Monday, April 4, 2016

Float Pod Therapy Challenge - 6 floats update

Ok.  Finally!  Here are some updates.  Hold on to your hats, y'all!

As a disclaimer, like the one posted at the heading of this blog ... I don't sugar coat.  I'm open and honest.  I don't want people to be embarrassed or shy about the things they may be going through due to their disease.  Its not our fault and nothing to be ashamed of.

Float #3 wasn't much more successful than float #2.  I have some sores on my hands and one on my elbow and the salt water was not comfortable.  Additionally, something we hadn't even considered was this ... I am post-menopausal and therefore my vaginal tissue is dry as The Mojave Desert ... which unexpected to me isn't a great combination with floating in a tank filled with 750 pounds of epsom salts.

The studio has a lubrication that can be used to cover any sores and cuts to prevent the salt water from burning.  It works on the lady bits, too.

Now that I have that all worked out, the next floats were successful.  No alarms on the phone.  No lady bits feeling like the are on fire.  No salt in the eyes.  It's all good.

Here is video of me floating ... It's nothing exciting.  Just floating

Now ... for a list of crappy Scleroderma items in my life (follow along, we're getting somewhere) ...

For years, 
  • all of my joints have ached and been arthritic and my tendons are scarred, making my flexibility poor and altering my gait and how I carry myself.
  • I have difficulty putting my socks on, shaving my legs, picking things up off the floor, etc.
  • Squatting has been impossible.  
  • My hands are a curled, gnarly hot mess and I've had surgery to remove knuckles and fuse the remaining finger bones together, to have some sort of a functioning hand.  Those fused "joints" swell and ache.  
  • The big toe on my left foot hasn't been able to bend or flex in over three years.
  • The shoulder and spine issues detailed in my first post about the pod.
  • Chronic acid reflux
  • Various heart and lung/breathing problems
  • I have osteoporosis
  • On my upper arms there are calcium deposits just under my skin.  They are hard an painful.  To the touch, it feels like there are BBs lodged under my skin.  I can, at times, pick them out and they come out as hard little bone like nodules.
  • My circulation sucks.  At anytime the temperature starts to dip below 75° my fingers and toes start to get painfully cold and turn white, then blue/purple and become excruciatingly painful.  My hands become sore painful I can and do cry and my hands become useless.
Now, I told you all of that, obviously for a reason.  In what seems like a crazy, kooky, over night situation, I am seeing HUGE relief in the above mentioned areas of my health.  I shit you not.  It seems unreal, I know.  After doing research ... it makes perfect sense and I believe I have found a key piece to add to my ongoing self care healthcare.  Here's why ...

  • Since last Wednesday, the bumps on my arms have softened and no longer hurt to touch.  When I told Annette to feel my arm and tell me what she feels ... her immediate response was a look of amazement and a "the bumps are less!!"
  • The swelling and pain in my fingers decreased to the point that I can now use them to push the buttons on my key fob, when just last week I had to use my thumb.
  • as I type this, I am sitting here bending and flexing my big toe.  Not full range of motion, but there's a huge amount of movement that wasn't there before.
  • When asking 2 different people to look at my shoulders, both say that my shoulders are even, back and down.  Not forward and curling in like previously and my collarbones protrude less.
  • The heaviness in my chest and need to occasionally stop to get a better breathe have subsided
  • Since last Wednesday, acid reflux has only bothered me one night
  • On Sunday morning, I left the house in flip-flops and a tank top, without checking the weather.  When I walked outside it was 60 degrees.  I was "chilly".  I was outside and in my car for 20 minutes before it dawned on me to turn on the heat.  No pain.  No tears.  No blue/purple fingers.
  • I can do this  ....  it's not beautiful.  Its not perfect.  Yet, it's 1000 times better.
  • My skin is soft and not flaky and dry and I haven't applied lotion in 6 days.  
There have been so many of these small, yet HUGE and significant to me changes that I have to be careful managing it all emotionally.  It can, at times, be overwhelming.  Its definitely hard to stay in the moment at the idea of what is happening so far and what could still happen in the future.

I'm not saying life is pain free, yet, it's a hell of a lot better.  I still find myself needing a quick nap most days.  I wake up with some stiffness and a sore shoulder.  However, not to the degree of before. If it weren't happening for me, I'd say its unbelievable.

When starting on this float pod journey I had no dreams of these results.  I really was just anticipating that the act of floating, resting, and reaching that zen state would ease my joint pain.  I really was just excited about the idea of zero gravity for my stressed and beat up body.  That idea was exciting.  I was not prepared for this.

I don't know that anyone anywhere has considered the health benefits that the pod can have just by virtue of not only floating, but soaking your body in magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt).

Research shows that a majority (if not all) of the symptoms outlined above can be the result of a calcium and magnesium imbalance.  We're told that we need to get more calcium in our bodies to help bone retention and growth.  It turns out though, that if you don't have enough magnesium, calcium isn't absorbed into your body properly and then just builds up in places like joints, tendons, soft tissue, etc., creating various issues.   Unfortunately, when we take calcium and/or magnesium supplements orally, for whatever reason, they are not properly absorbed into our cells.

Therefore, it stands to reason, that submerging our largest organ, our skin, in a bath of magnesium sulfate and allowing it to be absorbed in that manner could have some awesome benefits.

Or at least the logic that comes from my recent experiences lead me to believe so.  Nothing else in my life has changed.  Last week I was knocking on the door of a Scleroderma flare up and within 2 days of my first float THOSE symptoms disappeared and other major symptoms and maladies have seen some level of improvement.

After I finish this "challenge", my intent is to continue floating twice a week.  I will use any and all therapies that are natural and continue to provide at least relief, if not improvement.