Thursday, July 29, 2010

Learning From Our Challenges

Well after last week my pain seems to be doing better. I'm trying to stay as relaxed as possible even though at the best of times it can be a real challenge. I'm going to try to get back to doing something that I really like doing this week and that's painting. I have just started painting in the last year and find it a really good distraction to try to take the focus away from my pain. I was finding it really hard to focus on however and stopped for a while.

Some of you may not know that before I was diagnosed with CRPS I was really into photography and it allowed me to really show the creative side of myself. So in the past year or so I've been trying to look for something to replace that hobby and painting is a natural fit. I have the ability to see the picture I just have to paint it instead of taking a picture of it. Except one thing stands in the way, my drawing skills are made up of stick men and other stick figures. The hardest part to me is going to be trying to learn the drawing aspect.

It's all about taking on the challenge however, and learning and making lots of small improvements. In lots of ways this is much like how I deal with my CRPS. It's about facing a challenge that's been put in front of you and learning to overcome it. Your going to face all kinds of things along the way however you put your head down and you keep on going. Over time as you take on each new challenge, you'll become stronger and better prepared to take on the next challenge.

In a lot of ways I think painting will help me by both relaxing me and helping me in those areas of facing challenges put in front of me. It helps to keep me focused on something other than all the pain which is also a big help. Finding something that can really distract you from all the pain is so important. You don't give the pain a chance to build and build. Not only that though, it gives you the chance to feel good about something. Ask yourself when the last time it was that you felt good about something?

I might only be able to draw stick figures at the moment however my goal in the end is to be able to hang a piece of art on my wall. That is if my wife will let me!! I can make similar comparisons with the way that I have had to learn to deal with my CRPS. At the start it was even harder than it is right now. I knew nothing about CRPS itself and the challenges that I faced. As time has gone by I am slowly facing all those challenges and learning from them. In the end I hope to be able to overcome CRPS itself.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Update on my CRPS!

Hi Again! Things are a little better this week as the pain isn't quite as intense as it was last week. The pain seems to be under better control than it was last week. I still wish that I could get better relief, however I'll take what I can get at this point in time. Although with the way that my kids are fighting my stress level should be up in no time which should bring on the pain!! That's what I hate so much about CRPS and how stress affects it. Stress is a part of life so how do you avoid it? The answer is you don't!! However you can manage it.

Well last week I met with the neurosurgeon, and I have decided that I will go ahead and have the implant done. If you missed my earlier posts I had been talking about how my nerve blocks didn't work with the pain, and that I was going to consider getting the spinal implant done. I have really been struggling with this decision because there are so many good things and bad things to consider. It wasn't just something as simple as going ahead and saying yes. After sitting down with the doctor we decided that it was in my best interest to go ahead and have it done. So now I have the joy of sitting back and waiting for the next three months.

What made things more difficult for me to decide was that I have two limbs that are affected, so its a little bit of a more complicated procedure for the doctor to do. My procedure has to be done in two stages, the hand being the harder of the two to do. What the doctor suggested was that we start with doing the easier of the two which would mean doing my leg first. He suggested that we do the one first and see if it's going to help with the pain. He was suggesting that if it wasn't going to work then it wouldn't matter if it was my hand or ankle, so why subject my body to the tougher of the two procedures.

After meeting with the doctor I felt better with the way that he had decided to take on my procedure. He explained some of the concerns that I had, and made me feel better that I was making the right decision. I'm still not crazy about having something foreign in my body, however if it reduces the pain then it's worth it. The other thing that made me feel better about my decision was that if I really want to I can have the unit taken out if need be.

Like anything you need to do your research and see what the procedure is all about. After talking with my local implant clinic and seeing the unit, I felt a bit better about what it was all about. The people I spoke with at the clinic also helped with explaining things to me so that my understanding was better.

One of the hardest parts about making this decision was how comfortable I felt with the doctor that will be doing the procedure. It can be so hard to read some specialists however mine comes very highly recommended. If there was ever a neurosurgeon I wanted doing this it would be him. Let's just say that you can't go on bedside manner!!In the end you have to look at how highly regarded he is, and he is at an international level.

So overall I am happy to be moving forward and have faith that this is the right decision to be making. I trust that this is in God's hands and that He will take care of me.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Who Encourages You?

Well here I am for another post, and how things can change quickly!! Over the last couple of days I've been experiencing pain that has been off the charts. The other night it took everything inside of me to keep up the fight. Just when you think you've been through it all, the pain comes on even worse than the last time. When does it end!! You just have to do a lot of praying and ask God to take the pain away. There is no way to describe what you feel when your going through that much pain. Have you ever felt pain that drives you to the point where you want to throw up? Well I wasn't throwing up but I sure wanted to!!

I know that sometimes when I post it may seem like I do a great job handling the pain. Most of the time I try to do everything that I can to distract myself from it, and not let it beat me. I have my moments however where I don't handle it so well and just want to give up!! The other night was one of those nights where I had a real hard time dealing with the pain and just wanted this all to end. At moments like this it can be really hard for me to focus, and it can also be hard to maintain that positive attitude that most of the time I have. It's at times like these that I feel like the luckiest man on earth to have the wife that I do! It was when I couldn't, that my wife started to pray for God to take the pain away. To have that kind of support and encouragement from her is a gift from God.

I'm happy to say that those prayers have been answered, and the pain is a bit better than the other night. You can give me every reason for why my pain subsided over night however I know that it was an answer to prayer. It amazes me how quickly my pain can change. The hardest thing I find in dealing with my CRPS, are the emotional stresses that it puts on ones life. One day you might be feeling good and think that you are winning the battle. The next day your pain comes back and kicks you twice as hard, to try and beat you down. There's a constant game that goes on in your head that doesn't end. Your brain on one side is saying win the fight, and the other side keeps saying this is all to much to take. The people that surround you play an important role in keeping that fight going.

The other night was one of those nights where you have to dig to the very depths of your soul and pull out everything that you have to keep going. Sometimes it takes another person to encourage you or help you find that extra bit of fuel that you need to fight. As I was experiencing the intense pain, it was that encouraging word from my wife that helped me to find it within myself to get through this latest flare up. It's those small things that she does to keep encouraging me that help so much. She is a big part of this fight and for that I am ever so grateful.

Who's gives me the attitude that I have to fight this war? God! Who helps me get through periods of pain that test you until you can't take any more? God! Who keeps giving me the strength when I need it? God! Wo encourages us when we need to be lifted up because we don't have any more fight left in us? God! Who do you have in your life that encourages you to keep up your fight?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Rested And Ready To Fight My CRPS!!

Well I'm back from my holiday and am rested and ready for another day of battle against pain. I had a great time out in Vancouver where I was raised visiting my family and friends. It's amazing how taking a little bit of time for yourself and your family can make such a difference. Even though my pain levels have been going up over the last four or five days I still feel better. Just the simple fact that your not thinking about it all day long, or explaining it to someone is enough to make a difference.

During the holiday I was able to see and enjoy all the great things that I have in my life in spite of everything that is going on. Sometimes because we live with pain 24/7 it's easy for our minds to become clouded and focus on everything that we don't have, or can't do because of the pain. We can start to dwell on the negative if we aren't careful. I'm not saying that this is something we do on purpose, but we become tired of fighting the pain and that's when the negativity can set in.

It was great just being able to spend time, with those who are the most important to me. As I spent time with my kids, I could see in there eyes that it wasn't about what I can and can't do with them. It was about spending time with them and being there for them. I took my oldest girl to play mini golf on a day that I was feeling good. It was the highlight of the trip for her!! I can't describe how good that felt inside to know how big an impact that made with her. These are the things that are important to me. I might have physical challenges, however it doesn't have to put a stop to the full and rich life that I can live.

Having my child come up to me and tell me that I'm "the best dad ever", brings a smile to my face and makes my day. I'm really trying to see all the huge blessings that I have in my life, and use them to there fullest. It can be hard at times to see all those blessings though because of all the turmoil that we go through in dealing with our pain.

It was just nice for a change to be distracted enough to be able to spend so much time thinking about things other than the pain!!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Time for a Holiday!!!

Hi Everybody! Well I'm back from a couple of days out at our cottage at the lake however I'm only back for a day. Tomorrow we head off for vacation for about ten days so during that time I won't be putting any new posts up. I would usually take my laptop with me and update from where I am going, however I won't be taking it with me this time. The next post you will see will be around the 14th of July when I get back.

This is a much needed vacation for the family, and gives us a real chance to unwind from everything that we go through on a daily basis. I'm hoping that it will be a distraction from all the pain, and that when I get back I will feel refreshed and ready to get back to the day to day. I'm really starting to feel as of late that a break from all the doctors appointments and just all the physio is really needed. It's time to have some laughs with my family and just enjoy hanging out with them.

My pain lately hasn't been good. More often than not I've been having bad days with my pain. It really seems to have gotten back to the same roller coaster of good days and bad days. It's certainly making me want to have the implant done tomorrow. I'm really hoping that when I get back from vacation I'll have made up my mind one way or the other. I can't really say one way or the other why my pain has gotten so bad again. The weather where I live has gotten quite hot and the heat to some degree makes things worse.

While I'm away I'm going to take the time to simply allow myself to forget that I'm in pain 24/7 if that is possible. I want to be able to come back refreshed with new topics to blog about, as well as be more motivated to keep up the fight. I would really like people to suggest some topics that you would like me to post about. Feel free to ask me your questions, or other topics that you'd like me to post on. For the time being however I will see you soon and check back for a new post after my holiday!!
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