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The Dark Side of Pain

The side of chronic pain that is difficult to talk about…to me it is also the hardest to admit! It is the darkness that is lurking at the corner of my mind…forever watching and waiting for the chance to pounce…to take over.

It wants to rob us of our relationships…our confidence…our strength…our fadark_street_195913ith…

This dark shadow that we sometimes view in the mirror looking back at us can have many names…depression, despair, failure, guilt.

It is that dark negativity that threatens to suck the very life out of us…to disrupt any hope of regaining a sense of normalcy…to destroy our relationships.

It happens to each of us…whether we want to admit it or not. It will attack over and over…always at a time that we are mentally weak.  Those times when we are in the midst of a flare…when we have not been sleeping…when brain fog is at its thickest…when are finances are stretched to the limit…when our closest relationships are tested, tried and hanging by a thread…

Inevitably it will overwhelm us…it will muddle our thinking…it will suck us down into the darkest depths…it will overtake who we are…

Do NOT allow these times to dictate who you are!  We are human…we are going to spend time in the dark…however, this is only temporary. It will NOT last! It does not mean that we have lost our faith…that we have given up the fight…that our closest relationships are forever broken…

It is at this time that we hit bottom…we cry out in the depths of our despair…begging God to help…to have mercy…to forgive us…to strengthen us…

We then rise to the surface from the depths of the darkness…to once again find our inner strength…to embrace those close relationships…to acknowledge and accept our new selves…

Two Steps Backward

2017 has proven to be a rough year so far!  The arctic front that came through almost two months ago wreaked havoc on me resulting in a nasty flare.  Then with the change of insurance, there were challenges with getting Cymbalta approved…leaving me with the experience of going cold turkey…two weeks of intense withdrawal symptoms on top of the Fibromyalgia symptoms.  This followed by a severe bladder infection.

I did have a bright spot! Insurance had said yes to the pain pump…so I was looking forward to a pain pump trial at the end of this week. That is, until this morning.

I received a call from my pain specialist’s office….expecting it to be the final instructions prior to the trial.  Unfortunately, I was to receive the news that insurance had approved the pain pump….but they denied the medication. What?!?!?!?  Yes…the medication was denied.

My specialist’s office is approaching different manufacturers to attempt to find assistance for me so that we could go forward with the trial….after all, you have to be able to get the medication in order for the pain pump to be useful! LOL

Needless to say, it was another sinking moment. That too familiar, wind out of the sails feeling…it really does seem that for each step forward I am taking two steps backward.

My faith is strong. I know that if I am meant to have this opportunity the pieces will eventually fall into place! For the time being, I will appreciate the medications that I am able to take.

Renewal

A new year approaches

Hopes and opportunities abound…

As the current year comes to an end

We look back at the many twists and turns…

The struggles that have made us stronger

The events that have brought us closer…

What will the new year bring?

No one knows for sure…

Yet our hearts are filled with hope

With light hearts and open eyes…

We embrace the start

Of a year not yet written…

It is a renewal of sorts

To take place on another stage…

The paths that will open before us

The mountains we will climb…

The challenges that await us

Along with the joys and laughter…

Our illnesses and conditions

Will continue to be with us…

As we continue our battle

Our eyes more alert, our resolve strengthened…

Let us take advantage of this new year

To choose to be positive…

To resolve to appreciate those dear to us

To take every opportunity to say “Thank You…

To embrace our loved ones and friends

To say “I love you” with sincerity…

To refrain from anger

Instead breath deeply and count to ten…

To really listen to what is being said

Rather than thinking of what we will say…

To pray with our entire being

Instead of uttering memorized words…

To share smiles and laughter

To not allow pain to be our master…

To be thankful for our life

To embrace each door opened by Heavenly Father…

Knowing that He is with us

Every step of our journey…

Remembering the scripture, Isaiah 40:31 KJV:

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

We may not be able to walk far

We may be confined to our bed…

We may find ourselves fatigued

Unable to keep our eyes open…

Know that our spirit is renewed

Granted strength from Heavenly Father…

We can pray for those around us

We can lose ourself in reading the scriptures…

We can remember the trials of Job

And know that we are never alone…

So as this new year approaches

Let us each take pause…

 

To awake each day

With a thankful heart…

Limitations

It is disappointing as we struggle within our limitations.  Limitations that have been imposed upon us by ill health…whether it be Fibromyalgia, Polyarthralgia, Chronic Pain Disorder, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc. I am not suggesting that we are always disappointed or unhappy…not at all! Disappointment is a poignant visitor in our lives.

The medications that we take interact with our bodies and our conditions in a number of ways. For instance, when switching up doses or adjusting to a new medication, I often deal with the inability to stay awake. We can make tentative plans…only to find that I have curled up in bed and can not awake in time.

This used to really bother me. It often left me feeling guilty…feeling like a flake…or feeling that I have let my family down. However, I have come to the realization that this is just another aspect of my conditions showcasing my limitations. This can be interpreted in either a positive or a negative way. It is MY choice in how I react to these limitations.

During this most recent incident, I simply said a quiet prayer…something like, “Heavenly Father, you know my desire…” Truthfully, that is as far as I got before falling into a very deep slumber! I awoke hours later…to find that my husband and son had not yet eaten lunch.

We had missed an opportunity to get out and join friends for Church, however, I did have the opportunity to eat a quiet lunch with my family…and to enjoy a relaxing afternoon with them. No one was frustrated…they understood that my body was demanding sleep. I was not frustrated….I was disappointed, yes….but I know that there will be other opportunities!

I have learned to be a lot easier on myself…to not be so judgmental or harsh on circumstances that are truly out of my control. I know that my heart and mind are in the right place…even if I can not get my body there!  LOL

A sense of humor is a must for us as we deal with these situations….as we are reminded of our limitations. Yes…my body will always have the last say…I will continue to make plans and to find that I am not always able to go through with them. That is just one of the many lessons of living with chronic health conditions.

So Many Changes

The hidden illnesses and conditions that ravage our bodies…force major, and sometimes, drastic life changes.

We find ourselves homebound…no longer free to come and go as we please.

We used to have great jobs…now we are lucky to get out of bed and get dressed.

Exercise used to be easy…a jog, climbing stairs, lifting weights…no more.

Gentle stretching is now the most activity we can handle.

The throbbing, stabbing, and deep aching never leaves.

We cannot remember a good night’s sleep…thankful for 3-4 hours in one block.

We deal with symptoms we could never have imagined.

Our bodies are no longer our own.

We are now trapped within a stranger’s body.

We now speak in half truths…protecting those close to us.

We are forced to become our own advocates.

We learn to battle with insurance.

We never know how we will feel…how intense our symptoms will be.

We live with disappointment as we must cancel plans last minute.

We struggle with self image…no longer the person we were.

We struggle with our memory…with “Brain Fog” or “Fibro Fog”…casting a thick veil…making coherent thought impossible.

We cannot remember words…we stall…grasping…struggling…only to blurt out something incorrect.

This is just a few…of the many changes….those of us with chronic pain/conditions must learn to live with….to adjust to…as we adapt to our “new normal”.

God Speaks

God speaks in so many ways…sometimes it is through a friend’s voice…sometimes it is an impression…sometimes it is in something we read…

Last night, I had some very heavy thoughts…wanting to somehow become more proactive in our community for those that are living with chronic pain (those with the condition/illness as well as family members, co-workers, friends).  I know that there are quite a few individuals dealing with this…just like I am.

The strong impression of pursuing working with the American Chronic Pain Association weighed heavily on me…I just kept praying for the right direction that I should pursue.

This morning another strong impression was given to me…to speak to a few individuals in town regarding a potential meeting place and trying to formulate my idea into a more concrete idea.  Keeping in mind that I am severely limited…as are some that I would like to reach out to…

Then I sat down and read the daily devotional for today, December 8, from “A Catholic Woman’s Book of Days” by Amy Welborn.  It reads in part:

“…God chooses each of us, too. We live in a hurting world that yearns for the healing touch of God’s love.  It seems beyond us.

But I have to remember this as well:  If God wishes me to be a part of this great work, He will give me the gifts I need to do it, and I have Mary’s prayer and witness to guide me along the way…”

Talk about a wonderful answer to my prayers last night! A great reinforcement to push ahead and to discuss my idea…to set about a meeting site…and further contacting the ACPA for the materials….

Darkness

From seemingly nowhere

The long dark tentacles

Reach out to encircle…

The ever growing darkness

Threatens to completely envelope

To block out any light…

With gnarled fingers

It scrapes its way

To cover all within sight…

It brings its partners

Despair and depression

To further set its trap…

It yearns to take hope

To strip away peace

To destroy our Faith…

As with the darkest night

It can be fought

With a thin frail light…

A simple small flame

As that dancing on a candle

Can pierce its grasp…

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