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Revival, and some milestones

June 8, 2009

I’m writing this to log a few milestones, and to encourage others who are suffering from repetitive strain injuries (RSIs), because there isn’t a lot out there about people who recover. Probably a lot of people get better and move on, maybe even to full use. I think I am now at the point where I can realistically expect to recover from the pain and resume most of my former routine activities, except for typing.

First, some milestones. Last Thursday, at 3:08 PM, I finished reading Calvin’s Commentaries Upon the Psalms, a five-volume work of over 2,400 pages. I think most people thought I was crazy to read the commentaries straight through; most of us, after all, use commentaries to look things up on a verse by verse basis. Calvin believed the Psalms were the key to prayer, and I enjoyed reading the commentaries and distilling particular gems from Calvin, this year, the 500th anniversary of Calvin’s birth. I began reading the commentaries just after the first of the year.

My husband and I have been listening to a series of six sermons on marriage by Pastor Joe Morecraft. It’s a wonderful series for anyone who is married or planning or aspiring to be married. Pastor Morecraft selects texts from the New and Old Testaments to present the criteria of a “normal” marriage, which is a marriage that comports to the express principles in the word of God. Pastor Morecraft says that any Christian can have a normal marriage, and only a normal marriage will satisfy a Christian husband or wife. A normal marriage is the greatest of blessings, and we are most thankful and encouraged for ours, and for Pastor Morecraft’s edifying sermons. You can download these sermons at sermonaudio.com by searching “Morecraft and marriage” at a time when the website’s search engine happens to be working.

I am, I think, realistically hopeful that I will recover from the pain of my RSI because much of it has already subsided. Worn down from four months of gnawing pain, I finally took a muscle relaxant and spent life as a zombie for three days to get ahead of it. But I think now the residual pain can be managed with trigger point work at home and the physical therapy I’ll be getting through the end of this month.

The sense that my arms are on fire and the flames are being put out with wire brushes has subsided completely. My left elbow still aches a good deal when I extend it, but it’s not throbbing full-time as it was. I can drive without wrist splints, without my wrists burning inordinately. I still can’t push a grocery cart, and we’re coming around to the idea that the highest and best use of my neck muscles may not be the pushing of dust mops. Anything involving the extension of my arms straight out for any period of time, like mopping or typing, reactivates the whole cycle. Pain leads to spasm and spasm leads to pain. Spasms become chronic contractures in the muscles, a.k.a. trigger points.

My husband has been reading Claire Davies’s book, The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook, along with me, and has begun to tackle some trigger points in my neck and arms, as well as his own. We should each be able to treat ourselves at some point, but my hands are still too wracked to grasp either the TheraCane or my muscles. We are both convinced that trigger point work is the key to releasing chronic muscle pain from our various injuries, over-uses, and poor uses over the decades.

Another milestone: This morning I felt revived and completed my homekeeping routine easily before I realized the usual pain hadn’t kicked in. Only a fellow sufferer can know the elation of defeating pain instead of being defeated by it.

A less joyful milestone: ice cream is apparently not to be countenanced by my metabolism. I tried the “no sugar added” kind that uses Splenda, and discovered that I am among the ranks of those who cannot tolerate Splenda’s side effects. But Brie and raspberries are no poor consolation, and I am no tragic heroine.

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3 Comments
  1. Jane permalink
    June 9, 2009 6:50 am

    I’m so glad that there’s light at the end of the tunnel for you! It’s just as you said, only chronic pain sufferers can relate to the elation when one is NOT experiencing pain. Thanks to you, and your encouragement to use the trigger point work book, I am also emerging from the nightmare of continual pain. “Through our God we will do valiantly!”

  2. kamelda permalink
    June 9, 2009 5:22 pm

    Oh, hooray for muscle relaxants. I do think that sometimes the body needs a break and a deep release of tension to turn the corner in the recovery from pain: that’s one reason why big screen movies, roadtrips, muscle relaxants, etc are such splendid evidences of a good Creator and Sustainer.

    And my jaw drops over your milestone with the Calvin on Psalms. I think I have managed to reread the first seven chapters in the Institutes four times, and progress to chapter 13 for the third since the beginning of the year — maybe I could reread the first chapters of the Psalms for my next year’s project while you finish up the entire OT :-). Congratulations Lauren!

    I have a postcard which has been ready to go since last week, and will get a letter in the mail to you soon. With much love.

  3. Laura permalink
    June 9, 2009 5:23 pm

    What a wonderful thing to read, Lauren, all of it (save for the discovery of Splenda incompatibility, though having to miss out on Splenda is probably a good thing). I’m sure you are much the wiser for reading the Psalms with Calvin (and with the Holy Spirit, of course), and now your memory is stocked with the high points of an exceptional commentary—a great resource when you return to the Psalms, whether through reading or in recollecting their principles for daily application.

    I am so glad you feel that you are coming along physically. I can imagine your triumph this morning. It certainly calls for the likes of Brie and raspberries. :)

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