The Start of It All….Choice: Get Mad and Fight Back!

never-stop-fighting

I know your face, and you will not win.

There are always choices that need to be made. You can choose to accept those things that are handed to you or you can choose to fight those things until they are something which you are willing to accept. While there are some elements that are simply beyond your control, they are a very limited few.  Too often, one decides it is easier to accept that something is beyond one’s control than to accept the battle that must be waged to change it.

Is it easier to accept that it is beyond your control and therefore alleviate yourself of the need or desire to fight? Do you simply accept that you cannot change it because that is easier than the alternative?

What would happen if you chose instead not to accept it? If you chose to fight; fight with every fiber of your being? How many things that were previously thought to be beyond your control might you now be able to influence if you simply decide that you will accept no alternative other than the outcome you desire and design for yourself?

Get mad and fight back! Accept no answers other than that which you have chosen for yourself. Let no one set your limits for you, not the world, not society, not your family and not your own body. Fight with every ounce of who you are for that which you desire. You Must Not Yield!  Fight the limitations imposed upon you. Fight with your very last breath, and even then fight until the last ounce of the last breath has been exhaled.

Let your anger fuel you. Let your passion drive you. Take every ounce of self-pity, remorse, sadness, emptiness, aloneness, and despair and turn that ounce into a pound of pure fight, of drive, of fire, of hatred, if that is what it takes.

I’ve seen my demon and I know its name. I also know its defeat. Complaining, wishing, hoping and dreaming will not defeat this demon.  To the contrary, these things only feed it and make it stronger. Action, determination, anger, and even hatred of the demon itself, will fell this demon.  It has grown so accustomed to fear and pity and sadness that it is incapable of withstanding other elements.

Demon, I have chosen my outcome. I will fight you on your terms and on your grounds and I will be victorious. Your greatest weapon was that you made me forget; forget my focus, forget my battle plan, forget that I can beat you.  You tried to make me forget that the only power you hold over me is that which I gave you.

I revoke that power. You will not relinquish it easily, but that does not negate the fact that You Will Relinquish it.

I have seen your face.  I know where you live. I know what your weaknesses are.  You think you know mine, but I have turned my weakness into my strength.  You are unprepared for this war.  You still think this is a knife-fight, but I have brought out the tanks.  You have fought a hard fight.  You almost convinced me that you would win.  In fact, you nearly convinced me that you had already won. Those days are over.  Your days are numbered.  Your defeat is imminent.  You can go easily or you can go hard, but one way or another, you are going.  Whether you know it or not, you have already been defeated.

You have been a worthy adversary, but you are not strong enough to deny me of the outcomes I have chosen. The game is up.  Check mate.

(This was written at the beginning of my battle, December 1st, 2013)

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Hope doesn’t make things easy; it makes things possible

Holding onto Hope was the title of a very powerful speech that I listened to last night.  I wish I could have written down more of what she, but I can only clearly remember the part near the end: “Hope doesn’t make things easy, it makes things possible”.Image

If you don’t believe that you can get to the top of the mountain, if you have lost all hope of every getting to your destination, you will never fully try.  Losing hope is a downfall of so many people that live with chronic pain, whether it’s Fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease, Degenerative Disc Disorder, Arthritis, Neuropathy, Central Pain Syndrome, or any of the dozens of other things that can cause chronic pain.  People who have dealt with, been beaten down by, or have started surrendering to their chronic pain, slowly start to lose their hope.

I provide a lot of suggestions, information and education to people for ways to manage their chronic pain, but they are in the same boat that I was: “Forget it; it isn’t going to help anyway”.  It’s hard to explain to people who haven’t experienced it, how devastating it can be each and every time you get your hopes up that some new idea will work for you only to find out that it was another false hope.  When trying new therapies, there are generally four possible outcomes. 

  1. It does nothing at all
  2. It helps for a little bit, then things go back to where they started
  3. It helps for a little bit, then things go back to worse than where they started
  4. It makes things worse

So many people that cope with chronic pain are tired. They are tired of spending money on things that didn’t help.  They are tired of having Lucy yank away the football that they were so positive they would be able to kick this time.  When you have something that you really want to be successful, and then it doesn’t work, that realization can be crushing.

People with chronic pain have been conditioned to believe that there’s nothing left worth trying.  This is not a good thing.  I understand tempering your expectations, but you can’t just give up.  Keep trying.  What works for one person might not work for the next, but somewhere there is something that will help.  I believe that with every painful fiber of my being.

I think part of the reason it is so tricky, is that since chronic pain is so complex, there probably isn’t “one thing” that will fix it for anyone.  A complex problem requires a complex solution.  Attack the enemy from every angle.

My personal attack on pain involves going at it from a minimum of 4 different directions.  And it has helped.  A lot.  I am much better than I was 5 months ago, when I reached my worst pain levels.  I am mending.  I am adjusting my battle plan.  I am holding onto hope.

Hopeful that someday I won’t have to think about pain.  Hopeful that someday I won’t have to plan ahead for pain. Hopeful I will find a way to get my body to listen to me, instead of the other way around.

I am getting there.  Will you come with me on this journey?

Don’t let chronic pain determine your life.  Decide where you want to be and how you want to feel, and never stop working towards it.

I’ll get more into what works for me later.  Feel free to share what works for you.

Hold on to Hope.  Don’t let it slip away.  We are more than our pain.

We can do this!  Don’t let go of hope.  Hold my hand (gently), and don’t let go of that either.  We will travel this path together.  We will walk when we can, crawl when we must, and lean on each other for support when it’s needed.  Hold on to Hope and let’s do this.

How did I get here?

A blog?  About life with Chronic Pain?  This is not where I’m supposed to be.  No really, I mean it!  I’m supposed to be on a beach somewhere, drinking something with an umbrella in it, delivered to me by some hottie with a sexy accent. *Sigh* Over the past few months I have been using Facebook to occasionally post things that I viewed as something like a battle-cry, my version of the Tarzan Yell, which I used as a sort of catharsis.  I was doing it for my own benefit, and (rather strangely, I thought) I was told (ordered, might be slightly more accurate) that I needed to start a blog.  (A what?  Wait, don’t I hate those?) That what I was writing was having a positive effect on the people who were reading it.  (I blame you Kattina!)

Wait, what???  I’m in mega-pain, and that’s helping you??  How can that be possible, unless you’re some kind of masochist? How can reading about my battle with my own body possibly provide inspiration to others?  And how did I get stuck with this job anyway??  Can I un-sign up for it?  (Please?)  As much as I do love helping people, there has to be a better way than this, right?  When exactly did I agree to this deal?

Universe: “Hey Wendy!” (That’s me) “You’ll get to be a source of inspiration to thousands… well, hundreds….OK, maybe dozens……um, a half-dozen…..three, definitely at least three, people. How does that sound?”

Me: “AWESOME!!!! What do I have to do?”

Universe:  “Nothing much at all.  It’s easy-peasy-mac-n-cheesy.  All you have to do is feel like you are being put through a meat-grinder.”

Me: “Um……hang on a minute, there.  You mean just once, right?  Put through a meat-grinder once, for like 5 minutes, and then I can help thousan—er, um, three people, right?”

Universe:  “Um, yeah, about that.  Listen, here’s the thing; you are already signed up and there’s nothing you can do about it.  There’s no 30-day trial or early-termination contract.  It’s a lifelong gig, understand? And it won’t be a ‘meat-grinder once’ type of thing.  It’s more like a ‘meat-grinder every day, twice on Tuesdays and in reverse on Sundays’, type of thing. Got it? Great, hey thanks, man.”

Me: “Uuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmmmm…………………………..WTF?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!”

Yes, that is my depiction of how this whole thing played out.  I picked the wrong day to send my clone out into the world for me, just so I could get a few extra hours of sleep. I won’t be making that mistake again.

A few things about me: I inject humor whenever I can.  I slightly (greatly) overuse parenthesis, emoticons and”……”’s.  Sometimes I go for humor, sometimes I go for raw emotion.  What I don’t go for is pity, self or otherwise.  If my site helps you, please let me know.  If you have suggestions, I welcome those too.  If you are looking for suggestions, I share them freely, just be aware that I am not a doctor or medical professional.  However, I do have a lot of resources at my disposal and will try to help whenever I can. The tricky thing about chronic pain, well, there are a lot of tricky things about chronic pain, but I’m going to start with just a few.

  1.  How long do you have to be in chronic pain before you realize that the title now applies to you?  I’ve hurt for a week, for a month, for 6 months, for 3 years….how long does it have to hurt before you (or I) realize and accept what it is?  (I’m running close to 20 years of CP, if you were curious)  I have no idea when I finally conceded to using the term CP to apply to me, but I think it took at least 10 years.  What can I say, I have stubbornness issues.
  2. There is absolutely no way for anyone who has not experienced chronic pain, to understand it.  They can try, they can sympathize, but they can never truly grasp how all-consuming it can truly be.  That’s why it can be so important to have someone you can talk to that has been there, that understands.  Find that person.  You will be better off for having done so; and so will they.
  3. A person’s Chronic Pain might have one cause, it might have a dozen.  You might have an actual name for an actual diagnosis, or you might never know exactly what is causing the pain.  That does not mean you can’t still fight it.  You can always fight it.
  4. People who aren’t going through this will always try to give you suggestions for cures, treatments, things to alleviate the pain. Most of them are well-meaning.  Most of them have no idea what a migraine that lasts for 5 days, or a spasm in your back that goes on seemingly forever, or waking up feeling like someone lay under your bed shooting you in the back at close range with a pellet gun all night, would feel like.  With these people, sometimes it’s best to just “smile and nod”, and remember that they really do mean well.

On that note, I am going to end my first-ever blog.  We’ll see tomorrow if it gets read.  Then, I will start posting some of the battle-cries I have written recently.  Then I will see about adding to this more regularly. Thank you for sticking with me this far, it’s nice to imagine that it’s being read.  I hope to see you back here again, sort of.  Actually, I wish that I never see you here again, because your CP has gone away and you no longer feel a need to read someone else’s blog about their CP.  Someday, I hope you only feel pain when you have stubbed your toe on a corner or bashed your shin on the coffee table, but until that day comes, I hope to see you again.

Remember, your pain does not define who you are. Only you can do that.  Do not yield that power. Never yield that power.  Choose your outcome.  Choose who you are.