Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hurricanes & Chronic Pain-can they connect?

Yes-the answer came to me during the wee hours of the morning when the Burning in my butt, leg and foot (which had been at a low hum, giving me a glimmer of hope) suddenly went off like a Smoke Detector and it wasn't smoking-it was Burning like a Red hot Fire!

As I made a rapid move to find my trusty heating pad-my husband knew what was wrong as he commented
"So I guess its safe to say Hurricane Issac finally arrived!"  I growled back with a misery-filled "What was your first Clue Dear?"  People think its strange that a weather event , thousands of miles away could make a change in my Pain-but its true.  As Barometric pressure rises, it has a major impact on any Nerve in the body that is damaged and trust me--my Pain dial seems to have been turned up to a level I had forgotten and nothing calms it down.

I prayed, twisted the leg around, prayed again-then got up and walked around the house as I waited for this terrible Pain to ease.  Lets just say a very Long Night has turned into a very Long Day!  The local news gave me hope-as I heard the Hurricane had finally made landfall.  Believe me, I feel for the people who have lost their homes to this terrible Hurricane, and pray there will be no loss of life.  
Yet I am human-and Pain is wicked, and all I can do is pray tonight will be better.  

This made me pause and look away from my own Pain-thinking about so many other people who live with damaged nerves-I thought about our Young Military Men & Women-those who are now missing limbs from the horror of war, and my heart ached because I knew-they too were feeling the Hurricane.  Just because a limb is no longer there-do not think for a second that Nerve Pain will not happen!  
Its called Phantom Nerve Pain and is very real, and horribly Painful.

I hope the Hurricane season goes by quickly-but whatever is meant to happen with the weather, thats up to the good Lord.  He will help me through these rough times.

I pray tonight for those who are without their homes-and ask God to be with them in this time of loss.

Please keep all who suffer with Chronic Pain in your thoughts and prayers~~~

Prayer works~~

I am living proof of it.

God bless you all.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Why do bad things happen to good People?

Lets be real honest-when bad things happen to someone we care about, or we hear of a senseless tragedy on the news-the question is on our lips, Why did this happen?  The answer doesn't come-we are given bits and pieces of possible reasons-example being the recent senseless shooting of people out for a fun night at  the movies.  So many people had their lives turned upside down in a matter of seconds, loved ones taken from them in a violent rampage of Flying Bullets-taking both Old and Young ones from those who loved them. 

I have a dear friend who recently got the news of Cancer returning in her body-the choices she faced were Not Pretty~~ either take Chemotherapy for the rest of her life, or choose to have a life-changing Surgery.  The decision she made was huge-a real fear existed she might not get through the Surgery, but many prayers were being offered up for this wonderful woman, and she is still with us!
  I thanked God for this news and didn't ask Why.

But today I can't silence the question-Why?  A wonderful friend I have been blessed to meet through this Blogging World now stands beside her husband-who is seriously ill, many tests are being done to find the physical problems wreaking havoc on his body.  Our Faith can run very deep, but when these moments hit, we are begging God for help and crying for an Answer to what brought this serious health issue to her beloved husband.

These are dark days-filled with uncertainty as to what lies ahead for this dear woman's husband-and I know prayers are being spoken all over the world for this man. All I can do is pray and place both of them before the Lord-as I plead for a good outcome, but my heart keeps circling around the Question~~

Why do Bad Things Happen to such Good People?

Rough seas will flow toward us one day-its called  Life,  all we can do is cherish every second given to us~
Today I  reach out to unknown hearts around this world-
and make this plea,
Please say ONE Prayer for my friend & her dear Husband~~

"Dear Lord, Please help her Husband get better!"

A simple Prayer-but I know it will be heard!

God bless you all--Thank you for speaking this prayer today.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The "Silent Pain" that joins Chronic Pain

Today I saw one of my older neighbors, a man with a heart of gold, always smiling, always wanting to know how I am feeling-and there on his body was Pain in every manner possible.  Yet he again asked how I was doing-thinking of others, not worrying about his own condition.  The Look of Pain surrounded him.  All I could think was "God he doesn't deserve this suffering!"

I know the Pain Look all too well-we visited for a few moments, and it was clear he needed to find a place to sit down, so the Pain would not scream so loud in his body.  He told me that one morning he got up-and here was the result!  My heart was breaking for him, all I could do was stand and listen.  There was no mention of his daughters being aware of his condition-but something tells me they do keep a close watch on their Dad.  

But what about the countless others who have no family to drop in for a visit-how do they handle this Silent Pain?  Some family members can't handle being around Chronic Pain-they work hard to keep a distance from Pain,  feeling if they get too close, it  might spread their way.  These are the people who must add an extra load of Pain to their already full plate of Chronic Pain-facing the painful reality that nobody will knock on their door, checking to see how their day is going.  Many families are broken with emotional wounds that never go away-but when we rise above the ache, suddenly right in front of us~~

God has an abundance of "extended family members" to be with us during the darkest moments of Pain-we call them friends, but without question, they are Family to us and if we need them, they are here anytime of the day-no matter the situation or need.  Having them in our lives helps push the "Silent Pain" away, as Love is poured over us.  Suddenly special times are shared- holidays, special trips, movie nights, or sharing a meal together-these are moments that fill our hearts with Joy and we thank God for the blessing of them.  

As we age, that term "Empty Nesters" arrives-but need not be a time of mourning, instead I believe God is giving us all a chance to reach out, pushing beyond the Pain and make a choice to Live!  Yes- Pain will follow me all the way-but I have a loving husband and the best "extended Family" in the world and I thank God each day for these Gifts! 

So when you see an older neighbor on the street-stop and give them a friendly greeting!  At that one moment in time, you have stepped up to ease their Silent Pain and given them a reminder, we are all Extended Family Members to each other!

God be with you.  I pray for everyone who suffers with Pain.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Watching from a distance, but still so close~~~~

Its never dull when I visit my Pain Management Doctor's Office-I sit in the lobby as the office fills quickly with people hurting, Pain showing on their faces.
I spread my Embroidery work out as I sit in a large comfortable chair, watching all who enter those doors, looking for magical relief of their Misery.

"The Parade of Pain Patients" begins-One man enters the doors, his back is wrapped in a large supportive brace (probably had back surgery), then stops to remove it.  Something tells me he wants the doctor to see all the progress he has made since Surgery (secretly hoping he is given permission to do away with the Brace)-his facial expression says so much!

A Woman is next in line through the doors, but her walk is slow-with a noticeable limp (I feel like the Doctor as my mind works to decipher her condition, might be a disc issue in her back) she is in the doors and out, letting her husband know today will be a long wait.

A Elderly Woman enters the doors being held open by her son-she has the familiar cane as a support to keep a fall from occurring.  Her face is strained (without a doubt, its a bad day with Pain) and yet she walks with a air of determination-wanting to be seen as a Person who can still function, despite the Pain.

I notice as each person walks by me, a quick glance comes my way (we seem to always be looking for those obvious Pain Signs) but on they go and I want to shout- "Wait, the only reason you can't see My Pain is because its all wrapped around my Sciatic Nerve!"  My voice stays silent, as I keep my head low-suddenly I am hit with Pain and all I can do is squirm back and forth in my chair! At that moment, all I want to do is run through the Waiting Room, pushing everyone aside as I beg for my Doctor's attention-
but I am no different, I must sit with my Pain beside me and wait my turn.

This is my reminder-I can choose to sit outside in the Lobby, doing "busy work" with my hands-keeping a distance away from the other patients, but I am still so very close to them.  But suddenly I recall all the faces that passed by me, then adding mine to the mix and I am filled with a mixture of Pride and Joy.  None of us crawled in here today, we each walked with rock-solid determination-keeping hid the darkest corners of our Pain!

We are united by our Pain, it changes our lives in so many ways, and yet gives us a deeper compassion for each other.  Its a safe bet to say we are here for the same reason
Any relief possible from the Pain is our Plea.

I will always be praying for you, please keep me in your Prayers~~~~

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Are you paying Attention?

Its easy to forget about reaching out to friends- my constant Pain has a way of distracting me from everyone, everything-almost demanding All of my attention.  It seems to go with the Chronic Pain process-we apologize when it hits us that we forgot a loved one's birthday, or  forgot to make that "drop in phone call" to see how friends are doing.

During this past week, a thought kept nagging at me-I felt something was not right with a loving couple we know from our church that we truly cherish as treasured friends.  They are older and yet seem to live life to the fullest, traveling here and there-both enduring various Health problems, but never letting anything bring them to a complete halt.

When they first moved here, we met them one Saturday at Mass and invited them to join us for a Open House Christmas Party we were having.  It was our chance to invite both church friends and community friends-in a small town, everybody knows each other and its a great way to make new friends!  To our delight, they accepted our invitation and our friendship was united from that moment.

They have seen me weather the storms of my own health problems-yet they have battled serious issues on their own, keeping it quiet,  simply plowing through rough seas- a firm smile on their face and a big prayer in their hearts.  Earlier this week, a thought began pulling at me-almost as if I were being asked
 "So have you Checked on these Friends?"  

I made a mental note to call them,  then went about my day-but the message followed me
with greater intensity, "Why haven't you made the phone call-what's holding you up?" 
There was no excuse to make, but I did chalk it up to being in Pain-although it felt pretty weak when I tried offering it as a legitimate reason for not calling our friends. Suddenly the strongest reminder came~
"Are you Paying Attention?"  

At this point, I knew something was wrong with my Friends-and made plans to call their home.  But God knew I needed a stronger reminder~~
Just before I made the phone call, I glanced through our local paper and almost screamed in shock as I read a Public Notice that people issue when the Estate of a Deceased Person is going through Probate!

There in bold letters was the Name of the Husband of this Couple!
This could not be- we would have heard the news of his passing!  After all, we Do live behind the church-I could not put it all together-but the message kept tugging away 
"So, Are you really Paying Attention?"

My fingers could not dial their number fast enough-only to get the answering machine, which raised my fears higher.  I knew it was time to start calling people at church-surely somebody could tell me what was going on, as I prayed, telling God how sorry I was for not paying Attention.

It took one call to learn the wife was being treated for a recurrence of Cancer!  My heart broke-it was the last thing I wanted to hear!  After learning  she was at a major Cancer Center, I dialed the hospital, asked for her by name,  and within seconds- I heard her steady voice on the other end!  We shared a few moments together-as I let her know how much we love them and commented to her "Well, I know this fact-you are one Courageous Woman" and she returned my words, reminding me that I too had a lot of Courage with being in Pain for so long.  Part of me wanted to say "Well I might have some Courage but I just got a big lesson in learning How to Pay Attention!

The outlook is hopeful for my friend- as she made the comment
 "I have to say, these Cancer Centers aren't very keen on letting you think about Dying!"
I didn't share with her about the final "Jolt" it took to get my full attention-I will hold that one silent until they both get back home and we can visit them both as I share my reminder
"Are you Paying Attention?"

I ask God to please heal my friend and bring her back to good health, so she can have many joyous moments with family and friends.

God be with all who are suffering.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How to get through the Worst Days~~~

First question-Anybody got a Suggestion on how to battle the Bad Pain days?  I feel like people will read this and say
"Seriously-You should know how to do this!" 

You would be right- the process of fighting through horrible Pain days is well known to me, but guess what-

I don't Enjoy a Single Moment of the Battle!  
Its Miserable-no other way to get around describing this fight.
What I would give for a Do-Over of that Awful day so many years ago, as I climbed that tree-
thinking Nothing Bad could ever happen! 

Chronic Pain seems to have a way of taking every second of the day and giving you "reminders" throughout the day-
"Oh, I haven't gone anywhere.  How is your Back feeling right now?"

Second Question-How does it feel when people give you their own Miracle Cure Suggestion?
When this happens, it seems as if all of me shuts down-I can hear the person talking, see their genuine desire to offer an idea of help for this Pain I live with-and all I can think is-

You don't Get it!  There is No Way you will ever understand Chronic Pain!
The only way you might get it is if Pain joined your Life~~

Sorrow hits me as I think
  "Oh God, I never want another person to suffer with Chronic Pain!"  I would not wish this on my Worst Enemy!

Third Question- How many times during the roughest days do you reach out and say
 "God, you have to help me today!  I just don't have the strength inside me."

Many years ago while my Dad was still alive, I dared to ask a question about his time in WWII-he never spoke of it and something told me "tread carefully" as I asked him
 "Daddy, did you have moments where you Prayed during the War?"
This moment is burned into my memory-he took a long, hard look at me and said with No Hesitation~~
"Yep Sister, I prayed every Damn Day!  We all did!"
That was my first and last question to ask of him and the horrors of War-those words told me much more than I ever wanted to know!

Final Question- Do you have friends to reach out for on the bad days of Pain?  
I have friends who love me, despite my Pain, who probably want me to stop talking away about my Burning Butt, Aching Body, Weary Legs-on and on, but they will lend me open ears, loving hearts, and Love me in ways  I  never have dreamed possible. 

I pray you do have a friend, relative-maybe someone with a caring heart that will stop and be there for you-
giving their complete attention to you, so Pain can be Dumped out of your Heart for just a few Minutes.

My suggestion for the bad Pain Days~~~

Take it One Day at a Time-sometimes Take it One Second when thats all you can do!

For everyone who suffers with Pain, I urge you to hang in there.  

You always have a Prayer coming from me~~~

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sharing Pain Together~~~

Its one thing to see a stranger suffering with Pain-I don't know the person yet feel an instant Ache in my heart as I see the all too familiar signs of Pain.  After all the years of walking my own path with Pain,  I find myself taking part in an Unspoken Language silently flowing among us. A half-hearted Smile is shared, then a look passes between us-allowing the Heart to Speak through our Eyes ~~

God be with you, How we wish the Pain wasn't here today!

We walk away, maybe sneaking one more glance at how destructive Chronic Pain can be-yet squaring our shoulders, pushing our aching bodies to stand a bit taller as a way of telling Pain, "You do not have all of us on this Day!  So leave us alone for a while-give us a few moments in this day to recall what life was like before Pain showed up!"

But everything gets turned upside down when the one you love the most suddenly finds Pain wrapped around their body!  My dear husband has suffered with back problems since the late 1980's-he was doing what so many police officers do for extra money-spending hours on an off-duty job.  This was a special one, as the late Pope John Paul had made a visit to San Antonio and every officer was needed for extra security.  It had rained the day before his scheduled arrival-Golf Carts were used to run quick errands and one was stuck in the mud.  Another officer and my husband decided to simply put some "muscle" to the bumper and figured they could Lift it out of the mud!  Big-very big mistake.  Matt slipped in the mud-end result was a Bulging Disc in his back

The Signs of another Flare-up arrived this week and I flew into Nurse Martha action,  grabbing heating pads, ice bags, an extra pillow to elevate his feet-hoping to take the pressure off his back! Frustration rises in him as I walk around, watching him like a Mother Hen with her baby chicks.  There is no hesitation in my husband as I called my Pain Management Doctor this morning, getting an appointment scheduled quickly so his Pain can be eased-lets be honest, when a man does not protest about having to see a Doctor, its a sure fire-bet, all he wants is quick Relief! 

Yesterday I glanced up from my Embroidery work (keeping the hands busy) the image of us had me silently laughing~~ my husband lay peacefully sleeping on the sofa with Heating Pad on High,  I sat in my chair, Heating Pad on Low!  Husband and Wife-sharing our Pain Together!

My prayer for today is~~
God, please help ease Matt's Pain.

For everyone who is suffering with Chronic Pain, you are in my prayers always. 


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Describing Chronic Pain-which word fits it best?

I have spent hours writing about Chronic Pain-describing where it hurts, how much it hurts-you get the idea.
Somewhere along the line, I simply got Tired of reaching for the perfect Word to describe Pain.  There are many words I can't share-those came in the early days of the Pain Game-I cursed this unseen enemy that pulled me down in ways I never dreamed possible.  

Surgeries, Illness, Pain, Recovery-finally got the best of me and I shut down, having no desire to leave our home-instead choosing to sit in my chair and allow Pain to envelope all of me.  These were some of my darkest days-I didn't care to explain my "situation", made more difficult when people would see me at  Pain Clinic and comment "Well you can walk around-why are you here?"  

I wanted to scream "I'm here because I am in Agonizing Pain-just like You" but chose to remain silent, which continued giving Pain the Upper Hand in my Life.  Chronic Pain carries a darkness with it-once its a part of your life-you are facing the biggest Wall of your Life, and it  finally took me to my knees in desperate Prayer!  That was my moment of Realization-there was No way I could fight this Monster alone, and knew I needed God's Help in every way possible.  

Its taken many years, tons of ups and downs, but I have finally chosen a New Word to Describe my Pain:
Continuous ~~~~

 Pain seems to be around me in a Continuous taunting manner, pushing me back and forth as it rages on,  I struggle to keep rising up for battle, each time the "Pain Bell Rings" alerting me to crawl back into the Ring-I am reminded of the Continuous nature of my Pain.  

There are tons of words to use in describing Chronic Pain-Burning, Aching, Constant throbbing, Dead Numb Feeling, Tingling Sensation, Miserable Pain, Rotten Pain, God-awful Pain!   I could go on for a long time but figure these are plenty-I don't like giving anything to Pain! 

Instead I choose words like Hope, Faith, Courage and tons of Prayer!  These are my words I use when walking the floor at night, knowing its just me, Pain and God!    
His amazing Grace has brought me this far-helped me to find inner courage to rise up and Fight back against Pain, so I will not lose all of Me to this rotten thing I call Chronic Pain.

Its my prayer that something I write can be of Hope to you-as Pain rages against you, please know
 God is with you-every second.

God bless you and keep you in His loving Embrace.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Special Day~~~

My Parents-on their Wedding Day
August 16th, 1947
"Dorothy & Calvert"

This is a photo I treasure-seeing my parents on their Special day, both of them filled with Youth and ready to start their married life together!  Daddy had already been through WWII-making it back home after having seen Six Major Campaigns in the Pacific-serving  in the Infantry.

I try to imagine letters going back and forth between them while he was away, they had known each other for many years-in those days neighbors were always around to help each other-whether it meant building a barn, bringing in a crop, or helping offer a quiet shoulder of strength to lean upon when it was needed.

This is the only photo I have of them on their Wedding Day-and this photo didn't surface until  Moma had passed away and Daddy was fighting his own health woes.  Once in a while, I would ask questions of how they got started in those early days-Moma never failed to share her "worst" memory, which happened the morning after their Wedding.  They started life out in a small cabin that had a dirt floor-which sounded terrible to me, but just went with the territory for her.  She talked about the pride of rushing around to get their First Breakfast prepared, getting everything on the table and breathing a sigh of Newly Married Jitters as she anxiously watched to see how her husband would love the meal~

Daddy was a man of few words, telling it like he saw it-Moma said he looked at the food, while holding a hot cup of Coffee and in a matter-of-fact tone, said
 "Wife, You forgot the Bread!"

I can still see her face as she told me this story-its like the memory had hit again-her being there, a brand new wife and realizing, Breakfast was going to take a while because she had to make some Biscuits-Fast!  Everything was cooked on a wood stove, there was no convenience store to zip out to for a loaf of bread.  

She did tell me that Daddy sat in silence, drinking extra cups of Coffee and when the hot biscuits arrived, made sure to heap words of praise on those last minute biscuits!  I am sure that was the only time she forgot to have Bread ready for the meal.

Life had to be so hard for them in those early years-but people didn't fuss about it-because that was the way of Life back then.  As Daddy told me once "Sister-you just took whatever came your Way" and I knew they both worked together-making the best out of life.  

God blessed them with 54 years of marriage, Four Children and a parcel of grandkids too.  They didn't need much-Life had given them all they needed, anything extra was a blessing for them.

I had wanted to post this on their Wedding Anniversary this week, but I forgot.  Something tells me they would not fuss about this.  I imagine hearing them say
"Now Sister, Don't worry about us!  We are Just Fine!"

I miss them so much-it hurts!  But then I step away from my own selfish needs and look up toward Heaven-and I smile with Joy!  They are at peace, standing with God and all their loved ones who had already gone and were waiting for them!

God blessed me with these two wonderful people that I call 
Moma & Daddy!

Thanks for letting me share them with you!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Spend an evening in your Local ER Room......

Nobody likes to spend anytime at their local Emergency Room but this is real life and "stuff" happens-so we find the door, sometimes dragging ourselves in for some medical help.

Without question-in all the years I have been living with Pain, the ER is a place I know pretty well-wish it wasn't this way, but as I said, "Stuff Happens!"  Last night was my time to be there, as I had been feeling pretty rotten all week long with what I call a very Irritable Tummy-which decided to have a Temper Tantrum last night and I was begging for relief of the Pain and Nausea.

They wheeled me in quickly-primarily because some of my symptoms were those "key" words that make the medical profession think "do we have a heart attack victim here?"  I had so many people buzzing around me-being thorough, fast, and very caring.  The immediate tests were done and it was a relief to know-all was clear with my old Heart, now we needed to address my tummy!  Oh how I wish this process had gone faster, but it took most of the night, trying out several medications, and numerous tests to finally get to the bottom of my Angry Gut!

My dear husband was there-no complaining, watching the television (yes even the ER believes in keeping some form of entertainment going) and it helped pass the hours.  Around 2:00am, we finally got permission for me to go home, some prescriptions in hand and a promise from me that I would see my Tummy doctor this week-not a hard promise to make, believe me!

One thing I also learned last night-the ER is a place where Suffering seems to never stop.  A man next door was in agony-you couldn't miss that familiar sound of "oh God please help me" and I know he was being attended to quickly.  Another woman-perhaps a wife or close family member of someone was wailing "No, No, oh please No!"  When I heard those words, I prayed for God to help her-knowing He was there to help all who flowed in and out the ER doors.

My Nurse looked so tired as we got ready to head home-but still had many hours ahead of her, as more would come through those doors, aching, damaged, hurting-all in need of a gentle touch, helping to calm them and help them through this night.

I hated feeling rotten last night-but came away with a sense of peace, a greater awareness of how special these medical people are who work in the ER room-they see people at their worst moments, and yet stay calm as they go about the job of helping their fellow man.

If you get a chance-say a prayer of Thanks for these people~  who knows when your time might come that you will be in their midst, hurting and needing help!  God picks special Angels to do this job!

God bless you.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Alright-I have had just about Enough of This!

Martha's Burning Pain!
created by: The (Veronica Anderson)

Okay,  my Butt has been on Fire for about sixteen years-so what else is new~~~  I am in Day Three of recovering from wonderful Injections given by my amazing Pain Management Doctor, and I wonder if she ever says the same statement about Pain, "Enough Already!"  Lets be honest-there is no way you can really look at a person in Chronic pain and not feel sympathetic to their suffering!  

During this most recent bout of " Burning Butt, Leg & Foot" just about anybody who spends time around me would say "You might want to tread lightly around Martha-she is Not having a Good Day!"
So I gave a lot of thought to how a Group of Chronic Pain Patients might look: all of us gathered around in a large circle (space is really needed as we let the lid off the Pain Pressure Cooker) we stand there, all in various stages of Pain-you will see hands pressing against an Aching Back, one might stretch a leg out to ease intense Pain, and so many will be standing with arms crossed tight against the chest-in a silent message of sorts to let others know "I hate being in Pain-Yep, I have had Enough of It!"

There we all stand-aching, frustrated, tired, angry, broken by bone grinding Pain~~
Slowly we cast our Pain to the side, so we can see the Pain of all who stand nearby-
and suddenly the Circle swells with Compassion!
We are looking in a large Mirror, watching the person standing across from us-thinking
 "wow, he looks rough-wonder where his Pain comes from" as silent fear rises up, we
quietly pray, "Please God, don't let me get that bad!"

Each one of us have cursed our Pain, cried from total exhaustion- knowing the Tears must be dried quickly because Pain is waiting, waiting, waiting~~
and we know-its time to step away from the Circle and walk back into the Pain.
We nod a silent Goodbye, see you Soon to each other, hoping against hope that 
One of us gathered in this Circle will find their Pain eased-
Its a Silent Prayer being Spoken within our Hearts as we step away.

Chronic Pain-Go Away
Please stay away, just One more Day.

God bless all who fight this tough battle~~~




Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The "Wow I am in Pain Walk" as the Doors keep Opening!

Yesterday was my time to get Injections for my Burning Butt Pain-and something always surprises me each time I am there, it ranges from seeing an elderly person suffering in quiet dignity-waiting her turn to be called back for some"Hopeful Magic Medicine for Pain" or a young woman, a look of obvious fear on her face-telling me this might be her first visit here and has no clue of what to expect.  Within minutes of my arrival, it stuns me each time to see how quickly the room fills up with so many of us- Chronic Pain People, each of us with obvious signs that say "Wow I really am in Pain today" and all we want is Help-so the wicked Pain will go away!

For me, its like visiting long lost relatives-the nurses all know me by now, all the Attendants in the Procedure room recognize me as I start growling about how cold the room is-then stop fussing as I know, they are here to help Me feel better, so I will toss out a joke or ask how their day is going.  After that-the next memory is of a caring Nurse telling me "Martha-time to wake up and go home, its all over now!"

Something hit me as I waited for my doctor to arrive-it was the Nurses-I know so many of them but it seemed as if I was being told "Martha-time to pay attention-Watch the Nurses" and to see them in action-Comforting Angels is the best description I can give for all of them!  Their voice is always filled with a true tone of Care, delicate hands reaching out to offer any assistance one might need, before anything is done to us, they go the distance in explaining what is going to happen, and do everything in their ability to prevent any further Pain coming our way!  

It was like watching a moving machine filled with "Comforting Angels" who kept everyone moving, plumping our pillows, bringing a Warm Blanket our way-always asking "Can I do anything for you?"
I have no clue as to the number of total patients who entered the doors yesterday-but without question, each person was given the same genuine Love and Care-something coming at a time when its so very needed.

I believe God must chooses these Nurses very carefully-they walk those floors, greet people at the door, seeing Chronic Pain flowing in, never stopping until the day has ended.  The next time I go there, you can be assured I will have found the image of a Special Angel-to give them in thanks for the Loving Care they extend to me!

Thank God for all Nurses around the world.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Chronic Pain-A Constant Process of Learning~~~

This statement seems to Fit Chronic Pain perfectly~~

"It is what it is!"

 Chronic Pain has its way with us- it Keeps going and going-dragging us through the Worst days, but occasionally letting a few needed seconds of Relief sneak through.  One friend told me how she views  my Pain level-"It shows in your Eyes, and it wipes away the delightful sparkle we have seen in your eyes!" Yes, no way to deny that one-Pain pounds away on my body, leaving me with frayed nerves, complete physical exhaustion-there is not enough Makeup in the world to hide all the Battle scars Chronic Pain leaves on us.

We who walk this Path are constantly battling all the issues that join Chronic Pain-lack of sleep-Pain loves to roar during the night hours, Pain medication doesn't help as much and we try to adjust, but nothing makes it any easier.  I find myself  praying more these days-begging God for extra tools to fight Pain.  Maybe the tools don't arrive on my time schedule but suddenly I notice the Pain went from unbearable to manageable.   

We are constantly learning something "new" about coping with Pain- Advice, Research, and Prayer!  Lately my lessons have come from me asking others a simple question- "Do you think I can keep this Battle Going?"  Instantly I throw my fighting words in before they can answer-because I am trying to assure them of my Determination!  Then it hits me- I did ask a question of them and my head drops in frustration:
"Time for Martha to be Silent-letting my Heart open fully to their words." 

Nobody has ever told me "I don't think you have it in you anymore"  as they worry, there could be a Sudden Slinging of Fighting Words coming from me!  Here is one of my most important lessons lately-I notice there is No hesitation in their answer "Martha-you will Never Quit Fighting, anybody who knows you is fully aware of that fact!"  

 Today  I asked a friend this same question and  his answer came in two parts:
First he assured me there was no Doubt in his mind of my Courage to keep fighting the Pain,

but his next statement touched me to the core of my being:

"Martha, I just wish you could have some Peace!"  

My heart ached at these words-because I realized the same Wish was in my heart too!  Another lesson seemed to tug at my heart- perhaps I need to put my Fighting Stance just to the side of me, so I can have my eyes and heart open for Peace that is all around me-simply waiting for me to look its Way!

Each person has developed their way of coping with Chronic Pain, but even the toughest will fall and stumble during this Journey. Trying to go a full Fifteen Rounds with Pain-well its a Fight that even Rocky Balboa might run from!   

Please know, I pray for everyone who suffers with Pain.  Keep me in yours!~~~

God bless.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Things you should Not do on a Bad Day with Pain~~

 This walk with Chronic Pain is just like having a full-time job, except I don't leave the house, and there are No Perks or benefits that go with this particular Job!  Many years ago (pre Tree Fall) I worked in the Public Sector and loved it-but  remember having to spend weekends doing all the necessary catch-up jobs around our home,  making sure to do extra cooking to have food ready for us at the end of a work day.  

That was a long time ago and everything in my life is so different, daily changes come my way, demanding I make numerous concesssions- having to cancel plans at the last minute due to Pain that forces my body to Stop and ride through the Waves of Pain.  The last thing on my mind is cooking-and I feel a lot of guilt about this aspect-after all, my dear husband needs to eat, so do I-but getting around the Pain and into the Kitchen is one heck of a Task on the bad days.

  It dawned on me recently just how far I have strayed from the Kitchen- We keep the fridge stocked so my dear husband is not chewing the sofa legs off-but something hit when I saw a empty frozen Pizza box in the trash, a light bulb went on and I knew-"martha, you need to cook something!"

This message rang loud & clear when I saw my sweet husband grabbing his belt, hooking it up an extra notch, I knew-"My man is Hungry" so to the kitchen I went!  My intentions were good-I had some beautiful Fish Fillets that I quickly seasoned and popped in the Oven-  
 Pain was roaring and I forgot Fish cooks pretty fast-as I turned to oven temps up, up, up!

We took a few minutes to relax on our front porch-taking my mind away from the Pain-but I noticed  constant reminders coming my way-as my dear husband kept glancing at his cellphone, reminding me
 "So, how long did you say that Fish needs to Bake?"  

Oh no-I forgot about the Fish, recalling setting the oven temps too high-as I tried to throw a line of Hope for a good meal  "Oh I bet its almost ready, just give me a few minutes" and flew inside, being greeted by the oven reminder beeping constantly-as if to tell me "Geez its Too Late now!"  

I took the once decent-looking Fish out and knew-on this night, Toasted Fish was the Main Course as I scrambled to find those 'Steamer Vegetables" throwing a bag in the Microwave, all the time knowing, there was No chance for a revival of the Fish!  Time to face it, lowering my head in prayer, not wanting to look at my husband!  

We ate in silence as I watched dear husband drink glass after glass of water-not saying a word, as he chewed away on Toasted Fish and pitiful Microwave Vegetables!  What had I been thinking-trying to fix a meal while Pain seemed to constantly jump in my face-throwing me off course, as if to give me a
warning "Guess what Martha-You are going to Mess this Meal up Big Time Tonight!"

I couldn't take the Silence any longer- "Okay, I know the Fish is Terrible-its like Toast, and those Vegetables are just as Bad!  Say Something-anything, Please!"  After downing his 5th glass of water,  my dear husband cleared his throat, took the remaining piece of fish in his hand and said

"Well-this is a New Way to Eat Fish-really Toasty!  How about you let me Fix Dinner the next time?"

We laughed Together-this man could have really let me know how Bad the Meal was, but instead we Faced the Real Facts: 

 Cooking Fish is one Thing Martha should Never Do on a Bad Day with Pain!

A lesson learned!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Two Peas in a Pod~~

"Okay-lets make this look Good!"

Yes, this is my Daddy, laying in a hospital bed and I managed to find room beside him for this photo, which was probably taken in late 2002.  It only takes a few seconds for the tears to start as I look at this and think, 
"Well Daddy, I could really use some of your Face the Facts words" but then I realize my Daddy is free of Pain, no more suffering and he is with my Moma-as they rest peacefully in Heaven.  

 Ten years have flown by since this moment was captured on film.  The reality of that number-Ten Years-hits me like a brick being smashed through a window, my battle against Pain has been moving along-and I have faced major times of severe illness.  But by the amazing grace of God, I am still here on this day-and I have the blessing of this photo-no matter the emotional Pain it brings.  

Daddy spent many hellish days in the hospital, as he battled Cancer-going through the nightmare of Chemotherapy Treatments, never complaining that much-just holding firm to a quiet acceptance of all that was happening to him.  One awful day is burned into my memory-I had just walked into his room, having no understanding as to the side-effects of Cancer treatment-until that one day as Daddy had just been brought back to his room.  

It seemed as if Hell surrounded my Dad-he was violently ill, all I could do was hold him up, shoving  a
much need container his way- while silently begging "Dear God, help me find a Nurse-Fast!"  I kept telling him everything would be okay- but he knew, nothing was okay and finally told me, 
"Sister, don't worry about it.  I'm not worth all the bother."  

At that moment,  something stirred deep inside me, I wanted to Find a weapon to beat this illness away from my Dad-as it took him so far down that he felt worthless, not wanting to bother anyone with his problems.  I stopped pushing the dreaded Nurse Call Button and moved into high gear, gently 
easing Daddy back onto the bed-as I rushed around the room, grabbing towels to clean him up and finding a fresh gown to put on him.  In short-I was determined to give my Father Dignity on this ugly day.  

My actions that day helped us both to understand why he often called me "Trouble" because if anybody had tried to stop me from helping Daddy at that moment-well I think they would have found themselves sitting on the floor-outside the room!  As I approached him to remove the soiled gown, the "man" still inside him rose up, as he said "Now Sister, thats something those Nurses can do-you just leave me be!"

We locked eyes for a brief moment, and Trouble said," Daddy, there is No way I will let you stay in that Gown!  Just look away and I will get this done, lickety-split!"  I can still see him glaring at me-as a weak smile formed and he said "Well Sister, I guess you best get with it!"

So I guess its a pretty good assessment to say we were indeed Two Peas in a Pod-both of us stubborn, determined to hold our own ground,  but never losing sight of our Love for each other.

I thank God for having this amazing man as my Dad.

Thanks for allowing me to share.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Even the Famous can be hit with Chronic Pain~~

It hurts to see a famous Actor who is known across the world, financially independent-when in the blink of an eye, has  met Chronic Pain.  I recently caught a late night show of Jay Leno and saw Morgan Freeman was on-after he settled into the familiar Visitor Chair, my eyes were locked onto one Hand of Mr. Freeman, it seemed to be covered in a glove-the other hand looked fine.  Their conversation began as Mr. Leno asked the usual questions, "so what are you doing now?  Have you Been Flying  your Plane?"

This question hit Mr. Freeman-it was like someone had flipped on a light switch, letting all know-something was not right as he slowly answered 'Well Jay, No, I haven't been flying my Plane-you know it takes Two Hands to do that."  A awkward silence filled the air waves as time seemed to stop-nothing was said until Mr. Leno worked to find another question- "Well, how about Golf?"

Again Mr. Freeman took a painfully slow glance toward Jay, as his answer held a slight edge "Golf takes two hands also!"  I watched this exchange and knew Mr. Freeman was getting ready to show His Pain to the world- his gloved hand appeared, as he explained it had become paralyzed from his being in a serious car accident.  Jay looked at the gloved hand and was at a loss for words.  After all, what could anyone say to ease this situation?

I will probably never have a chance to meet Morgan Freeman but this man did not shy from showing everyone just how fast a life-changing injury can hit you.  The nerves in his hand are permanently damaged-and it was obvious he was experiencing daily changes, doing  his best to deal with them.

I was getting ready to finish this posting when the news came on and there was a brief news clip regarding the man who had shot U.S. Congress Woman Gabby Giffords-almost taking her life and yet by the grace of God she is still here, alive and doing her job to find Gabby again.  The Interviewer asked if she was Angry at the young man-Gabby said it all, "No,  Its Life!"

A new awareness is finding its way inside me-as Gabby said so clearly, "Its Life"- stuff happens.  Yet God never walks away from us~~~~ 

Bless all who fight this wicked enemy-we are bound together by Pain and Prayers! 


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Heh-I can Handle these Guys!

"Does somebody have a Problem here?"

This is me- about Four years old, doing what I loved-being outside with all the Animals!  I love the "Look" coming from the Goats-as if to say, "Wait a minute, she doesn't look like Us" but if you look close, one lone Goat is moving out of the photo fast-maybe this Goat was thinking-
"She might look Tiny, but word has it-You better Watch out for this One!"

I am sure Daddy was only steps from me, ready to rescue me if the Goats decided I was too close-yet he knew I was having the time of my young life and didn't want this moment to pass!  Now try to imagine almost Four Hundred extra Goats standing nearby-yes, we had almost the same number of Sheep and I spent just as much time with them too!  This was life on the farm and if Daddy was outside, you could figure I would be there too!

Yet there was a daily conflict of sorts going on-Moma so determined to see her little Girl dressed up-Daddy fussing with her to "hurry things up" so we could get outside quickly.  I try to imagine the discussions flying between them- Moma rushing to dress me, Daddy being in a hurry, but waiting patiently as the final touch was added-my pretty Black Patent Leather Shoes!

At the end of these long ago days, I recall Moma taking one long "whiff" of her little girl, and the words flew "Daughter, you smell like those ugly Goats and Sheep! Oh my, look at your little shoes-all messed up with Sheep Poop on them!" Daddy would lean against the bedroom wall- a grin of true delight on his face, knowing there was no way to keep his little girl from "smelling like a Farm Animal."

I love everything about this picture- delightful memories fill my heart, followed by a familiar Ache-knowing my Parents are gone,  watching from their Heavenly Post as I battle against Chronic Pain, wishing they were here to hold me in their arms, yet my heart seems to tell me, "Listen closely Martha-for their words"

"Sister, we remember a tiny little girl  filled with such Fierce Determination-She is still with you, helping to fight against the Pain! Remember- God is with you, always."

I treasure this picture-it took me for a long walk today that filled me with Joy.

I  say a prayer for those who suffer with Chronic Pain, please say One for me too.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Staying Busy-keeping Pain at bay~~

First-this is so easy to say, but at times, almost impossible to do!  I don't have to hunt for  busy work, its usually right at my fingertips-as I embroidery some new design and  my fingers fly through the work.  My dear friend, Charles also has a way of staying busy, when his Pain level rises, he takes a short ride to his large self-built automotive garage and spends time putting long forgotten vehicles back together-giving them a chance to run again and give their owner a moment of Joy as they take the vehicle out for a glorious spin on the open road.

People talk about reading when Pain is throbbing-others will take a slow walk, if their Pain will move over and allow them a  chance to get outside.  The list of "Staying Busy" is endless-yet the time comes when we are tired and must stop, knowing Pain has been waiting patiently for this moment so it can come roaring back-always letting us know its still here, but guess what, So are We!

When I finally admitted to being Bone Weary from Pain-it did feel like I had stepped away from the Battle, and I didn't know what to do for a while.  My biggest fear was that Pain would take off like an Olympic Hurdle Jumper-running fast, jumping high and pushing me to the side.  But I learned a very important lesson, its okay to be honest and face the facts-Pain is punishing on the body-anybody who deals with it will find themselves feeling totally spent, almost down for the count!

These are the moments when I reach hard for God's helping hand-I can find my way through this battle, but I know God is  beside me, giving that silent "support" that lets me know, "okay Martha-you have just hit a rough patch-dust those worries off your shoulders, I will not leave you-ever!"  

It amazes me as I watch the Olympic Athletes performing-I began to see two simple elements in these brave people-first, they have devoted their life to training for this one special moment.
Second- watch their faces when it appears their Race is lost- you will see the look of Sheer Determination deep within their hearts-they will finish the race, win or lose!  Its raw and brutal at times, but they finish with heads held high, knowing they gave everything possible to this goal.

I am not an athlete, don't see any races in my future, but without question, I will stay the course and carry my Pain-God is with me and I will Never Allow Pain to Beat Me.  Life can be so fleeting, and I choose to battle the Pain and keep working to find a simple second of Joy in my day.  It showed up today as I pushed myself to enjoy a simple visit with dear friends-before I knew it, laughter filled my heart with Joy!

Be strong-learn all you can about your Pain-Rest often and Pray!  I am with you in Prayer, asking God to help all who suffer with Chronic Pain.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Is this how Pain looks on my Face?

"Martha-on a Rough Day"

I decided to be brave and put Pain out there for all to see-but trust me, this photo is not a "keeper."

As Women, we all have some vanity, wanting to show our best Face, but I battle around the Pain before giving any thought to makeup, hair-anything.  This photo was taken by my dear husband as he caught me sitting at his computer, as I turned around to the sound of  his familiar footsteps and CLICK-he had me in the Camera Lens!   I fussed at him to throw the photo away, yet knew he would hold onto it-after all, it speaks for itself, no matter how much I might wish to deny the visible signs of Pain on my Face-this is Me, on a very Tough day of Fighting with Pain. 

 As I sat waiting to see my Pain Doctor yesterday, it felt like dozens of these "photos" were filling the room up with people from all walks of life who have been hit with Chronic Pain.  I force my eyes to circle the room, and see amazing signs of Courage, Strength, Determination, tremendous Faith in every person there. 

My eyes fell upon a young woman, probably in her late 20's and something pushed me to speak with  her.  The youth in this woman moved me,  I imagined the Joy she should be feeling, yet realizing her life is entwined with Pain.  We started talking about news, weather, and spoke of the long wait to see our Doctor but agreeing we were blessed to have found her!
I asked, "So is your back hurt?"  We always think its the back, but I was in for a stunning shock
as she said "No, I have been in Pain all my life!"  

My eyes fell to the floor-  my heart ached for her-someone this young-living with Chronic Pain since she was born!  She spoke of being born with a condition in which all the connective tissue in her muscles is restricted-causing severe Pain as bones grow, and how long it took for her to finally
reach a Doctor willing to listen, learn and offer real help!

"I am sorry you have to suffer like this" my words felt hollow as all eyes were on us, as I heard the question "So what happened to you?"  All I could think was, "go ahead Martha-you know how its going to sound, but tell her" as it felt everyone in the room was patiently waiting to hear what My story held-"oh well, I climbed up a Tree and Fell Out!"

It never fails to be hit with the question "What in the world would make you climb up a Tree?"  Yes-I ask myself the same question and the answer lands with a Thud in my heart as I go back to that One day-when everything changed.  I quickly explained the damage to my Sciatic Nerve and Scar Tissue trapping it-as she offered the same words back "I sure am sorry" when her name was called and she eagerly headed toward the doors.  We offered to Pray for each other-and I knew Prayer was flying around that room, touching each person.

Yes I wish my Face did not show the obvious Signs of Pain-but this is me, as my dear husband says
"With Martha-what you see is what you Get!" 

Pain is not pretty.  

I ask God to help all who must face Chronic Pain, you are in my prayers.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012



This is my Moma-I don't know when the photo was taken but my guess is she was about 18 yrs old, give or take a year or two.  I never had seen this photo until she had already passed and it was displayed at the Family Viewing time, one day before the funeral.  It took my breath away-all I could do was cry as I looked at a young woman, full of anticipation as to how her life would be!  She had told me at different times as the "golden years" had arrived-"Make sure there is a Young Photo of Me at my Funeral-don't want people seeing how Old I look" 

I promised to honor her request but had no idea as to where there might be a young photo of her, and it was my sister (six years younger than me) who located this photo and made sure it was displayed for everyone to admire as they walked in to pay their final respects to this "one of a kind woman!"

Life was hard for Moma-living on a farm demands every child out in the fields, helping to bring in crops-working with the farm animals, simply put- whatever needed to be done, You did it, no questions asked.
She lived through the Depression Years and I recall watching her one day as she ate, making sure there was Nothing left on her plate, not a crumb, Nothing!  I guess she sensed my intense observation of her as she raised up from the plate, asking "What the Heck are you looking at girl?"  Suddenly I couldn't find the proper words to explain, and jumped in with "Why in the world do you Eat like that Moma?"

Before the last word left my mouth, I knew this would not be pretty- as Moma would say "Well you just stepped into a big mess of Dog Poop!"  I didn't feel my question was out of place- but to her, I had opened my mouth and stepped into a messy area!  She put her fork down, moved her plate away, never losing the intense Glare being cast my way-as I prayed for some Divine Intervention to appear, maybe Daddy would jump in and save me from the verbal lashing coming my way!  Instead he sat with a slight Grin on his face, not a word said, but it felt like he wanted to whisper 

 "Sister, you might as well brace yourself, there is no place to Hide!"

I drew a deep breath and tried to prepare myself but when Moma got worked up about something, you might as well just take it-unless you had really Fast legs and could run like the Wind!  She leaned in toward me, wanting to be sure I didn't miss a single word and here it came:

"Well Daughter, you Never had to live through a Depression-there is always Food on this table, I don't care if you like the food, but by Golly, its there!  I grew up during a time when Food was hard to find-I mean HARD to Find!  When we were lucky to get a chance to eat, you made sure there was Nothing left on your Plate-not a Drop of Food left!  My God, there are Starving People all over this World-but you don't understand-I am going to get a box and put All this Food in it and Mail it to a Country where people are begging for food!  Yep, thats exactly what I am gonna do!  So Don't Ever ask me again as to Why I clean my Plate-Are we clear on this?"

"Yes Moma, I will never ask that question again, and I am sorry for what you had to go through during the Depression!"  Daddy had leaned back in his chair, relaxing after the verbal slaughter of his daughter, thinking everything was done and our meal could continue.  Suddenly Moma had jumped up from the table to find a Box, just as fast she was back, box in hand, her eyes glued in my direction as she took dishes of food from our table and put them in the box!

Words came flying out of me "Moma-you just took Our Food and dumped it in that Box! It will all spoil before any country could get it by mail!"  Now Daddy was a wise man, he had risen quickly from the table, knowing it was best to just stand back and see how this conversation between Mother and Daughter would end- of course I was now silently praying, hoping Moma might still be hungry and realize our dinner had just landed in a box!  

Her answer was priceless- "Daughter, you are Right-that dang Post Office is slower than Molasses when it comes to mailing anything!  Guess we can find some canned goods to mail- Is anybody still hungry?"

This was my Moma-I believe she knew exactly what my reaction would be as I saw our Meal being dumped into a box-I learned vital lessons-the lingering effects on people who did live through the Depression and countless people living in far away countries, who could only dream of having a meal like we were blessed to have.  

I will never forget her lessons, and how she lived her life, closing each night with Bible in hand, asking God to watch over her family.  

thanks for letting me share this story.
God bless-martha