Saturday, September 12, 2009

pain in my foot or, treating morton's neuroma, pt 2

as Gentle Readers may remember, i was diagnosed with morton's neuroma in both feet about six or seven weeks ago. the doctor who made the diagnosis offered me two solutions - gel pads and a cortisone shot in my foot. i took the gel pads and said no thanks to the steroid in my feet. the cortisone was only going to mask the pain - it wasn't going to address the issues at the root of it.

at the time i limped out of his office, i would say the pain in my left foot was at a 2, the pain in my right foot, a 7. according to what i read, this was a common condition that i was simply going to have to live with.

since morton's neuroma is essentially a nerve problem and nerves transmit energy, i decided the most effective course of action was likely to be any system of healing that works directly with energy. thus, i scheduled an acccupuncture appointment for the following day. i also do not believe that pain is something to be masked. i believe pain is a messenger and i believe the way to address the pain is not to deny it - but to confront it, without judgement and without fear.

i remembered how, from my natural childbirth classes, we were taught to understand that the strenous exercise of labor can be interpreted as pain - or accepted as evidence of the Great Work every mother's body does at birth. we were taught to understand we could either tense and fight the Work, thus causing even more pain, or we could relax and appreciate and allow the Work to happen. (i still howled like a banshee.)

at least i had a framework within which to see this pain as something more than just an enormous inconvience. so i took a lot of time and sat with the pain in my foot. i visualized what it felt like - alternatively a hot poker, a splintered wooden stake, an iron nail. i visualized what in my life could be causing such pain in the ball of my foot. what was holding me back? pinning me down? nailing me to a cross?

the more i meditated, the more i embraced the message of the pain, the more i was able to understand that the pain in my foot was as much about the accumulation of emotional and spiritual and mental pain, as anything physical. i continued to treat with accupuncture. i began to do a series of small stretches with my toes. my chiropractor adjusted my feet. i added 400 mg of turmeric to my diet on the advice of my chiropractor and several herbalist friends who know me well. (check with your health professional before you ingest anything, Gentle Reader) i had a deep tissue massage and i gave myself copious amounts of reiki.

at some point in my healing, i realized i was objectifying my foot. i realized i do this with all my body parts i dont like or when they are in pain. "me" somehow becomes separate from "my neck" or "my foot." in my meditation, i deliberately turned my attention to healing this breach. it was after i came to this realization that i began to feel long-term relief.

im happy to report that the pain in both feet have diminished to the point where not only can i get out of bed without wincing, most of the time i don't even remember my feet used to hurt so bad. i'm looking forward to getting my orthotics and walking shoes - this experience has certainly taught me to appreciate walking in a whole new way. i know that there are other lessons as well, that will continue to make themselves understood as i am ready to receive them.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.


Martha said...

That sounds like an excellent plan of treatment, Annie, thanks for sharing. This post reminds me of a book by Joe Hyams, "Zen and The Martial Arts" where he talks about embracing pain and exploring it very much like you did.
Blessings and so glad your tootsies are better!

Kim said...

glad your feet are feeling better and that you are working at the root of the pain rather than masking it as the doctors would have you do