Apr62010

It’s Just Pain

I recently met with my new Pain Management Specialist.

It was 1 of those “good news, bad news’ sessions.

The good news?

After reviewing 30 years of my medical history, he discovered that there was “nothing wrong with me physically”.

YES, you heard that correctly!

YES, I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia Syndrome and Chronic Fatigue (CFIDS). So, how is possible that with so much muscle pain, so much exhaustion, there could be nothing wrong with my body?

It’s simple really.

Very recent research into the mechanism by which Fibromyalgia operates suggest that it is due to a dysfunction of the Central Nervous System (CNS). That means the problem is in the brain, not the body.

Therefore, as I understand it, the myriad of symptoms experienced by Fibromites are the result of CNS problems.

Here’s how that news has freed me up.

If there’s nothing wrong with my muscles — well, other than the fact that 14 months in bed have atrophied them to some degree — then there’s really nothing preventing me from doing stuff. Stuff like walking, hiking, running (except I don’t DO jogging), making love (except I don’t have a lover).

So, for the past 2 weeks, I’ve hiked my butt out of bed first thing in the morning. And, gone for a walk.

When I first started I could walk  for 1/2 an hour and travel 6 blocks. Now, I walk for an hour and travel 30 or more blocks. YIPPEE!

I’m pumped!

Morning walks have been an integral part of my Spiritual / Creative Practice. For it’s on these walks that I have the alone time I need to ponder, mull, and compost ideas. And, to dialogue with God Within Me.

Starting my day this way is critical because it gets me calm, centered, and focused on what’s important. And, because it connects me to Spirit.

I’ve noticed important improvements in my life. For example, on the weekend I drove to the foothills west of Calgary and hiked in the wind.  Why is that a big deal? Because normally — whatever normal is — wind provokes massive pain. And, it didn’t! YIPPEE!

What’s the bad news?

Tune in to the next post to see why the bad news is really good news.

Mar292010

When Pain Limits What You Can Do

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There are many sucky things about chronic pain.

One of the biggest is the sheer unpredictability of it. For example, 2 days ago I was able to hop in the car and drive to and from the Town of Canmore, to have lunch with my daughter. Being able to drive 2 1/2 hours round-trip doesn’t sound like much. But, for me it’s a major accomplishment. Normally, when I travel to the mountains I have to space my driving out over 2 days: driving to my destination 1 day and returning a day or 2 later.

What was even more astonishing was that fact that it was incredibly windy. Normally wind gusts provoke pain but not that day.

Yesterday was a whole different story.

The winds started blowing around noon and my ‘friend’ pain paid a visit. Pain is a ‘friend’ in the same way that a woman’s monthlies are a friend. 😉

Over the course of the afternoon the pain ramped up until I could barely walk. The problem was that I was on the other side of the city, about 40 kilometers and a 1/2 hour drive from home base. Gritting my teeth, literally and figuratively, I drove home and collapsed into bed.

Why  bed? Well, quite simply when the pain becomes off the scale the only ‘treatment’ is sleep. Luckily I can sleep even when in excruciating pain. Many Fibromites can’t.

I slept for some 11 hours and crawled out of bed at 6:30 today. Emphasis on crawled.

Because I am in the high phase of my SAD I can operate in spite of the pain. It’s called COPING.

When severe pain strikes I am forced to go to Plan B … or even Plan Z.

I had planned to do some copywriting today. But, that requires too much creativity, too much inspiration. And, my inspiration gets blocked by the pain.

So, I have to find other things with which to distract myself.

Why distract?

Because 1 of the ways to deal with pain is to distract oneself. 1 way I do that is by writing … but not creative writing. Somehow, I am able to blog but I can’t seem to do creative writing. But, then when I am depressed I can teach workshops but I can’t market them. I guess creation just requires too damn much energy.

Other ways I distract myself include Facebooking, Twittering, reading blogs, watching videos, IMing, and  talking on the phone.

Another strategy I’m going to implement is 1 I used 28 years ago when I was clinically depressed. You can probably imagine how little get up and go 1 has when depressed. So, what I came up with was a check list of things I could do when depressed. Naturally, I created the list when I wasn’t depressed. I kept it in the top drawer of my desk at work. And, whenever I was really, really depressed I haul it out. I’d look at the list and see what ‘task’ on the list I thought I could manage to do.

So, I’m adopting the same idea now. I’m going to create a List of things I can do when I’m in pain.

Then on days like today I don’t have to THINK about what I can do, I just look at the list and pick something.

FIRST thing on my list will be, of course, TAKE A NAP!

Copyright 2010 Lyle T. Lachmuth  All Rights Reserved