One day, two summers ago, about 36 weeks pregnant with Ferdinand and after having spent the previous three days running around like a lunatic headless chicken trying to get stuff done, I thankfully laid down on my chiropractor's adjusting table, desiring relief. She inspected how my spine laid, touched me lightly, and then said, "You have been overdoing it, haven't you?"
And I thought, "Dang! How did she know?! My body must have betrayed everything!"~~~
About two weeks after Ferdinand died, I experienced intense sensitivity in a few of my teeth. This sensitivity quickly escalated into excruciating pain. I could not eat, for the most tender contact with those teeth sent me into stabbing throes of pain. We wondered if I may have a root issue and contemplated driving back down to the valley to the dentist. But my husband called my mother-in-law and she said she sometimes have teeth sensitivity like that and suggested a couple of homeopathic remedies. I happened to have those on hand and took them, and the pain went away.
But, not for long.
About a week later, the pain in the teeth came back. This time, homeopathics did not help. We tried acupressure while I writhed about in pain on the floor. I caved and took Tylenol, something I never took. (And those freakin' did not help either.) I was so weak mentally and emotionally after Ferdinand's death, this pain was an extra hard punch in my guts. It felt as if I did not have enough pain in my life. I felt the Universe gave me more pain to mock me further. It was like being kicked down into vile dirt and then having my nose pinned down into the smelly dirt as well, my hands and legs tied.
Just take a gun and shoot me! I cannot stand this! I want to die!
I pleaded with my husband R. My two young daughters stood by and watched as tears rolled down my face and my toes curled with agony.
During such a time of intense grief, how could my body hurl me an additional insult and start causing such pain to me? How could my body betray me with pain in grief?
I went to the dentist. He took x-rays, he looked and poked and even though there was no sign of teeth damage or defects, he told me I needed a root canal. I was not going to get a root canal for nothing so I went for a second opininon. Second dentist was honest and said he was totally puzzled. "Everything looks fine!" he said. Then he noticed on my chart that I was pregnant and asked, "Maybe it is the stress from the new baby?"
I shook my head, my lips pursed. (I did not wish to discuss, or reveal.) He smiled, "Yes, yes, I know, new baby is adorable, but you could still be stressed. Lack of sleep, perhaps?"
He suggested relaxing, meditation, deep breaths.
Back home, I hopped online and consulted with my nutritionally-minded friends. Soon, research have been done for me and here's the verdict: Grief is a stress factor. It depletes the adrenals. Weak adrenals can cause person to wake up between 2-4 am (right on). It can lead to teeth grinding at night.
And get this: teeth grinding can wear down dental nerves and lead to extreme pain.
I went to a holistic dentist and he confirmed that. He could detect huge stress being put on those few teeth that were hurting me to death. That could only be caused by my grinding at night, or even during the day, he said, without being aware of it. He apologized for my son's stillbirth and recommended that I get a night-guard made and wear it while fixing other areas of my life so my stress level can go down.
"Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding." ~ Kahlil Gibran
I am no longer wearing the night-guard. It made me talk real funny.
The thing is, my body was not betraying me. It was sending me alarm signals. When I overdid it, it sent me signals that my chiro could see, so she could fix me up. When the stress of grief got too much, and I was (honestly) just neglecting my health (and that of my family's), my body went on to take even more drastic measures to send extreme signals that I simply could not ignore. It caused me so much pain I had to sit up and take note of how I had been treating it. It was not going to watch me abuse my body, so it sent me a severe warning before all systems crashed and it was too late to do anything.
I wrote about that on my blog. How that crazy teeth pain that nearly caused my death was really caused by the stress of grief. Who knew?
My chiro, a sweet, beautiful and gentle soul read that and sent me an email right away. She gifted me with free adjustment sessions. Please let me offer my help, she said. I keeled with gratitude. For this Physical Healing series, I have also invited her to share with us the special chiropractic technique that she uses, and the relation of grief to physical health, especially that of chiropractic health. She gave me wonderful, detailed answers despite her busy schedule. I am eager to share this interview with you all. It will be posted here on Thursday.
How about you? Has grief caused your body to react with pain, or other unusual physical signs? What did you do about that? How did you connect the dots? How have you cared for your body then?
This post is a part ofThe Body Shop at Glow in the Woods -- a month of themed reflections and memes that explore what we do in an effort to occupy these physical selves with grace after babyloss.