Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Observing the PAIN Battle in another person

My dear friend who nudged me forward to start blogging about my Chronic Pain battle had us join her and her family to celebrate her birthday. All the talking, sharing, laughing–simply enjoying being together–was wonderful, even though my Pain was with me. Unknown to me, more Pain was getting ready to rear its ugly head.  People who suffer daily with Chronic Pain will tell you they can predict the weather, a fact that "normal" people find hard to believe.

A dear older gentleman who's a retired Methodist minister joined us for the party. I have known that he, too, suffers from Chronic Pain. But to be honest, I did not allow myself to truly LOOK at his level of suffering. He is approaching his 90th birthday and has suffered since the early 1960s with Pain. It HURT to hear the number of years that he's battled against Pain. My short 14 years seemed like nothing compared to how long he has fought. 

This was my first time to really speak directly with him about the PAIN battle we go through. As we shared, I began to see the real PAIN in his eyes, voice, body movement–everything. I hated PAIN at that moment because I saw the tremendous impact on his life. Yet there he sat, still determined not to let Pain keep him from having an evening out. He spoke about how people forget that his shoulder is the area of the Pain and greet him with a firm pat there. I could hear the anger in his voice when he spoke about how forgetful people are and his desire to occasionally swat their hand away!

As we sat and talked, the weather was changing, and my leg had not started its usual alert, meaning it starts to HURT and  BURN in ways I just can't describe to people. But PAIN was going to have its VOICE. Just as my LEG started screaming, I saw the fingers curl under on the lame hand of this dear gentleman. We took a quick look at each other, then he asked, "You hurting, too?"

It was a moment I shall never forget because when you're living your own silent HELL with Chronic Pain, it's easy to forget about all the others out there, waging their own war with this evil thing called PAIN. I was forced to step away from my Pain last night and witness the real suffering of another person who battles a fierce war with Chronic Pain. He was in my thoughts all night, and I said an extra prayer for him, hoping his night was not going to be filled with the FIGHT.

Please know you are not alone in your battle, even though it does seem like it at times. All I can say is my prayers go out to everyone suffering with Chronic Pain, and I pray we each find a way to keep fighting back and looking for moments of JOY. 

Yes, I do live with Chronic Pain, but it will not BEAT me. A simple statement but one that will always be HARD to accomplish but it IS worth the effort.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Having a small break from PAIN!

Most of my moments of feeling No Pain come only during the injections I get every few months. That few seconds of being given the "Margarita shot" and knowing THIS is how it feels to have NO PAIN!  Of course, it does not last for long, and I know the battle is always there, just waiting for me to show up for the next 24-hour showdown. 

Recently a new venue of brief Pain Relief opened up for me. Massages. I am still amazed at the fantastic feeling of allowing a certified therapist I trust to apply that special touch to my tired body and walk away from the treatment, feeling like somebody NEW! For those who suffer daily with Chronic Pain, it's pretty easy to just HIDE behind it because you just do not feel like doing anything! I must force myself to move forward and take care of daily duties, housework, time with my husband, being with friends, attending church, anything and everything. If Pain is allowed to stop me from LIVING, no matter how hard the battle is, then PAIN will win and that is NOT acceptable to me. We are given this ONE life, and it IS worth living and fighting for! 

So another day comes, the old familiar hurt is beginning to surface and my battle is returning and looking for a fight. It's easy to get tired of the PAIN, but something deep inside urges me on to not fall prey to my own PITY PARTY. All I have to do is look around, and I will see another human being suffering their own private hell with Chronic Pain. Seeing them humbles me deep within my soul because I do not wish for ANYONE to suffer the evil battle of dealing with daily Chronic Pain.

For all of you who fight your Pain battle, please know you are NOT alone. I pray for you each day to keep reaching beyond Pain and try to find a second of real JOY. Yes, we DO have to live with Chronic Pain, but it does NOT get to beat us.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Getting Angry at Pain!

It's not too hard to fall into the Anger pit when you hurt all the time. Actually, it becomes easier as time goes on and Pain does NOT go away.  With having had two recent falls, my fighting spirit seems to have almost taken a back seat to just being plain MAD.  I am mad at myself for having fallen, mad at having MORE Pain than normal, and mad at the setback this has brought to me. 

It's been a hard recovery from these falls, and my dear husband seems to watch every step I take these days. But as I learn over the years of dealing with Chronic Pain, if I just listen and pay attention, somebody else who is suffering helps to teach me a new lesson and give me HOPE as I cope with this setback. I have a dear friend whose husband suffers terribly from Chronic Pain, and we have a joint Prayer Chain in which we pray for each other, hoping our prayers will give us both courage and strength to face the days of non-stop Pain.  I had a really tough weekend and spoke with my friend Sunday night to see how her husband was doing. That's when my Pity Party stopped! She told me how bad his day had been, that he had suddenly decided to just go take a quick drive, something to try getting his mind off the Pain. We laughed as she spoke of his return and stating loudly, "Time to take a pain pill." Somehow, we managed to get through the rest of the day.

It was a joyful eye-opener for me because for those of us who suffer daily with Chronic Pain, we find simple things–like taking a drive to get away from the battle–so we can get our feet back under us and FACE the fight that rages on each day. For me, my pity party is over, and it's back to my daily battle. Feeling sorry for myself is a waste of time. Because I choose to LIVE and keep looking for a moment of Joy! Yes–I DO live with Chronic Pain, but it will not beat me.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Painful Reminder

For all who suffer with Chronic Pain, we still have the desire to DO things as we once did. For me, there was no stopping me in the past before my fall from that stupid tree. My husband, joking, would refer to me as somebody with a mission to accomplish when there was a new job to tackle. I would NOT stop until it was done. That mindset definitely comes from my Dad, who passed away eight years ago. His motto was "You start a job, and you finish a job." Plain and simple! 

We recently purchased a vacation house that is very old–1913 to be exact. Although a great deal of work had been done on it, a LOVING touch is still needed. Each time we go there, I come away weary and tired, constantly reminded of things I should not be doing. But there is that drive in each of us that pushes our minds to keep trying, moving, doing something. So far, I had been pretty lucky in working on the house, meaning no major accidents have come my way. But I could see my husband holding his breath as he watched me do something as simple as walk up steps to the house! These are the moments when I feel GUILT–that ONE stupid action on my part (falling from the tree) has caused this much worry for him.

So as our visit was ending yesterday at this old house, I was rushing around to do the usual packing, making sure nothing was being left behind and then hurrying to load up the truck so we could beat the traffic as we headed back home. But this was NOT going to be an easy EXIT for me. Just as I got to our truck with the last load of items to pack, for whatever reason, I felt myself slipping on fallen oak leaves on the ground. I tried HARD to take my bad leg and plant it firmly, praying this was not happening to me! Next thing I knew, there my old aching body lay, half of me under the truck and the half sprawled on the ground! Thank the LORD I managed to land on my good hip, but I also took a hard HIT on my head from the ground. My only thought was "Oh no, I can't let my husband see me like this. He'll panic and call the paramedics!" So with everything I had left in me, somehow I managed to pull myself up and simply act like NOTHING happened.

I could easily let this fall stop me from trying to do things, but that is not for me. There is a battle that happens each day for me, fighting PAIN, and I refuse to let it WIN. For all who suffer with Chronic Pain, there will always be set-backs and times of wanting to give up. My prayer for each of you is to just KEEP TRYING...and looking up for a bit of joy.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

An Unexpected Surprise!

As the years have passed and PAIN is beside me every single day, I find myself not being that interested in looking for any NEW forms of pain relief. Let's face it, I know that each day for me begins with PAIN, and it's here to stay. So it's pretty easy to finally just accept the forms of treatment I do have and just stay in the fight to not let PAIN beat me down.

But TODAY I received a delightful SURPRISE to say the least. Amy, a good friend of mine, recently completed her education to become a licensed Massage Therapist. I'd cheered her on and was thrilled to hear she had passed all required state testing and was officially in business. Months ago, I'd spoken to her about giving massage therapy a try, but I really wasn't that keen on doing it. When your body hurts so much, you become very protective of weak backs and bad legs. You don't want someone touching you who isn't familiar with your particular PAIN areas. But I knew this person and trusted her so I figured I'd give it a chance but never dreamed it might actually be of benefit to me.

My SURPRISE came during the massage. I found myself laughing out loud because my body was truly RELAXED like it had not been in years! She was thrilled, and all I could do was chuckle and moan with delight as it began to dawn on me: perhaps this was what I was like BEFORE Pain joined my life. 

I do not fool myself into thinking this is a cure. Instead, I'm allowing my eyes to open and realize there IS somebody out there trained to help people who suffer with Chronic Pain. Amy's truly gifted!

There could not have been a more wonderful moment of JOY for me today. I definitely plan to become a frequent customer! My message to anyone suffering: don't give up looking for ways to find PAIN relief.  I pray for all those who are suffering with Chronic Pain and urge you to keep looking for even a second of JOY. It's worth the effort.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Can anything GOOD come from Chronic Pain?

If anybody were to say GOOD things can come from living with Chronic Pain all the time, I would probably give them a LOOK they would NEVER forget. But when I do have better days–meaning PAIN is not raging a total war with my body–I have begun to think about any possible GOOD coming from such a draining physical and mental battle. 

I took the time to reflect on my personal battle and see what GOOD I have gained from making ONE stupid mistake–falling from that tree–and seeing how MUCH my life has changed. When all you can see each day in front of you is PAIN, it's not that EASY to hunt for GOOD things in your life, but it can be done. Before my accident, I lived a full life and did not have a CLUE as to what CHRONIC PAIN really meant. But in one BRIEF flash, everything changed and nothing would be the same again!

Now I appreciate each day and have a deeper respect for people around me who I know are fighting the exact same battle as mine. My faith was strong before my accident, but it has been put to the TEST and will continue to be. When you are alone with PAIN racking your body, all you can do is cry out "Lord, Help me Please!" I DO find my way to keep battling back against Pain. 

I have come to understand my life is not going to be easy, and there will be lots of ups and downs in my battle with Chronic Pain. But for me, the GOOD that comes is still having moments of true laughter and JOY. This is why I know Chronic Pain is here to stay in my life, but it will NOT beat me. I want to keep looking for the GOOD!

God bless each person who suffers and help them find a moment of GOOD.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

How to HOLD on in spite of PAIN

People who suffer daily with Chronic Pain will be the first to admit that facing each day of their journey with PAIN can be a very DELICATE balancing act. Each one of us have our OWN coping tools–pain meds, prayer, exercise, anger, tears–pretty much anything and everything to get through each day. We cherish good days and curse the wicked ones, when PAIN takes over and racks the body to exhaustion.

Nobody can give us a magic formula for coping with Chronic Pain. People give me many suggestions, like what I should do, which NEW procedure is out there or perhaps a new medication, and I always THANK them for caring enough to offer suggestions.  

For me it comes down to sheer determination that I WILL hold on, no matter what, and I say a LOT of prayers every single day. People have asked me what it's LIKE to have such Chronic Pain. I tell them,  "I would NOT wish this pain on my worst enemy...that's what it's like!" A tough answer but it's the truth.

I encourage all who suffer daily with Chronic Pain to HOLD on, keep reaching for JOY and know there IS someone out there praying for you. I hope you will pray for me.

ONE day at a time. That's all any of us can do.