Acceptance is Where Healing Begins

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I have been reflecting on acceptance and how it relates to my body.  I listened to a wise lady who works with people who are overweight.  She shared that people who are overweight never want to accept their body as it is, because they are afraid they will be stuck in that state forever. Like so many other things in life, this works in reverse.  People need to accept their body and its weight the way it is before they can make the changes they want.  I have to accept myself and my body at point A, so I can then get to point B, who I want to become.  I have been pondering what this means to me with my medical issues and pain. I did not want to accept my body with all the pain and problems. I was sure that some surgeon was going to wave his magic doctor wand over me and fix me. I just refused to accept that this was my body.

In my career, I worked with so many people who suffered from their bodies deteriorating.  When I struggled, they offered up many little solutions I could implement that would help. Like stretching, icing, relaxing, diet, yoga, pressure points and hot showers.  There are actually too many to list. I was unwilling to try their ideas, because they seemed too small to help the severity of my problem.  I was just going to fix it, not learn how to live with it.  Well, two back surgeries down the road, and at least two more major surgeries to go, I have begun to accept my situation and body the way it is.  I’m not saying that doctors or surgeries are not a solution. I am not a medical professional. I am saying that I may always have some level of pain and that is ok.

I have accepted my body in its entirety and that has given me the power to accommodate it and make small adjustments without leaving myself in emotional anguish. When I looked at myself as broken or flawed, I felt burdensome and guilty for how I was being forced to live. When I accept myself and god’s plan for me, I find peace in honoring my body.  I don’t feel guilty if my body needs to rest.  I am implementing all of those small suggestions and each one brings my pain level down a little bit. A multitude of small reductions of pain over time adds up to a big difference. Due to lack of acceptance, I was unwilling to hear, let alone try different suggestions. By the way, thank you to everyone who has offered up ideas and suggestions!

If I want to live a pain-free life and I want my loved ones to understand. I want to get back to work. I want to be able to do the things I did before this. If want to be less tired and irritable, I am going to have to accept my body the way it is right now. Accept it and be willing to accommodate my situation. Try ideas and suggestions that seem silly. This will not mean I will be stuck like this forever. This is actually the first step of change.  If I’m miserable and I desire change, I must accept myself as I am. Then, adjust my sails accordingly.

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Which Comes First?

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Which comes first?

The last few days have passed in a blur. I put myself into a rut. I spent the days curled up in my bed only to leave when I absolutely had to. My entire spine radiated pain, while my wrists and knees burned and ached. The longer I laid, the worse my pain felt. Yes, it could have just been that my awareness of pain was increased. I did have more time to really “touch base “with my body.

Here is one fact that I know contributed to my experience this past week: I messed up the isolation diet and am starting over. Diet has such an influence over a person’s mind and body that it can simply not be disregarded. Although I only executed the diet for a month, I was feeling much better when I put clean fuel in my body.   Due to the fact that I did not complete the process, I can’t pinpoint the exact culprit that may be contributing to my pain sensations.

During  this last down experience I paid close attention to my mind. Of course, I felt tired and irritable like most people do when they are in pain. I also felt sad to be in this place again. The sadness was prompted from thoughts of guilt-concerning, not adhering to the isolation diet. So, sad because I felt I put myself in this situation, or at least caused more pain than was initially required by my body.

Yesterday, I mustered up all the extra energy I had and forced myself to attend Adapts fitness class. I tried to be as cheerful as I could (which was not much), as I chatted with a lady before class started. I had read about the “facial feedback hypothesis, “which states that smiling when a person is sad can result in higher rates of happiness. It has been proven that this can occur with any part of the body. So, summarized, my emotions affect my body and my body can affect my emotions.  It works as a sort of feedback loop within our body. When this lady asked how I was doing, I groaned quietly under my breath and looked at the floor as I let out a big sigh.

When I looked up and saw her eyes, I asked her, “How do you know if your negative thoughts and emotions have caused pain in your body, or if your body is causing negative thoughts and emotions?”

That is the real question that I have been concerned with these last few days. If I could ascertain which one came first, I would feel more confident in deciding how to mediate the problem. I was so impressed with her answer that I decided to share this with you all.

She said to me, “I work out and if the pain is gone, then I know it was mental.”

This is absolutely true and so deeply profound. If I am feel in pain during or after I exercise, then I know it is just my body acting up. However, if exercise resolves the issue, then I can rest assured that my mind needs to be attended to. If it is my body, then I can implement rest, relaxation techniques, a hot bath, massage and/ or topical treatments.

If my mind needs attention, I will identify negative emotions and the thoughts driving them. I will list my fears and logically analyze which ones are fact and which ones are not. Deciding what thoughts I can change is an important part of this process, so I don’t spend all of my energy trying to force things that I have no power over? I objectively look at which thoughts I have that serve me, and which ones need to go. While I may have a certain thought at times, I do get to choose if I agree with it or not. As I mentioned previously, getting my body moving via walking, yoga or any exercise is essential to mental clarity. I also love the practice of clearing my mind and relaxing my body daily. I feel this helps me regulate my emotions.

Finally, when it comes to mental health, I love to be of service somewhere in the community. Thinking of and helping another person when I feel in peril is very freeing. This act helps put my life and difficulties into perspective.

So, how can you tell which one comes first?

What am I afraid of

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What are you afraid of?

I have recently been reflecting on what absolutely drives me crazy about having pain.  They answer is, without a doubt: fear! I read a gentleman’s blog about chronic pain and he described chronic pain as “white noise,” implying that it is a neurological misfiring deal.  I don’t want to get too technical, but what that means to me is that I don’t have to be afraid.  The three main fears that work me up into a frenzy concerning my health are:

  1. The fear of the pain warning me of injury. Meaning, at times, I’m scared to push through pain and cause irrevocable damage.
  2. The second fear concerns there being some underlying issue such as a catastrophic disease that has not been found yet.
  3. Loss of independence and security, both physically and financially.

When I am paying attention to my thoughts and I begin to go into those fear-driven thoughts, now I can remind myself this is just “white noise.” These fears can stop me from physically trying something new.  I often have to ask myself, “What is the worst thing that could happen if I tried this new thing?”  Usually, the resounding answer is I will hurt, become tired, express irritability, or get laid up tomorrow.  This past couple weeks I have been trying to set small measurable goals.  Some of them are physical; however, some spiritual and mental.

I have seen a pattern where my pain can become an excuse for inactivity.  Disuse being the worst thing I can do for myself and specifically my body.  So, how do I stay on top of this? The answer is to carefully examine my thoughts, emotions, fears and motivations.  I have found it helpful to put my hopes for my health into a vision.  I need to have an idea of what I am aiming for.  While I know I cannot change my circumstances, I do get to decide what I think about it.  I truly do not have to live in despair.

After an earlier blog post, a good friend of mine contacted me about a possibility of food allergies.  She expressed that a food allergy may be increasing my symptoms where I already have pain.  I choose to apply open-mildness and willingness in this area.  I started what is called an isolation diet.  It has been a few weeks and the burring knees and wrist did go away.  I successfully walked seven miles without much pain at all.  After 26 days, I tried to eat a cookie…Ok, many cookies, and judged the effects on my body for a couple days after.  This process is long, tedious and extremely detail oriented.  My truth is that I have accepted my pain and when I feel better, those moments are just a “bonus.” I’m willing to do this process of elimination, even though I am not detail oriented. I am excited to share with you all what I find. Please leave a comment if you have anything to add about food allergies and their relations to pain.

Have a fabulous day.

Mandy Hanson

 

Interactions Can Be Very Difficult

DSCN1424Living with chronic pain has changed the dynamic of my relationships.  One of the largest complaints I have heard related to living with pain is in our relationships. I know, for myself, that I became very isolated after my surgeries.  I feel blessed that so many people came to visit me; however, I still felt very alone. I had so much fear wrapped up inside of me before the surgeries that my head wasn’t really in the healthiest place.  I felt broken, dependent and alone.  It seemed as though my independence was slipping away.  Especially when I did not start to feel better after my surgery.  When my pain was getting worse and the doctors were saying everything looked “good” was when my negative thoughts started to escalate.  I bring this up, because my thoughts and feelings turned out to have a huge part in the relationships around me.  I want to take a second to truly thank the people who love me enough to express their thoughts and concerns honestly. These people are rare and irreplaceable.  While I may not agree with some opinions presented to me, I definitely take them all into account.  I am grateful I have people who love me enough and are comfortable around me to express their opinions.  So thank you to my amazing support system, which includes family, friends and acquaintances alike.

I have noticed that the natural process of this experience has thinned out some of my friendships.  The ones that are still intact are much more deep and meaningful now. It takes a lot of structured time and rest periods to honor my body the way that it needs me to, so I can live without pain.  A positive aspect that has come from this is that I have become far more comfortable being alone.  Now that I  implement relaxation techniques for my body throughout the day and have applied more time for prayer, my alone time is very precious to me. The world and people in it do not stop moving just because I do.  Today, I am ok with that, because I have accepted what my body, mind and spirit needs.  When I compare my physical ability now to where it used to be, I do still get a little sad.  Ok, I completely tear up, but I’m still holding out on some hope.  Or denial…it depends how you choose to look at it.  My friends and social acquaintances seem to be very sympathetic to my situation, maybe even more aware of it than I am.  Sometimes, people would like to know where I’m at physically and being able to answer that is very difficult.  That is how this blog came to be.  My progress is long, detailed, drawn out and ever so suddenly in a constant state of improvement or digression. It is not easily summed up in a forty-five second response.  Another thing that comes to mind when I think of my social interactions is when people express sympathy toward me or my situation.  This is very difficult for me to take in or respond to.  It always seems to blindside me and I have no idea how to respond.  My situation feels no different than anybody else’s.  Most people have some sort of struggle going on.  I guess I am at a place where, for now, I have just accepted it. I just live with it and do the best I can to make a life that matters to me.  How do you respond to these heartfelt kinds of comments expressed by people around you?

My marriage has posed an entirely different set of issues that demanded attention.  When I suffer, the next in line to suffer is my amazing husband.  A person having chronic pain puts a major strain on a marriage.  People actually get divorced over this, and the numbers are startling.  I understand that no one wants to see their loved one suffering or in pain. Significant others can actually start to show signs of depression, as well. 

I had a heartfelt talk with my husband where I kept my defenses down and really just tried to hear him.  I asked him what he considered to be the most difficult part of our ordeal.  My physical limitations were difficult in the beginning, because I would not directly ask for what I needed.  I felt like such a burden that it was impossible to just ask.  I felt so much guilt and shame just asking for anything, because I had this idea of how our lives were “supposed” to look.  What were my duties, and what were his duties?  Once I let go and “lowered my standards” of living, like how clean the house needed to be, I began to accept where we are at this time. Once I had accepted the situation “as is,” it became easier to directly ask when I needed help.  Instead of focusing on what I cannot do, I have spent a lot of time finding what I can do.  Especially when it comes to chores in our home.  My husband sees me make this effort and he appreciates it.

Another thing he mentioned was that I had to be ok with hearing him say “no.”  Nobody can do everything, so I appreciate that he is strong enough to say “no.” In the beginning, this was a challenge. Sometimes, I would beat around the bush for a day and finally work up enough courage to ask him for something, and he would say “no.” I would immediately get defensive, followed by thoughts like, “I just can’t ask him for anything.” That thought was not true, even if it felt convincingly accurate. The tension in my marriage, due to my diagnosis and pain, came from my thoughts and feelings and rarely had anything to do with my husband.  This came as great news to me, because some of the few things I truly have control over are my thoughts, my feelings and myself.  I could change this, whereas changing my husband is an impossible task.  I really would not want to change him anyways, because he is pretty amazing. 

My marriage also became a lot better when I stopped feeling constant pressure to explain or communicate to him every pain I felt.  This behavior was also driven by guilt. I was trying to get him to comprehend or see my invisible diagnosis. I needed him to know why I was laying down, or the severity of my pain, so he would not be upset with me. In truth, I was upset with myself, and I was putting it on him. He was actually never disappointed with me for resting. I don’t hide my situation, because communication is key, but I don’t need to point out every detail and exaggerate, either.  He is a smart man; he gets it.  What is more important is that I get it.  When I started to understand my situation and became confident in myself was when I felt relieved of the pressure of explaining myself to others. That is when I started to feel better.  That is when my relationships became healthier and more satisfying.

Self-Esteem…Or Not?

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Self-esteem

Ok, I apologize for going all rants and raves on everyone in my last blog entry. It feels so important to me that I share the ups and downs of my adventure. I really want to keep my journey and experience real with all of you. I have great achievements and strides forward when it comes to living with chronic pain. I also have times of emotional upheaval and struggle. I choose to believe this is the process of evolving into a better version of myself.

I have been exploring the concept of self-esteem lately. I have always considered it to be a sort of set in stone attribute.

For example statements like “she has high self-esteem” or “I suffer from low self-esteem”.

I understand that a person can focus a lot of energy into this and change their state but it has always felt very concrete. Lately I have been intrigued with the idea that self-esteem is actually more fluid. Does self-esteem ebb and flow like the tide? In two thousand and fifteen I quit an amazing career so I could be a more hands on mother and to allow myself more time to heal after two major surgeries. In truth I was physically struggling to keep pace with what I consider journeyman electrician standards. This turned out to be a huge blow to my esteem.

I’m surprised it took me this long to identify it. While out in public I was becoming aware of negative feelings. These feelings were an abnormal sensation to me. It had been long time since I had experienced any feelings like this. They felt abnormal and foreign. Recently I figured out it was insecurity that I was feeling.   I had to look at what had changed in my life. Quitting my career, even if only for a short reprieve, had affected my esteem. Struggling to function the way I used to or failing to meet my own standards also played in to the esteem fracture I had experienced. I’m grateful for this revelation because once I became aware of this my esteem has started to rise and balance out without much effort. All it took was awareness and honesty with myself for my spirit to naturally start to heal itself.

I spoke with a friend who happens to be a professional counselor and her theory about esteem was that people with naturally occurring high self-esteem usually do not fluctuate vastly. While people who started off with lower self-esteem appear to be the ones who fluctuate with more depth. I am still mulling this theory over and would love to hear your opinion on this. My experience would fit into this theory well and I find it fascinating.

Self-reflection and exploration continues to be useful in allowing me to manage my pain. It is imperative that I uncover hidden thoughts that are causing me despair. I have to uncover concealed processes that are not working in my favor.

One thing is clear, lowered self-esteem was definitely effecting my joy and comfort in social situations. I would even go as far as to say it was effecting my home life and relationships. In most conversations I was feeling very defensive and guarded. At this point I refuse to let pain dictate my personality. I just will not be a victim of my diagnosis another day.

 

I Digress

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Digression

As I laid down tonight a feeling of defeat washed over me. I’m writing this as tears silently stream down my cheeks. I appear to have made an emotional digression. Without any scientific explanation, specialized education or medical back ground I am going to communicate the cognitive events that have led me to this episode.

Let’s see Perhaps a week ago I Volunteered for a few prolonged hours. I did this a couple days in a row. Don’t get me wrong the volunteering was great. Being of service is so rewarding and such a break from self. It’s the prolonged hours on a cement slab that were a bit of an awakening to me. I started to limp, and wine then promptly went home and iced various parts of my body, both nights. I spent a day demobilized and recovering. I have really been staying away from acting out on whiny behavior and limping because of the negative effects on my pain and psyche. I should have known I had pushed it too far. Perhaps it was ego or perhaps my overachiever that choose not to walk away before the job was done… Maybe even a little of both played a part. This prompted thoughts that I was not getting better I was just becoming less active and mobile thus decreasing pain…? First thought in my downward spiral

After exercising a couple times last week, I would come home feeling good and after I laid down to sleep became so riddled with pain. I was swollen all over my body and many joints including back, hips, knees and neck that I could not sleep. The good part is that this goes away after one night. I then am stronger and have a much stronger core. This is where my second thought compounded on the first, maybe this is something more serious. It’s the not knowing that always gets me slightly panicked. When I decided to research a little on my symptoms The computer alerted me to consult a doctor immediately due to the neck pain. Scary! I still can’t explain the knee pain…

Today my daughter and I walked a few blocks each way on a sidewalk. It was sunny and the air smelt crisp, clean and delightful. I started to get irritable on the walk back and realized I was in pain. After we made it home the rest of the day my knees have been burning and have swelled up. There is a sharp pain in my left foot when I step on it. Yes I definitely understand how pain can drive a person completely bonkers. Chronic pain being constant is maddening. Are these symptoms all related or are they not? What is causing these new pains? I have had people insinuate that it could just be normal pain… it sure feels new and not normal to me. Trying to figure out how I feel compared to what others think I feel is just a ridiculous process and it is super frustrating. This is when I started thinking that I have no idea what is going on in my body… I began feeling so helpless and the hopeless. I guess the tears make sense in that regard. Mentionings of being a hypochondriac drift through my thoughts. Commercials for doctors run through my mind preaching early detection is key. Horrific stories are found all over the web, books and news of people who did not reap the benefits of early detection. Do most women in their thirties suffer debilitating pain that radiates from low back and spreads through hips? Do you have pain that flairs up in your joints and rashes on your skin? Yes I suppose it could just be “normal”. I hope it is just normal body behavior but if it is then, my darlings, I may be thebiggest   wuss on the planet…people are going to have to work very hard to convince me of this because, I have overcome so much trauma, pain and difficulty in my life. that does not seem like a plausible explanation. I am open to any advice, any experiences that are like mine. I am willing to consider anything. Hec Ill even stop chewing gum at this point if it will help.

My family and I are living on one income for now so every dollar really counts and I find myself trying to guess the cost of a doctor visit and an x-ray for neck. sweat builds up as I consider all the possible ways it could go. Pay three hundred for doctor visit who sends me to x-ray for seven hundred, who then calls me and says I am fine (best case scenario) or refers me to a specialist who charges five hundred for the office visit to tell me I need surgery (less good case) especially since I am terrified of surgery now. Or I ignore it for free and it completely goes away (best case scenario) or I could ignore it completely and I have an aneurism and die (worst case) of course the worst case scenario could go any numbers of equally bad ways.  That is just analyzing what to do with the neck part. now let’s talk about why my knees and wrist are swelling and burning and my skin keeps breaking out in a rashes, Good Gad. Just The process of literally deciding what to do next could drive a person nuts. Yes I see why tiredness and fatigue, loss of ability, depression and frustration with people not understanding are the highest rated problems of any of us who live like this. It is a complex and overwhelming issue. A person really needs a team to make any kind of head way in this type of endeavor. I have even caught flak for looking stuff up myself online, slightly ridiculed for it. This is preposterous I have to be involved because it is invisible and I can’t afford live at a doctor’s office,

I know tomorrow I will be calmed down. I will spend time on ice meditating which brings me peace and joy. I have gained a new outlook on living on my orthopedic journey…I can now see there will be ups and downs, like most every process of life. So many decisions so many choices and so so so many unknown variables.

The feelings I have learned that triggered this negative response out of me are; feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, overwhelmed with information, fatigue, fear and of course being a burden.

Lord I pray before you today with gratitude. While I have had a hard day I feel confident that it will all be for some greater good. I know I have not been abandoned and that my purpose is becoming clearer each day. I am open minded, honest and willing to persevere and serve others along the way. Even if that means learning and teaching how to live, blessed in our current conditions.

Mind over Matter

Mind over matter

I have really been reflecting on my blog experience and I want each of you to know, when I write my experience it is just a reflection of my thoughts, feeling and experiences. I have no judgment on what path others have chosen. I know how different our pain and situations can be.

What I have been working on lately is pointing out in my mind when I have no pain. This has started by recognizing small moments. These moments feel like they are becoming more frequent. For many years now I have studied the balance between mind, body and spirit. I am so fascinated with this concept. When my body began hurting it took an unconscious effort to pull my balance back together. As my mind became more aware of my physical pain I really shifted out of balance. This was compounded by diagnosis and medical procedures like surgery. My thoughts became so negative that I was left in a sort of despair. Spiritually I became consumed with fear which is known to be lack of faith. Everything that makes me whole shifted out of balance.

This year I surrendered to my body and stopped frightening with it, I have come to realize that besides exercise (or pt) and healthy eating the only other option I have is to listen to it. The new concept I have been implementing works this way. Since I am powerless over my diagnosis, for example no amount of exercise will take away my hip dysplasia, I have begun to focus on the other two items of self I do have some control over. I am focusing on meditation and prayer which grounds me spiritually and is known to reduce pain and inflammation in a body. I have been mentally pointing out when I am not in pain or when I feel good physically. When I do these two things it starts to pull my mind body and spirit back in to balance. I know this may sound a little far-fetched to some people but I swear, it is working! My body is getting stronger and I am having less pain. Another thing I am playing with works with the same concept. After visiting with a doctor and mapping out problems, as we are supposed to do with them, I am writing down three things my body is doing well. Obviously we don’t go to doctors to fix what is right with us so I did find myself constantly reviewing what was wrong with me. Just another way to pick me up and balance out my mind and emotions so as not to become bogged down in my orthopedic diagnosis.

One struggle I have been experiencing is irregular and prolonged neck pain along with an uncomfortable knee pain. I have been going lightly on these area so as not to hurt them while I am strengthening my body and my core. I can’t help but think that this is the domino effect due to my original injuries. Since my body is interconnected when one area is injured it tends to affect the rest of the body. Am I falling apart one joint at a time? Only time will tell. In the meantime my spirits are high, I have hope and light in my life. I don’t feel like a burden on loved ones and I don’t feel lost. I have a purpose and I intend to fulfill it. I pray knowledge of your will for me god and the power to fulfill it.

How Do You Hide It So Well?

mandy3I have heard this question a few times. I am not sure why it does not sit well with me; however, each time I hear it I become lost in thought. Questions like, am I hiding it? How do I hide it, circulate around in my mind? I really feel like when my choices are limited all I get is my decision. Living with pain I have very few choices. It does not need to be hidden because it is not visible to the public. While I am the one who gets to feel my pain I know my family experience it with me. Most people would have no idea.

Option one, I can withdrawal from all activities. Withdrawing from activities has proven to not be healthy for my physical or emotional state. The body is meant to move. Being stagnant builds more physical issues on top of the original issue. Spine health reported that, disuse can negatively impact my musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, neurological and psychological and emotional processes. From my experience this has been very true. It has been very helpful to educate myself on disuse syndrome. Placing an exercise program in my life has helped me in every area of my life. But Only after the hardware had been taken out. Prior to my hardware removal, any movement was tearing my muscles up.

Option two is that I can live heavily medicated. Living medicated presents some other problems than the ones I have mentioned in my earlier blog entries. I have mentioned becoming addicted, living emotionally disconnected, crazy side effects and having muted emotions as some of the problems associated with living a pain medicated life. Another way this has been problematic is that when I would take medication I would overcompensate in daily activities because I felt no pain. I could not feel my bodies’ warnings. I would constantly over strain my body and not know until the medication wore of. I could not honor my body’s strengths or weakness while on narcotics. When the drugs wore off the pain would nearly drop me and it was indirect proportion the over activity I did while inhibited. It would be easy for me to consider this my “regular” back pain and push for more meds. This is yet another viscous cycle. Can you see or relate to what I am speaking of? I was literally hurting myself by not being in touch with my body and my pain.

My third option is to limp around whimpering each time I have pain. Now I am very familiar with this technique due to experience. My love language is “acts of service” so I love to serve and help others. It is literally how I show my love. I constantly felt the urge to explain to everyone when I was hurting. I wanted everyone to know why I could not help them, or for example come to their event. I needed them to know it was not because I did not love them or care. I felt bad that I could not do for others what I had always done. I could not meet my own standard of giving so each time I hurt I would whimper or explain it.

“I did not do this or that because of my pain.”

“I can’t come because I have to lay down due to my back.”

“I am resting because I can’t walk”

“The pain is so bad”

These are phrases that became part of my daily communication. This is part of how the pain and negativity snowballed in my life. I was constantly pointing out when I was in pain thus intensifying my pain. Now, I know and feel that I don’t have to prove it to anyone. (most days) People that love and care about me know because they have suffered with me. This is not made up in most people’s heads. No one would live like this if they did not have to. It is incredibly damaging to a person’s ego, esteem and confidence to constantly need help. Damaging to feel like a burden, to carry sitting pads around, not mop the floor or do daily activities and end up limping in front of others. Our pain is not fabricated and a majority of us do not have low pain tolerances. I would contend that it is the opposite with people who have chronic pain.

 My final option is that I can live my life in short spurts of activities and try to remain positive. This is the way I have chosen to live at the moment. I prioritize what is most important to me, time wise and then execute it in short amounts of time. I try to make sure I have time to rest my body in between activities. I make a choice to be happy. I try never to let my pain leak on my daughter and husband or stand in their way. I am more protective of my daughter than my husband since she did not choose to spend her life with me and he did;) I live with a level of at least a 4 on the pain scale every day. I consider a ten debilitating and unable to cry out in pain. Ten is pain that literally takes my breath away. Pain has become a part of my everyday life. My pain is often very insidious when it creeps from a four to a six. Often I will only feel irritated and tired before I realize my pain level has gone up and my body is done. I am getting better at associating “grumpiness” with my pain. I am not a naturally grumpy or irritable person; however, pain can take me there very fast. I chose this option because I just can’t stand to be sad another day. I will not be a victim of my circumstance today. Today I choose to be a warrior in my life.

I do believe when people have said that I hide it well that they mean it as a compliment.

So my answer is this…

I am not hiding my pain, I am just simply living with it.

Good Bye Docs!

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Good Bye Doctors

I am aware that the moment I decided I was going to be ok, that my bones did not magically heal. The pain did not all drain away leaving me in total bliss skipping through a field of flowers. What did happen though, was that I choose not to live in despair anymore. I still have my rough days and child temper tantrum moments. Fortunately I don’t live in those moments. So this is my story. This is my life. This is my burden and I am going to learn how to embrace it and love my life.

My secret has been to start creating a life I love. Surrendering to my limitations and honoring my bodies’ signals. I am blessed to be able to do this at this moment in time. If I were on a set schedule I could not lie down when the pain was beginning. Someday I will be working again so I try to cherish this time of rest while I have it. When I am focused on a life I love that is full of activities I love. I am no longer obsessed with my pain. When the pain was my main focus it seemed to grow exponential.

Very shortly after resigning from my job I was still having terrible pain in my left side low back that would radiate around the hip. This pain was completely different from the pain caused by the hardware on my right side lower back. The doctor had me go to a different surgeon in his office and check my SI joint. This took a series of visits and a cortisone shot administered in the hospital. Due to my post operation PTSD I had to be medicated to get me in to the hospital. A nurse held my hand and I cried like a baby while they put a needle into my back by my spine. The theory was that if the cortisone shot worked, then we would know it was the SI joint. Well the cortisone shot worked wonders. I had a few days of absolutely no pain! Unfortunately the cortisone had an undesired side effect of keeping me awake for a week. Thoughts racing in my mind I once again struggled for sleep and rest.

I met with the doctor again who said there were a few different options that could cover up the pain. Like “burning the nerves”. Nothing could be done to fix my SI joints. The most I could do, was try more procedures like shots or burning the nerves and just hope it would give me temporary relief. Each one of the procedures are extremely expensive and none were guaranteed to work. It was at this point I caved. For now I just could not do this anymore. I was so tired of being completely consumed with myself and my pain. When going to the doctors every week I would have to pay very close attention to my body and pain so I could describe it to the nurses and doctors. Living in a completely self-consumed state is not the right spiritual place for me to be. Not thinking about others, consumed with self was breeding, fear anger and resentment. YUCK

I decided to break up with ALL my doctors. I went to each one including my physical therapist and ended our relationships for now.

I told them, “I would not be coming back.” “That I needed a break and that is was not them, it was me.”

I get that one day I will need to revisit the doctors. Right now the best thing I could have done was put some distance between surgeons and myself. I still have pain but I am focused on living and not consumed by my pain. I have not had to take prescription medication and I feel so free because of that.

Emotionally and spiritually this little break has been just what I needed. I have been focusing on being happy and joyous. Three months ago I started my old exercise program. I am a girl who loves to move and sweat. Being strong and mobile are very important to me. I flop around in the back like a lost seal while the superstars move and groove in the front row at speeds of lightening inspiring the rest of us. I am at my happiest while I am at adapt fitness. Even in my “seal” like state, I am filled with gratitude to even be there! I will talk more about my physical strength and progress another day. Boot camp is a whole entry all to itself.

Feed back

imageWell I have blogged pretty much up to where I am in my life now. I’m still excited to learn more And experience more while sharing with each of you. I hope my blog so far has been helpful or insightful. There was so much left out that I intended to mention, so.  Please if you have any questions, statements, improvements I can make just leave a quick comment on the bottom of the page. I will be sure to make time and answer everyone;)