Music is My Shorthand

Tonight, I am doing fairly well but there are some out there that are feeling like they just cannot keep going.

If that is you tonight, this video is for you.

If you are doing good, please stop one minute to pray for the people that cannot see their way at this moment.

Chronic pain often forces us to remain isolated and feeling alone. We have all had those moments that makes us fearful of our future.

So tonight, remember that you are not alone.

Much Love & Many Prayers,
Cindy

International Association for Suicide Prevention

Photo by Krystal Ng on Unsplash

Music is the shorthand of emotion.” – Leo Tolstoy quote from BrainyQuote.com

My Temple

Today, I was going through last years datebook and found a prayer that I had shared in a blog last year.  I would like to share it again today.  It’s a great reminder that in all of the mess we can feel gratitude within the stuggles of fighting with a broken earthly body.

Creator God:

Thank you for this body. Thank you for the gift of movement, the gift of touch, the gift of laughter.  When I am at odds with my body, please help me focus my thoughts to what my body can do and the ways it can serve you. Thank you for the nerves and synapses. arterteries, and brain cells, that make me who I am, your creation.  Amen

Enjoy your weekend!

Much Love & Many Prayers,

Cindy

Beautiful New Beginnings

I pray that everyone had a blessed Christmas Season. As the holidays close and the year ends, I have been reflecting on the past twelve months.

A roller coaster at times, 2018 has been an interesting year for sure. Stress-wise, it has been a really hard year for many reasons, which contributes to extra pain, but I am still standing just like my tattoo says… Still I rise. I may be battle weary, but I am upright.

In spite of 2018 being stressful, I made some accomplishments that makes me proud.  I think more than anything, I learned to stop fighting the process.  Life is not simple.  In fact, it is pretty messy, but I found some beauty in the mess if I kept my focus on what really matters in life to me.

Some highlights of my year:

  • I wrote for my blog and Survivors Blog Here, and I wrote articles for The Mighty and Sivana East. I have been amazed at how far my words have gone in the world. I am humbled by the many people that have stopped for a moment to leave an encouraging word. 💚
  • I went to Chicago in June with hubby for a chronic pain support group leader training. He went through the training with me. It was an incredible opportunity for both of us. We learned things that will benefit each of us individually and our marriage. We are very thankful that Pain Connection, through the US Pain Foundation, held the training.
  • I met some unbelievably supportive people through my writing and through doing advocacy work. Some have shared their hearts with me. Some have helped me hone my blog with their encouragement and guidance. Others have shared the ropes of advocacy and how to accomplish reaching the politicians with our unique chronic pain perspective.
  • I met with my US House of Representative’s office this year about how the chronic pain community has been affected by the misinterpreted CDC’s opioid prescribing guidelines. Once again, the words came effortlessly to me, and I knew I was on the right path.
  • The Alliance of the Treatment of Intractable Pain (ATIP) asked me to help recruit and manage volunteer advocates for them. It is a wonderful group of people deeply dedicated to fighting for the rights of chronic pain patients. I am honored to be apart of this organization.
  • We lived through historical rain fall amounts when Hurricane Florence came though our area. It’s the worst hurricane I have been through, but thankfully, we had minimal damage. During that week, I had to push through the pain, no matter what, to keep my 84 year old mother comfortable and keep food cold without power, and to cook and clean. I fell into bed exhausted every night, but I learned something about myself. I do have what it takes to survive anything. I can endure much more than I thought.

As I found where my true strength lies this year, in Christ, I learned I am capable of accomplishing many things that I thought I could not. Every moment has been a “learning” crawl but I know I have not been alone.

I have had all of you along during the past year, which I am thankful for every day. I have learned something from each of you. Some blogs I read made me cry. Some, made me giggle, but mostly, the blogs I read encouraged and inspired me.

I have high hopes for 2019.  There are many things coming together in my life which I want to share with you this coming year.

Thank you for walking this journey with me.  Here’s to the year 2019 and beautiful beginnings.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

Much Love and Many Prayers,

Cindy

Photo Credit: Steve Halama on Unsplash

He Cares For You

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

I memorized this verse a very long time ago when I was teaching a Sunday school class for 1st graders. It’s a simple verse that even the kids could memorize.

How can a Bible verse help you in today’s world? If your hope is in Him, you know there will be a glorious day when all the pain ends. That’s literally what keeps me going every morning when I wake up.

I do not believe meditating on a Bible verse relieves chronic pain.

Every morning I’m usually in the same amount of pain when I wake up. It’s not easy to keep going, but my hope is not from this world. Knowing there will be an end to the pain gives me the hope I need to continue my life.

It is like a birth. You know at the end of the pain there will be a reward of a baby when it is over.

I choose to look at my salvation in that way also. Life is hard with physical and emotional pain. This world is not our world. We will feel pain of all kinds, but there is a reward much greater than we can imagine.

This verse helps me trust in God giving me peace so that I can focus on what is important, helping others, instead of worrying.

Do you have a Bible verse that carries you through hard times? Please share. It could encourage someone else. You never know the impact you can make by reaching out to help others.

Much Love and Many Prayers,

Cindy

Goodbye Hurricane Florence

I have been sitting at my desk just staring.  I am exhausted, but I’m still trying to keep going.  It has been a little over one week since I began preparing for Hurricane Florence to hit us. 

The storm nailed our area.  Went right over us. We are ok, thank God, but so many other lives have been completely devastated.

I cannot imagine the pain that people all around me are in today. I am really sad today even though we have been spared the worst.  I’m sad for what the people with pain are going through trying to survive if they lost their homes, their medicines, or other medical devices. 

I know that BCBSNC has a healthline for it’s members in North Carolina 1-877-477-2424.

There is also free for this area MDs live through Teladoc 1-855-756-8708  & MDLive 1-888-959-9516 .

Also, call Magellen for national crisis line for help in this area 1-800-327-7451

If anyone wants to volunteer, North Carolina Organizations Active in Disaster

Like everyone else, I pushed my body way past the breaking point, and then some, to do what we had to do.  I wanted to keep mom comfortable while power was out. Being 83 years old, I was more concerned about her with the heat than anything else.

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We cooked some really great food on the grill during the storm.  I’m sure I gained 15 pounds. Hot eggs with sausage and english muffins each morning is not bad.  This picture was during the calm after the storm.  We didn’t take the time to take pictures of the other meals but believe me, we ate good. So, thankful.

 

We are so blessed with only water damage from the roof leaking, so that makes me feel guilty for even thinking about feeling bad at this moment while looking out the window at the perfectly Carolina blue sky.

A couple of my friends bailed and can’t get back.  One friend is stuck with only 5 gallons of gas a neighbor graciously gave them because someone siphoned my friend’s gas out of their truck. Another good friend’s daughter lost everything of hers and her three children.

On a happier note, we have some really great neighbors across the street that stood in line for a long time to go in groups of ten at a time into the grocery store to get food for all of us.

At the same time they were there, we were also able to get out on one road to a small town with a small Walmart.  The shelves were empty, but they had water. While the store was extremely packed and busy, everyone was being polite and helpful even though we were all worried about getting back to our homes because of the continuing down pour and the fact that the flood waters were rising fast.

When the worst of the storm was over for us, we were able to help other friends out with gas, water, and food.  I have seen first hand how a disaster brings out the best in people, but I would like to catch the thief that stole gas from my friend!

A note about the support group and advocacy work: 

I sent a proposal to a new church about using their facilities for our meetings.  The storm will likely slow down the progress of it being approved.  I will just need to have patience.

Even before the hurricane, the physical pain put me in bed many times during the day leaving me unable to get things completed. 

It is very hard to get anything started, much less finished because I must stop in the middle of something because my body starts saying “no more!”  My mind won’t stop thinking about all the things I am trying to accomplish while I am laying there staring at the ceiling. 

I ordered a mobile desk that I thought would slide under the bed. I was hoping to continue working on the computer with the tilted desk slid under, but it did not work.  It wasn’t long enough to put the computer right in front of me. I thought I had found a solution to laying flat and working on the computer. I will figure it out, but it is frustrating to lay in bed with ideas of things that need to be accomplished.

Before the hurricane hit, I had an appointment with this area’s director for my Congressman to discuss the future of people with chronic pain.  Of course, Hurricane Florence changed that, too.  It will take time before this can be followed up on because his first priority right now is the victims of Hurricane Florence.

Someone recently told me it’s ALL baby steps. That’s what life is.  It is short-stride baby steps every step of the way. With this storm, the people in North Carolina and South Carolina will become strong again.  We will just do it with baby steps. #NorthCarolinaStrong

Much Love and Many Prayers,

Cindy

You Are Strong

Strong quote

Wow, I really have felt this quote the past few weeks.  Every day I wake up living with chronic pain, I have to find my strength to get back up and do it all over again.  Without a focus, living this way causes depression in me, so I have been putting all my attention on starting the support group and getting my office put back together. This has created less time for the blog.  I may be posting less, but I am still here.

I wanted to post this for those that just keep moving no matter what, keep putting one foot in front of the other, just keep going, regardless of their circumstances.  You are strong fighters working through hard, painful things every day. I know what you are going through every day.  You aren’t alone.  Just keep moving.

Move Lyrics by TobyMac

Another heartbreak day
Feels like you’re miles away
Don’t even need no shade
When your sun don’t shine, shine
Too many passin’ dreams
Roll by like limousines
It’s hard to keep believin’
When they pass you by and by
I know your heart been broke again
I know your prayers ain’t been answered yet
I know you’re feeling like you got nothing left
Well, lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet so
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
Move, keep walkin’ until the mornin’ comes
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
And lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet
Echoin’ inside your head
Are the words that your sweet momma said
“Shoot for the moon, my dear”
So you took aim out of this atmosphere
Between high stakes and pump fakes
You’re feelin’ like you can’t buy a break
I can hold your hand, but I can’t turn your eyes to freedom
I know your heart been broke again
I know your prayers ain’t been answered yet
I know you’re feeling like you got nothing left
Well, lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet so
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
Move, keep walkin’ until the mornin’ comes
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
And lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet
Hold on, hold on
Lord ain’t finished yet
Hold on, hold on
He’ll get you through this
Hold on, hold on
These are the promises
I never will forget
I never will forget, so
Hold on, hold on
The Lord ain’t finished yet
Hold on, hold on
He’ll get you through this
Hold on, hold on
These are the promises
I never will forget
I never will forget
I know your heart been broke again
I know your prayers ain’t been answered yet
But it ain’t over yet, it ain’t over yet
So get up and move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
Move, keep walkin’ until the mornin’ comes
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
And lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet
Lift up your head now, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
Lift up your head now keep walkin’ until the mornin’ comes
Keep believin’ keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
And lift your head, it ain’t over yet, it ain’t over yet
Songwriters: Bryan Christopher Fowler / Christopher E Stevens / Toby Mc Keehan
Move (Keep Walkin’) lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group
Much Love and Many Prayers,
Cindy

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 

 

 

 

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

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