The dirty cock changed my life

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On April 1, I went on a short walk to watch some umbrellas in Florida squeak over the reeds and shout at the wind.

The date is one month after I started walking again.

I sat there, awkward and painful, on a small bench that faced water and fought against tears. Despite the newly discovered wild local wildlife, it was not the place to be.

I was grateful for walking, but on April 1, he also reminded me of the ten-year anniversary of leaving New York. It was the date I went to Chile, leaving a comfortable job for half a decade in the city I called home. In those years I planned to recall my ten-year anniversary journey with a giant party in the city I loved.

Once I moved to Oaxaca, it turned out to be a perfect place. An occasional thought would appear in my head during my long journeys around the city. I plan to have my favorite stalls take part and give hungry visitors a taste of the rich culinary curiosities in Oaxaca. The head tacos of Israel, Mateo and Sarai's grasshopper pizza, mole, tamales, chilaquiles, pozole and much more. Anyone who wants to come and I made a way for a week to enjoy the city, dress up your face and enjoy the joy of learning through food. We should have a mule-wet weekend extravaganza that would be bumpy collectively going through the valley and lots of smiles.

In the field of marigolds during the preparations for the Day of the Dead outside of Oaxaca. This image was accepted at Zaachila.

As I said in previous annual reports, I did not start this page to work as a full-time writer or public speaker. I have not left the law or a new career. Moreover, I was not even special good on the go. I was sick a lot. I hated the pack, always and forever. And I did not even care how many countries I visited. I just wanted to continue learning and learning. During soaking all I could, I found travel and food to be a perfect foil for my constant need to write. Through writing and photography, I was able to keep my entry levels high on a daily basis as I got into an unexpected life journey.

Marija Andrew's wonderful, moody new book I'm still there, writes about a merchant in Berlin who changed Mari's perception of artistic craftsmanship. "She talked about art as if she were talking about her best friend or bubble bath," Mari writes. "She did not create prominence, but for the satisfaction of a new brush dipped in fuchsia."

This satisfaction, the combination of words in a new way, the sharing of a perspective that was easier to change, was all I needed to feel creative. Writing was a tool that made me connect with the world in a way I never considered. And in the seemingly infinite stretch of the last seven months, when I was unable to sit, walk or write, I felt I had lost my life that I had worked so hard to build.

It all began with a spine tap

For those of you you just tuned: sudden and very scary symptoms led me to ER in New York, where they were afraid I had bleeding from the brain. Check made a very unpleasant spine tap with needles that were great for my frame. The local anesthetic did not do its job, and it was true that it was one of the most painful experiences in my life.

On the night of my visit to ER, I went back to the apartment where I sat after midnight to find out that I was in a painful absence crashing. After sharing this detail with the reader after the shock was exhausted, one thoughtlessly remarked that I must "angry karma gods." In fact, it's the opposite. We have a screenshot of the person when he came through the window. His head is completely masked, wearing gloves and carrying a white cloth in his hand. His description corresponded to the domestic raid invasion in this neighborhood, white matter probably wetted in chloroform.

We do it know what was he planning on that evening? No. When viewing the screenshot, my friends agreed on my nasty theory that burglary can really be a comforting price. The whole thing caused me to hurt my stomach and my mind. Already in acute pain after the spinal tap I could not bear to be alone in the apartment, even during the day. My friends got up and shifted day and night until my mom and stepfather could not come to Montreal to take me back. Some brought food, others brought a hug. He most often sat with me, drenched in the madness of what I called my "black swans."

I did not mention this part of the story in October's post, because at that moment my brain was a frozen video that was constantly matched. But now it is important because many of you have asked why I'm not more upset, which is a valid question. I do not think that anger works here, and it certainly will not help me. But there is also a clear line in the sand from this traumatic night.

The difference of fate – Jodi, who stayed home, compared to the one who went to ER – is very sharp.

After all the next treatments and uncertainty and pain, my belief remains that it would be worse if I stayed at home in the night.

Winter of extremes

As you know, a spinal tap (or lumbar puncture, because many people use this term) has led to a rare and debilitating condition called CSF leakage. At first, I had only post-lumbar puncture headache. Headache is often treated with epidural blood, where your own blood is injected into your epidural space to help your body heal a hole in your grass that is the backbone. I went back to the hospital in New York to try to get one, but I was told he had his own risks and that I should heal myself.

A few weeks later, now in Montreal, it seemed that my body did not cooperate with their treatment plan. Terrified and embarrassed looking at the calendar for my expected departure to Oaxaca in October, I spent half-hour hours, half Nancy Drew. I have read studies, forum posts, panic entries and other information from the website about any help I can find. No wonder the biggest step forward came from my own community.

A few months ago I decided to visit the mini cow named Moochi, which I enjoyed at Instagram. AND may or probably did not attend the Los Angeles Conference in part to facilitate this meeting. At that time, he was the co-owner of the guy Tim, who runs a travel blog. It turned out that Tim's lovely girlfriend too had a CSF leakage – except for a few years prior to diagnosis. Her spill was spontaneous, so it was much harder to locate, and she eventually needed surgery to fix her. During these first months she witnessed common sense and added me to the CSF on Facebook with thousands of speakers from all over the world.

moochi mini cow

I see no reason why this cow should not contribute to my reason when attending the conference.

In the Facebook group, I learned about the tips and tricks of people who were trying to "self-heal" to allow my body to seal holes from a lumbar puncture with sufficient rest and limited movement. Over time, I realized that the seal did not work and I began to explore the next steps. The problem was that the CSF leaked me in bed. Any upset time led to my brain lacking a sufficient cushion due to the fluid that escapes from the CSF; when she stood, she felt as if my brain had been sucked into my spine. I spent hours and hours reading, I felt less hopeful in the day.

As if the prosthesis of CSF was not enough, I had leakage problems. Disturbing nerve pain, new, sudden reactivity to food I did not have any problems with wood, muscle soreness and a whole host of other unpleasant things that we will not be bored with you anymore. It is enough to say that cerebrospinal tissue outside the diaphragm dura, a membrane that protects the brain and spinal cord and maintains cerebrospinal fluid in hamsters, felt very toxic to the rest of the body. Other speakers I talked about with similar problems. The nervous system is deeply affected and my body barely feels like mine.

At the same time, there was a great shock and sadness. I was supposed to host a reader at Oaxaca's food strolls, but instead, I had a lot of pain, getting deeper and deeper. From the people I spoke to, and the case studies I read, several months of leakage meant a hole seal, it could be more complicated than a simple blood patch.

Leakers in Canada urged me to go to a specialized center instead of trying home care. American vets even said they wanted to go directly to one of the specialized centers instead of their local hospitals. And since Canadian doctors have already said I have been migrating instead of escaping CSF, I did not need to be too convincing. The problem was that with ten years of nomadism I had no residence or chief physician to turn to me. I had to find the strength to be creative and found a way to take my center.

There followed several of the most difficult months in my life.

I lay 23 hours a day from 24 hours, waiting and hoping Duke agrees to see me. The pain was unbearable for a moment.

I felt I was mourning.

I wondered how to share the mere vanity of what awakens without it sounding dramatically, but it really does not exist. Those who started a couple of months exhausted every joy in life I had from me, and I opened my eyes in the morning when I was interested in what it was like to fight.

I could not immerse the socks for months or bend or spin, and the next steps were the swirling boundaries of administrative documents and MRI.

I saw life through a prism that showed me the extremes.

after the spine, but before the patch of blood

Sunset in Montreal during a cold autumn evening in November.

During those months I was at sea, my parents, a wonderful neighbor, and her fluffy white cat, a support from you and a constant stream of "just checking" the texts of a handful of closest friends. These friends were a bridge to the state of reason that felt far out of reach. Everyday I was reminded of all (sometimes crazy) things did fight in my life. When I simply answered that I can no longer formulate words, they always have room for my sorrow.

North Carolina for the first time

We all knew that the Duke seemed to be the best business in repairing spine leaks. So I was trying to give as much energy as I needed to fight for the MRI I needed from the Canadian side to be considered for treatment. Fortunately my stubbornness pays off and they agree to accept me at the beginning of December. My mom and stepmother, who brought me to New York, and then fed me and changed my socks for months, immediately volunteered to take me to North Carolina. When I put myself on the back seat and stared at the sunroof during a few painful days, he gave me a lot of "what if I" to think. When I got to the Duke, I was trembling with exhaustion.

I could write more about the repair process as well as things I wanted to know in advance because there are many.

The most important points are: The first and second round of patches did not work. The third one did it and threw me into a stormy "high pressure" where the leak was tightly closed, but I had excessive fluid because my body was so used to leak. Then I sealed myself in two weeks, sitting a little powerfully and tearing my healing.

The mountain track of the highest and smallest of this experience was itself a foreign, polarizing spectrum of emotions. He did not know if the patch worked, moved with high pressure, adjusted the medication to try to stabilize the pressure, followed the overwhelming evidence that I returned to the leak after sitting too hard – it was too much. I was so incredibly cautious with every move I've made, and a small slip was all that was needed to get back to the other.

Finally, I needed four circles of blood and a Duke adhesive. It was the injection of blood and glue into my epidural space, spread by twenty-two targeted patches. The jaw that drops part of the whole experience of CSF leakage is that it is very difficult to know precisely where the injection should be applied. Iatrogenic fluids like me who have received a lumbar puncture or an epidural or injection have a general idea. Still, it took several turns to seal me. The initial spine cock was not performed with fluoroscopic guidance, and several attempts were made. In some cases, the needles pass through the front, and the patient needs a patch of 360 degrees – something Duke promoted and I got.

(I will not continue because I realize that it is quite technical, but spontaneous fluids like Kristin may result in leakage in their lives simply living.) These patients often have underlying connective tissue disorders that make their tissues particularly weak. and CT imaging is not yet sufficiently sensitive to easily detect minor leaks, it remains very difficult to diagnose these fluids and / or know where to repair. It often takes years and years of poor diagnoses before they are able to get cure for CSF leakage. These spontaneously leaking patients represent a large percentage of Duke's CSF practice.)

just before the Duke's blood

I, in my lady a tile shirt – a gift from my friend Honza – just before my first patch on Duke

The entire CSF escape team at Duke Radiology was extraordinary and often worked in demanding cases. I got into this category after I knocked on the second round, and was amazed at the way everyone was consulted and transparent about the process of making another round of patches. I can not prove my doctor completely. He was merciful and kind, but also willing to answer many of my questions. Checks once a month to see how I do. He gave me more confidence in the medical profession after I felt this disillusion in Montreal.

The way to victory is slow but sure

After the fourth round of patching, it was unclear whether I was sealed. I was in the cycle when I had the symptoms of leakage and I lay straight and then leaned on the symptoms with higher pressure, I felt my head jump from my throat. Moving over the disturbed edge of very difficult facts has proven to be a challenge. I knew I was not able to rinse my fibrin because it almost killed me. The patch itself, doctors said, often took several attempts – and I have already tried four with fibrin. Without the exact leak location, surgery would prove to be difficult to sell to a surgeon; they would have to figure out where to get inside. All I knew was that my body was very tired and very painful, and so I tried to clean up my future healing thoughts and make sure I was careful. My friend Shannon patiently spoke to me several times out of his Roman fear during the weeks after the beginning of February.

Until the beginning of March my symptoms were exhausted. I decided to start on March 1st, no matter how I felt, but at the end of February I was not sure what was going on. After the repair, I spent most of my meditation, visualized body healing and read. Vipassana meditation has proved to be very valuable, just like other meditations I have tried over the years. All the emphasis is on "from moment to moment". When all your moments are strung along with the sore strand, the seconds feel like a clock. It was a constant prudence to keep my thoughts tirelessly redirected and kept in place. I tried to fight for the facts that meant the failure and buzzing of fear that sucked me back into the spiral "what if".

At the beginning of March my father and stepmum took care of me in Florida. March 1 I went from their house to the end of my street, a few home away. I came back exhausted. Everyday I made another house. By the end of the week I got to the stop. And by the middle of March, at the end of the miracle, I walked an hour a day. Walks came with great pain, but without the feeling of "brain" I felt for five months when I did not suffer.

In my determination to silence my mind, I am able to listen to my body. In the past, I pulled my body out of exhaustion. Now that he is told to stop, he stops. There is a difference between adding another house to my walk and overcoming the deep fatigue. I tried to make a distinction between these two years, but the high bet on this trip proved to be an excellent motif for better listening. That is, we take things very slowly, much slower than Jodi would have done during the magnetic, lively intensity of the last ten years.

restoration of the spine

I can not complain with such views.

A gift to give up

When I said to the Duke for my fourth patch, I was not nervous about the procedures. I thought I knew exactly what to expect. Blood stains were painful but straightforward. I even knew the nurses by name! But when I had an allergic reaction to fibrin glue, I passed sixth when I was gone and went into anaphylaxis. Fuchsia from head to toe, my heart rays, my eyes swollen closed and my throat began to decrease, I received IV steroids and then my flushing of epinephrine.

I have never had to wear EpiPen or have had an allergy. The experience with anaphylaxis was both incredible and frightening, but I shared it for one main reason: in the midst of all the upheaval, I felt utterly calm. Even though my body was shivering wildly from epinephrine, the mind was stable.

Later that day, my doctor asked if I was calm because of the shock. But it was not. I felt deep in peace with the prospect of dying.

I did not feel any great regret, but just the little nasty pain of a certain amount of time I wished to get back. I watched the life that excited me and I built the business I loved. I approached my standards and wrote pieces I was proud of. Somehow these things brought an incredible community of readers who supported and found value in my work. Of course I advised to live, but if it was over, I was fine with it.

At the end of last year's contribution, I wrote that the lesson for the year was acceptable. After nearly a decade of digital nomad, I settled in Oaxaca and laid some roots in the delicious city I loved.

As with almost everyone else in this story of unconscious transformation, I accepted acceptance for this basic message this year: to give up. When all that makes sense breaks into a fog of meaningful confusion, all you can do is let go.

It took me months before I got here.

First, distrust. Then, as I understood more about what happened to my body and the limitations that many have, even if they recovered from the brain, more sorrow. "There is no escape from life with uncertainty for everyone," says The Atlantic. There's no rocket science. But what happens when the unconscious involves all aspects of your movement and life?

Many of the CSF tissues, which were hard to get sealed or reappeared months or years later, do something seemingly harmless. During yoga training, or when the plane was pressed again during landing, they suffered leakage in their droppings. Or bend to pick up some clothes. Some never get drunk at all.

There is no bending, lifting or twisting. "Perhaps forever!" The second cripper jokes, and like any morbid humor, there is some truth. Who knows. None of us know much. After all, life is basically chaos, and our dictates dictate where we fall to the "excited and frightening" line to cope with this contradiction.

My current ignorance is so disproportionate, so final. Regardless of what happens, I will never be able to move without conscious thinking about possible damage. I can not risk it. And I'll never be able to live the life I've been leading before. That does not mean I can not build another, good life with what I have now. I work to create another version that can bring joy to me in a new way.

However, there is a lot of work and harassment in the last seven months, when events have irrevocably changed.

***

I read the book of Mr. Viktor Frankl Man is looking for meaning during these difficult months. Frankl's time in Auschwitz led to his development of logotherapy in his psychiatric practice, but the book casts his theory on why some people managed to survive the Nazi camps. Frank saw life as an effort to make sense, found at work, in love, and in courage in difficult times. His belief was that suffering alone does not make sense, but we give the suffering of meaning by reacting to it. Or, as Harold S. Kushner writes in the introduction to the latest version, "forces beyond your control can remove everything you own except one thing, the freedom to choose how you react to the situation."

Instead of collapsing in the dungeon, I decided to focus on the gifts that came out of this very difficult year. With these facts, it could be much worse. Instead of being limited to isolation, I have to walk along this path. My community around the world lifted my voices and opened my handkerchiefs to keep me out of the water when I could not handle it. You respond to advanced Instagram walks, you give up every update, and your bird skills have helped me identify the beloved chickens I've fallen during this recovery.

Some of you said that you will diagnose a CSF leak based on the symptoms I shared. Others wrote that you were doctors or anesthetists, and while you were trained to know how the CSF is flying, my story helped you to recall the risks. When I say the community, I mean everything. Family. Friends. Readers. Travel bloggers. Parents of travel bloggers (a bunch of notes from parents of travel bloggers were stunning and beautiful.) Aliens.

I'm lucky because you helped me to feel that my job is a matter. You helped me remember why my meaning was important. And even if I could not go back and do everything I did, I still have words.

Obtaining surrender would not have been possible without my close friends. There are a few who rose, but I would not be here without my sister-other than Mrs. Shannon. Maybe you know her from my winter 2011 in Chiang Mai and many subsequent misfortunes. It was a coincidence in Virginia when I got to the Duke, just four hours driving. Thanks to a flexible schedule and ability to work anywhere, I was able to stay close to the Duke and get the treatment that I needed over many weeks. Not only did she take me from North Carolina to Florida, but stayed with me for over two and a half months, and withdrew from the exhausting task of taking care of me when managing many, many nighttime tears.

Shannon was a little tired

Shannon of Little Adrift and me, North Carolina. I could not have been without her over these months.

I spent the time spent in the unfair situation and I'm afraid of what can go wrong. But what changed for me was a simple decision to change as I answered. I am not perfect and many times a week I will not succeed. But this choice still exists, every second of every day, to choose hope instead of false assurance of fear.

It was a complete distraction of my life to prevent the possibilities.

Despite the statistical data that says many people have escaped and escaped again when their first leaks are hard to repair. Despite the moment to the point of pain that is my presence. It does not matter because it really is not know what is possible.

There was a calm, twisted grace, when I gave up my chance, a gift I had never expected.

What's Next for Legal Nomads?

My friends, I do not know.

I still want to write, and I'm grateful to have Legal Nomads where I can do it. I still have many celiac guides. I have a story telling course I was planning to run. And so many stories about Oaxaca and the Day of the Dead, about the history of various food and photographs from around the world.

The beauty of a site-independent business is that it exists where wifi is. Whether I can travel, it's in the air. It will be something I will have every day, just like my healing.

It was this business that gave me a full shot of healing. Ability to stay close to Duke as needed. Friends who also led flexible lives and could help. Celtic cards and food maps they sell, even when I'm not online. The fact that I do not have to ask for a disability or worry about losing my job. I have a lot of worries about stability and the ability to work, but it's a lot less stressful than if I were a lawyer.

There are plenty of discussions about digital nomads and more and more reports about the mainstream movement. Most interviews point out how to free them to move according to will, and for me to do, while fitting great, lasting friendship has made the last ten years incredible ride. But what is happening is flexibility when life gets worse, something I thought, but I never had to practice with such impunity.

One day we will have a common side

The flowers in the header photo of this post are cockscomb celosia, my favorite flower in the world. I discovered them years ago and loved that they look like little brains. For me, they symbolized resilience and miracle, and I often bought them in New York during my days. I fell for Saigon in my heart and clapped my hands with absolute joy when I discovered that my beloved flowers were the basic lunar new year of Tet. In Oaxaca, the third city I fell on, I learned that they are an important part of Day of the Dead.

(If you are interested, the second city I fell on was Lisbon, and although I was about to move there, Oaxaca stole my heart in the meantime).

People tell me that these flowers symbolize courage and courage. I was attracted to them because of their special shape, but I feel courageous for the last seven months.

After traveling to places during military breaks, traveling on the road as a passenger, on the road to accidents, and much more, it was a simple medical procedure in New York that brought me down.

The stubbornness that led me during the shadowy days of long-term travel helped me to stay at sea. And the community I built along the way took over when I just did not have the energy.

jodi ettenberg

April 1, 2018. I took it after a short walk and I was interested in what was ten years intense.

I still want to have a party one day. It does not matter how long it takes or when it ends. All you want to attend and celebrate with me have. Remembrance of what others may regard as unconventional, but now also a nod to resilience. We can afford to support each other when the shit becomes real. We remind that although we sometimes appear to be very different from each other, we all look so deep.

She felt unreal that it had all happened in the last seven months. Life can be changed by one small mistake or a series of big ones. I could not write that movie script if I tried, in my most creative flow. It's so crazy, and even with this big contribution I did not talk about what went wrong.

It was one deeply tangled network of the year, all sharp angles and fear. Even small events seem to be almost deep in their depth and effect. But I'm still here, and every day I decide to find a reason to smile. That alone is enough to celebrate.

-Jodi

Spinal Tap mail, which changed my life, appeared first on the legal nomad.

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