Friday, April 30, 2010

I am not my disability

As I sit here writing today I started thinking about all the things that have happened, and where I am headed for the future. There isn't a day that goes by where somebody doesn't ask me about what happened to me. Then what I usually do is give people the Readers Digest version of what is going on and I move on. This then started me thinking about how people lose there sense of meaning when something like an illness strikes them.

When you think about life before being struck by your illness then you tend to identify yourself with the things you did or who you were. What I mean by that is that in the workplace you could identify yourself by a job title or job description. In your home life you can identify with being mother, brother, or a son. At the same time you could also describe to people who we were through what we did like being educated to a high degree, traveling abroad, or even starting up your own business.

When you become sick and suffer from whatever illness it may be then, your sense of identity starts to become smudged. You start looking at who you are because you aren't who you used to be. What I mean by this is that life as it used to be changes and you become "someone who suffers from CRPS", or "someone who suffers from chronic pain". As this happens then you become "cases" to some of the medical professionals, this isn't saying that all medical professionals see you like this.

What this leaves lots of people doing is searching for their meaning within their pain. More often then not as people search they find that they don't find what they are looking for. I went through a period where I was really having a hard time trying to focus on what my future was going to be like. As I went through that I just stood in my faith that God would provide all the answers. As I continue on this journey I find that He is slowly revealing the answers to me. I might not know all the answers yet but I don't find myself searching for answers the way I used to.

Do you find yourself looking for answers? Do you feel stuck within your disability? I'm not trying to preach at anybody but I will anyway!! The answers are with God and I would really encourage people that suffer from CRPS or any other illness for that matter, to ask Him for those answers.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The People That Support Us!!

As I was thinking about what to write about today I started thinking about how lucky I am to have the people that I do in my life. Without my wife and the rest of my family I couldn't get through all of this. It's too easy to get consumed with our own selves and not see everything that our spouses, parents, children, and friends do for us, and for all that I'm very greatful. Sometimes we get lost in everything that's going on and don't stop to say "thanks for everything you do", to those most important to us. So thanks for everything you do!!! What we need to think about is how much they have given up in their lives to help us in our times of need.

As I write this I find myself speechless!! What an amazing amount of love and dedication that he has to his son. Here is a man who put his own needs and wants aside and puts everything he has into his son!! Now stop for a second and think about your situation. Are you suffering from a disability? Is there someone involved in your life that cares for you or supports you day in day out? Then stop for just one minute and think of the sacrifices they've made in order to help you!

It doesn't take much for us to say thanks, but its remembering to stop and take the time to do it that we need to work on. I have a family around me that makes all of this so much easier to handle than I could ever imagine. It's all the little things that my wife has to do day to day that makes things easier. She's the glue that holds everything together, and that can become overbearing and hard to take. It takes a special kind of a person to be able to do that. What I find most amazing though is that things are done with a smile and an attitude like no other. You will very seldom see anything negative coming from her. She is a truly a incredable person and I consider myself the most blessed husband ever.

I wouldn't be able to get through each day without the support that I get from my wife each day. I can be having a really bad day, and sometimes it's just words of ecouragement from her that keep me going. It's the small things like this that make such a big impact!! If you don't have anyone in your life that's helping you through this tough time in your life, then just know that your not alone. God is with you and will help you get through any challenge that you face.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

CRPS And Your Kids!!!

It's been about a week since I last posted so sorry that I haven't updated sooner. I haven't really had the energy to spend the time trying to post a new message. I'm fighting my energy level right now which happens from time to time. It's my bodies way of saying enough is enough and I need rest. What lots of people may not realize is that the body is drained of lots of energy trying to fight off pain. At the same time I have a three year old who is testing us in every way right now which sucks up every last ounce of my energy as well.

Other than feeling tired my pain is under control today which makes life a little easier in general. I had a nice relaxing weekend with no kids, which makes a huge difference in my pain levels, because half of the stress is there. The weather in our parts has been great and I'm trying to be as active as my body will allow me to be. It's nice to be outside after having been inside for the past six months during winter. Now days can be spent taking the kids to the parks and getting outside.

I may not be able to do all the things I'd like to with my kids, however going to the park is one of those things that I can do with them. I just park myself on a bench there at the park and let them enjoy the playground. For the longest time I struggled with how to interact with my kids now that things have changed. It's hard not being able to help your kid learn how to ride a bike or to kick a soccer ball and run around with them. I need to focus on trying to do things that are within my abilities that the kids will enjoy. The point I'm trying to make is that even though it's hard to interact with our kids the way we want we still can.

Over time I'm slowly learning to adapt as well as the kids to my disabilities. We are learning how to make the most out of what we can. I'm at home with my kids so there hasn't really been much of a choice I've had to adapt the best that I can. This is something that's really good for me because it challenges me every day, doing things that aren't always easy to do. It helps you figure out where your boundaries are and how far you can push yourself.

My kids can be a great way to take my mind off the pain as well as be a source of making the pain worse, it's all about finding that balance. Do I struggle with finding that balance? There isn't a day that this isn't difficult, however slowly over time it's working itself out. The point is that you can don't have to sacrifice your kids when you have CRPS. Remember it's not what you do with your kids that's important, but spending that time with them that they need and deserve.

My message is that if you have CRPS then your role as a parent doesn't have to stop, it only has to be modified. It took me some time to be able how to figure out how to make some of those changes but over time we have been able to do what works for our family.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Does Pain Control You!!

I'm feeling motivated today to motivate others and that's why I've put this short video in, to remind you that no matter how bad things are they can get better. I'm on a journey right now to regain my life and overcome everything that has happened to me since being diagnosed with CRPS. Last week I had a really bad week trying to deal with my pain. The emotional roller coaster had me going up and down and at times I had to really fight to keep my focus.

This morning I was watching some motivational videos about moving forward, and couldn't help but think that this is the direction that I'm headed in. As I surround myself with positive I find that the negative has less and less affect on me. How can you not help being positively influenced by watching videos like these. It makes me think forward to what life will be like and how it can be, if I focus myself on how things can be and not how life could have been. If we stay focused in this way it's amazing how we put ourselves in the best possible situation to get better and start the changes that needs to happen in our brain. Standing strong in my faith helps as well.

As I was thinking about what I wanted to write about today I starting thinking about the affects of pain and how it has such a powerful grip on those of us with CRPS. When you think about it half the time we really don't understand how it's affecting us, and how much it stops us dead in our tracks from doing the things we want to do. When my pain is bad it's like I'm a different person, I'm not quite as positive and I find things more difficult to deal with. At times like this people can become more negative and only see the negative side of there pain.

I'm not saying that it doesn't take time to train the brain to focus on things other than the pain. I'm still learning it!!! What I'm saying is that over time I'm starting to learn and tell myself to take advantage of the good times when the pain isn't as bad. If it doesn't have me doubled over then I'm learning to take my focus away from the pain. Small steps like this will hopefully lead to more periods of time where the pain isn't as bad.

What happens with me is that I go through these peaks and valleys of pain. Take for example last weekend at Easter. Our family gathering caught up with me a couple of days later and over the next 3 or 4 days my pain started to build and build until it peaked. Over the next 3 or 4 days my pain started to lesson. What I've started to do now, is focus myself on knowing that things will be getting better over the next few days. Before I just used to think about the pain, and as you know pain just has a way of building and building. So I would spend days and days where the pain wouldn't change.

It's important to recognize that you can control your pain and that if you work with your pain and understand it then you can gain control over some of that pain. This is something that I'm trying to work on. It certainly isn't something that's easy because every day I fight with trying to gain control over the pain. You can't just snap your fingers and expect that you can do this overnight. This has been one of the biggest challenges to me is not putting a time on how long it takes. It takes determination and focus to try to gain the upper hand over pain.

Small changes may seem like nothing at all however don't look at them in that way. Small changes in my brain are big changes!!! It's something!! That's the way you need to look at it. If you can see one little glimmer of hope then that's something to hold on to. Don't let something like this control your life. Pain can beat you down if you let it, so make the decision not to let it!!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Don't Let CRPS Isolate You!!!

Well I hope that everyone had a great Easter. We had a great time visiting with family and just relaxing. My pain wasn't great however I didn't let it stop me from having a really good time. My pain level in the last couple of days has become really bad. Yesterday my pain took a turn for the worse and I feel like my body has aged by fifty years. However life goes on right!! Keep fighting and keep positive!!

When I was trying to think about what I wanted to post about today I thought about something that my wife had mentioned the other night. She had mentioned that it was great to have me there at dinner knowing how hard it is for me with all the noise. If you suffer from CRPS then you know what I'm talking about when I say that it's really hard to be around noisy situations or ones that create stress. A family gathering is right up there, with screaming kids and lots of people. It is never easy for me to go to a family gathering but they are important to me.

Sometimes pain can isolate us from others. It's important not to let yourself become isolated to the point that you become depressed. I'm not saying that you don't need time alone, but I am saying that you need to be social because its healthy for you. Today is one of those days, if I don't spend some time on my own in a quite surroundings then things tend to get worse. The pain today is at a point where there seems to be no controlling it, and I just have to ride out the storm. Being in a quite surrounding is ok at a time like this. Your going to have days where you can't seem to control the pain where you just need to be alone. Or in my case that's where I really start asking God for help.

There are lots and lots of days that I find it challenging to get out and not let the pain consume me, because that's what pain does. If you let it then pain will eat you alive. What do I mean by this? Its simple! What I mean is that you can either sit back and let the pain take over your life or you can get out and do things. I'm not saying that on a day like today I don't need to take it easy. What I do mean however is that I have modified my life in ways that I can get out and be active with my disability. It might be something as simple as getting out and having coffee with a friend. I go out every week with a couple of friends for coffee. I really look forward to this and it gets me out and gets my mind off the pain.

It would be really easy for me to withdraw and become isolated if I wanted to as I go through this. However there are two choices that I can make when dealing with this pain. I can either sit at home and be in pain or I can make the best of a bad situation and go out with family and friends. I'm saying that regardless of your situation you can still get out and be active. It might mean that instead of going out for the hours with your friends that you only get together for an hour, but the important part is that your getting out and getting your mind off the pain.

Lots of us that suffer from CRPS think about our pain too much, and let it build and build until we can't take it anymore. Before you know it you've become isolated from others and your headed in a downward spiral. What I'm saying is don't let yourself get to that place. If your reading this and suffer from chronic pain then take a look at how it's affecting your life. Are you becoming isolated from others? Are you spending a great deal of time on your own? Then ask yourself if everything is ok!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Relax a little and Happy Easter!!

Happy Easter Everyone!! Well I figure while everyone else is out I would write my Easter post. I'm enjoying a long weekend out at the lake. This is a place where I can really relax because we aren't running like chickens with our heads cut off. I find that its the one place where we can go, and I get the rest that I need. As I write this I stare out onto our lake and see the increadable landscape around us. There is something so peaceful about this. Its almost as if life around me stands almost still and for one moment I can almost forget about everything that's going on.

Our cottage is the one place that I can escape to be around nothing but family. I don't have to worry about all the doctors, the physio appointments, and all the other things that are constant reminders of what my life has now become. This is the place I like to say that I can come to and distress a bit. This weekend we will set up the kids Easter Egg hunt and just have great times with the family. As we got about half way out to the cottage I remembered that I forgot my earplugs that I use for family gatherings. My family does get loud however I use them because of the eight screaming kids that we have in the house at Easter supper.

So how many of you have kids that have figured out that the Easter bunny is really mom and dad? Yesterday my wife was driving my oldest daughter who's six to school when she says to my wife " the Easter bunny is really you and dad isn't it mom ". Like that we were busted and there was no turning back. We keep asking ourselves how she made the connection. However there was my wife explaining to her that it was all a game. She knows now and it's now a matter of her not telling her little sister. We let the kids know the true meaning of Easter as well because it's important to us to let them know.

Oh well the egg hunt won't be quite as much fun but just being together with our family will be enough for me. It also means that when we get together with the entire family that there will be lots of eating!!! By the end of the weekend I won't want to see another piece of food. These are the times that I'm ever so thankful that I have family around. It makes dealing with all of this so much easier. If I didn't have this incredible family around me, I wouldn't know how to deal with everything.

I'm really hoping that if you are spending some time away with your family this weekend, that you really enjoy yourself and forget about all that your dealing with for just a moment. If we are consumed by our pain all the time then our nervous system never gets the chance to relax. If we take the time to put ourselves into a stress free environment then we give it that chance to relax.

I know that this weekend is going to be filled with fun, laughter, and happiness which are better than any medicine. So enjoy your Easter and I'll be writing my next post after the weekend.

I would like to know if anyone is having problems getting onto my site. If your a follower and are having trouble then leave me a post.
Site Meter