Friday, March 12, 2010

Chronic Pain Drain

The reality of my chronic pain came to the surface this week when I snapped at my 23 year old son over the laundry. If you know anything about me, I'm a pretty easy going gal. I don't lose my temper, I think before I speak, and when I do speak it's pretty well thought out. There is no purpose or sane reason behind raising my voice over something as simple as the laundry. After I left the wrath of Mount St. Helen's spewed all over my now shocked and peeved son, I had to evaluate what could have possibly brought me to that uncharacteristic snapping point. I began to make a list.

1. My wet laundry is sitting on the floor, and my sons laundry is bouncing happily in the dryer.

2. Every task is twice as hard as it use to be, and I need to finish the laundry while I still have some strength left in me.

3. Nausiated (most of the day, every day)

4. Dizzy (off and on all day)

5. Tired (always)

6. Short of breath

7. Tachycardia

8. My body hurts all the time, and it's zapping every ounce of energy I have.

In dealing with my more severe symptoms of dysautonomia, I had ignored the fact that I am in constant pain all the time. If I could discribe how I feel, I would have to say it's how how your body feels when you have the flu. Add the feeling of being tense (the calgon, take me away, kind of tense) in every muscle in your body. The other day a student wanted to get my attention and began poking my leg with her tiny finger, it felt like I was being poked by a cattle prod. Well, being in constant pain and fatigue is sooner or later going to creep into your personal life. And for me, my recent blow up on my son, was a wake up call to come up with a plan for dealing with this pain.

1. I needed to check with my doctor to see what can be done for the pain. In my case, I also have arthritis, so the doctor wants to attack the joint pain with anti-inflammitories. If that doesn't work, pain pills will be his next plan, which I will then look for another opinion, masking the pain doesn't cure the underlying issue in my opinion.

2. Listen to my body when it is in pain, and give it the much needed rest it's crying out for.

3. When I am in pain, delegate tasks to those with more healthier bodies in my household. I hate asking for help, but I hate hurting my family members hearts with sharp words caused by pain that could have been avoided if I just asked for some help in the first place.

4. When I feel like I'm ready to lose my temper, I need to take a moment alone to reflect on what's causing the anger. This advice is good for everyone, In my recovery group (I have an eating disorder), when we are ready to fall into unhealthy habits we do a H.E.A.R.T. check, and ask ourselves these questions. Am I Hurting? Am I Exhausted? Am I Angry? Am I Resentful? Am I Tense? If the answer is yes to any of those questions, then you need to ask why, and work through the reason. This works for physical and emotional pain.

5. If I lose my temper, I need to work through the H. E.A.R.T. check and discuss it with the person I just hurt.

Hopefully if I work through this plan, my family will experience a much more pleasant mom, and I will reap the benefits of working through the symptoms that effet my life daily.

When living with a disease like dysautonomia that has many symptoms, I have a tendency to focus on the symptom that has the greatest physical threat to my body. Unfortuanately in doing so I usually ignore other symptoms that may be threatening as well. I am now keeping a simple journal with my symptoms and how they effect my lifestyle. I will then have something to bring in to doctors visits that will hopefully give the doctor a better idea of everythng I'm experiencing and how to best treat my disease and its symptoms. And I will also have a better understanding of how each symptom effects different parts of my life.

Always inspired,

1 comment:

  1. This is an amazing post and I truly needed to read it. The longer this disease has its hold on me, the tougher things seem to get. I am completely homebound/bedridden and that makes things very, very stressful for our family. We have really been struggling over the last few months. We are having to learn to prioritize things better and talk things out when there's a problem. I am also having to learn how to ask for help and be patient when things don't go exactly how I have them planned. I am extremely OCD about my home and, of course, my husband and teenage children are not. :0) That definitely causes conflict. I'm trying to learn not to sweat the small stuff!

    I am also dealing with A LOT of pain. I have an arthritic condition AND neuropathy. I am on a lot of medications but the pain just seems to be getting worse and worse. That truly affects my whole sense of well-being and often creeps into my attitude and responses to my family. It is a hard struggle.

    I really enjoy reading your posts. Thanks for your encouraging words.

    Have a great weekend.


    Teresa <><