Monday, May 30, 2011

Pain dancing around me all the time

PAIN seems to have formed a dance of sorts with me. As I wake each morning, it's right there, waiting for my feet to hit the floor, telling me, "Time for another PAIN twirl around the floor today!" I know there aren't too many options of even temporary relief out there for me because my insurance is telling me that I am limited to just a certain number of pain injections each year. It continues to blow my mind as to how these people can become GOD without knowing ME. They just sit in some faraway office and casually read my case. They've NEVER WALKED THE SHOES OF CHRONIC PAIN. I suppose it is easier for that sort of detachment. They don't have to see the faces of REAL people who are suffering this Dance with PAIN. So I accept this cursing with frustration but knowing that I can choose to either stay Angry or get on with the GIFT of life that I am given each day, no matter how HARD my Dance is at times.

Dancing was a real JOY for me at one time before the fall from the tree. But now it's an almost impossible task to attempt. By the grace of God, though, I am seeing EXAMPLES of TRUE GRIT. They are a couple we treasure as our neighbors. They've been married for more than 70 years and, believe it or not, they still DANCE! I have never seen them on the dance floor, but I've heard from friends that they can dance younger couples off the floor. Let's see...they BOTH have pacemakers. One also has a 20-year-old HIP replacement still hanging in there to work for him. At the glorious ages of 97 and 93, they are simply CHERISHING each Dance they have together! I tell myself, "Well, if THEY can do it, what's holding ME back"

So I am giving myself a new GOAL: to try and DANCE again with the hope of joyous music playing as my husband gives me a twirl around the dance floor! There will probably need to be a CHAIR waiting for me to catch me, but what a VICTORY I will feel, knowing that PAIN did not keep me completely locked away from something I once cherished. This new dance might only last a few minutes, but I will gladly take even a brief moment of JOY.  It's worth the fight to get there!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Seems like all I do is HURT lately...

It's been a while since I have blogged, and all I can blame it on is PAIN that seems to be wearing extra hard on me lately. I know this sounds like a lame excuse of sorts but until you walk the PAIN journey each day and deal constantly with your body just wrapped in a GRIP that refuses to let you relax and feel normal, only then can you have a true understanding of how hard this fight can be.

Now I have new Pain to deal with–hurting teeth from a ton of needed dental work that I finally knew had to be faced and dealt with. But to have MORE Pain added to my already filled plate, it is a challenge that I am really struggling with. Today I had another visit to my dentist. I gritted my way through it, got home and haven't moved from my bed! Bet this sounds to people like I am being a real baby. Let's face it, it's just DENTAL work. But my body is working so HARD to deal with my daily battle, and now the fight just got a lot harder! These are the times when you should nurture yourself. Do things like rest because your body needs the help in order to continue the battle against PAIN.

Its scary because even the strongest PAIN WARRIORS have their moments of doubt, fear, and total exhaustion. The determination to keep FIGHTING is harder to find, and yet somehow, we do FIND our way through it. I am a ton of emotional stumbles that cause me to RAGE against this enemy that I can't SEE. These are the times when I am brought to my knees in PRAYER, begging for HELP from ABOVE. I am only one person–human in every sense of the word–and there is NO way I can get through each day without HIS help. 

So today as I glared up at my dentist when PAIN was settling in, he gave me such needed words to keep pushing through: "Come on, Martha. YOU can do this, I know it!" My glare instantly became a true, heartfelt SMILE. I NEEDED those words of encouragement, and he knew it. 

Please do not give up the fight. Keep pushing back. My JOY was being able to SMILE today, in spite of PAIN. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pain is a DRAG!

When suffering with daily Chronic Pain, there are days that go on and on. Well, you have the picture. I wake up with Pain, and it stays right beside me all day long. Then it begins to BARK louder as evening starts because Nerve Pain seems to increase and is ready to rob a restful night of sleep from me. Without a doubt, I have a determination inside me NOT to lose this battle with PAIN. I feel like the "ROCKY" character in the movies–beat up, worn down, hitting the mat and then getting right back up to take some more PAIN on. 

But fighting back against this unseen foe called PAIN gets so old that lately it's just plain hard to find words to describe how I feel. Obviously, I am back in a rock-hard Pain cycle that will not go away. And so I am headed back to see my Pain Management Doctor because it's obvious that I am in need of those lovely Trigger Point Injections. For me, they are a blessing because they give me a window of Pain freedom, where I can still look around at the world and know–YES–keep fighting back, no matter what!

So when I say that PAIN is a DRAG...well, it IS in every sense of the word. I wake up feeling like somebody ran my body through the SPIN CYCLE. Then I must face the MORNING Pain that's been waiting for me and keep willing my body to PUSH on! Chronic Pain will DRAG the strongest man down to the ground and leave him begging for relief. I saw this firsthand recently when a friend of my dear husband's woke up one morning in AGONY. For unknown reasons, PAIN had arrived at his doorstep, and he wanted this misery to LEAVE his body. He saw me at church, and my heart felt for him as I saw that familiar face of Pain and heard his question: "How long have you been hurting?" I paused because the answer that he was getting ready to hear from me was hard to say: "I have been in Pain for about fifteen years!" His eyes showed nothing but DREAD, and his response was "There is NO way I will make it because SEVEN WEEKS has almost done me in!" As he walked away, I saw how just SEVEN short weeks of Pain had already began to show the DRAG on his body!

Yep, Pain is a DRAG. We don't like it. We beg for it to go away and never come back again. But one thing Pain does NOT know is that people who suffer daily in this battle are TRUE WARRIORS! We might look tired, older, drained, but make NO mistake, we are determined to keep the fight going!
Be PROUD of yourself, no matter what, and always keep looking for that second of JOY!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Learning lessons from a BIRD?

There are daily lessons given to me as I battle against Chronic Pain. Some are like light bulbs going off, showing me something NEW to do in the fight. Others are TOUGH as nails and can leave me with many questions, wondering why this has to be SO hard. But no answer comes.

I have all my battle techniques neatly lined up: What to do when the Pain starts to ROAR. How to keep my emotions in check at social gatherings (and not be looking for a sturdy CHAIR to plop in). And, yes, not to go grocery shopping when my body and mind are NOT up to picking out yogurt or anything!

So how in the world could I possibly learn a lesson about fighting PAIN from a bird?

This is without doubt my favorite season of the year. It's warm enough to sit outside, watch butterflies, birds and flowers, and enjoy a beautiful late evening sunset. We  have lots of REDBIRDS this year, and it's the first time I have given these beautiful creatures much attention. Right now, they're busy, flying around and building nests. (I get the colors  and sexes mixed up–which one's which.) But never could I have been more surprised to learn about how territorial these birds are. My dear husband told me this morning about this strange sound he kept hearing and thought it was a jack-hammer or something. He was shocked to see a REDBIRD furiously beating itself against our car's side mirror! This little bird was fighting what it thought was the ENEMY. It wouldn't stop until the BATTLE had been won with the OTHER bird in the mirror.

I went outside to watch this FIGHT. As it wore on, something began to HIT me about what this little bird was fighting, and I started to relate this to my own Fight with Pain. The bird refused to GIVE UP. All it could see was another REDBIRD coming into its private space and there was NO way that was going to happen! We began to worry the bird might actually break its beak or hurt itself, but that did not seem to concern  this bird. It was ALL about the FIGHT against a foe! 

It hit because as I could see a bit of my OWN battle that I wage each day and my determination to NOT give up and allow PAIN to take ME out of the picture. I saw a determination in this little bird that amazed me and had me laughing as I sat and watched a battle that NOBODY would really win!

I had a great moment of JOY today, all because of one strong little redbird! Keep reaching for your own JOY because we never know HOW it might come our way. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Emotional side effects of Chronic Pain

After almost sixteen years of fighting day and night against Chronic Pain, it can easily become a cycle that we get wrapped in and have NO  room for anything else. When I first began this BLOG process, I had no clue as to what words would come out each time as I allowed myself to open up and SHARE my  battle with Chronic Pain. As time goes on, I  hear from others who are clawing their way through PAIN and am humbled by their inspiring words because I know better than anybody how HARD it is to fight something you really can NOT see but certainly can FEEL!

Chronic Pain can ROB you of so much. The body that once could do ANYTHING we asked of it, now is weakened by the battle, and daily adjustments must be made to find our way through. What was once real true JOY is now replaced with a TOUGH outer shell that we cling to. Let's be honest...when your body is hurting ALL the TIME, who the heck FEELS like smiling and laughing? I find myself with this semi-plastered smile on my face and know I must push myself to find that JOY. 

Without a doubt it's SO easy to get MAD about this battle that I brought to myself! On the worst days of PAIN, I find myself going back to that awful day when I thought "you can do this" and yet hearing words of "WAIT, WAIT, WAIT!" But of course, I did not WAIT and it's vital I do not allow myself to DWELL too long in the past. PAIN does not give us a vacation. It's always here, and I  know how deep I must reach inside to find the strength to FIGHT back. 

There are TOUGH emotional side effects to Chronic Pain. But amazing life lessons are brought to me each day. By the grace of God, lots of PRAYER and a stubborn streak that refuses to go away is what keeps me going. I am learning it is OKAY to lean on your loved ones, take a long nap, CRY, SHOUT, and, above all, KEEP LAUGHING with real JOY that is STILL inside each of us.

Nobody is perfect, but I feel that all who deal with Chronic Pain are truly WINNERS in every sense of the word. And we will not give in and let PAIN win.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Funny Side of PAIN!

As each day dawns and I struggle to begin my daily fight with PAIN, I  never see anything funny about PAIN. Words that  describe Pain–throbbing, aching, hurting, burning–NONE of those words sound funny and when you are in the midst of fighting back at Pain, LAUGHTER is not in the picture.

But Pain last week gave me a front row seat in viewing how it can be FUNNY. I've recently started having a lot of DENTAL work done and nobody enjoys visiting that office. I had my first of many teeth worked on and left with the usual look–swollen face, and some minor drooling. But I didn't realize the facial PAIN that was about to arrive on my doorstep. My dear husband took me on a quick trip to the grocery store, figuring ALL was okay with me.

Little did he know, nothing was right with me–my face hurt, Pain medication had kicked in and I  seemed to be floating around the store, looking at nothing. Then suddenly I stopped in my tracks!

There sat my grocery basket my PURSE, in plain view for anybody to take! How could I have been so forgetful–oh yes, I had just come from the DENTIST! Let's face it–a woman's PURSE is our prized possession. I feared somebody had already been there, grabbed my wallet, scooted around the store and was using all our credit cards. I could not get the purse unzipped FAST enough, rushing to PULL  the wallet out. Then a COLD feeling rushed over me, like someone was telling me,"You are in the WRONG place." Then a deeper sense of dread set in as it hit me...somebody was WATCHING ME.

Oh no, how in the world was I going to get out of this? I whirled around to find a woman standing with hands on hips, glaring at me like she was seeing a common thief! All I could do was grab at my face, drop the wallet, and rattle off, "I am so sorry! See? My FACE is swollen, and I just came from the Dentist. I thought your purse was MINE. Oh, I would NEVER do anything like this! See how BAD my face looks? don't you think?" As my pitiful pleading went on, my voice got louder and a crowd was gathering to watch me, the lady with a swollen face, drool sliding and pleading her way out of a BAD situation! Then it got worse...I told the lady, "I made this mistake because our Purses BOTH look the same." While I was trying to SHOW her my Purse, it dawned on me I was showing her my PURSE that was hanging over my shoulder, EXACTLY where it should be! 

This is where the Funny side of Pain showed up because it was clear how stupid I looked. Because at that moment, a grin began to spread across the lady's face and she laughed. So did crowd as I stood there, holding my swollen face and wishing there was some place to hide! She told me there was no problem and told me that perhaps after my NEXT dental visit, it might be a good idea to just stay home and NOT go shopping! I agreed and left to hunt my husband down so we could get OUT of the store fast before the sweet lady changed her mind.

As the day wore on and I rested with an ice pack on my face, the events of the day played back in my mind. Then it hit me...the STORE event was my moment of real JOY. But it sure did not  FEEL like JOY when it was happening! Without a doubt, it would have been one of the WORST MUG SHOTS EVER. My face would not allow me to have a good laugh, but there was a real sense of humor and Joy in my heart! 

So if you are at the grocery store one day and see a strange lady with a swollen face reaching for the WRONG purse, just figure I forgot to stay at HOME after Dental Work! But always remember to keep fighting back each day at Pain and realize that JOY can come in ways you never expected!