Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Living in pain brings with it a powerful vortex of emotional pain. It seems to suck hopes, dreams, fun, happiness, so much of what makes life worthwile into a black hole. But it does not have to stay that way. You can rise above it and not let the pain WIN.
Here are some tips that help me keep perspective and a smile:

Guard from temptation Be aware of the areas you struggle, and the trigger emotions that take you there. Be on the lookout, and be vigilant. There is nothing like living in daily pain to bring on loneliness, depression, hopelessness, and many other emotions that could lead you to find satisfaction and distraction in places you shouldn’t.

Write a Worry List Sometimes our minds get overwhelmed when one thought leads to another worry and so on, and then panic can ensue. Get out a piece of paper and write down every single thing you are worried about. Then, it’s tangible, not just swirling in your head. I've found that after doing so, my mind rests.

Be honest with yourself and others Talk it out with people you know will listen fully and offer the right kind of advice. But be also be wise about those you share lots of details with. There are many that it is best to just give light information, stay positive, and then switch the subject.

Have a pity-party every now and then Sometimes you must mourn the loss of the things you thought you'd have. Every now and then it is healthy to just “go there.” Just try not to allow it to go on for too long.

Do not lose hope It may seems silly, but make a goal board to pray over and look at. Click here to view the one I did. Always remember that there is a good plan for your life. "Never, never, never give up." --Winston Churchill

Take one day at a time Nothing that has helped me more than living this out.

Do what you can to help your caregivers It’s easy when you need so much from other all the time to just “shut down” and let them do everything. But figure out what you can do and make yourself get up and do it.

Let it go There is so much you want to do and can’t. But don’t let yourself wallow in the “if only” game. Things cannot be how you want them exactly, and that is just the way it is right now. And who knows? Maybe that’s a good lesson to learn anyway. Being God is way above our pay level anyway.

Figure out what's working and what’s not For about a week, randomly 3 different times in your day rate your stress level on a scale of one to ten. If the level is over 5, figure out what it is that is causing the pressure. (Writing down what you are doing at the time and the level will help you assess even more.) Over the week, you’ll see some patterns and will maybe able to make some changes to help you in your times of most stress.

Keep perspective: I have tend to have an idealistic view of life and believe I am losing out on everything. Some if that is true. But it is also true that is there is much to be thankful for, much I have that others would long to have, and what I think I am missing out on is in reality not as bad as I my mind makes it out to be.

Don’t be afraid to ask for prayer and encouragement

Do not let this lick you Choose to happy. Do not let the pain win. Some days you have to “behave your way to success” as Dr. Phil would say. No spouse wants to come home to a sad partner day in and day out, regardless of the circumstances. So choose joy.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


The day in and day out of living a life in pain can seem overwhelming. Here are some tangile ideas to help you make in thru:

Choose not to stay in bed more than necessary Get up, have a cup of coffee. Put on under garments. This helps remarkably to make you feel human or at least MORE human!

Open the curtains (even the door if weather permits) and let the sun shine in.

Do what you need to feel presentable Each person has something that helps lift them out of frumpyland. For me, it’s putting on makeup. Maybe for you it's curling your hair, putting on earrings, or wearing jeans instead of sweatpants. Whatever it is, do it.

Make sure your bed is made every morning Put a blanket on top if you need a cover while you rest in bed at times thruout the day. But if you have to be in bed alot during the day, at least it won’t feel like a sick bed.

Do for others There is nothing like living with pain to make you selfish. It is easy to be consumed by your own needs and discomfort. Some of that is normal, but reaching out, encouraging and doing what you can for someone else in need is good for the soul and can help stop feelings of loneliness.

Watch TV SBolderiously! TV is a great outlet when you need to instantly switch your thoughts or have a laugh. Just be careful to use moderation and wisdom.

Think of an outlet Start a blog (HA!), draw, knit, write, edit pictures or videos, read books or watch movies you’ve never had time for, make crafts for others, take an online class.

Don’t allow yourself to read/watch/hear sad stories It takes concentrated effort to keep from slipping into an emotional pit, and listening to the woes of the world (like on the Nightly News or in stories in Magazines) can unravel that fragile state very easily.

Take the needed medication Pray and be careful to not take more than necessary, but give your body the relief it requires thru appropriate medication.

Prioitize your tasks Each day is filled with small tasks that can become mountains when you are living in pain. First, look at all you would like/need to accomplish that day. Then decide which is the most important and make sure you have the energy to do it. This way you won't run out of steam before the most important event of the day arrives.

Make a list of questions for your doctor You won’t feel as concerned and will be able to clear you mind of worry if you know what you hope to remember in the doctor's office is already written down.

Guard yourself from the “doomsayers” Those people who just want The Scoop or that want to tell you THEIR health problems or stories similar to yours (only with a bad ending.) Literally change the subject, or run the other direction!

Try to stay connected to people I know it is hard when you don’t feel good, but it’s more than important. You need the interaction, you need to give to others, and you need the encouragment and grace that can be found in other people.
Here’s some ideas on keeping connected:

  • Get a laptop and be involved on Facebook. email or Twitter—a community of connection is at your fingertips there.

  • If people have called you, try to call them back at least within the week. If you just can’t, send an email or have someone you know thank them for leaving a message

  • Send out updates on email so you don’t have to keep telling your story over and over.

  • If someone wants to stop by, let them. Even if you may feel your not up for it. It just might be the thing to break up the day and send encouragement your way.

  • Write thank you notes

It is no secret that dealing with pain is hard. But it's crucial to not let it win. Know that no matter what has come your way, there is a plan for your life. It may not look like what you thought, but you can still rock it out!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Ways to Cope

Living in pain is no fun. In fact, it can drive a person to the very brink. I have lived in pain now for about 485 days, and let me tell you every day of that is written on my body and spirit.
I am not thru it yet, and don't know what the Lord's plans are. Is He going to just *HEAL* me one morning, or is it going to be a slow process? Or am I to live this way for the rest of my life? I don't know the answers to those questions and that is definitely the hardest part of it all. The wondering, the waiting, the turmoil of thoughts I fight constantly. Trying to hold on to perspective. Fighting despair. Putting one foot in front of the other.
Through the months, I've been keeping track of ways I've coped with all this. I don't know why I started writing these things down, but I've compiled the list for over a year now. Little things that have helped me get through. I hope some of what I have done to deal with it all will bring others encouragement and ideas as they deal with their own pain.
I'm dividing them into three categories: PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL, SPIRITUAL -- the whole of life, really. Living in pain is serious business, and I hope these thoughts from my journey will help others, maybe even you.
They are coming soon. I have to organize them a little bit and then I'll post.
See ya then!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Nothing's perfect for too long!

What a week! Our Disney trip went really well, and then we ALL got the flu.
So, for better AND for worse, it's been a week.
I'm really, really glad we did the Disney thing. Even though it took loads of work and effort, it was all totally worth it all. So great to just be out of my house, and especially out of St. Petersburg. And I was able to put to rest the little tickle in my brain taunting me that "Disney is perfect this time of year. If you weren't sick, you would be taking SaraRose and having a marvelous time......." And here's the hilarious thing about that--we rode the Monorail around the evening we got there, and at each stop I watched tired families pour in the doors with cranky, crying, sleepy kids. And I thought to myself "I am SO glad we are not getting off at the Magic Kingdom right now!" It's true. Even me, the Disney Queen, would NOT have fun with those terrible pushing crowds, the insane long lines, and a cranky child (and husband). Yes. A good dose of reality does wonders for me! ;)
Just walking around, seeing the lights, getting free chocolate samples and going back to our hotel was really better than all that. We put on our Christmas PJ's and "It's a Wonderful Life" was on TV. Now, that's my idea of happy, cozy, sweet, family time!
That was all amazing.
Then we came home and got the flu. HA! Isn't that just life for ya? That's our life these days anyway! But, ya know what?! Even as horrible as having the flu is (and add that to just having had back surgery and being in pain), the Lord actually taught me a lot. He was right there with me thru the cold sweats, the vomiting and the fear of HAVING to keep medication down. I won't go into it, but I really think He used that 24 hour sickness to remind me again that He can take care of me even when things are really, really bad. And He knows about the details.
So, there you have it! Nothing is ever easy for very long, but I'm glad I have Him and the support system He's given me by my side thru the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

M-I-C....see ya real soon!

Disney is my favorite place in all the world. I'm not even kidding. I mean, a place that calls itself "The Happiest Place on Earth," and can kinda live up to that hype? What's not to love? The magic, the innovation, the history, the parades, the music, the families, the shows, the lights, the imagination, even the Company itself are just super fascinating to me. I've been countless times and it never gets old. Just walking around the Resorts and riding the Monorail puts me in a good mood! So much of what they do is remarkable! Nobody does it as good as Disney! I realize that being as crazy about it as I am probably puts me in a treky-type subculture of "Disney-people," but I still wear my Ears with pride!

My parents tell the story of me as little girl crying on the way to the Magic Kingdom because we were going to have to leave when it was all over. And I still kinda feel that way as an adult. I just love it that much. Sigh. Andrew is baffled by it all, but lets me entertain myself. ;0) He even gets his picture taken with Mickey once in a while. What a guy!

So, of course, even when I was pregnant I had dreams of year-long passes as soon as our little one turned 2. And we haven't made it at all yet. It is the #1 most represented item on my Faith Poster.

And most people know to please just skip telling me about your recent family Disney trip because it's a sure-fire way to get me down!

So, this Saturday we are making an attempt to go. No Parks or anything crazy. We're driving a van so I can lie down on the way there and back, and we have a hotel so I can rest as needed. My hope is to make it to Downtown Disney, to walk thru the Grand Floridian (they have a life-size gingerbread house, oh YEA!), and to ride the monorail.....maybe even see the Castle! If I can do more that would be great, but we'll see. Just being out of town will be refreshing -- a first after 2 1/2 years. I'd say this is much needed. I hope we have a wonderful, *magical* time.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Four Words

I'm going to be really honest here, folks.

I'm having a hard time reading the Bible. For about 3 months or so I can hardly even pick it up. It's on my nightstand, but I just can't lift it. It's like the heavy cares of life have made my Bible heavier to pick up. Instead of the life-giving encouragement I used to find in its pages, the chapters ring empty. I have 30-40 index cards of verses the Lord's laid on my heart for this time, but even those I've read and reread with no response, no lifting of my burden. I told you I'm being really honest here. It would be one thing if I never really read the Scriptures to begin with, but I've had a "devotional life" since I was in 5th grade. Seriously, 12 years old. It's a long story how I started daily reading so early, but I mention that to say, that the Bible's walked with me thru more than half my life! It's met me at other dark hours at just the right time. Almost always there's a word in it's pages for my weary heart. But not now. Hollow. Empty. What in the world is going on? It's really upset me, and I haven't really known what to do about it.

But I heard something yesterday and I wonder if it isn't my answer. Rick Warren was on "Meet the Press" (he did a fantastic job, by the way; so proud to have him representing Christianity). But he mentioned the first sentence in "The Purpose Driven Life." Just four words, but they got me thinking.

"It's not about you."

Just four words, but what insight. What truth. And ya know what, it fits this issue perfectly. I think I've read the Bible most of the time for what it can do for me. For the Holy Spirit to have some slam-dunk Word of encouragement at just the perfect time. That the words would jump off the pages into my current situation. That the verses would be fresh and vibrant; the perfect insight for that moment. But ya know what, maybe it's not always about that. Sometimes it can be, but not always. It's not about me. It's about Him. It's maybe even a little selfish to think anything else. Now, I know He CAN speak thru the Scriptures like that (and a lot of the time does) but....if He doesn't, does that mean I stop reading? I've always believed that Bible reading is a discipline. In fact, I preached that over and over to a small group I lead once. So right now, that's what it's going to have to be to me. Nothing more. Nothing less. It's not going to be easy. But I'm not doing it for me. Because it's not about me. I'm doing it for Him. Because He told us to. I'm doing it to learn more about Him. Who He is and what He has done. Not for what I can get out of it.