It is easy to lose hope and find all the things I still cannot do. Waking up every day in pain doesn’t help. Almost two years ago I had a very dear friend and pastor lay hands on me. He told me that my legs were already being healed and to believe. So, although it is easy to fall into the negativity trap I have continued to believe and have hope.
A few days ago, my husband and I went on a walk while staying at the beach and using my LifeGlider. I have really missed being able to do things like jumping, dancing, and running. I decided to try running. Now this is more like a super-fast walk, but I can say I am on my way. I still have a way to go, but God has brought me from no feeling from the waist down and the inability to walk to regaining some feeling and standing to walking and now almost running.
Although it is difficult to sometimes see the progress and healing, there are times when God allows us to see and feel it. Never give up hope. Have faith because answers our prayers on His time. I refuse to give up and will do my best to keep moving forward telling a better story.
Working to run again. It will happen with pratice and believing in what God has done.
Defeating the bridge! Three weeks ago when staying here I could not walk over the bridge without my husband helping me. With practice, lots of prayer, walking and exercise I have built strength and now I can get over the bridge on my own using my LifeGlider.
Learning to live with life changing disability and /or illness is difficult
enough, but we often fall into to the trap of not truly being able to see the
truth about ourselves. We often think of ourselves in a diminished capacity
with various limitations instead of all the positives that we have to offer or
all the progress we have made. We tend to allow the pain and our weaknesses to tell the story instead of looking at how much we can do and enjoy. This can often to lead to further separation, anxiety, and depression, but there is always hope.
We are the worst narrators of our own lives. Instead of the positives we
tend to focus on the negatives. We see what we cannot do instead of what wecan, what we are learning to do and what we have already accomplished. When living with chronic pain and/or injuries it makes seeing the positives even harder to see because we have so many bad days making it feel like we are never going to improve. On the high pain days many face barely being able to move, leaving us having to take extra medication which may cause higher sedation making it hard to do much of anything.
Often this is when the guilt sets in. At this point the “shoulds” start. I
should be working out, practicing my walking, helping pick up the house, etc. While it is okay for us to give ourselves the ability to rest and recover, we often do not. For example, when my pain gets above a 5, I find it extremely difficult to concentrate on anything except the pain. I often use my VR helmet to gain better control while waiting for the extra pain medication to take effect. During this time, I frequently find myself beating myself up. I tell myself things like, your letting everyone down because you’re not working hard enough, stop being lazy and push through it because you have chores to do, and asking myself questions like what is going to happen if your pain stays high or if the medication doesn’t work? None of these statements or questions has ever happened but my mind tends to immediately focus on the negative/lies.
Even on days when all is going well, the negative thoughts seem to creep in
at times. I continue to do yoga twice a week with an instructor virtually, for example. My progress has been slow or at least much slower than I like. This has made it easy for me to focus on the lies such as, you are not getting it, you are not strong enough to do this, and you are disabled.
We all have things we excel at and things that take work. It is easy to
focus on the negatives/lies we tell ourselves, but learning see things from our family, friends, therapists, instructors, and doctors is crucial as they see
the truth and the progress. It helps us refocus and to keep pushing forward. It aids us in recognizing all the progress we have made and how strong we really are. But our family, friends, and others are not the only truth tellers.
Regardless of what we have heard, have had planted in our minds about who we are, what we are worth, or what others think of us. He does not see us as disabled, less than, or unworthy. God says we are loved, wanted, valuable, secure, beautiful, and called to a purpose only we can fulfill. Because He loves us, He will meet us wherever we are at. In Christ there is hope. This hope allows us to break free from our disbeliefs and internal struggles that seem to have no solutions. Christ is there to catch us and refine us making us whole regardless of where we are today.
Every day God gives us the ability to make choices about many things in life, including what we think and say. Our thoughts affect our moods and actions. We all can control our thoughts and actions; therefore, we all have the ability to control whether we are happy and full of joy or sad and gloomy. We can also affect the way our bodies react to stress and pain by controlling our thoughts.
People who are negative in their thoughts and words are usually unhappy and rarely satisfied with anything for very long. Even if something great happens the moment flees quickly, and they tend to return being tired, upset, and sad once again. If they deal with things such as chronic pain, they are likely to have many higher pain days than those who focus on positive thoughts and words.
Thoughts and words are used because they go hand in hand. For example, when talking about recovery, if the focus is, “I can’t, I remember when I used to, I wish I could, and etc.” not only are these thoughts that run through our minds, but they are also spoken out loud which perpetuates the negative thoughts. They help keep us down, unsure, and unhappy. They make improvement impossible. We probably are unaware that we could be happy if we simply change the way we think. We wait around for good things to happen instead of fighting back to guarantee that positive things will happen.
When we work on controlling our thoughts and words, we can change our daily lives. Not to say that every day will be perfect, but we can still be happy even on the bad days. When we change our thoughts and words to, “I can, I will, or Look at what I can do now, etc.” We focus on the good, therefore, changing the narrative in our heads allowing our moods to be uplifted. When our moods are uplifted, we can deal with stress and pain much easier. We shift our focus to getting better and doing things like walking again. In turn, our lives are filled with joy and happiness instead of turmoil and sadness.
Regardless of life’s circumstances we all can have more joyful, peaceful, and healthier lives. Instead of waiting around for good things to happen take action to ensure that something good will happen. Negative thoughts creep in and steel our joy and often take over. God entrusts us with making many decisions every day which include our thoughts and we must not take that lightly. Ask Him to help you choose positive thoughts and words which will allow Him to give you a more abundant life.
Yoga continues to be a must for continued progress in regaining more stability. Because without proprioception and balance just standing is difficult. Each day continues to bring challenges whether it is high pain, increased spasticity, or both. Yoga helps with reducing spasticity through stretching while reducing pain through breathing and relaxation. There are times on high pain days where all I can do is rest, but whenever possible taking time to do at least 30m mins. of yoga seems to help me to continue to progress.
When I first started I could barely lift my leg/legs and had to hold on with both hands. My body is gradually regaining more balance and proprioception allowing me to tell where my leg/legs are in space. This is crucial for walking.
Being able to balance and lift my leg behind while holding for 3 full breaths is such an improvement. I can feel my leg and ankle adjusting while I hold the position. This is also being done without engaging the breaks on my walker making use my core.
As you can see, I can elevate one leg high than the other. Because of the loss of proprioception and balance on the left side of my body it is much more difficult to engage fully.
Yoga continues to be a must for continued progress in regaining more stability. Because without proprioception and balance just standing is difficult. Each day continues to bring challenges whether it is high pain, increased spasticity, or both. Yoga helps with reducing spasticity through stretching while reducing pain through breathing and relaxation. There are times on high pain days where all I can do is rest, but whenever possible taking time to do at least 30m mins. of yoga seems to help me to continue to progress. I am so thankful for all God has brought me through over the past few years. All glory belongs to Him!