I will admit it: I am addicted.
It calms me, it soothes me, it relaxes the muscles of my back and neck which bother me, it stimulates an immune response which helps me manage my RA. I crave time where I am forced to do nothing but chill. And this takes the cake.
I’ve been to probably 10 different therapists over the years, most of them good, some of them atrocious. A memorable one would be the guy who chuckled when he had me roll over and got a glimpse of boob. And proceeded to stare. Thank you, douchebag- because of you and how uncomfortable you made me, I now only go to female masseuses. Have fun at the club tonight by yourself with your balding yet spiked hair and Ed Hardy shirt. I bet you like techno music and use cheesy pickup lines.
I found my current one by chance. A coworker had a gift certificate that he wasn’t going to use. “I don’t like being touched and I have a problem laying naked on a table in front of a stranger.” To which I said “I do and I don’t.” I called, made an appointment and by luck of the schedule, got this one.
Seriously, she is the best one ever. Not because of her bodywork (which is great) but because of her interest in auto-immune disorders (family member with Webener’s who is on Prednisone and Methotrexate) and the fact that she’s currently studying naturopathic medicine.
I admit, if you really think about it, that it’s a little weird meeting someone for the first time and five minutes later, you’re laying there with no clothes on. Somewhat like a frat party? (Sorry, Mom- totally kidding.) It’s even a little more intimidating when you have to explain to them that “hey, I have this thing and these spots that if you aren’t careful, you could really hurt me.” I’m accustomed to having to explain what and where every time I go to the same people. I’m also very hesitant to let them touch the spots. In fact, until this one, I’ve never let anyone touch my affected joints.
So, imagine my surprise on my second appointment when she asked to see my hands before we started. She looked at them and gingerly touched them. “Ok, you’re a little swollen today. I just wanted to check before. How are your feet?” Wow. I seriously think I hugged her.
It’s made a huge difference in how I feel. I’m getting massages weekly like my doctor recommended for the first time ever with no fear of injury. She is more in tune with my RA than my rheumy is. She has picked up on the spots in my wrists that bother me sometimes, which I’ve never mentioned, and this week made me happy by saying “Your fingers really look much less swollen lately.” I had noticed it too but hadn’t said anything to anyone because I thought it was just me being hopeful.
She’s given me advice on supplements-where to buy and brands to try, recommended a yoga teacher who can help me modify things when I need to, and is encouraging me to try acupuncture. She’s familiar with my medications and is very empathetic on their side effects. We talk about diet and foods that are by nature inflammatory.
I’ve had better conversations with her than I have with my doctors. And in some cases, more well-informed conversations. I really believe in treating the whole person, sometimes I feel that my doctors don’t.
I swear I had a point here. I’m excited. I’ve always wanted to approach my treatment as a partnership. I only want people to understand where I’m coming from and where I want to go. I want to get a massage as often as my budget allows. I only want my goodies ogled in an appropriate venue. I want to have clinical conversations about my rheumatoid arthritis that don’t make me feel like crying. And for now, I have that.