Pins and Needles

My palms are sweaty; I officially made the appointment. I should clarify; I made the appointment for the second time. The first time I clicked on the “schedule” page of the website and started filling out info I panicked and closed the tab on my screen. Internally calling myself animal names that refer to a lack of courage, I re-opened the website and scheduled the appointment completely. That’s when my palms started sweating.

The background to this story is a fear of needles in my flesh. I used to tell the dentist to just go ahead and drill a cavity-ridden tooth without injecting Novocain. According to my brain’s logic the raw drill was better than the numbing shot. Half the reason I opted for natural childbirth was to avoid nurses from placing a precautionary IV line (which I ended up needing anyway due to an emergency C Section). So you get the point. Avoidance of needles is my M.O.

These days I don’t have as great an aversion. After years of immunizations, a couple childbirths, and gentle dentists I acknowledge needles are small and practically painless. That doesn’t mean they don’t make me nervous. However, I may have found a final kryptonite to my reservations. That’s a love of cycling. That and wanting to actually feel my fingers while riding.

My right shoulder muscles have been locked tight for too long and won’t release. My right side may actually be visibly higher than the left. A massage therapist said she may be able to get it to relax if I actually saw her more than once a year. It appears the next move is in my court.

A Petunia Mafia teammate, Vega Brhely, is an acupuncturist. I’ve been asking friends who’ve used acupuncture about their experiences. I’ve read Vega’s credentials about 10 times and fully believe she’s got both skills and talent. It’s all on me. If I want to ride more than 30 minutes and retain feeling in my right arm, I have to move to the next level. I have an appointment

What does one wear to an acupuncture appointment? A cycling sport skirt.

booked. Ironically I’m turning to needles to get rid of pins and needles.

In prep for the appointment I’m telling myself that to achieve cycling nirvana, we have to do things we may not want to. Put in the miles. Push harder. Sweat more. Hire a coach. Go to a clinic. Session a hard section until it’s nailed. See the doctor, PT, massage therapist, D.O., acupuncturist, nutritionist, sports psychologist, whomever. Do that so you can do this. I’m jumping in. I’ll let you know how it goes…I’ll finish this blog after the appointment. Wish me luck.

I made it! Much to my own contrary belief, I did not die, pass out, scream, nor cry. Sure, there was a quick little pin prick ouchy with some needles. Others I didn’t feel at all. And believe me, Vega put so many in my shoulder I’m sure I looked like a pincushion. Plus she cupped my shoulder, so now I look like hipster Hollywood celebs and Michael Phelps with purple round hickey marks. A purple badge of courage, if you will.

The result to my cycling is positive! I rode for over an hour yesterday and felt all 10 fingers at the finish. Photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and this mal-alignment wasn’t created in a short time either. I didn’t expect to be fully cured in one treatment.  I’ll go back for another round of acupuncture/cupping to get my shoulder blade pointing in the right direction.

So now that I’ve got that milestone off my checklist, on to the other bike boosters: coach, massage therapist, clocking miles, pushing harder, sweating more…easy stuff compared to pins and needles.

Categories: Bike Blabber