Friday, September 3, 2010

The Challenge of Anticipation

One of the components of my treatment plan is acupuncture. I normally go to a doctor of Chinese Medicine twice a week for these treatments. After each session, I almost always feel a noticeable boost in energy which usually results in more hand strength for controlling my wheelchair. For the first couple of years my body had difficulty holding on to the energy gains from session to session, making it difficult to sustain any real progress. In consultation with Dr. Xie, I determined that a major deterrent to progress was the levels of toxicity in my body. Over time, as I detoxified, we began to observe very small incremental improvements in energy flow.

This summer, due to some logistical complications I took an extended break from these treatments. During that time, my healer, José, reported that we had made significant progress in cleansing the toxins from my body and are now focusing mostly on building strength. All summer long, José has been lamenting the hiatus from acupuncture, feeling that we were missing an opportunity for accelerated healing. So, when I told him that I was starting up again, José was very excited. At the end of my second treatment this morning, Dr Xie was pleased to inform me that my energy held up over the summer, giving us a solid basis for continued improvement.

While this is all very good news, the changes from José’s and Dr. Xie’s work are so incremental that it is difficult to observe in the short term. It is only when I look back over several years that I can be confident of the positive results achieved from the various treatments I have employed. There have also been many disappointments along the way. So, although I have great confidence in both José and Dr. Xie, I struggle with anticipation of the results to come.

On the one hand, I don’t want to get my hopes up too high and suffer a crushing disappointment. At the same time, I know that the strength of my belief is a powerful factor in my recovery. It is a true rock and the hard place dilemma. I can look back and find encouragement in achieving increases in energy, weight and hand strength. Yet during that same period, a very slow deterioration in my speech clarity reminds me of the traditional medical community’s assertion that recovering from ALS is impossible. My salvation in the midst of this struggle is my favorite affirmation, “I believe in living in the moment, total present time, and loving the challenges”. The moment I start to anticipate what might be, I am cast into turmoil. As long as I stay focused in the present, I can observe what I have, feel grateful for it, and remain positive about the possibilities for improvement.

How have you dealt with the conflict between wanting to avoid disappointment, and wanting to think positively about your chances for success?

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