Wednesday, June 20, 2012

This body got me through

In early May, I got an idea off Pinterest to paint the grout in our bathroom.  I didn’t realize there was special grout paint.  I also didn’t realize that we were supposed to be sealing our grout at least once a year.  As a result, it was a bit worn and stained.  Yes, I did try to clean it.  Really, folks, a light grout in my bathroom never was going to work.

Here is the final result.  Before and after.  The after looks so pretty.  I will say that painting the grout white has made the tile (which is a gray/white combo) now look a bit pink.  Someone suggested changing the light bulbs, which we did.  It may be time to try to paint the bathroom a different color.  I’m not sure which is worse-stained grout or a pink hued tile.

After this project was done, my left hand was twitchy.  I figured it was the strain from balancing on my left arm while I meticulously painted the grout.  By the end of the week, the twitching was gone, and I thought it would be a good time to clean and seal the grout in the kitchen.  The grout in the kitchen is thankfully darker so I only needed to seal it.  So much easier than the paint!

By the end of this second grout adventure, my left arm was feeling a bit numb.  And then the pain grew in my shoulder, and I lost some mobility in a couple of fingers in my hand.

I can almost hear my mom’s voice asking/yelling, “Why didn’t you go to the doctor?!”  Well, I used to diagnose myself, and I was fine.

A couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t take the pain anymore.  I didn’t want to go to the doctor to hear “you have a pinched nerve, here’s a prescription,” so I opted for a massage therapist.  I’m not big on strangers touching me, and fortunately, I have a former coworker who happens to be a massage therapist.

We spent the first few minutes catching up on life.  I briefly described my emerging from “survival mode,” and then she began what I would describe as a very thorough armpit massage.  I turns out that most of the pain that I was experiencing was actually originating from close to the armpit area, as opposed to my shoulder (which I had diagnosed on

As she was working on my arm, trying to find the source of the pain, she was commenting on how all of my muscles were incredibly tight.  She was still for a minute and asked, “How long have you been out of survival mode?”  I gave her a specific date.  “What happened on that date?” she asked.  I told her that’s when I stopped working seven days a week.  And then she said something that struck me.

She said, “Your body got you through.”  And I teared up a bit.

During those months (years) of trying to figure out life, working so many hours, missing my family, I struggled to stay healthy.  I dosed myself on Emergen-C, I started to exercise, I tried to get plenty of rest.  I thought that if I got sick, life would crumble.  It wouldn’t have, but that’s what I thought.

And my body got me through.  But it’s not as healthy as I thought.  As a social worker, I should know better about how stress impacts your body.  I thought once I had a regular sleep schedule and some actual days off, I would be ok. 

I guess it needs a little more than that.  It needs to heal.

Because I’m sure you are on pins and needles to know the results of my armpit massage, here’s the update: I still have some pain, but the massage did help tremendously.  She also gave me some instructions on how to care for my arm when it starts to get sore. 

Hopefully I will get beyond the point of resting my body and start healing.  In the meantime, there’s always another armpit massage.

Here’s a lovely mountain photo because who wants to see a picture of my armpit?


  1. LOL to the very last line! Anyways. I think we all can forget the toll stress takes on the body. Glad that you found something that helps your arm feel better, but more importantly I'm happy that you've found the joy of living again!


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