than I can count, working in an office or was it something else?  I have since learned a great deal about this muscle I never knew I had. I have also learned how painful and life-debilitating it can be. I could barely walk when it started. The searing spasms running from my rear end down the length of my leg brought me to my knees. The spasms painful frequency have me convinced I will never feel right again. I have not been able to enjoy my self-imposed retirement as a result. I had to cancel my plans for a long-awaited trip to Spain, volunteering, art and dance classes.  I spend my days at physical therapy and chiropractic and acupuncture services. When I am not going to PT, I am exercising and stretching at home and hoping for a turn-around.

Screaming-and-cryingLife can change in a minute. Things don’t always go the way you plan. How you handle life’s alterations can either make or break you. Admittingly, I have had some days these past few months where yelling and crying into the silence of my painful movements was all I could do to keep myself sane. I was not at my best but I have learned to accept slowing down and embracing this time even though the pain is emotionally draining.  

While I am working through my recovery, I take each day and try to find one thing that will set my intentions for the day. I have been watching the birds going about the business of their evolution. A little male finch has taken delight in my Easter egg wreath still hanging at the entrance of my front door. He comes every day, sings up a storm waiting for a female to show up and join him in this circle of brightly colored fake eggs. A number of females have flown in for inspection of his ill-prepared home only to be disappointed when they discover what little effort he expended to attract possible romance. I can almost see the displeasure in the tiny eyes of the hopeful female and a “what, are you kidding me look” as they fly in and right back out. I feel sorry for the little male but he has not given up. He comes every day, sings and waits only to be met with the same result. I marvel at his tenacity and the message resonating with me at the moment is, don’t give up, keep going even when it hurts.

When-Life-Hands-You-Lemons-It-Makes-Your-Lips-PuckerFor now, my focus is weekly physical therapy sessions. Legs climbing into the air on invisible stairs, stretches and clamshells are my new best friends. My therapist uses her elbow to press down hard into my piriformis muscle in an attempt to unlock this cement-like prison in order to alleviate the compression against my sciatic nerve. The pain is unreal but I focus on a deflated smiley-face balloon staring straight at me from across the room. This balloon’s past its prime smile has turned into a grin and I can’t help but laugh at the irony and my own distorted face during this procedure. I talk to the other patients at physical therapy as part of my continued encouragement therapy. Many of them dealing with bigger problems than I have. It keeps my spirits lifted and I have come to know people in pain like me. Talking to my new PT friends every keeps me motivated and feeling that I am not alone. I am also encouraged to continue taking each day, each moment a day at a time, count my blessings for all I do have and perhaps making some pie with a few of those lemons!