Loved the video at the end on chronic pain – Thank you very much for sharing!
I crashed this week. Fibro flare. Precipitated by the death of my 13.5 year old, 80 lb yellow lab, Penny of Perpetual Motion. I barely got out of bed. Everything hurt. My hair hurt. And most of all, my soul was hurting. I finally went back to work today for 4 hours and my office mate barely spoke to me. I must have offended her in some way and I didn’t have the energy to ask her about it or to deal with it.
Today, I called the vet to help my mom’s ancient three-legged Siamese leave this world. I was horrified to find he was still alive last night and hadn’t eaten in three days and she had twice asked someone else to take him out for burial only to be told “He’s still breathing.”
Mickey was her last mental/emotional barrier to leaving her home. She felt no one would adopt him. Even though I’ve already promised her that my hubby and I will take all three of her cats if something happens. At any rate, it wasn’t right that Mickey should suffer. I told her last night that she should give him permission to go and that if he was still alive in the morning she needed to call the vet. I called the vet. I didn’t give her an option. And I asked the vet to meet me at Mom’s at 2:15 after I got off work. The vet asked me if there was any possibility she would be saving the cat. I told her I was pretty sure he was too far gone. He hadn’t moved in four days and he’d had nothing to eat or drink in three days.
I called Mom on my way to her house and told her the vet was on the way. She was still in bed so I told her she had half an hour before the vet got there to get her act together. Mom acquiesced and was up and in the living room by the time I got there. The vet called to ask if we still needed her and I told her that Mom said he was still breathing earlier. So she headed in our direction. And I went out to check on Mickey. When I touched him he was hard as a rock so I knew he was gone. When the vet got there, she said “Let’s make sure.” She picked him up and he was stiff as a brick. She said “I’m good, but I’m not that good.” Meaning there was no help she could give him. She got out a heavy duty body bag and I moved him outside where the snowy landscape would keep him until someone could bury him.
I know what she’s lost. I had so much pain from losing Penny I couldn’t cope. Yes, I know she’s in a better place where she can chase the ball again. And I miss her. As one of my friend’s put it, “I can’t even imagine trying to fill that big hole.” Penny was a very big presence in my life, as Mickey was in my mom’s life. Farewell faithful friends!
It can’t be just me… Life seems to catch up and then overtake me and like a tsunami I wash up on the shore wondering what the hell happened… All my good intentions lie strewn about like so much flotsam… swallowed and vomited up… still recognizable but now I need to gather them back together. Dust them off. Clean them up. Straighten them out. Sort them into categories. Restore some semblance of order.
I struggle. I want to take better care of my senior mother, my senior pets, my neglected husband and myself. And I want to write. And then fibromyalgia confines me to my bed unable to think for a week. And my mother has weekly appointments with physical therapy and the chiropractor and the ophthalmologist and the dentist and the radiation oncologist. And my dog, Penny, needs weekly vet visits. And my husband hates his job and wants to quit. And the house needs cleaning. And I want to be there for my friends as they cry for lost loved ones and rejoice at the end of cancer treatment. And my body craves sleep. And then I can’t sleep until it’s almost time for the alarm to go off. And I go to work because I need health care and money to pay for food and shelter and vet bills….
Living with fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis for the last 15+ years….
September is Chronic Pain Awareness Month! Some of us (and/or our loved ones) are dealing with Chronic Pain on a daily basis. Sadly, our pain does not end come October 1.I would like readers to share this post (if you don’t mind) and, if you would like your story included, please answer the questions below. Be sure to link it back to Tracy Rydzy at http://ohwhatapain.wordpress.com or post it as a comment. Also, please feel free to include the Chronic Pain Awareness logo above on your blog to let others know that you support Chronic Pain Awareness Month and the “Oh What a Pain Chronic Pain Awareness Forum!” My hope is that by sharing our personal stories, we can create awareness of what it isactually like to live with Chronic Pain and how best to cope with it!
I have created a…
View original post 1,123 more words
Last night it happened again. Every nerve in my body fired at a different time and for a different reason. An itch here. A pang there. A cramp. A twinge. A poke. After four hours I swore someone had a voodoo doll of me and just kept poking it and twisting it so there was no way I could get comfortable.
I could blame the invisible aliens like they had in Star Trek Voyager where only 7 of 9 could see them torturing and experimenting on her crew mates.
It may be ghosts or otherworldly beings trying to get my attention. Problem is, I’m much more receptive to them when I get at least halfway toward a sleeping state.
And it always stops at dawn. As soon as the light comes I can sleep easily and then the alarm goes off and I drag my weary self into the day.
Mom says it’s because she worked nights while she was pregnant with me. So I am programmed to be awake at night and sleep during the day.
It doesn’t help. I can be dog tired and still unable to sleep. Some nights even sleeping pills don’t work. And I rotisserize and dream about sleeping.
I wonder what it would be like to sleep undisturbed from night until morning. Actually, lately I wonder what it would be like to just sleep undisturbed for more than two hours.
I’ve never had that thought before… I’ve always been able to rise above, to consider that “this too shall pass” and, yet, it came, unbidden, as I was sitting at the dining room table one day not long ago – “I don’t think I can live like this.”
That thought hasn’t appeared again. It never occurred to me before. What has changed? Maybe it’s perimenopause. Maybe it’s something else. Maybe it’s true? No, I don’t think so… at least not today.
I’ve lived with diagnoses of fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis (and a few other things) for more than 10 years. I’ve worked 40+ hours per week. I haven’t asked for or really considered disability. So why did I have that thought? My marriage is basically happy. My life is pretty good. And yet, on that day, in that moment, I considered another option.
And then I felt guilty. I am not dying of an incurable disease like ALS or cancer. I do not have a progressively worsening diagnosis such as MS. And yet the pain can be so debilitating that in a moment of weakness that thought occurred to me.
The strange weather this season has taken a toll on everyone I know with chronic pain such as migraines or arthritis or anything else. Here in tropical Minnesota it was 80 degrees F (or maybe it’s 80 F* degrees?) on March 15th!! Not normal weather for this part of the country. Of course, within two weeks there were severe frosts that took out a lot of budding fruit trees. On April 19, 2011, I documented a snowfall on my digital camera. And the weather has bounced around from Summer to Winter then briefly to Spring. Those kinds of atmospheric changes wreak havoc on anyone with chronic pain.
And the thunderstorms these last few nights kept me awake… which adds to the cycle – lack of sleep, increase in stress, increase in pain.
One of my favorite speakers, Dr Edward Creagan of Mayo Clinic, gave a presentation this week and said the basics to reduce stress include: walk 30 minutes a day; strength training; restorative sleep (and he added “which most of us never get”); plant-based diet. When a woman asked him about insomnia, he suggested winding down for 30-45 minutes before bed. I wanted to ask him “What about when the hot flashes wake me up?” “What about when the pain wakes me up?” “What about when the I-just-can’t-get-comfortable rotisserizing starts?” And I know the answer is “Go back to the basics.”
It’s that simple — if only it were that easy…
Like many of you, I live with physical pain every day. The multiple diagnoses include osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia as the primary causes. Such pain is labeled “chronic” because it is always there, and yet “chronic” doesn’t even begin to describe pain.
Pain has layers. Three basic layers come to mind, although there are many other levels along the spectrum. There is the top acute layer, which screams the loudest and seemingly hurts the most because it gets the most attention. There are the middle layers of nagging ache that are more evident when the top layer has been appeased. And then at the very bottom is a throbbing discomfort that may not even manifest in the brain as “pain” per se and yet it won’t allow the sufferer a comfortable position and insists on intruding into even the deepest repose. Many drugs will address the top layer, some will actually start to work on the middle layers, and none ever seem to address all the layers simultaneously.
A change in the weather brings more pain. And yet, my pain, unlike someone with bone cancer, is not a harbinger of death or worsening disease. Sometimes I hurt so badly I am unable to think and yet I know it will subside at some point. Hopeful that it will not rise again only to be proven wrong. Pain wakes me from sleep and sometimes prevents sleep altogether, and yet sleep is supposed to help relieve pain. In my experience, sleep only provides a brief respite where I escape the confines of my physical self to the place where I can run and even fly.
So I try to remember that feeling when the pain h
as weighed me down… somewhere, somehow, I can fly 🙂