Tag Archive | spinal cord injury

During our time at home

As everyone is dealing with the changing times it is bringing higher stress levels, more anxious moments, which can lead to eating more comfort foods and less activity. For those living with chronic pain like me, it can be a period of increased pain and discomfort.  Yes, rest is important and can be beneficial, but long periods of inactivity, lying around with no purpose or focus, sitting around focusing on our worries can be harmful and often exacerbates the pain. 

I have adopted a few things that may help you as well. First, if my body is really tired and I did not get much sleep the night before I allow myself a day of rest knowing that maybe after a short nap that I will get up and do something small like stretch or go outdoors for some fresh air (weather permitting). It can even be as simple as sitting up in bed dangling my legs off the side and do some small leg exercises. Sometimes my Allodynia is so bad that very movement causes me pain, and, on those days, I must take extra meds and let my body rest and heal.  But I do my best to get up every day, shower, brush my teeth and get dressed. Being inactive for long periods of time only makes my pain worse and maintaining a normal routine gives my day a sense of direction.

Next, I make sure I am continuing to eat healthy. If you are like me, during higher stress moments I want to reach for comfort foods, such as french fries, bread, chips, and other foods that really don’t have a lot of nutrients in them. But these foods are high in sugar, carbs, and salt which for people living with chronic pain can exacerbate your symptoms. So, as we go to the grocery store and see that the fruits, vegetables and other healthy choices are dwindling, while the candy and snack foods are abundant, Please Don’t Be Tempted. Studies have shown that pain gets worse with processed foods.

I also make sure I am staying as active as possible and I get regular exercise. When weather permits and I get outdoors and go for a walk. Because of my deficits I have to make sure I have someone to walk with me for safety reasons which makes getting out a bit harder. There are a variety of indoor activities you can do to stay active. I do Yoga with an instructor (can be done virtually) at least two times per week.   By moving and getting our hearts pumping we also release endorphins which help reduce the pain.

Getting outdoors as much as possible is also important. Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to stay locked indoors. Take your dog for a walk or make yourself and your family a picnic lunch and sit outside in your backyard like I did recently. Cut some fresh flowers and bring a little bit of the outdoors in to brighten the mood. Enjoy the warmth of the sun and fresh air.  It can help lift your mood instantly.

During times like this it is easy to fall into the negativity trap especially when most of what we see and hear is negative news. We all know that stress worsens pain. Do your best to destress, talk to family and friends, just knowing you are not alone helps. We may not be able to hang out with our family and/or friends right now, but we still require those connections.  You can use things like Skype, Face Time, or WhatsApp or whatever works for you to keep in touch. We may not be able to reach out and hug them, but we can still see and hear them.

It is important not to become isolated because feeling alone only leads us to overdo and/or do activities that cause or exacerbate our pain. We can still assist each other with things like food runs, chores, and/or cleaning. If you know someone with deficits or with chronic pain, ask them what they might need assistance with and if you are the one that is in pain or has a deficit, please ask for help.

While it may be appealing to get everything on your to-do list done, pace yourself. Overexerting yourself will just exacerbate the pain and make it harder to cope. I know personally that when my body is over tired my pain goes up quickly and my ability to deal with the pain diminishes. Don’t attempt chores you’re not up to or know are unsafe.  Getting on a ladder, mopping the floor, or lifting heavy items can wait until someone else is available to help.

We have all wished at some point that we had extra time to catch up things. Many of us have wanted the time to organize your drawers and closets, put together a photo album, mend clothes, or many other things. Maybe you have wanted to start a craft project or puzzle why not give it a try. Why not use this time to reconnect with our inner artist?

It is important for everyone to take one day at a time and to make sure you are getting enough sleep. Our body requires at least 7-9 hrs. of sleep to function better. I know firsthand that does not always happen when you live with chronic pain. For many of us each day is a struggle. Please let’s do our best to stay connected, help each other, get some rest and heal physically and emotionally. God has promised that when we seek Him with our hearts, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). He has also said what we ask for in prayer and believe we will receive (Mark 11:24).  He is the greatest healer and He is with us. So, no matter what tomorrow brings, we’ll get through it together.

Little improvements

Standing doing my hair without any assistive devices! My balance has improved thanks to doing yoga with an instructor 2x per week (5 weeks so far) and using my LifeGlider.

I did have a recent fall🤪. I was bending down to pick something up off the floor, I had undone the safety belt on my walker as it was restricting me,there was water on the floor and my legs slipped causing me to loose my footing and down I went. Not smart on my part. Just because my balance and proprioception have improved some does not mean I don’t have to continue to pay attention to what I am doing. I still have to remind myself of walking hill to toe, to pick up my feet, and not to lean forward. Old habits are hard to break!

I am still excited about all the progress I am making. I know I am not doing this alone. Thank you everyone for your continued prayers and your words of encouragement. I know God is with me and because of this anything is possible. His promise to be my side every step of the way helps to keep me moving forward even when there are set backs.

Thinking of getting a new set of wheels

There notable changes in my gait. This walker causes me to engage my gluteus muscles. I can see it in the video, but more importantly I can feel it. I can feel my weight shift! Because of my spinal cord injury I have lost feeling in many areas from about mid-back down.

I am also going to try a new walker on the market called the LifeGlider(https://www.mylifeglider.com). It is also an upright walker, but this revolutionary walker could be a real game changer. It allows you to walk upright while being securely strapped in allowing the user to walk and move securely even when they let go with their hands. This feature alone would give me back so much.

In the past, I was not a big fan of the upright walkers. When I tried similar ones, I felt wobbly and very unstable. This time was different. The walker felt strong and stable which helped me feel more secure plus it was super easy to maneuver.

I am not sure which upright walker I will end up with, but I know I am switching. No more bending over and stressing out my back more. Traditional walkers cause the shoulders to rotate forward causing poor posture, which stresses the shoulders and upper back. Unfortunately, I am not able to walk without assistive devices, yet.

Still I feel blessed beyond belief. God’s timing is always right. My family and I have done a lot of research on walkers and other assistive devices to no avail until now. I have always believed that if it is God’s will it happen. His timing is perfect.

www.bible.com/114/heb.10.24-25.nkjv

As we begin 2020, why not spread love instead anger and hatred? Take time to listen to one another. Or simply share smile. It can change your day and there’s.

Not ready to quit

Having hope and believing that God is healing me has continued to give me the courage and strength to continue moving forward. My hard work of going to the gym and working with a trainer at least twice a week, continuing to stretch and crawl as much as possible, and recently adding in the use of the Bioness L300 Go system are paying off . My walking and balance have improved! I am hopeful that I will eventually be able to walk device free again. I have also recently begun to get more feeling in my right leg. Six months ago, my right leg was mostly numb only having feeling in the ankle and behind the knee. I am beginning to have intermittent feeing at the back of my thigh and along the inner and out areas of my leg.

This was 6 months ago in June. My walking is clunky and stiff. It was difficult to control my especially if I wasn’t looking at them.

This was yesterday morning. My walking is still stiff, but it is smoother. My knees don’t snap as often. I also can walk without looking down at my feet all the time. God is good and He is helping me get through day by day. I refuse to give up. I will dance freely again!

Back to using the Bioness L300 Go

I have been unable to use my Bioness L300 Go system for the last two weeks due to the unexplained swelling and pain I had in my right leg. The doctor believed that it was a vein in my leg ruptured which caused the swelling and bruising. So, I took a break from using my devices, but now I am back to using them gradually. I am hopeful that overtime I will improve and graduate from having to use any assistive devices because it is believed that over time new nerve pathways are created. This means more communication from my legs to my brain. This will help improve my proprioception which will improve my balance and feeling in my legs.

I am walking on an incline. My walking continues to be jerky, but with lots of prayer, time, hard work, and going back to Pt for gait training my walking will improve. I am blessed to even be able to stand and walk. I will never take my legs for granted again.

Fear kindles courage

If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. Luke 16:10 NLT

Everyone has experienced fear, but it is how we deal with it that matters. We all can face our fears and overcome them, or we can let the fear cripple us. Becoming disabled at the age of 50 was not what I planned for and it led to so many questions and uncertainties. Thankfully fear kindles courage and courage is what helps us overcome our fears. So, we must find the source of our courage in order to confront our fear.

It is my belief that courage can come from our experiences, from those around us who encourage us, but most of all from God. When I attempt to face a fear on my own, I tend to become overwhelmed and anxious keeping me stuck. But when I seek God’s help first, He lets me see that although my fear may be bigger than me, it is not bigger than Him.  When the physical therapist told me to stand for the first time after my spinal cord injury, I was scared, and I did not believe my legs could hold me up after all I couldn’t even feel them. I cried out and asked God to help me through this. He answered by giving me family, friends, therapists, and doctors which continually encouraged me letting me know that they had faith in me and my ability. Their faith in me was greater than the faith I had in myself and because of this it gave me the courage to get through some of the scariest times.

Our fear regardless of how small or big can cripple us if we let it. It can keep us from reaching our full potential, but when we seek God – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). He guides us, showing us, He is there by helping us to keep moving forward despite our fear. He brings people into our lives to help us through. It is my belief that this is another way God lets us know that we are never alone and our fear maybe bigger than us, but it is not bigger than Him.