Reinventing The Wheel

Sometimes hubby and I go to a motocross track on the weekend. Hubby races a sports quad, and I really enjoy going too because I grew up around fast cars because of my brothers. I am familiar with the noise and the smells. My dad owned a shop for car repairs, so it was something I was always around. The smell of grease and oil actually reminds me of good memories and that has continued with my hubby.

When we first started going to the track, I was in much better health. Traveling to the motocross tracks was easy, and I could run from jump to jump watching them ride. Since my pain level has increased, we’ve had to improvise.

Hubby brings a generator so I can plug in my heating pad. I have sat in 90-degree heat with it against my back. On the sweltering days, he brings a powerful fan that everyone enjoys. We have a pretty good set up. I know how lucky I am that he helps me to be as comfortable as possible.

The obstacles have been worked out so I can enjoy being there even though I have chronic pain. Hubby loads up all my extra bags of needed items for the trip. I will decide when to take medication or apply a patch, so it is all working together for the most extended moments of pain coverage during the trip and watching him race.

Before chronic pain, I made videos of the guys riding which I really enjoyed doing. Now, I video from a stationary position because I cannot run around the track anymore.

Everything in my life had to change to accommodate my illnesses and going to the track was one of them. At first, I fought it. I wanted life to be like it always had been for me, no struggle to do the things I love.

I am a creature of habit, so I am not too fond of change, but I needed to reinvent myself. I was tired of grieving my old life or the life that I thought I should have. I was profoundly depressed and full of anxiety, and I decided I needed to change. I am learning to reinvent the activities I love by finding solutions to each problem I faced. It’s been two years since I started the process of determining what I needed to do to have a fulfilling life even with chronic pain. Bottom line: I have to accept it.

You may cringe when I mention acceptance of pain. Change is hard, and many people think if you accept your pain, you give up, but it does not have to be that way.

Acceptance is only accepting that you need to make changes to your life.  That is all you agree to. You need to look at it differently and get creative.  If life gives you lemons, make lemonade!

This is accomplished by learning new ways to do things you love to do.  The activity may not be exactly the same, but the passion will be there.  You just have to look for it.

Life is messy and painful. It is so hard for me to accept that, but that is what we must understand when living with chronic pain. Reinventing yourself or your activities will not make it easier, but it can resemble the life you had before.

I encourage you to take an inventory of what you loved to do in the past that you can no longer do because of your illness. Break down each problem by finding solutions one by one, then you will reinvent your life.

Much Love & Many Prayers,

Cindy

Photo credit: Cindy

Beautiful People

“The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have still found their way out of the depths.  These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.  Beautiful people do not just happen.”      ——Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

We cannot control the things that happen to us, but we can grow through the pain when bad things happen.  There is a purpose, but you cannot see it yet.  He will bring good out of the most difficult situations.

The struggle up the mountain is difficult and challenging, but at the top is a view that is unimaginable.  Keep fighting the fight and win the race.

Overcoming struggles is what make us strong. We weren’t born brave. We develop it through trials, and sometimes those trials seem so unfair.  I always try to remember this is not the world that God intended for us.

Rest in knowing you are being transformed. Every defeat that brought you down, the suffering that made you feel weak, the struggles to get through each day, and every loss that broke your heart will be used for good.

Who can you reach out to today with compassion and help them on their journey and bring beauty from your pain by helping others with your own experiences?

I hope you will do that this week because everyone needs to hear the encouraging, “You got this.”

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.”
—-Bob Marley

Much Love & Many Prayers,

Cindy

The Perspective of Chronic Illness

I wanted to share this quote I found today that might help someone with their daily struggles with chronic illness.

“I choose joy… I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical…the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.” ——Max Lucado, Upwords

Circumstance.

Perspective.

Two significant words in this world today for everyone, not just people with chronic pain.

We cannot be ruled by our circumstances. Our lives are easier to live when we look for the beauty in our broken parts and in the world and when we accept where we are at in that point in time.

However, our perspectives do rule our lives, and it is something we can work on changing.

Some people get angry when the talk is about “controlling pain with your mind.” No, I do not believe you can control your pain with your mind. But I do believe the journey can be lighter with a change in our mindset.

Today, find one thing that is good in your life and praise Him for it.

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.
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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 

 

 

 

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

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

Good Medicine

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I wanted to check in with everyone. I was missing in action most of May, but it wasn’t on purpose. Mostly, physical issues prevented me from doing all the things I wanted to get accomplished. My migraines are always worse in the Spring and the Fall times of the year. We’ve also had a lot of rain on the east coast of North Carolina. That has contributed to more pain from my back and legs.

But today I feel fantastic. All my meds are working well, and there is sweet sunshine today to encourage me further!

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I did my stretches outside this morning in my backyard. We have a neighborhood pond close to us, and I am very thankful for the view. It is very relaxing early in the morning or late in the evening. Here in the south we already have crazy heat indexes. It’s no fun to be in the miserable heat in the middle of the day.

But I have something else that has been keeping me busy. I am trying to start a support group in my area and online. I am flying to Chicago for a chronic pain support group training. I am so excited and scared! Hubby is going with me to help so I know I will be okay with his help.

I will be learning about how to start a support group specifically for chronic pain warriors to help each of us to not just muddle through life but to continue to get up each morning and find hope and a purpose.

That is coming up in the next couple of weeks so preparing for that and then recovering when I get home will take some time. I plan to blog some repeats for those that are just jumping on board.

Chronic pain has created some very rough times in my life, but it has created opportunities for me to grow stronger as a person in ways that I never dreamed I would be doing.

I am only taking my unplanned life circumstances and turning them into opportunities to help other people. And I think that is the best medicine in the world!

What’s your perspective on these thoughts?

Much love and many prayers,
Cindy

Photo Credit: Cindy @ChronicPainWithAHigherPerspective

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Ways to Emerge as Who You Want To Be

discoveryPhoto by Micah Hill on UnsplashBeing authentic is the emergence of your genuine self. It is when we arrive at who WE say we are and we do not rely on how others define us.

Being true to ourselves allows our actions to align with what our core believes.

When there is a shift in our actions that cause conflict with our inner beliefs, difficulties will arise in our life creating speed bumps and sometimes complete roadblocks making us feel stuck.

When you have chronic pain, it increases and complicates the roadblocks further. Like when someone asks how you are doing.  I’ve always had trouble answering that question.

My hubby and I have code words. If I tell someone I am “peachy” then he knows the pain level is high, but I don’t want to complain. Most people do not understand the experiences people with pain go through.

It’s easier to just say you are fine. This false response creates stress because we want to be real about our experience and the pressure of not being authentic creates more pain; physical and emotional. So, we are not helping ourselves when we lie about how we feel because it is easier for others to accept or so that we don’t have to say no.

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Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Is it a familiar friend or a distant relative?

SIGNS YOU AREN’T LIVING AN AUTHENTIC LIFE

You are a people pleaserdo you do things for others out of guilt? Feeling like you must do everything for everyone will get in the way of your self-care.

Honoring others is important but not at the expense of our health. It is not selfish to take the time for ourselves.

Some days I find my body exhausted and in excruciating pain. I only have myself to blame sometimes because I did not say no to a request or make the time to take care of myself.

Refueling yourself is the best way to be able to give to others

You question your own thoughtsdo you rely on others to validate your feelings? Doubt fuels negative thinking. We can find ourselves quickly spiraling down when we doubt ourselves. I constantly doubt myself. I doubt myself right now while I am writing this! On some days my unbelief in myself can be paralyzing.

You compare yourself to others – do you feel like other people have it all together and you don’t? I have a love-hate relationship with social media. So much of it is fake. No one and I mean no one has a perfect life. A friend of mine told me that her daughter would spend hours taking selfies to post one picture online. Hours to post one picture! Live who you are.

You blame others for your problems to avoid dealing with them- do you accept responsibility for your actions? Isn’t it easier to blame someone else?  It takes the pressure off of ourselves and relieves the feeling that we need to take some action. There is a little part of everyone that does not want to accept responsibility for the things we do. Not taking control of your actions is just denying there is a problem and denial will keep you stuck. Look at yourself honestly but remember to look with love also.

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When we do not live authentically, we become stuck where we are at in life which can lead to depression and anxiety.

I developed severe anxiety and depression after the back and leg pain began to be daily in 2014. I lived in the pit with all of these things I listed above and it kept me frozen with fear. I did not want to leave my house or see anyone.  And I definitely didn’t want anyone coming over and seeing my home.

Over the past 2 years, I have worked very hard on trying to stop the control that fear has over my life.  I have picked up a few tips on living authentically I’d like to share with you. It will give you a few tools to find your happy place by learning to live and love who you really are, even with chronic pain.  Your life can still be exceptional!

HOW TO EMERGE AS WHO YOU WANT TO BE

Decide to accept yourself. We need to love ourselves on purpose as we are at this exact moment. We can choose to love ourselves like we can choose to be angry or to be sad.

Accepting ourselves can be especially hard if we feel our body has let us down because we have chronic pain.

Living in a shell of a body that always seems to fail can make us feel unworthy of joy if we allow it to.

We each need to meet ourselves where we are at in this world and begin a real journey of self-discovery. We are exquisitely made by our Creator. Be you.

Make a list of your strengths. Whatever we are good at should be celebrated. With chronic pain, life can be challenging.

Think of all that you have overcome and put it on this list. You are reading this, so you are still standing. We may have lost some of our strengths, but we cannot forget to remind ourselves of what we can still accomplish.

I promise you that you can continue to have fulfillment with chronic pain. Dig deeper, and you can find new ways to be strong. Don’t forget you are intelligent and creative.

Stop listening to the negative voice in your head. Our minds are powerful, and we can decide where our thoughts go. Your thoughts also decide your next steps in life.

Just remember that we would probably never speak to other people the way that we talk to ourselves.

Slow down your thoughts to find out what you are saying to yourself and change the dialogue to be who you want to be.

Distance yourself from the people that do not believe in you. Your feelings and thoughts are important.

We need to surround ourselves with people that will nurture us, helping us reach our true potential, not tearing us down or keeping us stuck.

Grieve your previous life before your chronic pain or illness. I wish I had a magical way of going through grief without any pain, but everyone is much too different to have one tried and true way to get through grief. The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance and are a part of the framework that helps us understand what we are experiencing when we grieve a loss. I would suggest if you feel stuck in any of the stages of grief to seek out professional help.

Spend time doing the things you love. I am doing a complete overhaul of how I spend my time every day. I feel like I don’t have time for everything I want to accomplish. I have found that I need to make blocks of time and set them aside for the things that I enjoy doing. Find what you love and do it.

Communicate with the people around you.  I understand now that I need to communicate truthfully with the people close to me. It is incredible how much of a difference being real has helped with feeling good mentally and physically. I encourage you to do it but if you haven’t had a voice in a while.  Go easy on those around you. Explain to them the things you want to change in your life and recruit their help.

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You can live your whole life and never reveal your real self to the world. What a shame that would be not to be truly known. You can decide today to live authentically and find happiness. You can learn to love yourself and even be proud of yourself. It creates better life opportunities and promotes creativity. It empowers us to live our best life, even with chronic pain.

Your life is not over. In some ways, when you get to this vantage point of living authentically, your life has just begun.

Much Love and Many Prayers,
Cindy

Photo by Micah Hill on Unsplash

Photo by Taylor Smith on Unsplash

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