Looking Back.

It has been around three months since my chronic pain issues were miraculously relieved. I truly hadn’t expected to find a medication that would take away my pain. I had been using all sorts of narcotics which, while helpful, only lessened the extreme agony I had been feeling. I felt that the suffering I was enduring was a life-long thing that I just had to deal with, and since it seemed to be getting progressively worse, I could also expect to have more and more limitations to my life, especially physically. For someone who loves to climb, kayak and hike, this was a depressing scenario, to say the least.

So it has been months since the last time I felt anything close to agony. I still feel pain, but only when I forget to take my medication in  a timely fashion, and even what discomfort I feel is nothing too horrible. It is quite amazing to me. Consider the following video, from the last winter, when I was in the midst of a horrible attack:

I looked, and felt awful. Here I am a month ago on Bartram’s Rock:

While the two videos are admittedly different, I think it is still pretty obvious how much better I look and feel in the second one. My mother told me recently that I look like I had shed about ten years, and I think she’s right. My skin looks better, my body language has changed, but I think more than anything, the look in my eyes is radically different. I have had numerous people tell me what a change has come over me. That makes me happy, knowing how obvious the improvement is.

I recently had blood work and x-rays done at OHSU, Oregon’s premier hospital, and they all came back normal except for seriously low vitamin D levels, which I am now taking prescription mega-doses of to restore it to normalcy. So no Ankylosing Spondylitis or rheumatoid arthritis. Looks like Fibromyalgia (what I originally thought I had) is the main culprit. Actually, part of what tipped the doctors off is the relief that Tramadol (the med I started taking) gives me, it works for Fibro patients when nothing else will.

I am now in better shape for this time of year than I have been in ages, maybe ever. Usually I cannot really train or condition during the colder, wetter months of the year, but this year I am already in great shape. Got up Mt. Thielsen in around 4 hours, pretty good considering the snow level. When the blister on my ankle heals, I will be returning to the gym again, and push my fitness even further. I will be happy when I can climb Thielsen in 2.5 hours with snow. Nevertheless, this year is looking like it is going to be an awesome year for mountaineering, rock climbing and kayaking, and all thanks to finding the right medication.

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