Surf’s Up

I started writing an ethical will for my three sons a couple of years ago.

I’ve never finished it because I have so much I want to tell them. I just don’t know where to stop.

An ethical will is a way to tell your loved ones your values, blessings, life lessons, hopes, and dreams for the future. It’s simple really.

It can actually be about anything you feel is valuable information to pass down to the next generation, and you do not have to wait to die to pass it on to your family members.

You can give them a copy at any time for any reason, or no reason at all.

It is not a legal document of any kind.  It’s just thoughts and things you want to share.

Don’t we all have times when we wish we had one more moment in time to tell that special person something that we value deeply?

Here is just a tiny sampling of things I have written in my ethical will of words of wisdom I want to pass on to my children.

Life is hard no matter what path you go down.

The people beside you are hurting in some way just like you. 

That’s just reality.

EVERYTHING depends on how YOU react to it.

You can try to find positive instead of looking for the negative.

It’s harder work, but it pays off with dividends:    Joy.

I guarantee you’ll have joy if you learn to ride the wave instead of drowning in the wave. 

Much Love and Many Prayers,

Cindy

JULY Chronic Pain Support Group Update:
I am waiting on the final go ahead from the community agency that is allowing me to lead a chronic pain support group at their facility locally.
I will now be making the flyers and cards to give out at doctor’s offices locally and to put up around town.
The dream is slowly coming together.  I want to thank everyone that is supporting and encouraging me; specifically, my hubby.  This is probably one of the craziest ideas I’ve ever thrown at him but he has never lost a step right beside me.  Always & Forever.
Help My Mission of helping others live the best life they can with chronic pain.
________________________
Photo Credit (I could not bring myself to crop the photo – the colors were too awesome- so it is too large but beautiful) by Paul Larkin on Unsplash 

 

 

 

Sunshine Blogger Award

 

I would like to thank Wendi over at SimplyChronicallyIll for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award.  Wendi shares her story of living simply with multiple chronic illness. Her words are honest, and I think you will be blessed by her thoughts so go check her out.

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS…

THE RULES

1.) Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link back to their blog

2.) Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you

3.) Nominate 11 new blogs to receive this award, and write them 11 new questions

4.) List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

 

Questions for me:

  1. What is your favorite thing about blogging awards?    I love reading the answers and getting to know other people around the world.  The questions take us a little deeper into each other’s lives allowing us to see that we have many things in common.  Having this community to interact with about our chronic pain/illness helps removes the feelings of isolation.
  2. If you were a sports car, which one would you want to be and why?  It would have to be a Ford Mustang.  The family business was an auto repair shop. My two older brothers had hot rods, and I was raised by them to love Fords.  I was more of a tomboy than a girlie-girl, and I remember it as a time to spend time with my brother.  I usually annoyed him to death but, secretly, I think he liked it that I was interested.
  3. If you could only eat one color of food for a week, what color would it be? My first thought is green.  There is so many good for you foods that are green: Brussel sprouts, broccoli, butter beans (I’m a southern girl), asparagus, peas, and more than I cannot think of right now.
  4. What is your favorite movie line and why? From Hope Floats:  “Childhood is what you spend the rest of your life trying to overcome. That’s what momma always says. She says that beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will, too…”  I saw this movie for the first time during a new beginning in my life and the movie just resonated with me.  This line always stuck with me.  It is one of my favorite movies.
  5. If you had to leave your house and take only 10 things with you (excluding all living beings) what would they be? Cell phone to call people, pen and paper to write with, a box books to read, computer to keep up with the world, my favorite sweater that is a deep wine/cherry (somehow it goes with everything), my medicines, my cane. headphones (cannot live without music), my datebook (otherwise I won’t have a clue what I am supposed to be doing), and sun glasses to shade my eyes because I have sensitive eyes and have migraines easily.
  6. Describe yourself in two words. God’s Beloved.
  7. What is one sporting activity that you enjoy watching? Most anything racing or motorcross related. I grew up with brothers and they were big into fast cars. Now hubby and I are in to motorcross.  He rides, I watch or video whenever I am physically able to do it.
  8.  If you could give one piece of advice for all the world to hear what would it be? Do not be afraid to be vulnerable. There are so many misunderstandings because people do not say what they really feel.  Insecurities hold people back from allowing others to truly know them. Since everyone has had varied life experience, we have a completely unique perception of the world than the next person.  Hoping that the other person will figure out what you are thinking is setting yourself up for communication failure.  
  9. What is your favorite encouraging quote?  “You can’t fly if you don’t jump.” unknown. I am always too scared to jump. I am trying to overcome that. 
  10.  If you had to learn a made up language, which one would you choose and why? Pig Latin because it sounds cool.
  11.  If you were to learn to play an instrument which one would you choose?A very long time ago, I played clarinet and the piano.  If I had my piano, I would still play it. If I had time, I’d love to be able to play the guitar.

My  Questions:

  1. When was the last time you changed your opinion/belief about something major?
  2. If you could make one rule that everyone had to follow, what rule would you make?
  3. What is one of your favorite smells?
  4. What song or artist do you like but rarely admit to liking?
  5. What risks are worth taking?
  6. What small gesture from a stranger made a big impact on you?
  7. What makes a good life?
  8. What’s the title of the current chapter of your life?
  9. If you could make a 20 second phone call to yourself at any point in your life present or future, when would you call and what would you say?
  10. What are some of your personal “rules” that you never break?
  11. If you could have a never-ending candle that smelled like anything you wanted, what fragrance would you want it to be?

My Nominees:

Discovering Your Happiness

Reclaiming Hope

Looking For the Light

My Lil Place

My Loud BiPolar Whispers

Pointless Overthinking

Mom Life with Chiari

The Depression Free Garden

Simply Chronically Ill

Chronic Pain Supergirl

As always, I would love to hear everyone’s answers, but I understand if you are unable to complete it.

Thanks to Simply Chronically Ill for the nomination.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Sunday.

Much Love and Many Prayer,

Cindy

The To Do List

Through tears after dinner last night, I told my hubby that I finished everything on my to-do list. I was so happy that I had finally done that one more time.

It had been years since I crossed off everything on my daily list of things to get done. Chronic pain had changed every aspect of my life.

Once upon a time, completing daily tasks was something I was proud of doing every day. They were always long lists, and I believed that meant I was having a successful day, that I was a successful person who was not lazy or unorganized.

Whether it was at work or home, it suggested the day had gone smoothly, and I could be proud. The checked boxes indicated I had been prepared for every snag or dealt with them efficiently.

But tonight, I am in severe pain. I was so excited that I placed an “X” in every box, but I was crying because of the physical pain I was enduring from being so “successful.”

Then I realized what I was doing to myself. I was judging myself by the number of checked off boxes on my notepad.

I have worked very hard to change my perspective about living with chronic pain and to live as positively as I can regardless of my situation. I have been diligent in finding what isn’t working and changing it, but this one snuck in on me.

Why do we push ourselves so hard mentally or physically past the breaking point when while living with chronic pain?

So many dreams die one by one when you are diagnosed with a chronic illness. Yesterday was almost as if I was trying to prove to myself I could still do it. Well, I did do it, and it isn’t pretty. I don’t think it was worth it.

Don’t do this to yourself either. You only have one body. That family member that thinks you are lazy or the friend that just thinks you are unorganized isn’t going to donate you their body when yours gives out because you were judging yourself by what they thought of you.

I need to stop comparing myself to others and realize this is my life, not theirs and I’m the only one that needs to be happy about it. I need to decide on new ways to consider myself successful, and I need to nurture those ideas.

Today, I have put aside “the to do list.” I’m going to rest and recharge my batteries. Hopefully, I can start again tomorrow.

Be kind to your bodies out there.

Much Love and Many Prayers

Cindy

Help Support My Misson

Update on the new chronic pain support group I am starting:  I have spoken to a local mental health agency in my county about using their space for our meetings.  They seem to be very interested in the idea of a place they can send their patients who are seeing them for depression and anxiety from either chronic illness or chronic pain.  I think they were just as excited as I am. I am hoping this community agency will be a perfect match for our support group. Keep your fingers crossed.  

 

Check Out My 100th Follower

Yippee!

I hit 100 follows on on June 24, 2018.  I wanted to give a shout out to my 100th follow Phoebe Chi (Puppydoc)-Musings of a Puppy Doc.  

The Puppy Doc shares poetry about being a caregiver as a medical professional and helpful health related articles.

The depth of her caring is evident in her writing.  I hope you will go check her blog out.

Thank you PuppyDoc for helping me reach 100 follows!

Do You Feel Stuck in Your Situation?

This morning I was thinking about my thoughts and beliefs that kept me “stuck” for so many years with deep and dark depression and anxiety from chronic pain.

I felt stuck because…

I did not have belief in myself.

I allowed others to do everything for me.

I always thought my body had to be completely healed to have a better life again.

I thought I must be weak because I can’t push through the pain, and that made me feel shame.

I became angry when doctors told me I must learn to live with it so I “dug in my heels in” that a cure must be found.

I didn’t take responsibility for my treatment. I trusted in doctors to have complete control over my treatment without question.

I believed that going to a psychologist meant the pain was only in my head.

I had untreated severe depression and anxiety due to pain.

I relied only on medication and not lifestyle changes to get through my pain.

I was grieving my “old” life and who I was before chronic pain.

I kept myself isolated at home.

I compared my life to everyone else’s “perfect” life on Facebook.

It is in my personality to resist change and to be inflexible mentally.

This is just a few reasons I could not move forward with my life.

So, how am I turning things around?I realized over time that I was the only one that can change my situation. It is a long slow process. I had given away my power a long time ago, so I had to find the strength to make the changes. I struggle so hard with making changes. I just cling to whatever I am doing, even if it isn’t the best thing for me. Change is scary.

In fighting to change for the better, I felt like I was in a cocoon pushing out an arm and a leg, occasionally punching through only to have it close back up quickly. There are days I still struggle with breaking through the difficult stuff and being consistent.

When I hit 250 lbs from being sedentary, I woke up and realized my weight issue was completely out of control. I sought out a surgeon for weight loss surgery. Part of the process is seeing a nutritionist and psychologist. Both have helped me change my life.

This was the first step in lasting change although I didn’t know it at the time.

I had to take a very long multiple choice quiz about my behaviors and beliefs. The results are used to determine if you are a good candidate for the surgery mentally and if you will commit to making the lasting changes. Needless to say, my results showed I “got issues.”

That was the beginning of my journey to healing. It was not the cure I was hoping for. I was looking for that miracle that would make my life go back to normal.

I would love to tell you I have it all figured out but I am moving very slow with the changes. We are talking tiny baby steps. Creeping ever so slowly over the past two years.

With every a-ha moment of understanding how my brain processes thoughts, I began making small changes in how I thought about myself through therapy.

For me, going over the old me and keeping what works but throwing out the no longer usable tools in my mental health toolbox has been helpful.

Has it been easy? No. It has been excruciatingly painful emotionally at times, but I have learned so much about myself and the people around me.

Becoming aware of who I really am and accepting that person even though I am different than the beliefs I was given as a child has been key to making changes.

It is just the starting point sitting across from a mental health professional. You have to get over the hump of using your brain to control your thoughts.

Most everyone has heard the buzz word “mindful.” It is having control of your immediate thoughts and changing your negative belief pattern while living in the moment, not in the past or future but right in the present.

Feeling stuck, lonely, and depressed is no way to go through life. Some people do not win the battle, and that makes me very sad.  I hope I reach someone today that feels defeated and they seek out professional help.

You can choose to take control of your thoughts. There is no shame in seeking out help. The medical doctors are not taught how to handle emotions and mental health issues that chronic pain causes.

Medical doctors have very little training in treating a patient’s emotional pain from chronic pain. Mental health services should be offered when you are diagnosed with chronic pain and not at the end when they do not know what to do with you anymore. They leave you emotionally damaged by chasing miracles and expensive alternative treatments they offer when they cannot do anything else for you.

A psychologist or other mental health professional should be a part of the chronic pain treatment plan in the beginning, and it should be covered entirely by insurance.

Don’t stay stuck.You really can feel happiness in the midst of chronic pain.

I promise it is worth the hard work. The first step is believing in yourself and that you are worth the work. I believe in you.

Join me in taking my own advice today. Stop the negative thoughts by challenging each one. People say “get out of your head,” but I think we need to “get in our head” to have a happy life no matter the situation or surroundings.

One thing no one can take away from you is your attitude.

Much Love and Many Prayers,
Cindy

Help Support My Mission

Inside My Head Tag

iScriblr_the-inside-my-head-tag

My dear friend SimpliWendi over at Simply Chronically Ill, I am finally completing your reward tag!  Thank you for the nomination. SimpliWendi lives with multiple chronic illness and faces them bravely.  She encourages others with chronic illnesses to live simply for a better life. Please go check out her blog where you will find honesty, vulnerability, and encouragement.

Rules:

° Thank & tag the person that has tagged you

° Attach the tag photo

° Answer the ‘This or That’ questions

° Tag 10-20 friends

 

Here we go:  a little about me……………..

° How do you feel at the moment?

Very excited.  I have a few hours that I can write without interruption.

 

° What do you need more in my life?

I need more self-confidence.

 

° What would make you happy right now?

To see my three grown sons.  They live over 600 miles away from me.  I miss them so much. They come every Christmas, but the time in between passes so slowly.

 

° What is going on in your life right now?

Very beginning of creating a chronic pain support group locally and online and doing chronic pain advocacy.

 

° What am I most grateful for? List 10 things.

  1. God.
  2. My hubby and sons
  3. The gift of writing and expression.
  4. My life situations because looking back, I am one strong woman because of them.
  5. Laughter.
  6. Medicine that helps my physical pain.
  7. The opportunities that this blog has given me.
  8. People that believe in me.
  9. My fan beside my lazy boy because hot flashes are killer.
  10. Pepsi and coffee

 

° When did you experience joy this week? 

Today, sharing laughter with my hubby.

 

° List a small victory/success?

When I started spiraling down into depression, I pulled myself back up in the same day.  I think the tools I’ve learned are beginning to work for me.  All I know is that it is challenging work to be consistent.

 

° What is bothering me & Why?

Family issues because I always believed that “blood was thicker than water,” but through my struggles, I have found that is not true. It’s a death of the dream of what family meant.

 

° What are my priorities at the moment?

I am learning to take self-care for my chronic pain seriously.  When I am consistent with that, I feel so much better.  It helps me to be able to participate more fully in my life and live in the moment.

 

° What do I love about myself?

I can make people laugh.  I love my excitement. I love my new attitude.

 

° Who means the world to me & why?

There are 4 people that mean the world to me and if they read this, they will know I am talking about them.  One reason: unconditional love.

 

° If I could share one message with the world, what would it be?

(SimpliWendi: I stole your answers!!  They were perfect!)

Be nice………..you have NO IDEA what other people are going through.

Be generous……….there are SO many needs in this world.

 

° What advice would I give my younger self? 

Be smarter with my love and respect myself.

 

° What lesson did I learn this week? 

I have to relearn this every week.  I have to learn to be emotionally flexible.

 

° If I had all the time in the world, what would I do first?

I would have to have qualifiers to answer this question.  I would need to know if I would have my chronic pain or not.
With chronic pain, I would be helping people in some way like I am trying to do with the blog and through writing. I don’t want what I go through every day to be in vain, and I don’t want anyone to stay stuck thinking that their life is over because of chronic pain or chronic illness.
Without chronic pain, I would go back to college and get my psychology degree while working to pay for it. (I miss working and interacting with people in person.) Then, I would do the same thing but with even more knowledge to help others.

 

° What’s draining my energy?

Chronic pain constantly drains every ounce of energy.  It really sucks some days when there is very little energy to do basic tasks.

 

° What does my ideal morning look like?

To wake up without an alarm clock.  The noise is a shock to the body and brain.

 

What makes me come alive?

Spring time in the South makes me come alive.  The suns starts warming the earth and everything comes alive.

 

° What/Who inspires me the most?

All of the people with pain in this world that get up one more day and do it all over again.

 

° Where does my pain originate?

This would have to be a series.

 

° What are my strengths?

I am an intuitive thinking and encourager.

 

° What is something I’ve always wanted but too scared to get?

One of the new Ford Mustangs.  I would probably kill myself in it.

 

° What is something I would love to learn?

Calligraphy.

 

° Where would I want to live my ideal life?

Somewhere with many, many more sunny days than rainy days.

 

Where would you like to travel in the next 5 years?

I would love to have a motor home and travel everywhere it can go.

 

° What can I do to take better care of myself?

Say no without guilt or shame.

 

° What hobbies would I like to try?

Pinterest DIYs

 

° When have I done something that I thought I couldn’t do?

I didn’t think I would ever travel again but in the past year I have been to Denver and Chicago.

 

° At the end of my life, what do I want my legacy to be?

She was a Mary in a Martha world. Luke 10:38-42

 

My nominees not in any particular order: 

Discovering Your Happiness

My Loud Bipolar Whispers

LETITGOCOACH

Pointless Overthinking

FightMSDaily

Can’t wait to hear everyone’s answers but if it is not your thing, that’s ok too.

Much Love and Many Prayers

Cindy

 

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

Anti-Inflammatory Diets: Fact or Fad?

I cannot add very much to this post by the Puppy Doc. Great information about a special diet for chronic inflammation. Research on chronic pain and how different food affects the inflammation needs to be a healthcare research priority.

Phoebe, MD: Medicine & Poetry

By Phoebe Chi, MD

Inflammation. Foods that fight inflammation. Anti-inflammatory diets. It has no doubt become a buzzword in the world of nutrition and health these days. But while there’s little question that the food we eat is an important part of staying healthy, some of these diets are being promoted with very big health claims, among them the assertion that they can cure serious diseases. But does the actual science match up to these claims? And should you follow these dietary guidelines? And what exactly do these diets consist of? These are the questions that will be addressed in this post. 

View original post 1,492 more words

Chronic Pain Support Group Training

Whew!  I am starting to catch my breath from the trip to Chicago for the chronic pain support group training last weekend.  I am experiencing more pain than I expected, and it has slowed me down tremendously.

But let me tell you about the training instead!  Pain Connection (a program of US Pain Foundation www.painconnection.org. www.uspainfoundation.org) held the training. Every one attending and the leaders were awesome. We all connected almost immediately.  Many different personalities in the room and different belief systems, but we all came together as one to learn how to help the chronic pain community by starting support groups in our local areas. We also learned things that we can apply to ourselves for self-care like guided imagery and meditation.

We went through so many aspects of chronic pain/chronic illnesses and how to have an effective treatment plan so you can have a good life. I will have plenty of topics to write about and use in a support group setting; too many to name it all here today but I cannot wait to share it all.

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My biggest take away is the Treatment Tree. The Treatment Tree idea and planning can help you to find tools and skills for every aspect of your life: physical, emotional, spiritual, social, career, hobbies, and organization. It recognizes that we have many different ways that chronic pain affects our lives and helps us to find solutions that work every day.

I have never had a doctor that considered all these aspects at one time when deciding different medical treatments for me.  We must be our own advocates. I intend to give the information I have learned to you so we both can take it to our doctors so they can see the big picture. We need more than just a prescription!

I also learned more about our pain being so much more than just in the physical area of an injury. There are so many aspects of our lives that affect our pain, and the brain plays a very large role in ways that I never knew before. As I learn more, I will pass it on.

Chicago was nothing like I have heard about it. I pictured dirty and unfriendly.  We seemed to be in a more industrial area in the north west of Chicago.  It was very clean and everyone we came in contact with was very kind and helpful.  I couldn’t have asked for a better trip.

I love meeting new people and hearing their life stories and this was no different.  It exceeded my expectations and I am so thankful that my hubby and I we both were able to complete the training. 

At the end, we had to pick a stone with a word on it and tell why we chose it.  I chose happiness because I have always chased happiness.  I didn’t say anything profound because being put on the spot like that shuts down my brain.  😁  But I always thought happiness was living without any troubles or sorrows and when I got to that point, I’d be happy. But I have found out that happiness can live amongst the troubles and sorrows. With this knowledge, I became unstuck.

JOY IS BUT THE SIGN THAT CREATIVE EMOTION IS FULFILLING ITS PURPOSE.
– CHARLES DU BOS

That’s what this blog is all about: changing perceptions. Changing the perceptions other people have of people with pain and changing our perceptions of ourselves and our chronic pain journey. 

Knowledge is power.  Go out and get you some!

I am excited!! I am 6 followers from 100.  Help me out!  Follow my blog!

Much Love and Many Prayers,

Cindy

Cloud Nine

My head is still in the clouds from the plane ride. I feel completely peaceful tonight. I am exhausted and in major pain but it is worth every wince and groan.

Being validated, knowing someone else “gets it” is empowering. We know we can leave our guard down which makes us more relaxed. And that helps us deal with the pain in our bodies in a more loving way.

I believe support groups or seeing a mental health professional can really help chronic pain patients deal with the constant unrelenting pain and improve their quality of life. It’s all about taking back control, reducing isolation, and keeping your independence.

These past few years you have probably felt like a runaway train recklessly going through the motions to get through the day.  So many people with chronic pain do not have a person that can help support their physical and emotional needs.  A support group can do that.

When you attend a support group you will find others with different pain issues but with almost the exact emotional journeys.

Knowing that others are just like you in that way is validating. Tonight I feel very understood, and I am grateful.

I took a couple of pics with my phone coming in to the airport in Chicago. I am not a professional photographer. It’s just cell phone shots. 😎

This is me. Just happy to be alive and fully partipating in my life!

I hope this helps someone tonight. Maybe you might start a support group of your own. If you would like more information, please contact me directly at validatingchronicpain@gmail.com or through my contact page with the button above in the header.

Please forgive any errors. I am doing this on the fly on my telephone.

Much Love and Many Prayers,

Cindy

Dream a Little Dream For Me

I thought I would let every one know how the trip is going and let you inside my neurotic world.

I tried to just sit down and relax at the house after I was finished with packing but to no avail.

Thoughts rolling through my head like fish in a rolling river. They are going too fast to catch. I am trying to slow them down and think with reason.

But the anxiety won and hubby sweetly gave in because he knows I won’t stop obsessing about missing the fight.

So we will be sitting in the airport for about 2 1/2 hours before we board. I really hate anxiety.

Chronic pain with anxiety creates a nightmare of constant planning for what-ifs! If I get focused on something, I cannot let it go.

Anyway, we are patiently waiting for our plane: catching up on emails and reading blogs.

I must give a shout out for American Airlines out of ILM for going out of their way to help disabled passengers.

I witnessed this with other disabled passengers and experienced it myself. Impressed so far.

So, with extra planning I can still fly even being disabled. They will use a wheelchair to get me from gate to gate.

I never dreamed that my life trials would lead me to the places I have gone. I was sure I would ever travel again!

If I can do these things, so can you.

There are many opportunities for advocacy with US Pain Foundation and the people I have worked with have been wonderful.

Don’t give up your dreams!

Your dreams may need to be modified but you can still live an awesome life!!

I’m supposed to be in Chicago around 2pm. Hopefully, enough time to venture out tonight and check the city out.

Much Love and Many Prayers,

Cindy

If you can help with travel expenses for the chronic pain support group leader training I am going to this weekend I would be forever grateful.

Help my mission of starting a chronic pain support group.