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When the Going Gets Tough …

I usually go walking and that helps to a point. I am still grieving for Maxine. I guess that’s no surprise, but I didn’t expect to fall into a depression, one that I’m still trying to climb my way out of. Although it’s not fair to use my husband as a therapist, I’ve been doing that and it helps … to a point. He can’t fix my brain. Only I can do that.

I haven’t worked on my novel. I’ve only gotten as far as printing a revision and editing guidebook developed by the good folks at NaNoWriMo and signing up for a webinar with the awesome Allison Williams that is designed to help writers finish their book. Baby steps.

Further complicating my depression is some chronic achiness and weakness I’ve been having in my left shoulder and arm for a few weeks now. I finally got to see my chiropractor who sent me off for x-rays and told me to do cold/heat therapy as often as possible (20 minutes cold/20 minutes heat/40 minutes cold/40 minutes heat). A full round of therapy is two hours so I have to plan accordingly. The good news per the x-rays is that my nerves do not appear to be compressed. The bad news is my cervical osteoarthritis has worsened: more bone spurs, less cartilage. But, per my chiropractor, the deteriorating is “age-appropriate.” You know, no one ever used the phrase “age-appropriate” until after I turned 60. Just saying.

I go back to my chiropractor in a few days and, if all goes well (meaning the cold/hot therapy works), then I won’t need further treatment. If not, then he’ll refer me to a spinal orthopedist who will probably want to do an MRI which I do not want to do because I am claustrophic. I don’t care if they give you drugs to relax you. Just the thought of my head being in a small space is enough to send me into hysterics.

In the meantime, no yoga, no lifting with my left arm. But at least I can walk!

I am trying to get into the habit of going for a walk first thing in the morning, weather permitting. I used to do that but fell out of the habit some months ago. So far I’ve walked three mornings in a row, and it’s getting easier. I take my hot tea with me and that’s really kind of nice. I can’t drink and walk at the same time. I don’t have that kind of equilibrium, so I have to stop when I want to take a sip. I enjoy those moments, especially when there’s a hawk nearby to observe.

In the photo above, you should see a very small dark spot atop a branch in roughly the center of the photo. That’s a hawk.

The clouds were so interesting that morning. I would have enjoyed looking up at them all day if it weren’t for the literal pain in my neck.

Walking is therapeutic. While I sort out life without Maxine, I’ll keep walking. While I avoid working on my novel, I’ll keep walking.

Categories: life

Tagged as:

Marie A Bailey

Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.

35 replies

  1. Marie, I understand so much about missing Maxine. I just think itโ€™s such a poor design (plan? Occurrence?) that our furbabies donโ€™t live much, much longer than they do. ๐Ÿ˜”
    I hope you get some relief with your pain and can dodge the mri.
    Keep walking! Keep observing! Solvitur ambulando. Big hugs to you. โค๏ธ

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Cheryl. We do what we can to ensure our furbabies have healthy long lives. The only problem is we’re not getting any younger ๐Ÿ˜‰ I believe the cold/heat therapy is helping, but, like Ally said, it just wears me down. I have to be patient. Hugs back to you โค

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I understand about missing Maxine. My condolences on her passing. I also understand about being in physical pain. It wears you down, yet you have to go on. I know you’ll get back to writing when you feel better, both emotionally and physically. Until then, take tender care of yourself, one day at a time.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Ally. You are exactly right: the pain wears me down. I do believe it’s getting better, though (or I’m kidding myself because I really don’t want an MRI even if Jill says the drugs help). At the least, I’m learning to be patient with myself.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG, Jill, five times!!!!! I’m glad the drugs helped but I’m really hoping to avoid an MRI. Thus, I’m doing the cold/heat therapy as often as possible ๐Ÿ™‚

      My novel has been around in some form for many years. Yup, it can wait ๐Ÿ˜‰


  3. I’m so sorry about Maxine. I’m still grieving for our Mickey–and it’s been two years now–but it’s all tied up with the pandemic. I’m sorry about your pain, too, but I’m glad you can walk. It does help me. I almost always feel better after walking–and it’s also a time when I can think about things. (Sometimes when I’m writing and stuck, I actually get up and start walking around, and I often work out the problem.)

    As Jill said, your novel will be there when you’re ready. I think sometimes things like that have to steep in your brain for a while. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Do not give yourself a hard time for needing to grieve. There is no set time.
    I am so sorry you are feeling such pain physically as well.
    However, like Merril, I’m truly glad you can walk and that, in itself is a wonderful thing. Both the pausing to sip and look around and fill your eyes and senses with beauty and the fresh air can’t hurt!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Keep walking. I’ve been trying to convince myself to start doing that myself. I just don’t have a nice neighborhood to walk around, so it’s difficult to get started.

    “Age appropriate” … bah humbug to that!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now I can say I’ve walked four mornings in a row ๐Ÿ™‚ We moved to our neighborhood because Greg used to go through it on his runs (back when he could run). It has a few hills so I get a nice workout. The only problem is a couple of our streets are cut-throughs and people do like to speed.

      Start with short walks and see how it goes. I commit to going around one block but I always wind up doing more.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree–moving through the outside world does wonders for my mental health. And–true story–your brain keeps working on the novel even when you don’t think it is. So I hope take your time, grieve, walk. And whenever it’s time, you’ll return to the novel refreshed and invigorated.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hard times, indeed. However, it looks like you have a grip on that old walking stick (being metaphorical here – referring to your daily walking routine) – which is a certain life line for you. Hawks in your neighborhood? What a magnificent blessing.
    take care

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Laura. Oh, indeed, we have red-shouldered hawks that reside in our neighborhood. I usually only see one at a time, but often will hear two. Perhaps a mating pair? They like to perch on the power lines and don’t seem to mind me observing them (not much anyway … lol).

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I know how much you miss Maxine. It is so hard to move on after we lose our babies. I have several I still grieve over. My blog was actually named after my basset hound Patches who I lost several years ago. I have never had an MRI so I donโ€™t know what that would be like. I do know being outside in fresh air helps me when things get weird in my brain. I think just realizing that you feel different and need that extra time can make all the difference in the world. Hang in there youโ€™ve got this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your support. The morning walks are helping me. That’s a good insight: “just realizing you feel different and need that extra time.” Definitely, the first step in healing is knowing that I need to heal ๐Ÿ™‚


  9. Marie,
    Big hugs to you over Maxine and your ailments. This is the year I’ve had, so I completely understand. Pardon me if this is not helpful. But I wanted to tell you that I have STILL had my bad shoulder/arm now since September 2020 even after months and months of physical therapy, BUT I finally started something called shockwave therapy. You could see if it would benefit what’s wrong with you and if it would if they have a reputable one in your area. I was told by medical people that it really works, and I think it IS working. Not covered by insurance or in my case medicare, but it’s worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the tip, Luanne. The cold/heat therapy plus Naproxen seem to be helping so far. I suspect I have a “bulging disc” and this is the sort of treatment that doctors try with it. I’m on the fence about getting an MRI. If the weakness in my arm improves, then I’ll say it’s all good and move on ๐Ÿ˜‰ I cannot imagine having a bad shoulder/arm for over a year. Have you had an MRI for it? It wasn’t until Greg had an MRI for his back that he realized the physical therapy he was taking was contraindicated for his particular back problem. I hope the shockwave therapy works for you! xoxo


    1. Thank you, dear โค I'm feeling a bit better every day. The morning walks really help, my arm/shoulder/neck is better, and, while I miss Max so much, I try to focus on my many happy and funny memories of her.


  10. What a difficult set of things! I know how that can be, Marie. I’m doing the same — taking short walks — after a couple of months of not doing them due to moving my elderly parents from one assisted living facility in Washington to one nearby down here in Southern California. Sorry about the pain; chronic pain is so difficult to manage, but I’m in hopes that you will be getting better. I’m with you, too, about the MRIs. I have claustrophobia too. I found a way to do it by not opening my eyes at all, and it worked out pretty well. Here’s to better days!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Carla! I appreciate your advice on MRIs. My arm and shoulder (via my neck) are much better, so I can probably skip the MRI for now (yay). My morning walks are helping a lot with my perspective. And, always, the wonderful, supportive comments I get from you and others is the best balm ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Marie, grief takes time. I wouldn’t worry too much about not working on your novel right now. When the time is right, it will be right there. It’s not going anywhere. No sense right now to force your writing when you’ve got healing to do. Wishing you a speedy recovery. โค

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Carol. My novel hasn’t left me for over 10 years. I have confidence it’ll be around for another 10, although I’m hoping I’ll publish it before then.

      My morning walks have helped me so much. My arm/shoulder/neck has greatly improved too. I can’t wait to practice yoga again ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Walking is meditation, It’s a prayer, to me, and yes, it’s therapeutic. I hope it helps you heal from the loss and the depression – all understandable. Walk into a better place. And as far as MRI, I have claustrophobia also. The one time I needed a head MRI, my husband was allowed in with me (they wanted me to take Valium or a sedative, but they make me sick) and he rubbed my feet during the MRI exam. Helped tremendously. Of course, this was before Covid, when ‘support personnel’ are often not allowed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words. The morning walks have helped a lot and, yes, they are meditative. I still don’t know if I’ll be referred for an MRI, but, if I am, I’ll put on my big girl pants and deal with it. I would welcome a sedative and someone suggested keeping my eyes closed. But, we’ll see. My arm/shoulder/neck have greatly improved (my chiropractor is very happy with me) and that has really helped my grieving as well.

      Liked by 1 person

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