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

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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.

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?

Journal Entry #5- May 22, 2016

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Journal Entry – May 22, 2016

Yesterday was a rough day and no journal entry made it to the page. It finally happened, exhaustion. I was able to sleep for a combined 10 hours. The sleep was nice, only problem this much time in bed makes the body hurt. There was nothing much to talk about yesterday anyway; I accomplished pretty much nothing.

Today is better. Luna (my pure black cat) sits over my arm, yes, it is difficult to type with her right there but she doesn’t much care. She’s almost 14 years old; I suppose she can do what she wants. I think she just wants to make sure I don’t have any typos however she keeps falling asleep—not much of an editor. I digress…

This morning I started going through my food products looking at its nutritional values and list of ingredients. I can see where it’s time to make changes in my food choices. Not just for the fat but also sugar contents, which is what sparked my Sugar segment.  I switched to a natural creamer for my coffee rather than the non-dairy fat free one I used that was filled with chemicals. My hope is to help my body by using more natural products.

The pain is lessening today. I am finding improvement in my shoulders and wrists. The more I stretch and do easy exercises in these areas the better it appears they are getting. I have reduced my levels of medication today as well my need for the topical pain relievers, however, my focus has returned to my lower back and hips.

Tomorrow I will begin again the exercises I learned through physical therapy. As I start these, I will begin sharing the most effective ones. They were recommended to by a physical therapist, however, I do not recommend you start any exercise routine without first speaking to your doctor.

I am going to keep today’s entry short and sweet. Love your Sunday and do something that you enjoy!

do-what-you-love1

Journal Entry #3 – May 20, 2016

Journal Entry – May 20, 2016

Last night was a rough one for sleep. I suppose I should have seen it coming given that the day was one of heavier pain my usual painful days. It was around 06:00 (yes, morning) before I was able to fall asleep. The pain was creeping into my hips and thighs with especially painful burning in my right thigh. I always appreciate when I get these wonderful new sensations. Not really, I am sure you can detect the sarcasm intended by at least it’s not the same mind dulling pain I experience every day.

Of course the pain isn’t the only problem; the biggest problem is always the mind and figuring out a way to shut it off. If anyone has figure out how to successfully do this, please share! First, I lie there trying to figure out how I managed to develop this new pain or what I did to cause it. I most certainly didn’t do any squats – that’s far too advanced of an exercise for me at this level – and I try very hard to not to lift anything heavy when my back flare up. This can go on for hours and while the mind is at it trying to solve the riddle of the new pain, it begins to work on other things as well such as how to achieve world peace, what sound does a penguin actually make, and how I am going to make my rent payment in September when it’s only May. The cycle is never ending…OH, cycle…that’s it.

The mind latches on to the motorcycle ride I took on my birthday. Well, the mystery of the new pain has been solved. Ah, the enjoyable motorcycle ride; why do the things we do for enjoyment end up causing us pain? However, even though the pain issue has been solved, the mind is now still fixated on the world peace and penguin mysteries. I will never sleep now.

Distraction, medication, and medication; they are the only way I was able to lull myself to sleep. I pull out one of my trusty Harry Potter books (I am such a nerd like that, I read them at least once a year) and the familiar words are like a lullaby. I have taken Motrin PM plus pain medication and eventually as the sun comes up my eyes begin to droop. I put away the book and now meditate; focusing on my tranquil spot with the water moving and sun shimmering. Sleep is achieved but phones begin ringing at 08:00 and it’s all broken sleep from that point until the medication begins to wear off four or five hours later, pain begins to increase, muscles begin to stiffen, and it’s no longer enjoyable to lie in bed.

This is what it’s like for me at night and I can imagine it is similar for other who suffer from frequent pain. The nights can be frustrating and often times the only way you get decent sleep is to be so exhausted your mind and body can’t fight it. Being that exhausted isn’t good for your though. I have found when I am over tired like that, I tend to smoke more, eat more, and care less about myself. It certainly isn’t a recipe for success and the I spend the day doing as little as possible, ignoring the things I should get done because I just don’t want to do anything.

It doesn’t help at all that today, in Mid-May, the weather has decided to turn and pretend to be winter. Everything hurts worse when it is cold. We even seen some slow flurries this afternoon. Yes, snow in May and promise you, we do get snow in Nevada. Tonight, however, I am going to do what I often do and try to head it off before it starts. I will take the medication earlier, start the book earlier, meditate earlier and pray. Praying actually does help, if it weren’t for the Lord I probably wouldn’t be here. Tomorrow will be a better day.

Journal Entry#2 May 19, 2016

May 19, 2016

Last night I did something I haven’t done in quite a long time. I rode on the back of a motorcycle. My husband rides and since my back started hurting worse over the last year I haven’t ridden much. I have missed it. The only problem with this, however enjoyable it was at the time, when your pain comes from your lower back…riding on the back of a hardtail Harley is not the best thing to do. I am paying for it today. My back is aching and my thighs are on fire. I have stared at my floor, my mind keeps telling me to do some stretches. I know which ones I should do, but my body just keeps screaming NO and I can’t muster the desire or energy to do them.

I started my day with my morning coffee, I haven’t eaten which is honestly not a smart thing to do. It’s actually more important to eat, especially when trying to reduce your weight. Food is fuel and where at times it’s good to fast especially when trying to break plateaus not eating at all is not a way I suggest in losing weight. In my experience it just sets you up to binge eat and binge eating just leads to anger and guilt. So, always eat…at least something, preferably protein and not sugary.

Today was a day I needed more than an aspirin or ibuprofen or two. It’s days like these where I am tempted to drink just to not have to experience the pain. I haven’t, nor am I going to, but I’m sure there are some of you out there that can relate. One thing I have been doing, which goes against my goals, is smoking more and I realize I am doing it as a distraction.  Recognizing this is my first step, changing it is the next step. So many changes ahead of me but I know if in the end I feel even 50% better, the changes are worth it but the point behind this experience is to seek truth. Will making these changes really eliminate all my pain? Days like today I doubt it but I will keep pushing forward.

Today I am going to add a new category to the blog called “My Progress Log.” The progress log will follow my weight loss, smoking cessation, pain levels, medication reduction, etc. Essentially, it will show you my stats as I go along. I will commit to post weekly, and even throw in pictures as time goes on. Thank you for following. I know I probably wouldn’t get through this without being accountable to you. I am also going to start posting more on the various conditions that have been associated with chronic pain, nutritional facts, product facts, and even videos or articles I think will help people with pain become more active.

The more I research for this blog, the more I understand how all of our systems are interrelated. The human system is fascinating and I can’t wait to share information with you all. I know these journal entries are a little, um, bland to read but I promise they will get better as time goes on. Just remember, I promised to be honest with you always and the journal entries are one way I stay accountable to you.