Creative Solutions

Each of our experiences can help someone else.

Hello dear reader.

With as many diagnosis as I have, it’s often difficult to know which illness is causing what problem. For example, let’s look at the back pain I’m dealing with right now. It’s located in the top half of my back. I’ve had to be on oxygen for several days. When I take it off I drop into the high 60’s or low 70’s. That’s a COPD flare up or even pneumonia, either of which could be causing my back pain. It could also be the scoliosis causing it, or all the driving I did last week.

Scoliosis, COPD, fibromyalgia, and Chiari can all increase my headache. COPD and fibromyalgia can cause my extreme exhaustion, or it could simply be a result of pushing myself so hard last week.

Why does it even matter? If the back pain is coming from my lungs, soaking in a hot, Epson salt bath can make it worse. Humidity makes it harder to breathe. If something else is causing it, a hot bath can help a lot. So how do I know what to do?

I’ve learned to be creative. In this case, I’m sitting on a heating pad. If that helps I’ll know it’s not my lungs and will go take a bath. If it doesn’t I’ll know it’s from my lungs.

I’m certain many of you face similar dilemmas. What are some of the ways you’ve come up with to handle them?

I think it’s wonderful when we can learn from each other. Each of our experiences can help someone else. Isn’t that what it’s all about? I’m looking forward to some of your ideas.

Until next time…

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Home

There are so many times I deal with flare-ups for no reason at all.  This one is worth it.

Hello dear reader.

I got home yesterday from my visit with my daughter. It was incredible to get to spend time with her and my son-in-law. I’m extremely thankful that my pain levels stayed where I could push through them for the majority of the visit.

The pain started getting bad the day before I left. I don’t know about any of you, but I can usually tell if it’s just a bad day or settling in to stay for awhile. This was the settling in kind of pain. My daughter and husband both asked me about staying one more day to see if it would ease up, but I didn’t think it would help.  The drive home was not fun.  Wednesday was painful, but yesterday was much worse.

There are so many times I deal with flare-ups for no reason at all.  This one is worth it. I got to visit Louissa. We spent the weekend just hanging out around the house and talking.  We have many of the same interests, so that itself was worth the drive.  I got to go meet a couple of her kids on Monday, which was a lot of fun.  When we left the school she brought me up to the Holy City .  Here’s a link to pictures and the story of it in case you missed it:  The Holy City of the Wichitas .  Then Tuesday evening I got to go to the school’s 4th of July pageant.  It was great!

I’m planning to spend this weekend sitting around the house with Tim and the dogs and taking long naps.   I’m going to read (or listen to) a good book and relax.  I think that’s part of finding life too.

We’ll be checking in on the Escape Book Club the beginning of next week.  Check that out if you haven’t gotten involved with it yet.  We’re going to have a good time with it.  Here’s our first book:  Escape Book Club Book

Until next time…

The Trip

This is finding life through pain.

Hello dear reader.

As I write this, I’m in a hotel room seven hours from home. Tomorrow I’ll do four more hours and be at my daughter’s house. Louissa said I are very close and I haven’t seen her in over a year.

I did better than I expected to today. My head started hurting about three hours in, but the meds helped and it hasn’t gotten insane. I’m exhausted, but laying in a bed relaxing. I’ll be going to sleep very soon, I’m sure.

I’m very thankful to have a wonderful husband who is completely supportive of me doing this. He worries because of my health issues, but is happy for me that I get to go spend time with my daughter.

This is finding life through pain. Right now, laying in this hotel room bed writing this post, I’m feeling thankful.

Until next time…

Book Escape

My daughter and I share a love of books and read some of them at the same time. We can (and do!) talk for hours about books we’ve read or want to read.

Hello dear reader.

One of the biggest surprises I’ve had since I started writing this blog was how many people are dealing with pain, physically, mentally, or both. The intent of my blog is to find ways to enjoy (or just live) life while dealing with pain. I wrote a post not long ago about things I use to distract me from pain. One of the things I listed was reading and/or listening to books. My daughter and I share a love of books and read some of them at the same time. We can (and do!) talk for hours about books we’ve read or want to read. I was thinking about that today and got an idea. It would be fun to have a book club of sorts. Here’s what I’m picturing…

We take turns choosing a book, so we’ll have variety in genre. Once a book is chosen we set an appropriate length of time to read it, understanding that we all have other things in our lives. I’m thinking a month. The book can be read or listened to (audiobooks). When the time is up, the person who chose the book comes up with ten questions and posts them. Everyone who has read the book answers the questions and we discuss it. We can do it in the form of a blog post or in comments. Those of us who do book reviews can do that as well. I know that many people who follow my blog don’t have one of their own, so I’ll gladly be the “voice” for those people. Simply email me and I’ll put it into a blog post.

This isn’t limited to people who deal with pain. Anyone who’s interested is welcome. I think we could have a lot of fun with this!

What do you think? Who’s in?

Until next time…

Mental health issues

I’ve come up with a few ideas to try to combat what’s happening in my head.

Hello dear reader.

Before I begin, I need to make clear that I am NOT a mental health professional. The things I say are from my personal experience.

Good. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk.

I’ve spoken a lot on this blog about my physical issues. Today, however, I want to speak about my mental issues.

I’ve been diagnosed with chronic depression, PTSD, GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder), and ADD. I’m being treated for all of these, and have been for some time now. Another thing you need to know about me is that I’ve spent most of my life fighting for children. So the horrific actions being taken against immigrant children is really eating at me (see Father’s day Nightmare). I feel helpless to do anything. I find myself reading and watching everything I can find about it.

I’ve been noticing the symptoms of my mental illness getting worse as this situation continues. I’m feeling high levels of stress and anxiety. I feel a weight pressing me down. Everything feels dark and hopeless.

I’m certain I’m not the only one being affected like this. I’ve come up with a few ideas to try to combat what’s happening in my head.

  1. Turn off the news. TV, internet, social media, etc.
  2. Find a distraction. Listen to music, read a book, watch a movie.
  3. Replace the negativity with something uplifting. Make the distractions pleasant. Read a book that’s heartwarming or funny. Choose a comedy for a movie. Listen to a comedian or watch a sitcom.
  4. Ask for help. Talk to your spouse, therapist, friend, blog. Don’t try to handle it alone.

Those are what I’ve come up with so far. I’m doing #4 right now, asking for your help. Is this affecting you too? How are you handling it? What’s worked (or failed) for you?

If you’re reading this on Facebook, Twitter or another site, please click on the title of the post. That will bring you to my site. At the end of the post is a comment box. Please put your responses there so they become part of this post. That way everyone can see them. I want this to help as many people as possible.

Until next time…

Game Rules

I got a ton of these, and if they don’t make you laugh, you need to go have your funny bone x-rayed.

Hello dear reader.

I had three good days in a row! That’s something to celebrate for sure!

Today is the fourth day in a row I’ve been in too much pain to function. I’m trying very hard to focus on the three good days I had and remind myself that I will have more. I just have to get through this stretch. It’s amazing to me how difficult that is to see when my entire body hurts like this. Right now hope feels like a fool’s game. But you know what? I’m going to play it anyway.

Here are the rules. First, and most important, remember that the pain is not who I am. It’s something I have to deal with. Second, my memory may be all kinds of screwed up, but I have wonderful memories that are still there. Third, I have a lot more amazing memories to make.

There’s the rules, now let’s get to the game. I’m really excited that I’m going to see my daughter in 18 days, 18 hours, and 40 minu.tes. I have a countdown timer on my phone. That translates into I’m leaving at 9 AM on the 28th. It’s a 12 hour drive, but I’m going to split it into two days. The plan is to drive 7-8 hours on Thursday (depending on how I do) and get a room for the night wherever that ends up. I’m going to sleep in as late as possible Friday morning and be back on the road around noon. I’ll only have 4-5 hours of driving, and will get to her house right after she gets off work. I’ll be there all day Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I’ll leave Tuesday morning and do the same thing in reverse. I’ll get home on Wednesday (the fourth of July) in the early afternoon and will go watch the fireworks with Tim that evening. Thursday and Friday of that week are scheduled for recuperation. So that’s the plan, and definitely an amazing memory.

There’s rule number three. Yes, I do know I’m going backwards, but nothing said I had to do them in order ;-). Let’s think about a wonderful memory I already have. There are tons to choose from! Here’s one I think you’ll like. When my youngest daughter had been going to kindergarten for about two weeks she came home very upset one day. I, of course, asked her what was wrong. She said, “Mommy, we have to start eating liver!” I hate liver, don’t eat it and won’t cook it. So I told her no, it was okay, and we didn’t have to eat liver. She cried even harder when I told her this, and said she didn’t want the guards to get us. Of course, I asked, “What guards?” She looked at me like I was the stupidest person she’d ever seen and said, “The invisible ones!” I had to get to the bottom of this and asked her who had told her this. She said it was her teacher. Completely confused I told her to tell me exactly what her teacher had said. “She makes us say it every day….I pledge to the flag of America and to the Public it stands…one nation, under guard, invisible, with liver and just this for all.” I pulled her into a big hug, laughing so hard I couldn’t talk, then explained her mistake to her. I got a ton of these, and if they don’t make you laugh, you need to go have your funny bone x-rayed.

What was the other one? Oh yeah, the pain is not who I am. Telling you a good memory and something I’m looking forward to made the pain back off a little bit. That proves it isn’t who I am, doesn’t it?

I know I left you hanging with Home and Family part 1 and I will return to that next time. This just wasn’t the time for it.

What do you do when the pain tries to take over? Do you have memories you draw on? Are you looking forward to something? Please let me know in the comment box below. We can never have too many tools to use.

Thanks for helping me through this one.

Until next time…

Headache from hell

When I write I have the chance to think about everything I want to say and how to say it. If I say it wrong, I can go back, delete it, and try again.

Hello dear reader.

Today is day 3 of a mind numbing headache. I got about two hours of sleep last night because of it, so along with this insane pain I’m exhausted. I’m going to try to write a post that makes sense, but I can’t promise anything.

I need to do something to distract my mind from how horrible I feel. That itself is a challenge. Reading hurts…too much light. Watching TV… same thing. Writing… hurts like hell but I’m doing it anyway. Pain meds? I can’t take them again for five more hours. Muscle relaxers… not helping at all.

So why am I writing when it hurts to do it? I’m writing out of desperation. I’m hoping one of the wonderful people who read my blog (I hit 150 followers yesterday 👏) has an idea for how can I distract my mind from the pain when I need to be laying down in a dark, quiet room?

I’m having trouble communicating because of the pain. But I can do a better job writing than speaking. When I write I have the chance to think about everything I want to say and how to say it. If I say it wrong, I can go back, delete it, and try again.

I know this isn’t a very cheerful post, but it’s my truth right now and you, dear reader, deserve nothing less than complete honesty.

I’m seriously open to any ideas. There’s a comment box at the end of this post. Please feel free to use it.

Until next time…