Musashi Mix Inq

Palliativity 204: reconfigure

Posted on August 8, 2013

In terms of pain as well as outlook, I'm doing much better than my last entry. I am still experiencing chronic pain, but I've been given better tools to combat it.

When my pain doc referred me to a rolfing masseuse out in the burbs a couple weeks ago, I was a bit skeptical. A massage? Really?

The first thing the masseuse did was have me take inventory of my 15 over years of treatment thus far. It's a long list of dead ends and temporary fixes highlighted by recent breakthroughs: acupuncture, chiropractor, shiatsu, meds, years of rehab and surgeries.

At the moment, I am going thru what I am beginning to think of as stage 2 of post RFA recovery. My spinal nerves have been shut off, but now the years of muscle damage layered with all the physiological crutches I had to invent just to keep hobbling along are starting to catch up with me.

The good news is that this particular rolfer is awesome. First he used what amounts to a padded jackhammer to break up the knots in my neck. I could feel my insides shake like a jar of paint. Luckily my tolerance for such experiences are rather high. I tend to enjoy them actually. Then he used a very powerful and exotic for of muscle stim combined with rehab movements to retrain the muscle tissue. The idea was to break me down then build me back up all in one visit.

I left the office feeling like very content jello. I don't know how much broken scar-tissue toxin got dumped into my system, but I felt rather off for the rest of the day. The benefits though were immediate and have served to lessen my daily pain by a margin for an entire week at this point. Although not completely cured, this course of treatment has proved good enough to go back for more.

With nerve pain, the best I could do was avoid certain movements or positions that would trigger a higher level of pain. If I was lucky enough to wake up in the morning in a pain free moment, I knew that as soon as I moved to begin my day the pain would return. This cycle was endless and healing was impossible.

My current muscle spasm situation works the opposite. Now, the more I stretch, lift and massage, the more healing takes place. It's like driving on the left side of the road.


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Palliativity 203: Flying Aces

Posted on August 1, 2013

I've always been a little obsessed with flight, the WWI era to be specific. Humans have been dreaming of soaring thru the skies for all of history.

It's no surprise that it only took about a decade to go from dirigibles and Kitty Hawk to bombing runs and dogfighting.

I recommend this entire series, which can be found on Youtube, but here is the portion of the bloody fight in the skies:

WWI Flying Ace Lafayette Escadrille Mess Song, 1916

"We meet ’neath the sounding rafters,

The walls around us are bare;

They echo the peal of laughter;

It seems that the dead are there.


"So stand by your glasses steady,

This world is a web of lies.

Here’s a toast to the dead already;

Hurrah for the next man who dies.


"Cut off from the land that bore us,

Betrayed by the land that we find,

The good men have gone before us,

And only the dull left behind.


"So stand by your glasses steady,

The world is a web of lies.

Then here’s to the dead already,

And hurrah for the next man who dies."

Fly-by, ©MMXII


Filed under: Blog, film, Pain No Comments

Palliativity 202: I’ve come to far to go back now

Posted on July 25, 2013

It's been 6 weeks since my second RFA and I'm still a bit of a mess. This isn't easy to write. I feel like a fucking loser.

My pain isn't as bad as it was before my initial treatment back in January, but I had 4 months made of seasoned-curly fried gold. No limits to activity. No vicodin. Minimal injections. I even stopped taking all of my daily meds. I was free.

In May things started to backslide. I had RFA a second time. It worked so well before, but my recovery has not yielded the same immediate and miraculous result. At six weeks out, I'm still in pain. The nerves are dead but the muscles are aching, burning and tight. I've been struggling to keep things together. New meds. Vicodin every night. Having to pace myself… again. Counting spoons and tracking every detail of my day. The stressful and sad minutes deciding whether it's really worth it to go for a walk, see friends, try to go back to sleep or just count the hours.

My doc asked today if I'm depressed—

Before, when the chronic pain was at its worst, the act of living really came down to this: I couldn't let myself feel. There is a place for emotional self-assessment with chronic pain, but it must be done carefully and at a distance. Merely an observation, like checking gauges on the dashboard while cruising down the highway. Eyes on the road. On rough days, all that kept me going was momentum. If I stopped, everything stopped. I would just clutch my knees on the floor and rock and cry and babble and pound my head against the wall until my partner or meds or the cold light of early dawn would draw me out of it. I first believed in the soul because I was trapped inside of body inside of pain inside of a world that couldn't see me.

I exist in here. I promise…

And then this year, I was set free thru might and magic and research and lasers and compassion and tenacity and health insurance. Those four months were real and I'm going to get myself back.

So no, I'm not cured and I never was. I was merely in remission. This is a temporary falter in a lifelong struggle. Every morning I rally strength and every night I toast to the long night and a better tomorrow.

— I'm not depressed. I'm on a mission.


Filed under: Blog, Pain, Q No Comments

Palliativity 201: I’ve already spent too much time doing things I didn’t want to…

Posted on July 11, 2013

Do it With a Rockstar - Amanda Palmer


"Smile— the end is near and it's high time. The light's amazing, man.

So time your Instagram, the rapture swallowing the land.

But we're the last ones laughing. Pictures or it didn't happen."

— Amanda Fucking Palmer, Smile

I realize that my art is a much more direct reference of a reference than most.

When people ask, I am happy to share where all the pieces came from and how they came to dance together:

Most people will just nod and process the flood of info they weren't really ready for.

Some people really get into it and an intense hour-long conversation can pass in an instant.

Others get angry, because digital and collage and reproducible and probably cause they didn't think of it first.

No apologies here.

Go make your own art.

My favorite ones just walk up to a piece, laugh and smile. Those are the people that really get me.



Filed under: Art, Blog, Fan Art, Music, Pain, Pop No Comments

Palliativity 200: resonant frequency

Posted on June 27, 2013

This marks my 100th Palliativity entry! Thank you all so much for your support and awesomeness over the years. It means more than you know 😀

• • •

I saw my pain doc again this past Monday. 3 weeks post RFA and my pain was still much higher than I was expecting, prompting a regression to the pain management routine I thought I'd finally put to rest. It's been a rough go, emotionally and physically. Did the procedure not work, or did it make things worse? Is 5 months of peace all I'm going to get?

I'm a  sommelier of pain at this point. I've sampled most specie and spent a good chunk of the past few weeks trying to parse this mysterious reoccurrence. The particular sensation took me right back to high school. This was muscular pain, not nerve damage. The tense agony and headaches. Insomnia with a hint of depression. A tail that lasted thru til morning. But why?

three weeks of waiting for healing and answers…

The doc poked and prodded my neck for a few minutes. Muscle pain it was. He said that sometimes the muscle tissue can still knot-up even when the associated pain nerve has been burnt out. After a life-long battle with pain, my body is like one of those Japanese WWII soldiers stranded on an island still holding out for glory long after the war. Unwilling to lay down arms in a brave new world.

I just have to get the muscles to let go.

Even the bag says "ouch". So does my credit card…

The interface turned out to be the crude but satisfying haul from the pharmacy seen above. My doc doesn't do things half-way. He likes solutions that are as quick as they are effective.  You are looking at a four-headed monster of total pharmacological warfare. The pain won't know what hit it.


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Palliativity 199: Pillow Talk

Posted on June 20, 2013

To better understand the negative mentality that can surface from living with undiagnosed chronic pain:

Change appears to always be for the worse.

Before this year's flurry of diagnosis and progress, years went by just trying to stick to a routine. The pillow pictured above took a few years to find after buying and trying dozens. I've used it every night to sleep since about freshman year of highschool. Traveling, overnights, whatever.

Any change was the enemy, whether it was a shiny new experience or simply turning over to sleep on my opposite side in bed. Without all of my palliative gear in my bag, I couldn't even leave the room I happened to be in, much less the house. Cold ice packs in the freezer and my easy-chair in the evening. Improvisation was a luxury.

Although I 'm having a rougher go recovering after this latest session of RFA, I am still able to mostly just be in go mode. I got a fancy normal person pillow and am happy to put my old one to rest. I bet it has enough negative juju stored up to go full Sith mode any day now. New pillow better watch its back…


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