Finding the positives

It is not always easy to stay positive amid dealing with life. Everyone has a story that is running through their head. We all have things about ourselves that we are not happy with and want to change. Maybe it is losing a few pounds or asking for that raise. For me, it is regaining my ability to walk with balance, lowering my pain without increasing opioid medications, and being able to take care of and enjoying my family. It really can be overwhelming, but I believe finding the positives in the people and things around you can help make the situation feel brighter.

One of the hardest things I deal with is pain. Chronic pain interferes with life on so many levels. It zaps your joy and energy. Physically it makes it hard to want to move let alone get out and do any physical activity. For me, the sensation that my skin is being stretched to the maximum and then ripped apart is enough to drive me crazy. Then my legs decide they want to burn like you have been bit by a thousand fire ants. Dealing with this daily is unbearable at times. It causes me to feel down and causes my anxiety to rise.

I have sat and cried and asked God, why does He keep allowing me to hurt? Why did He give this to me? On many occasions I felt like I cannot take much more. It is difficult to find anything positive when you hurt, yet there is so much to be thankful for. Being chronically ill makes doing many things more difficult and scarier at times. Just getting yourself bathed and dressed is painful and draining. So, the thought of going out to the grocery store or a movie is daunting. Heck just walking around the block is difficult.

Yet, opening my eyes every day is a blessing. It means I get to have another day to enjoy my family to the best of my ability. I may not be able to run and play tag with the grandkids, nor can I play catch with them. Standing and making a meal for my family is daunting and taxing on most days. But I have found that I can still play a board game, do a puzzle, or teach my grandkids to paint and create things.  Best of all I can certainly love them. Of course, there is so much more that I can do.

Even so, it often gets lost in the frustration of living with chronic illness and pain. For me it takes deliberate thoughts of hope and continuing to have faith to keep me on the right track.  Without faith you cannot have hope and without hope we get stuck and cannot move forward. Living with any type of chronic illness can drag you down, cause you to lose hope, leaving us felling like it will never get better. For me, I find that I have more difficulty controlling my pain and spasticity when I allow the negatives to take over. This is not to say that there are not real reasons for increased pain and spasticity, but our minds are powerful.  The power of positive thinking is a good habit to get into, but that alone will not bring your goals to fruition.

Each day is an opportunity to “keep moving forward” and to seek out the positives in our lives. It may be difficult to see at times but taking the time to stop and deliberately seek out the good can help push us forward. God is with us every step of the way, even in moments when we feel alone. His hand is reached out to all of us waiting for us to grab on.   Living in chronic pain can rob us of the precious moments, but we can seize the good even amidst the pain and tell a better story.

 

Published by Denise Rogers

I am a wife, mother, stepmother and grandmother who enjoys spending time with family and friends, crafting, gardening, and I am learning to live with being disabled. In 2017, after my 8th thoracic spinal surgery, I lost all feeling from the waist down as well as losing my proprioception on the right side. This has made it difficult to stand without assistive devices and made it, so I am having to relearn to walk. Plus, I have another uncommon condition called Chiari Malformation Type 1 which also creates balance issues as well as many other health issues. Because of the Chiari and the spinal cord injury, I have been left with severe nerve damage which causes a great deal of pain (5 and greater on pain scale) as well as spasticity, muscle spasms, and allodynia (burning) in various areas of my body. I have endured 8 surgeries on my Thoracic Spine and will probably need more as the drain that was placed will eventually clog and require replacement. Currently, I have a spinal to pleural cavity shunt, which drains the CSF from my arachnoid cysts into my pleural cavity. Professionally, I am a retired Health Care Professional with over 26 years of experience. I have worked in the Public Health realm as well as in Long Term Care and Acute Care. I have a B.A. in Sociology with an emphasis in Social Work. It is my hope that through sharing my personal trials, experiences, and triumphs that I can help others keep moving forward. No matter what life throws at us we can always tell a better story. I know that God is with me and because of this anything is possible. His promise to be by my side every step of the way helps me to keep pushing on even when there are setbacks.

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