The ability of the human to bounce back from adversity never ceases to amaze me. The human spirit can endure enormous hardship and the body too can come back from the serious problems of physical damage. With regard to what I wrote about in ‘Ravaged by Infection’, I really thought I’d blown it earlier this year. I was in a bad way and could have come out of it an awful lot worse, but as it was I’ve not only bounced back, I’m doing better than ever!
Damage to the body, however, never comes without long term consequences. As a result of having infected flesh dug out of me I’m left with a little missing padding on my sitting bone. If my pelvis was still lifeless as it was for many years after spinal injury then this would have been seriously worrying, but as it is my pelvis is more alive than ever and I’m coping extremely well. I’ve began to think that this new found life in my pelvis was actually a part of what caused the problem. This may sound strange, but I’ll explain my thinking. I had an old wound on my backside. Fourteen years old to be precise and some time ago this opened up in a new phase of deeper healing as my body in general was coming back to life. It was then left with a tiny vent to the surface. The body is very clever and has its own healing strategies, but when you’re living in a depleted condition these strategies can sometimes fail. I’ve talked before about the ‘Exposure of Weakness’ as the body comes to life, with the opening up of the structure and the exposing of weaknesses that have been locked in for a long time. This can make you feel suddenly physically weaker, but once exposed that weakness will soon strengthen allowing you to discover a new found strength. The difference in this case is that the newly exposed weakness was vented to the surface. This made it very vulnerable to the infection that rapidly took hold in me. So ironically the improvement in structure caused the body’s healing strategy to fail. I’m working hard with therapy techniques to get the body to fill in that missing flesh, but it’s quite a challenge, although one that I have every hope in succeeding in.
I have to accept that the path I travel is never easy and all I can do is keep moving onwards and upwards. Despite the hiccup in progress this year I’ve bounced back with such vigour that I seem to be progressing faster than ever. We are still ironing out the deficiencies and deformities at the very core of my body, but finally after all these years the back is starting to really develop. Developing the back is about drawing the spine back out of the body, or we can look at it as expanding the trunk, repositioning the spine and reforming the curve to the back. Either way it is about bringing dormant structure back to life allowing the body to spring back into shape. When I began this therapy my body was so collapsed upon itself that my bottom rib actually sat below the top of my pelvis. These days I have a good waist to me with successive waves of volume and consolidation producing a firmer denser structure, resulting in greater stability and improved digestive health. My pelvis has so much more volume than it had. There was a time when it didn’t really have volume it was so collapsed and lifeless, but now it has more and more capability to support the use of the legs, not to mention the increasing volume of the buttocks. And the legs themselves are looking much better as a consequence of all these improvements. The knee joints are shaping up, the ankles have better mobility and despite how skinny they still are, the legs get more and more muscle bulk to them. This summer I’ve had no problems with my feet swelling up.
Most people want to measure progress in terms of improved function, while I get excited about the improvements in structure and form. It is these structural improvements that bring about a better quality of life and increased comfort in simply being in this world. As a natural consequence my ability to move the body slowly improves. I could push the standing and attempt to walk in parallel bars, but this would do me no favours at all. We must continue to work on those structural improvements. Each night when going to bed I crawl up between the bed and shelving unit and come upright into high kneeling position before lifting myself onto the bed. This is when I notice that my body is slowly straightening up. There is, however, still too much arching of the lumbar spine. The position is too challenging for the body and we need to continue to build the capacity in the trunk before high kneeling can become effective exercise. It’s coming though, slowly but surely.
Many live in hope of a cure for spinal injury, but to me this neither pays attention to the terrible structural collapse of a spinally injured body nor respects the wonder of the body’s natural healing mechanisms. Through the therapy work, we do not heal the body, we give the body the impetus it needs to vitalise its own healing ability. It’s not a miracle cure we need, it’s a greater understanding of the miraculous nature of the human body and its ability to ‘bounce back’.