Welcome to Day 5 of this year's April blog event -- the A to Z Blog Challenge!
Today also marks my 14th week back at my full time day job following a year-long medical leave.
I have several linked conditions which make working outside of the home a challenge: the most difficult one is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, as any office environment is filled with things that trigger my symptoms (toner from printers and copiers, fragrance from people who enter the reception area who weren't aware that we have a scent-free environment, detergent and drier sheet residue from uniforms worn by delivery drivers, hand sanitizer, just to name a small handful.)
I also have chronic pain from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, as well as the more familiar allergies and asthma.
Following a severe reaction to new carpet and vinyl wallpaper five years ago, and then another severe reaction to the last flu shot I received (four years ago) my day to day health had declined to the point that when renovations were scheduled for my office, my doctor placed me on medical leave in order to preserve what little wellness remained.
During that time, I received treatment for my strange assortment of connected conditions. I embraced everything the clinic had to offer me, all of which required me to be in the driver's seat. The only piece of the treatment which one could regard as something that wasn't internally motivated was going for dry sauna detox treatments, which I'm still doing a year later.
The biggest part of the treatment schedule was to alter my own relationship to my body. To be honest, when I arrived at the clinic (for a second time, having been treated there a decade earlier following a previous health crisis) I didn't really have a relationship with my body. In fact, I never referred to my body as my body.
I would say this thing when referring to the malfunctioning deadweight to which I'd been saddled. I did everything in my power to override any signals coming from that thing, especially signals like exhaustion, illness symptoms and most especially pain signals.
The clinic asked me to start listening to my body, to truly inhabit it and to start a relationship with it.
When I had to start moving this creaky, pain-racked body around while staying put for all the sensations that go with exercise -- even little old people exercises like they gave us at the clinic -- I can tell you it was not pretty.
Luckily for me, I descend from a long line of very stubborn Acadians. If I was going to have a successful return to work, if I was going to have a successful return to anything, really, I had to begin with moving this body to keep it going.
Also luckily for me, I live in an area where there are many gorgeous parks beside lakes, weaving through forests and along the ocean. One of the places I ended up going for my Fitbit-powered walks was the boardwalk in the Fisherman's Cove area in Eastern Passage.
I've spent many walks along this boardwalk, breathing in the sea air and re-establishing my body's sensory networks.
It has given freely of its energy and beauty. For Day 5 of the challenge, take a walk along the Eastern Passage boardwalk with me.