Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Courage at its Finest~~~~

The news can be boring at times, watching all the wrangling about the major issues facing our country each day-it becomes tempting to flip the channel off and just walk away, thinking nothing will ever get done, because nobody is taking the time to listen!

Something stopped me today--instead of flipping the switch off,  I paused because everything had
suddenly become Quiet on the screen~~~~there she was, slowly taking  each long step, her loving husband being there to help-gently guiding her back to a place where she had once walked among her peers, being at the place where she dreamed of making decisions that might help make a difference.

 Gabrielle Giffords~~~a true warrior in every sense of the word was back on the Hill- walking with head up high,  very few truly understanding how much Courage holds this beautiful woman up each day. Who  could have imagined a day where Gabby faced death, and others nearby her died in a  moment of violence-leaving families grieving and searching for answers.

I recalled a particular image the media kept showing during those first horrible days as Gabby hovered between life and death~~her loving husband sitting beside her bed, his loving hand gently caressing hers~~~one can only imagine his desperate thoughts and urgent prayers, fears of a uncertain future-as it seemed the world was waiting- hoping Gabby could fight her way back to life.

I can't begin to imagine the painful journey this amazing woman has been on~~~learning simple acts we all take for granted that once were so easy for her-having to face changes and letting go of so many dreams she once hoped for.  Today she stepped forward and as her words began, it felt like everyone was ready to hear what Gabby had come to say~~she spoke with strength, clarity, and deep Courage---making sure to let us all know~~the time has arrived, too many little angels left this world in the worst way possible.

It was a moment in time I shall never forget~~~Thank you Gabby for fighting to live~~and giving us
the chance to see your tremendous Courage.  God Bless you always.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Late Night Pain Routine~~brings more questions

How I wish somebody could see one of my Late Night Pain Routines-I know where all my needed Pain Support Items are at.  I try to keep all lights turned off- I don't want to disturb my husband~~we have both learned the value of one of us getting some sleep.  Yet when  Pain has me in its worst grip, I manage to make enough noise--my husband wakes as we quietly share time together-fighting Pain.

Pain wakes me with no warning, just a silent demand on my body as I ease out of bed, already thinking of things to do so my mind can break away from this Constant battle. My Burning Leg hangs off my side of the bed, feeling like somebody put a match to it~~I give the leg a good shaking-trying to bring "feeling" back into it so I will not fall as I struggle out of bed.  Then it hits me- within a few hours, the alarm will go off and its time for us to have an early morning visit to the Pain Clinic.

Today I saw another "Routine" that evolves around Pain~ I do a lot of "Pain Viewing" to keep a strong reminder going-people of all ages slowly enter the door,  suffering written all over them~~a sad ache hits my heart to remind me-I am not alone in the struggle with Pain, and questions rose again, I can't put them aside~~~~~

1. Why does Chronic Pain take us from a late night of Pain to a early morning wait at the Pain Clinic-as we all sit-waiting and praying for any relief possible?

2. Why does Pain settle in on both young and old? I watched one weary Mother come in, holding a crying
baby-tugging at its ear~~the child was probably here for a set of ear tubes to be put in.  The hospital arranges the Adult Surgical Ward to one side, leaving room for the Children's Surgical  side--but everyone grimaces as we hear the wailing of a child.

3. Why must a older couple face Pain at  the same time? One sits quietly, holding medical records, MRI films~~~and  struggles from the chair, taking  the records to the recepionist--Pain so evident on
her body, a slow walk is made back as she eases into the chair--I can see the look of suffering as she
is waiting for another day-when it will be her time to seek some relief from Pain.

4.  Why must there be Pain Patients who simply can't be fixed?  Seeking temporary Pain relief in this manner is all we have~~~it is a life-line which we cling to and pray our amazing Doctor will never leave us.

Today as the time came for me to get dressed and head for home, a new nurse checked my upper leg area out, making sure tape and heart monitors had all been removed~~she gasped, loud enough for me to hear and I ask "Well did something else go wrong on this leg?"  The Silence around us is Painful-as she finds the courage to gently ask me "Why do you have so many Long Scars on your leg?  I make it fast-no reason to drag all the surgical history out~~~"This is what can happen when you fall out of a tree-take my advice, Never climb up a tree!"

Keep the battle going against Pain-today I found Joy as I was wheeled out to our car~~the young man who assisted me to our car asked "Why are all of you in such a hurry to leave us?"

That answer came easy-"We want to go home so we can get some Sleep!"


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pain is filled with Endless Questions~~~~~~~

When Pain is a Constant in your daily life, the search for answers never stops- computer pages are filled with desperate questions, people pleading for help, as Pain refuses to go away.  It is heart breaking to read stories of people going through surgery after surgery-only to find themselves back in Pain as they face each day, feeling  "Helpless" against the wicked foe we call Chronic Pain.

I braved my way through Computer pages holding vast amounts of information relating to my New Pain problems~~~it didn't take long to find that  familiar list of surgical procedures, how swift the recovery
is afterwards, everything sounded hopeful.  These new aches in my body are Hard to cope with but when it comes to any future surgery, my answer is swift "I am Tired of Being Sliced Open- finding Pain waiting for me, as it adds extra weight to my Pain Plate."

After reading pages of actual patients~their particular surgery, recovery times, and the end result-all I could feel was anger! This strong emotion  is not directed toward the surgeons and Pain Management doctors~~God blessed me with two of the finest people serving in the Medical profession-I must let go of the Anger, allow my questions to spill out~~as I know there will be No answers:

1.  Why can't there be a different type of surgery to fix a Bulging Disc in the Neck?
2.  Who decided to use Cadaver Bone as the "filler" for the natural Bone God put there?
3.  Who designed the Steel Plate that holds everything together after Surgery?
4.  Did anybody think about asking a Surgeon to try this out on their own body first?
5.  How long does it take to go through the Airport with all this new "Hardware" in your body?
6.  My Nerve Pain flares with weather changes- how much worse will it be with all this inside my body?
7.  How much Scar Tissue is produced from this Surgery, and what are the effects of it?
8.  Does anybody stop to ask "how will you feel seeing a permanent Scar across your Throat area?"
9.  What do I say to people who will ask me "Why do you constantly wear a Scarf  around your neck?"
10. How can doctors dare to question a Patient not having Courage & Strength to face each day that is loaded with Pain?  Until the doctors have "walked the Shoes" of their patient, they should never Doubt the hidden courage of a human being.

 My list of questions keeps going,  but there is a reality to face--the most Bitter Pill to swallow is the Truth Pill~~~~I live with Chronic Pain, day and night-and I ask God to help me each day.

If I needed any reminder of how Pain loves to travel, my husband slowly walked by and asked me "Where is that other Walking Cane at?  I think the messed-up Disc in my back has flared up again!"

Time to stop asking questions~~now my husband needs me, and we are here for each other.

I pray for him to get better, just as I pray for all who suffer with Pain-I ask God to give us all a few moments of Relief from the battle.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Pecans, Laughter, & Pain!

Our friends called today, inviting us to take a ride with them.  My thoughts went back and forth- I wanted the chance to feel normal, but I also knew Pain would be following me all day long, but I cast worry aside and said "Let's go for it" as we hit the road!

The familiar sign of worry hung on my husband-his mind counting the miles and worried as to how far we could get before my Pain forced us back home.  Our friend drove, giving Matt a rare chance to relax- it felt like our friends were doing everything to give Both of Us a peaceful day out.

We went to a small town that is  known for Pecans, trees lined up on each farm- all blended together in perfect lines~~having grown for years and producing a delicious product.  There was a lovely park area for us to stop and give me "stretching time" as I watched people walking around, eyes to the ground as they searched for a tasty Pecan to crack open and enjoy. Memories from long ago hit me~~~~

 Daddy had climbed up a Pecan tree with a huge stick, giving us notice he was going to start "whacking away" on the pecans~~I remember running for cover until the "all clear" signal was shouted out by him~~then I grabbed my bucket and rushed to be the first one who could Fill it to the brim with Pecans.  I was probably Five or Six years old, and looked forward to Pecan Picking Time each year.

Suddenly it hit me-here I stood with a walking cane and there was a perfect chance for me to do a tiny version of my own "whacking" and it only took a few seconds as I began to swing away at the tree limbs.
But reality sat in as I almost fell-a reminder of why I had a cane in my hand~~and as a swift Pain hit between my shoulder blade area, it was time for me to leave Pecan picking to others.  I watched our friends bending down to find Pecans and then laughing as they were being "thumped" on the head by falling Pecans.

It was a good day~~~happy memories from long ago and joy filling my heart as I made new memories with our dear friends.  Pain followed us, but I refused to let it stop me from having a few moments of fun.

God please be with all the people who are hurting right now.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

"Emotional Triggers & Chronic Pain"

It can feel as if my emotions stay on a wicked roller coaster spin, especially when the Pain is raging~~sudden Weather changes hit-and I release a torrent of frustration-everything directed toward the Pain. At these moments-I guess its my way of trying to do Verbal battle with the Pain, knowing I am going to lose that battle each time.  Living with constant Pain is horrible-but its the Path I am walking now and there are real lessons to be learned-its up to me if I choose to accept them.

Life is filled with "Emotional Triggers" ranging from seeing a item that takes us back to our childhood, or hearing a song on the Radio that reminds us of a time that brought great sorrow our way-whatever the memory is, suddenly we are caught up in a mess of Emotions and nothing we do will stop the flow of what we are feeling.  I have spent many a day trying to "stuff" emotions down-figuring it does me no good to cry my eyes out over the Pain I live with~ I grit my teeth, shake the tears away and keep moving.

Perhaps due to the added New Pain I live with now-or lack of sleep, who knows why-but I got caught in the middle of a major "Emotional Trigger" and was shocked at my reaction.  It all came down to something simple~~~I had purchased a beautiful Pashmina Wrap for myself and the Mother of my dearest friend-and I felt like a child at Christmas-I wanted to see the Wrap on her and enjoy that moment.  But my Pain was doing everything to keep me from accomplishing this easy task.  My dear friend called me one night and suggested we just drive by and drop the Wrap off to her-she would be seeing her Mom and mission would be accomplished!  But then my friend said something that proved to be the Emotional Trigger- "You don't even have to get out of your car--I will walk out and get the Wrap from you!"

I held myself together until we ended our conversation and then fell apart-the tears were mixed with anger as I tried to explain to my dear husband why all of this was hitting me so hard.  Words were flying out of me and I even commented "Well thats it, I don't have to bother her again with anything!"  The look on his face told me so much-this amazing woman has been my dear friend, and I love her as my Sister~  Finally my husband looked at me and said "Don't you think its time to let the Anger out?"  

I fell into his arms, sobbing because he had hit that place of Emotions--all so tightly wrapped up inside me and I knew~~~none of this had anything to do with a Pashmina Wrap-or a friend doing what friends do~~~making a genuine offer to help me.  Everything is wrapped around Pain and the huge impact it keeps having on my body~~with me feeling so helpless against this Pain-the picture isn't a pretty one and I don't spend that much time looking in the mirror as I once did.

My precious friend came by recently and I finally found the courage to tell her "I got really Mad at you a few days ago, I am so very sorry!"  I felt like a bad kid and was trying to stuff everything back in, but she reached out, touched my arm and I could feel LOVE flowing from her as she asked me to please explain what had happened.  I poured my heart out to her--and God bless her, no judging was done by her, she listened to my heart and helped me understand about "Emotional Triggers."

How I wish the Pain was better-but its not and there is still so much of life to enjoy~~my laughter does not come as easily~~~but thanks to God--it still does come!

God be with all those who must face each day with Pain by their side.


Monday, January 14, 2013

I do not want to lose anymore of Me!!

This photo is very real-I can't dodge the Wrinkles starting to show up, and I grimace at the knowledge of Pain showing on me, knowing it is taking so much away from me and I will never be able to gain any of it back.  New Pain has risen and a decision faces me regarding surgery.

Today was my visit with the Neurosurgeon-a bulging disc in my neck is causing major Pain and the surgery sounded so "simple" to him-like snapping your fingers and "Wow~~~you are healed!"  Its not that simple-and doctors must "distance" themselves to some degree as they talk about slicing a person's throat area open~~they don't carry the Scar---but the patient does.

My sister has had too many surgeries done to her neck-the first one started out so simple-and everything went sour after that.  It seemed as if one surgery after the other was being done to her neck-she just wanted the Pain gone!  I haven't seen or heard from my sister for almost five years now- the last thing I knew was her decision to have a "artificial neck" of sorts put inside her and surely that would be the miracle cure-but she would now move like a Robot!

When I heard the words "Cadaver Bone/ Steel Plate" being used to replace my Bulging Disc~I no longer
heard the Surgeon speaking-I was back in time, visiting my sister after she had this exact surgery and my heart broke to see how much Pain she was in.  I recalled how my eyes went directly to the Scar across her throat, and her life began to slide downward as the Neck Pain Won and Anger filled her heart.

The doctor kept talking about finding out why I have a poor immune system~~~all the testing he would want done, new medications for my system to be boosted up before surgery-Fear was rising in me, hard and fast-all I could think was "Oh my God, I will become my Sister!"  My heart was racing as I recalled the long recovery my body went through after a massive infection almost killed me from my body rejecting a device implanted to "ease" Pain signals going to my brain.  It felt as if  I was backed against a wall, fighting to shelter what was left of Me!!

He said the decision was mine-I didn't have to jump right into surgery yet~~~but reminded me the day might
come when I would beg him to operate.  I left his office, feeling like a bad child-being stubborn and fighting against having surgery~~~but the truth was that Fear had grabbed hold of me, all the memories of struggling to find my way back from surgery, infection, surgery, injections~~~I came through all of that by the grace of God and sheer will to hold on tight to what was left of Me.

This is the dark side of Pain that so many people face~~decisions that send a chill down your aching spine, fear that your loving Spouse is weary of trips to the doctor, hospitals~~its not a pretty picture.  I am making a decision to live with Pain-no Surgery.  I hope God will not mind doing some "over-time" work with me.

Thank you for listening.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

My Pain List~~~

I decided to make a List about Pain-with the latest New Pain rushing into my world, it has felt like I am back at Square One and must start all over again-things like Why I am hurting so much in places that never hurt before, and facing hard facts of what my future holds.  Each person who lives with Chronic Pain has their own way of Coping, dealing with the daily ups and downs~~my Personal List is not meant as a "Do it My Way List" because I am like a toddler, trying to learn those first steps~~~~~

Everything Pain Has Taken From Me
A Genuine Smile
Sleeping without Pain
Riding a Lawnmower
Being Able to Clean my Home-by myself
Taking a Plane trip with my Husband
Taking a Long Drive with my Husband
Dancing with my Husband
Being able to enjoy a simple Hug with my Husband

Coping with Pain
Praying each day for God's Help 
Learning how to use a Walking Cane
Letting go of Pride
Living with a constant lack of Sleep
Listening to "Advice" from others-and being thankful for it
Learning everything possible about My Pain
Working with my Doctors-not Against them
Accepting Physical Changes that Chronic Pain brings

Living with Chronic Pain
Never Give Up-we all have our own inner courage
Keep Praying-especially in the worst moments of Pain
Reach out to others-ask them to pray for you
Take Life one simple day at a time

I kept this list short in Living with Chronic Pain~~~because Pain keeps changing each day now for me.  Its been so hard to "accept" my New Pains that seemed to JUMP into my life with no warning and I don't have a clue as to any wonderful solutions-I am on a path with Pain and must follow it.

Last night at church as I sat wrapped in horrific Pain-I could barely find words of prayer~~~so I went with the simple one:  "Dear Lord, Please help me."  

I keep you in my prayers-and I need you to please keep me in yours.  


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Another long night-Pain is chewing at me......

Its raining outside as I sit in silence~~~wrapped with a warm shawl around my shoulders and the rest of me is being chewed on by a Pain I can't see, all I can do is feel it as the hours tick by.  Now I am having to endure two new types of Pain~the old leg Pain seems at times like a distant memory, as the Neck and Back Pain is demanding my constant attention.

I try to type this out and my arms feel like lead-Pain is shooting down one arm~~then stops for a few seconds and heads to the other, almost like a "strange battle" going on and my body is the target.  It hits home as I fear this is Pain doing everything possible to take whatever is left of "Me" as I draw a weary breath and know, time to figure out how to fight back against the Pain.

But how am I going to fight back?  I have leaned hard on my fierce determination to not let Pain beat me down-and looked to the Heavens for support.  Yet with the sudden arrival of this new batch of Pain~~I feel
like its the first day of "Pain School-101" and I must learn all my coping skills again.

I don't have all the answers to coping with Pain that brings me to my knees~~~all I can do is ask God to help me get through the rest of this night-and then I ask HIM to help me get through each day.  This is hard-
but I refuse to give up.  Life is a blessing-all I can do is take this one day at a time.  

God please be with all of us who are suffering through the long nights with Pain.


Monday, January 7, 2013

What its like to feel completely helpless~~

I just got home after trying to pick up a needed medication I take on a regular basis-its vital to my health to have No lapse in time coverage of this medicine-in basic terms, I have to be covered by the medicine 24 hours a day.  As I stepped up to the counter, this caring employee told me "I have bad news and some more bad news to tell you" and I listened in horror as I found out my Insurance company "decided" they prefer I get this medication through a mail order company~~~it all comes down to a money game with my life in the mix.  

The line behind me grew as I began to fire the questions off-my anger growing by the second and it hitting me as to the "unseen power" these insurance companies are gaining-all at a cost thrown directly in my face-nobody giving a flip as to how this might impact my life!  Nobody sent any notification to me in the mail-nothing at all to prepare me for this new push in the drug industry~~and if I had been unable to get this medication-before this night ended, it would have endangered my health-very likely putting me in grave danger~~I wondered if anybody from the Insurance Company might pause for even a second to think about me!

We have become "faceless patients" and these people do not care if they might cause harm or possible death~~~I feel they would just check my name off and think "man-we finally got rid of that one, she was really costing us a lot of money!"   Tonight I found out how it felt to have no resource to reach out to-oh yes I released a torrent of anger to my husband as we drove home and I could see he too was feeling that
terrible sensation of being helpless-and worry growing as he knew it is not good for me to get this upset-knowing all that is ahead for me to go through.  

I will not go quietly into the night-right now I feel a bit like  "Sally Field" as she played a desperate worker in a factory-fighting for her fellow workers to have decent wages, health care-and she payed a Huge price for doing it.  She finally grabbed their attention by jumping on a table and holding up a sign with One word glaring for all to see~~~~ UNION.

My heart is racing as I think about all the people who have no help-no support-nothing to give them any hope as they quietly take this type of abuse and slowly have their health go downhill--all because of MONEY.

So now I must focus on this battle-one I do not need pushed on me~~~but I will go the distance to learn why this is happening.  I am not "Faceless!"

Thank you for listening.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

What happens when New Chronic Pain hits~~

People like to be kind and tell you "heh, looks like you are doing better" and yet as I walk away, its clear to anybody who glanced my way~~I must look like somebody who just crawled out of a hospital bed and decided to drag my aching body through the church doors.  

Sixteen years of being in Pain has a way of "growing" on you~~~~almost like a familiar friend that drops by-forgets to knock and just walks into your life.  There are no surprises, no sudden adjustments-we Know each other very well!

But for New Pains that suddenly show up-everything is different and changes seem to come at me from every angle possible.  I thought my days of hearing words like "Bulging Disc" would never happen, but this is real life~things go wrong-and now I face the uphill climb, consulting with my surgeon and see where we go from here.

The choice is painfully simple~~~Pray for HIS guidance, and hold tightly to a Hand of Love-HE will get me through these days of aching Pain and whatever is ahead.

I hold all of those who suffer in my prayers-please keep me in yours, if you don't mind.  


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year-do things change?

Yes-let me answer the question~~~~things continue to change in our lives, new health issues spring up and jerk us into reality- we have no choice but to stand the test ahead of us and pray for a positive outcome.  For others-Pain comes in a dreadful flash-and a family is shattered.

Here in our community, the year of 2012 ended on a tragic note as we heard news of a husband ending his life-leaving his wife and children with broken hearts, stunned at the news~~thinking its just a bad
dream that will go away, and as each day dawns, they are hit with the cold reality again.

Why did this happen?  No answers come-my heart aches for this family and the only thing I can do is Pray for them.  They will be searching as life keeps moving,  and days will come when it seems they can't go on~~but with HIS loving hand, they will slowly find the courage to continue.

When I heard the news-everything stopped and I just sat in stunned silence.  My problems are nothing in comparison to the Pain this family must now live with.  Holidays should be a time of
joy-yet they seem to bring such Pain and raw emotion to the surface~~~

Pray for this family-they are not alone-many others across this world are facing the same loss.

May God be with all those who are suffering.