Journal Entry #8-June 4, 2016

Journal Entry – June 4, 2016

It’s been a few days since I posted a journal entry; it’s been a wicked week — even my wrists have been hurting so I haven’t been up to typing as much. Thankfully, the refills on my muscle relaxers have come through and with the help of people who amazingly still love me; I am doing better this evening and able to type. Go me!

Three work projects this week, and they wipe me out every time. However, I am dedicated and will always see my work through regardless of how I am feeling; at least I try to. My wires have gotten crossed and the weekend has been rough but I am hopeful that tomorrow will be a better day. I always remain hopeful that my tomorrows are better. I think it’s important to do that; I have seen what happens when one gives up. I don’t want to be that or end up that way.

I have lost two pounds, reduced my caffeine – still drinking my coffee – but have almost completely eliminated sodas for more water and vitamin water. I have not, unfortunately, maintained my reduction of cigarettes. The more stressed I become, it seems the more I smoke which stresses me out and the cycle goes on BUT I only have two packs of cigarettes left, I am giving myself one more week and then my primary goal is going to become smoke free. It’s one of the hardest habits to break, but I am ready. I just don’t want to smoke anymore. Keep your fingers crossed for me and prayers for my husband and son.

I will post my progress log this week; my goal is to post one every two weeks. I have been doing research for my upcoming vlogs which I think are going to be interesting. I am working on topics I really want to share – chronic pain and the use of alcohol, an overview of chronic pain and depression, and the pain/tobacco connection. I am also putting together info on the importance of your digestive health for weight loss. They are all near and dear to my heart on this journey and maybe they will be helpful for others out there.

Ice pack now on my back, and I am starting to relax. I will say good night for now. May you be blessed.

“With every sunrise you are given a new opportunity to make your life shine. Take on the day and shine!”

What it’s like…waking up not knowing what kind of day you will have.

It’s like Christmas morning, full of awe and wonder. You open your eyes, anticipation and maybe a small bit of tears well up inside you, ready to rush, leap from your bed, and open those presents that Santa left…they weren’t there the night before but you just know that they will be there today! You smile and your pulse quickens, and bam…you are out of bed in a blink to skip down the hallway with joy.

Life is like a box of chocolates-Forrest GumpSigh…I wish it were like that, but the reality of it when you are in pain most of the time waking up is often a anxious experience. Like Forrest said, “It’s like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”

I haven’t posted in a week or so, and for that I am sorry, but I am still trusting in all of you to help hold me accountable for my experiment here. It’s been a rough week between the anniversary of my mother’s death, three new work projects, and one of the worst flare ups I have had in a couple of months…it has been a roller coaster to say the very least. However, it has made me eager to drop a few new segments into the old blog…starting with this one: What it’s like…waking up not knowing what kind of day you’re going to have.

I’ve heard that statement before, it was in a movie about co-dependent spouses of alcoholics. The alcoholic has such a grip on the household that the spouse stated they would wait to see what kind of day their spouse was having so they would know what kind of day they would have themselves. I have come to realize, living with pain is somewhat similar in that when you wake up in the morning, you lie there…waiting for your body to make its morning assessment of all its moving parts so you can have any idea what your day ahead it going to be like.

Please don’t misunderstand or think I am in any way making light of alcoholism or what it’s like to live with an alcoholic; I have lived with one, I know what it’s like to live that life and it’s serious. Living with pain is serious too and you, your mind and consciousness, are at the mercy of your muscles, tendons, neurons, nerves, and bones. Some days you can know immediately, “Oh boy, it’s going to be one of those days” because everything hurts the minute you move your pinky toe. OR…”Yeah, it’s going to be a pretty good day” because you are able to roll over in bed, pull the blankets off, and sit up without sound effects. I love those days! Then, of course, there are the various degrees of days in between where you try to tip toe through your day as to not anger anything.

And you can never anticipate how it is going to be from the way you felt the night before; you could have gone to bed feeling pretty decent but in your sleep you twisted yourself up like a cat (how do they sleep in those positions? Color me envious) and wham, the next morning you numb from hip to toe.

That’s what had happened to me this week…Monday – Hurray, Tuesday – um, Ok, Wednesday – Ugh, Thursday – Hurray!, Friday – What the hell happened, we felt so good yesterday, finally, today…Saturday – someone, just put me out of my misery…I can’t do this anymore. Each one of those days, I could never have anticipated by the day before. I am truly thankful I had a couple of Hurray’s and an OK, those are what keep you going.

Still with me? I hope so, because the point behind this post is not to be negative or whine – because let’s face it, people with chronic pain get accused of whining a lot – but rather understanding. People who don’t know don’t understand; I was one of those people. My mother suffered from chronic pain, Fibromyalgia, from her late thirties until she passed in her early fifties. I was one of those people who rolled my eyes, smirked, stopped listening, and believed most of the time she was exaggerating her pain. Maybe she really wasn’t; perhaps it’s Karma that I now experience it myself, but I want to do something about it and I’m trying. Just know, there are people out here that do understand; I am one of them. You are not alone.

Sherry

Journal Entry #7 May 28, 2016

Journal Entry #7 – May 28, 2016

Keep-Moving-Confucius-500x500

I am back! I missed a couple of journal entries. Work days always tire me out. I have a forty-pound equipment kit I carry around for me with my assignments and I always seem to having aching shoulders after the fact. Yesterday, I could barely move my right arm.

There are days it is very difficult. My body aches but I have to keep working. You have to keep going because let’s face it, no one is going to pay your bills for you, at least no one is paying mine. I would love to stop some days and just let my body rest when it needs to rest but faced with keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table, I work through the pain and discomfort. I don’t always have the things I need to manage the pain either.

I have talked about a couple of things that help on my mild or semi-moderate days, but rough days, severe days I often find that I don’t have what it takes to adequately help with pain and sleep. I use everything in my arsenal but it doesn’t work and I still find myself suffering. This is when the prescription medications do help such as muscle relaxers and pain medication. So, what do you do when you don’t have them?

That’s the position I find myself in. I lost my medical insurance at the end of January and for three months have been paying out of pocket for whatever I need. These medications can get expensive if I can even get them. What happens when you can’t afford to go the doctor to get those refills? Also, many are now finding it difficult to even get prescriptions due to the many new regulations surrounding the prescribing of pain medications.

I have not been able to get prescription medication for almost two months and somedays I have found it extremely difficult to even move and carry on. It’s so hard, and one of the reasons I have started this journey and want so much just have a pain free life. A life where I don’t need to have the medications. Until then, I keep fighting to do what I need to do to take care of myself and carry on.

Story of Me – Where I was and how I got here

storytime

Post #1 – Decorative Tree Bark Sucks

As promised, I am going to share a little more about myself and by the end you will know much more about me and how I got to where I am to take this challenge.

I lived a normal life, fairly normal childhood, and I was by no means an inactive individual. I have seen my fair share of doctor’s visit for this injury or that but I was lucky — I have never broken a bone.  I have sprained many things, torn ligaments, pulled muscles, but never broken anything. Which surprises me since I am not entirely graceful. I never let it stop me though; I rode my bicycle, danced, played high school sports, and did pretty much whatever I wanted to.

Still, I was one of those people who could do a country line dance and make it look spectacular but turn around and trip over my shoes getting stuck on the carpet. I guess it was just a matter of time before something more serious happened to me then some scraps, bruises, or an occasional sprain happened to me. It finally did when I was about 28 years-old, and when I think back this is when I first started having more problems with pain where I had very little problems with ongoing pain before this happened.

I was having a normal night and heading out to dinner with my then husband (thankful ex now) and his parents. Of course I was the one asked to run in and check the wait time. Whew, I made it to the door safely, however, getting back to the car to report the status of the restaurant I was not so lucky. Somehow, that decorative bark chip stuff that people like to put around the bottom of trees or such, tree bark had made its way on to the concrete sidewalk where I stepped on it, rolled my ankle under me and came down with a nice thud. No one offered assistance and there were people all around and of course my first thought was “did anyone see that?”

I got myself up and my whole body was tingling from the impact of falling. It took a couple of steps before the pain impulses from my left ankle made it too my brain. “Knock, knock up there, umm, I really hurt you dunder head.” I made it to the car before collapsing completely, at which I reported “It’s a 15 minute wait, and I think I just broke my ankle.” I won’t say more about all of that, other than the concern for me was so great my ex-husband and his parents wanted to eat before taking me to the ER; I couldn’t eat I was nauseous from the pain.

After all was said and down, I did not break my ankle but rather tore all three major ligaments in my left ankle. I was in an air cast for three months, but I also started experiencing more pain in my hips and back. It is nowhere near the level of pain I experience now, however this when I started noticing how much easier it was to injury myself, wake up aching, or just hurt. It still wasn’t enough to hinder me from doing whatever I wanted to do; I kept dancing, leading my 4-H troop, working, and chasing around a child. Little did I know this was the beginning.

Product information from Vlog#1 – Magnilife and doTERRA

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Product Information from Vlog #1 – Magnilife and doTERRA

Sorry folks that it took me so long to get these out there, it’s been a heck of a week. As promised, below is additional information on the products I highlighted in my vlog #1. I spoke of two products; Magnilife Leg and Back Relief and doTERRA Deep Blue oil and lotion. Both are products I have found success with and are natural pain relief that have helped me navigate the maze of my pain.

Magnilife_LegBackTabletBottle#1 Magnilife Leg and Back Relief – There are many products available through Magnilife to help with various types of pain. They have natural ingredients giving you a homeopathic alternative to all the chemical pain relievers we already take as people with chronic pain. The offer products ranging from foot pain, restless leg relieve, to migraine relieve as well as the back pain relief. I have only taken the Leg and Back pain relief tablets, so I will not address the effectiveness of the other products but if they work as well as this one, I am sure the others are worth a try. Do your research and make sure you understand what the ingredients are before taking, talk to your pharmacist or doctor before taking any medication even if it is a homeopathic medication. The Leg and Back pain relief (picture of bottle to the left) contains the following:

Capsicum Annuum 6X HPUS – Cayenne Pepper – has many medicinal functions, helps with pain while sitting.

Colocynthis 6X HPUS –  Most popularly known as bitter apple – has various medicinal functions, helps with sciatic pain, pain from lower pain, in buttock and down the thigh.

Gnaphalium polycephalum 6X HPUS- Cudweed(in the sunflower family) – this is a pain reliever with much success in relieving sciatic pain, lumbar back pain, and numbness.

Magnesia Phosphorica 6X HPUS – magnesium phosphate – much like Epsom salts. This is a pain reliever, anti-spasm and relaxant.

All of this information I was able to research on the internet, and reading and understanding each ingredient is important. All of these ingredients have multiple symptom uses and found it useful for me. It can be taken 3 or 4 times a day, two tablets under your tongue until they dissolve. I use it on my mild to moderate days and on some of those days I find I need nothing else.

For more information on Magnilife and their products, you can check out their website: http://magnilife.com/

 

deep bluedoTERRA Deep Blue – Essential oil and rubbing cream

doTERRA is a product line I have become very familiar with and can recommend many of their products. I believe in their products so much, I became a representative and that is very rare for me. The Deep Blue products are what got me started with doTERRA. I was introduced to the product by a friend when I had a particularly nasty knee sprain. She gave me some of the rubbing cream and the pain relief was almost instantaneous. Then I tried it on my back and it was wonderful. It’s definitely something I recommend to people with chronic pain to have in their arsenal. The use of the oil and cream together gives the best result and the relief can last hours. The product is a blend of natural oils from plants, fruits, or flowers, mixed to provide the best result. Deep Blue (pictured to the left) has the following:

Blue Oil: Wintergreen leaf oil, Camphor bark oil, Peppermint oil, Blue Tansy flower, Blue Chamomile, Helichysum flower oil, and Osmanthus flower oil.  Oil can cause skin irritation for people with sensitive skin, but can be diluted with fractionated coconut oil to eliminate the irritation.

Blue Cream: Aqua, Wintergreen leaf oil, Camphor bark oil, Menthol, Sweet Almond oil, Peppermint oil, Eucalyptus leaf oil, Sweet Pepper oil, Blue Chamomile, Blue Tansy flower oil, Helichysum flower oil, Osmanthus flower oil, and Aloe leaf oils.

For more information about doTERRA and their products, you can check out my doTERRA site: https://www.mydoterra.com/sher1health/#/

 

Thank you to molhoingles.com for the use of the FYI picture.

Magnilife for use of the bottle picture

doTERRA for Deep Blue product picture

Conditions associated with chronic pain – Let’s talk about Sciatica

Let’s Talk About Sciatica

Sciatica-Pain1

I am fairly sure everyone has heard of this, if not experienced it…that aching, burning, painful, tingling, and numbing feeling that seems to sit in your buttock or hip. It can often travel down your leg where you feel the pain in your knee or tingling in your feet in toes. The first time you experience it, you say “Lord, what is this?” Then there is always someone who knowingly says and nods, “ah, pinched nerve” or “that’s your sciatic acting up.” This doesn’t help you at first, but once explained it becomes much more clear. Sciatica or the pinching of the sciatic nerve can happen occasionally or it can be an ongoing experience to everyday occurrence as part of the chronic pain you experience. With that said, let’s start at the beginning to understanding Sciatica.

What is Sciatic? I am so glad you asked. Sciatica is the irritation of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body starting in your lower back crossing at your pelvic bone and travels down the back of your leg where it branches off in to smaller nerves through your calves and down into your feet and toes. When injured or irritated, this nerve starts sending out pain impulses that are often described as shooting, burning, tingling, achy, or numbing. The more injured the stronger the impulse.

Nearly everyone will experience sciatica at some point in their lives, however, not everyone will develop sciatica at chronic levels. You develop sciatica simply by pinching the nerve. You can bend wrong, pick up something wrong, or twist and find yourself grabbing yourself from the sudden screaming of the nerve. I remember the first time I pinched my sciatic nerve; I bent over to pick up a laundry basket of clothes and dropped it almost as fast because the pain from it was that sudden. It shot down my leg to my knee and found myself crawling to my couch. I was only 17, so it can truly happen to anyone. In this case, what likely happened is I just moved wrong, pinch the nerve against the vertebrae and inflamed it. A couple of days of heat and cold treatment, ibuprofen, and easy stretches to help loosen the inflamed muscles; I was back on my feet. This was an acute case; it does go away and you go back to life as normal.

Now we know a little more, let’s discuss chronic cases. Chronic cases are cases where the pain does not go away for more than two or three months and is often experienced in conjunction with an injury. Chronic sciatica usually a symptom or associated disorder to herniated discs or lower spine injury. In these cases, the sciatic nerve is pinched from the bulging disc essentially pinning the nerve in the lower portion of the spinal canal, against the tailbone (sacrum) or within the pelvic area.

Sciatic pain can be reduced even in chronic conditions. Much like treating lower back conditions, treatment is often started conservatively. Heat/ice treatment, NSAID’s, and steroid treatments to reduce inflammation and relieve pressure. The additional of mild to moderate exercise can help to keep muscle loose and keep them from tightening around the injured area which can cause more pain.

If you experience pain for more than a day or two, consult your doctor. If the pain persists, additional diagnoses and tests may be necessary and the consultant of a specialist. In an additional segment, I will post some stretches that may help. Also, I highly recommend checking out the link I provide below. It’s perhaps the most comprehensive website dedicated to Sciatica and its treatment I have ever found.

Sciaticarx-A Complete Sciatica Resource

 

*Thank you to neckandbackpain.com.my for the picture.*

Journal Entry#6 – May 24, 2016

Journal Entry – May 24, 2016

Okay, there is where accountability and honest comes in. I have accomplished nothing. I have been tired, crazy, and lazy for the past three days. I have given in to the woe is me depression so many of us suffer when we don’t feel good. I have wanted to sleep and do nothing else, however, I haven’t slept well for four days and still did nothing. Here is where I can take one of two paths – given in to the depression that this causes OR change it.

I gave into the depression yesterday. I let my head be filled with a lot of “I can’t…” and “I don’t want to…” statements. Of course, these accomplish nothing and none of the pain went away so I chased my tail in the loop of “ugh.”

Today, I decided to take the change it approach. I have been watching my husband the last few days struggle to get our truck running again. He suffers from a chronic pain all his own with a condition no one can diagnose as well as Psoriatic Arthritis. There are days it renders his hands useless. I wish upon ever state that I could do something to help but I am not a mechanic and the best I can do it cheer him on. He’s about done with our truck and my cheerleading.

It is inspirational sometimes to watch him. I know it’s hurting him yet he is doing it. I wish we could afford a mechanic but I can only work limitedly and he can’t work at all so income is of course tight. I can only imagine the hundreds of times he has said “I can’t do this” in his mind and the countless times I have heard him out loud how much he doesn’t “want” to do it. Yet he does.

I find when I get stuck in the “I don’t wanna’s”, I start with something simple and work my way up from there. I got myself up and took a shower. I got out of my pajama’s and into some everyday person clothes, and went to offer my services to help with the vehicle repair. I took a few minutes to exercise a little doing step ups on the bottom stair of the steps that lead up to our townhouse. It’s amazing how that little bit of activity helped clear away some of the fog and get my head back in the game. I was actually able to help with something on the truck. I did a few more step ups on my way back into the house, I paid some bills, made some phone calls that were long overdue, and started a couple of new segments for the blog.

Things are looking up and all it took is one change to turn the tide. What’s one change you can make today?