Sunday, September 20, 2020

Coming Full Circle

The location sounded real familiar when he described it to me. When I learned the address, that confirmed it. I had been there before. My current chiropractor was moving into the same location where I saw my first chiropractor 13+ years ago. 

Walking into that office again was a strange melding of past and present. The essence of the past superimposed on the present. The reception area had been redesigned, but a hazy image of the way it used to be was still there. When Scott showed me around, we went into a room where I had had a neurological test on my legs after my back surgery. The memory of that flooded back. Things were different, and yet the same. I was different, and yet the same. The condition of my back was different, and yet the same. 

For more than 13 years, I've been seeing chiropractors in an attempt to heal my back. During that time I've seen seven different chiropractors, and now I was back at the beginning. Back where I started. Back at the office of my very first chiropractor. 

The first question that kept popping in my head was, "What does this mean?" Coincidence didn't seem enough to explain it. It felt deeper than that. The second question, which got more to the heart of the issue was, "Did you achieve a healed back? Are you better?" The sad answer My back currently has just as many issues, and actually a few more, than it did when I was first motivated to see a chiropractor all those years ago. 

A more encouraging question then presented itself. "What have you learned?" The knowledge and experience I've gained through all this is where my progress lies.

I settled on chiropractics after trying homeopathy, rolfing, herbal medicine, mind-body connections, acupuncture, and more. I didn't like taking pain meds, which I limited to ibuprofen infrequently, and I wanted to avoid back surgery. Chiropractics was my best option, based on what was available at the time.

Hindsight is a fascinating learning tool. When looking forward, we can only see through the lens of what we know. When looking back, we can see through the lens of what we've learned. "If I only knew then what I know now" is the phrase that often comes to mind. And yet, our past decisions need to be honored. We made the best choices we could with the circumstances and information we had at that time.

Seven chiropractors over 13 years might seem like a lot, but it was often the chiropractor's action that forced the change. My first chiropractor decided to stop practicing, giving me only 30 days notice, two others left the area, with even less than 30 days notice, and one cut way back on his hours and changed the focus of his practice. With the remaining two, it was my decision to make the change, due to unhelpful adjustments that required fixing by another chiropractor.

As disjointed as my path may seem, the chain of events ultimately led me to my current chiropractor, Scott Kolofer, who is providing me with a unique style of care that my body desperately needed. He is helping me move forward and actually heal. My chiropractic path led me directly to him, and for that I am grateful. 

My previous chiropractors provided varying levels of benefits, but the focus with all of them was on symptom relief, rather than long-term healing. In early 2008, after four months of nearly constant pain, my first chiropractor recommended back surgery after seeing my MRI. From a symptom relief perspective, the surgery worked. I woke up in the recovery room virtually pain free for the first time in months. It did not, however, help with any long term healing. The scar tissue build up from the surgery has been an aggravating factor in my current condition.

To get on the path of real healing, I had to learn about the specific factors that were causing my condition. From Medical Medium, I've learned about the viral component of low back pain; what to do about it using foods, herbs, and a few supplements; how to knock back the variety of Shingles that commonly aggravates the low back; which foods to avoid that promote scar tissue build up; and which foods and herbs to embrace that break up scar tissue and reduce it. 

Scott is the first chiropractor I've seen who takes the time to help me see the musculoskeletal reasons for my back problems. He shows me exercises and stretches to promote healing, and how to do them correctly. He doesn't just hand me a few xeroxed pages of exercises and say "Do these," like my previous chiropractors have done. He actually gets me on the floor and gives me instructions about what my various muscles should be doing during each exercise. My ability to heal is now at a place it's never been before. I'm actually feeling the difference, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

So here I am, 13 years later, back where I started. My future looks far different than it did all those years ago. At the start of my journey in 2007, I was desperately searching for answers and for a practitioner who could fix me. My healing would move forward for a while and then backslide, and I didn't know why. The process was so disheartening.

Today my back issues are at a more challenging place, but my outlook is brighter. I finally have answers. What a difference that makes! It's so empowering to know the real causes of my condition and what I need to do to fix them. My current chiropractor is an equal partner on my healing journey. I am so grateful for his skill and compassionate care. I'm no longer looking for a practitioner to fix me. That's my job. 

Healing is simpler than we've been led to believe. Simple, but not necessarily easy. It takes focus, study, determination, and work. I had to be willing to change my daily routine and make healing my top priority. Has all that effort been worth it? 

Absolutely. I can see a healed back in my future, and it's no longer just wishful thinking.