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Lessons of Chronic Pain

I have learned so much in dealing with chronic pain…whether it be Pelvic Floor Syndrome, Rectal Prolapse, Spastic Sphincter, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain Disorder, IBS-D, Polyarthralgia, Colostomy, Hysterectomy, Benign Tumors, fluid build-up, Peristomal Hernia…there have been many lessons.

I know that our Heavenly Father has used these illnesses/conditions to teach me many things…the lessons have not been easy…it has been a rough road that has had its many challenges…however, I have had the support of family, friends and, of course, our Heavenly Father.

I have learned:

  • To be humble
  • To allow others to do things for me
  • To say “No”
  • To be patient with myself
  • To take naps
  • To appreciate small talk
  • To not take anyone or anything for granted
  • To appreciate the view through my window
  • To enjoy a ride in the car
  • To accept my limitations
  • To understand that I cannot always follow through with our plans
  • To know that there is no way to predict how my body will feel
  • To know that I can choose my attitude
  • To better appreciate time in prayer
  • To take more time to listen
  • To prepare simple meals
  • To ask for help
  • To smile no matter how I feel
  • To always appreciate a hug or gentle touch (no matter how much it hurts)
  • To become my own medical advocate
  • To speak up for others with similar conditions
  • To never give up
  • To see the best in those around me
  • To encourage others
  • To be sincere
  • To use my wheelchair
  • To use my walker
  • To use electric carts
  • To see medication as a tool to help improve my quality of life

I know that there are many more…my mind now draws a blank…

Each step we take…to allow others to do for us…to utilize all the tools that we have been given…is a step in improving our mental health, our relationships, and our confidence.  Our bodies may fail us; however, our faith can keep us strong.

Medication Update

After battling insurance and going back and forth with my pain specialist’s office, I was finally able to have the extended release of the medication my specialist wanted me on filled!

The entire ordeal was VERY exhausting…both mentally and physically!  The relief I felt once I held that bottle in my hands was overwhelming!

I am anxious to get the next few days under my belt to see how my body reacts to this new schedule.  As expected, I have been much more sleepy than normal…unable to keep eyes open…so curling up in bed for unscheduled naps.  This is how my body reacts the first 4-5 days…should then settle in to a better routine.

My pain specialist has also supplied additional information to insurance regarding the pain pump trial. That battle is taking quite some time. My insurance will change up come January so will be interesting to see if we have to start from zero or be able to resubmit the package they have assembled to the new insurance.

I am still amazed at how insurance dictates the treatments/therapies that the doctors/specialists prescribe for their patients!  How insurance can have such power with NO relationship with us, the patients, just blows me away!

Thankful for the moment though!  I am eager to see if we might have found the right combination of medications for me…at least until we can attempt the pain pump trial.

Shocks

From out of nowhere

The jolts begin…

As if plugged

Into an outlet…

Sudden electric shocks

Racing like strong currents…

Followed by the unnerving sensation

Falling, as if from high atop a cliff…

Thankful the legs are not involved

At least not at the moment…

Just the entire upper body

Twitching and jerking…

Which way is up?

Body reeling…

Best to curl up

Have walker close at hand…

Falling without moving

With electric current snaking…

No nerve left alone

At random, combinations charged…

How long will it last?

Duration is unknown…

Sometimes hours

Sometimes weeks…

Must lay low

Homebound for sure…

Our Best…

We all strive to do our best…to put our best face forward…to project an image of strength…yet, inevitably, we will have those low points. I like to visualize these as “bumps” in the road…

A few days ago, I was dealing with one of those low points. The overwhelming pain, fighting with insurance for the much needed medication change, dealing with my advocate regarding the Social Security Disability….not to mention the financial pressure…add in an even more severe headache than “usual”…and it did drag me down!

At times it just feels that I have no control over anything anymore!  Yet…this is NOT true!  I ALWAYS have control over my attitude…how I am going to view the world around me. Believe me…this was not a quick turn around…it took nearly half a day for me to be able to refocus my mind.

As difficult as it can be to maintain a positive attitude, I find myself blessed whenever I do choose that positive road rather than the negative road.  No…it does not make the pain or symptoms go away…it does not diminish them…what it does is even more important…it strengthens my mental resolve!  It helps to recharge my desire to view my life as a glass that is half full!

Our lives are further complicated due to our combinations of conditions/illnesses…however, those same conditions/illnesses do not have to dictate how we view ourselves or the world around us.

Answers to Prayer

Chronic pain has been a “gift”

Of Heavenly Father above.

How so can you ask?

I can feel your disbelief.

This knowledge did not

Show itself overnight.

A long and winding path,

With falls and steep climbs

Crossing through unknown terrain,

Forced to cry out…to ask for help.

God has used my brokenness

To show his strength and power,

To show his mercy and peace…

He has blessed me with visitors

At times I’ve been low.

He has delivered a text

Of comfort from a dear friend.

He has provided a quiet voice

Whispering scriptures to my mind,

“I can do all things

Through Christ which strengtheneth me.”*

Through the stillness

Of being homebound,

He has demonstrated

His answers to prayers.

Chronic pain at first glance

Appears to have taken all.

Yet, in reality,

A new world has been opened.

The stillness and quiet

Provide time for prayer

To read scriptures

When eyes can focus.

Silent words spoken

Throughout the day.

I am being taught

To listen to His voice,

To treasure a knock at the door,

To share my journey,

To accept my “new” self.

 

*Philippians 4:13 KJV

Fuzzy Thoughts

I now welcome brain fog

Rather than fighting it

Or seeing it as negative

It is an opportunity,

A chance to relax

To go easy on myself.

It is a time to embrace

The wandering thoughts

That go to and fro

With no apparent direction.

A torrent of images

Flashing and racing…

This is now a part of me

The severity comes and go

No pattern to the trigger

Just the randomness

Like a child

Easily distracted

Colors, shapes and sounds

Simple touch, the breeze

Frustration no more.

Embrace the images

The forgotten conversations

An opportunity to take a deep breath

Less pressure to achieve

Rather simplify my daily goal.

Hidden Blessings

The path of pain

Its winding trail

The upwards climb

The downhill slipping trek…

A gaze upward

Toward the brilliant blue

The warmth of the sun

Beating against skin

Sense of balance lost

On the ground…

A shake of the head

An inward groan

Yet small smile

Then a gentle voice

A strong hand offered

“Thank You”!

Back on feet

However unsteady…

The path continues

Twists and turns

The sound of water

Trickling over rocks

The gentle sounds

Of the babbling brook…

Again the sound

Distracts the body

On the ground

Not knowing how

Again crumpled

A slight shake of the head

Managing a smile

While summoning strength

To once again stand…

A gentle hand

Touching the shoulder

The wanting to wince subdued

A gentle turn

Hand outstretched

To gently be drawn

Back to your feet…

The path inevitably

Leads you home

To seek rest

To hope to restore

Some type of strength…

A simple knock

A shuffle to the door

Smiling faces

“Thinking of you”

Welcomed in

To share a few words

To sit as companion and friend

To offer a prayer and hug…

These are but a few

Of the “Hidden Blessings”

Of chronic pain…

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