Tag Archives: chronic pain

Finding the words

I haven’t written much lately. You may have noticed. I’ve had trouble finding words. That’s not normal for me.

While I am super stoked that I made it through the winter and pretty much accomplished my goal of not complaining about the weather ALL WINTER. Woo hoo! I never promised a Spring complaint fast…but I’ve been doing well. Caught myself once or twice. But seriously, it doesn’t help to complain so I swallowed it. You know what? I think it made it feel like the cold weather passed more quickly. Also, I didn’t look at the tropical pictures people like to torture others with. That helped too. I especially am NOT Looking at them this week. It helps me not complain ūüôā Of course I had to torture others last year when we went to Jamaica, so all is fair in love and holidays.

While this winter was, by a thousand miles, better than last winter it was another kind of painful for us. Last winter (2012-13) was a long and dreadful winter filled with pain and fatigue that I have NEVER experienced the like of before. I spent days, weeks and months begging God to take away my pain and to allow me to get back to “normal”. My normal is a healthy person’s sick day. God has been so amazing in giving me the strength for many years. I wonder, at times, if I went so hard for so long that my body just up and had to have a reboot. I entertained thoughts I had never thought I would¬†let jump around in my head. When your body is that rebellious your head starts to think crazy thoughts.

I am thankful that I had family and friends who put up with the nutty talk and prayed me through it. The Reverend still has a little PTSD from how hard it was for him. On my bad days, this winter, he had the look of sheer terror in his eyes. I know that he was a super hero and got this family through some of the most difficult times we’ve¬†faced. On those days he wondered if this time it (my inability to deal with life) was back again. I’m thankful to say that, for the most part, those days lasted only a few days at most. It was never as intense as it was before.

This winter was different. Oh man, how thankful I am for that! I can truly say that God has allowed me to see a bit of the normalcy back, though I am far from what I used to be, even still. I think part of it is that he worked on my heart so much that I just am NOT the same as I used to be. None of us are. The “Bad Winter” was a changing time for me spiritually, physically and mentally. I cut out food that was making my body more stressed than it had to be. I started running (OH MY WHAT¬†A MIRACLE!!). I had friends urge me to think outside of my spiritual box that I had put God in. God worked through it all. Wow!

I am healthier in so many ways.

But…then there is a different sort of pain.

The pain that people in ministry are not supposed to talk of. The type other people cause.

I had a feeling that something was coming. Call my weird but it’s true.

The church we are in has been so amazing and so full of grace for us as a family. We were growing, thriving, excited. I felt like we were on the cusp of something amazing for our little community. I still do. I think God is up to something. But that makes Satan (and yes, I think he’s working hard) upset. When the people of God are on fire and full of purpose¬†there is sure to be backlash. He doesn’t want people to be victorious. He doesn’t want people to be SAVED. He doesn’t like people to feel the love of the Father for his created.

And there has been backlash.

And that’s all I can say. It’s been tough in ways I can’t speak of.

I know that the battle is NOT lost. I know that there are incredible things happening in people’s’ hearts around this place. If the battle is this fierce, then it must be something crazy good. I see the seedlings of something.

Just wait. It’s going to happen!

 

 

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My journey to writing

Writing on my blog has been on my mind for a while. Why has it taken so long for me to write? I think that God has been working on my heart in regards to my next post and my words were not coming together to make it a cohesive thought.

As a new-ish writer and a hope-to-be speaker and possible humorist (I have some big impossible looking goals,¬†I know) I think to myself, “What could God possibly have to say through me?”¬†¬†What have I got that others, around the globe or even in my province, don’t have? The big question is “Why would God use ME?”

I mean, he has so many other capable people. There are people that actually carry out¬†the things they set out to do.¬†I am not the most goal-oriented person ever. The fact that I have a story to tell, some of it¬†funny and some of¬†it tragic, does not mean¬†I have to tell it. Everyone¬†has a story.¬†Why ME? Why should I write my story when there are so many other stories that are so incredibly moving and inspired by God. He doesn’t need me to write another story of how he has deepened¬†someone’s faith through struggles and triumphs. There are so many great¬†authors¬†who have told¬†their God stories. And just how do I morph the¬†stories of tragedy in my life into the humor that God has given as a gift to lighten the load of the loss I’ve experienced?

I have an inherent problem of thinking I’m not that¬†special. Out of¬†the billions on the¬†globe I will only know a few and only a few will know me.¬†I will live my life¬†for Jesus, I will die, and the world will exist and move on without really knowing I ever came here to make a difference. In the past few years, I¬†have listened to some fantastic¬†speakers and think “Now there’s a gal who¬†has been called by God to speak, has a story to tell and she does it with such grace and wisdom. ¬†I don’t know why God thinks I could do that? It’s just me. Little ol’ Marcy.”

I am currently writing my story and have thought,¬†“Wow, there are so many talented authors who actually went to University to learn how to write well. I can barely spell the word thorough¬†(Nope couldn’t do it. Spell check is my best writing¬†buddy).” I can see why these authors have been chosen to tell stories and write articles and do all the beautiful things they do with words, but me? Why me? Why is he pushing my heart in this direction. Doesn’t he know I only have a couple of years in college? And it wasn’t about writing. I look back on my college papers and cringe, slightly impressed I got the grade that I did.

I’ve said this before….I hated writing. In elementary and high school I couldn’t get¬†my thoughts out quickly enough with pen and paper and¬†often forgot my original thought by the time I had some words written out. I didn’t think I was very good at it, and most of all, I didn’t enjoy it. Enter, the digital age. I didn’t consider writing consistently until my sister said I should write out the crazy antics of my kids into a book. Sure, I kept her in stitches, but write them down? Well, I thought, it can’t hurt to try. I’ll blog. And blog I did. I wrote badly. My technique¬†and grammar was¬†fairly pathetic and my spelling? Whew! ¬†I didn’t edit, I just hit “publish” and there I was, PUBLISHED. Ha!

The thing is, I started to LOVE writing my stories. People liked reading what I was writing. At the very least, my relatives thought I was a hoot. They thought it was entertaining. That was a new thought to me. People actually wanted to read my next post? Who knew?

The next crazy thought, a few years later, was that maybe I should write¬†a book¬†and try to get it published. How hard could it be? Then I went¬†and took a¬†Writing Course at Breakforth in Edmonton, AB where NJ Lindquist was teaching. She was¬†realistic but didn’t crush hopeful writing dreams.¬†I liked her immensely and learned so very much in that one day. She said that 2 out of 100 people who write ever get published.¬† I calculated how many of us in that class would probably ever get published. About 2 of us. I was sitting with one of my dearest friends who writes beautifully, and thought “She’s definitely in, so that leave number 2 spot for me.” So strong was my conviction.

This girl, who thought she was TERRIBLE at the art of words and who¬†could¬†barely put two sentences together in front of a crowd, was being called out by God to do the things she wasn’t qualified to do. Why me? Why insignificant little ol’ me?

I have four children, some of whom have special needs. These special issues take up a lot of my energy. And what do you know? I also have Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia and Arthritis. Just life, as a whole, takes up most of my energy. Just where is God going to pull from to make anything of significance happen with all those roadblocks? Oh, then there is the ministry part. My husband is a pastor and that is an amazing and¬†often demanding job. I just don’t have time or energy for God to have something more for me to do.

It turns out that, a couple of years back,¬†I was sitting in a crowd of 10,000 people at a Breakforth ¬†conference. In the middle of all the noise, people and darkness, God said something directly into my soul. “I see you. I see YOU. You are not insignificant. I the God of the Universe, see YOU in this crowd.” I realized that I was not just one more of those human beings walking around on the planet and who was¬†lost in the middle of¬†a huge crowd. Yes, I was going to squish my way through the crowd and go back home to life as usual., but was it going to be going home to life as usual… really?¬†No, he had something planned for ME. It startled me. Made me weep. The God who formed the UNIVERSE has bigger plans for me? I thought that I was livin’ the dream. I was doing what he had called me to do. I knew that I was. And yet…

I don’t know how he’ll do it. After all, I still can’t seem to get to the computer to write out my thoughts when I want to. My book is taking way more time (that I don’t have) than I thought it would take. I found out I should probably get an agent at some point and then find an editor or two…and I may have to wait for miraculous funds to do all that. That only touches a small part of what it will mean to publish a book and get things rolling.

I still don’t have any large or small crowds that want to hear what I have to share. My church was gracious enough to let me speak last year. They were kind.

Some days I can not get out of bed because my body aches so badly or it needs a break from the strenuous life I lead. It can put me on survival mode for several days to a week. There are days I can barely get out of my pajamas to home school my two kids and see my other two kids off to school.

I don’t know WHAT he’ll do. And maybe by¬†the small steps¬†I am¬†taking now, I am working toward the goal that he has for me. I hope it is¬†so.

I¬†have come to realize this…¬†that it doesn’t matter what I think the timing should be or the venue it should take place at or when I get the book done, it’s WHO am I doing it for? If he plans things for me then he is in charge of the details. He is the One who called me to this strange and unexpected thing called writing. Even if I never did anything else, perhaps his plans for me have been already accomplished.

I know that the God of the Universe sees ME (along with really seeing and caring for each person in this world) and I am humbled and honored and I worship him at the thought of him caring about little ol’ me.

Have you ever felt insignificant? If you do, then know that you are being noticed. You are loved. You are LOVED!!

That is fairly mind-blowing stuff.

Motivation to get back into it!!

English: an exercise of rotator cuff

English: an exercise of rotator cuff (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So much about life is temporal. Just when you think you know what you are doing, life does an about-face and you must learn how to deal with whatever it is this time that life has thrown a curveball into.

Just when I thought I’d gotten the¬†inspiration ¬†to exercise tucked in close to my heart, it went and changed its mind. Motivation is a tricky little beast! Why can’t I seem to want to get on the ol’ elliptical like I would get out there and run, back in the summer? I mean, I was not eager, per se , but I went and I did it even if I wasn’t 100%. I think it was the sun or the warmth or getting out of the house for a little while. Those are all motivations for me. It worked. I progressed more than I had thought possible and ran that 5 km. I didn’t run it well, but I did it.

Now, why oh why can’t I just get on that elliptical beast? I was¬† intent on keeping my muscles that I had built over summer I was¬†fierce about fostering¬†my endurance.¬†¬†I was also determined to keep the kinks out.

Then two bouts with the¬†flu happened this fall.¬†¬†Homeschooling the older kiddos got distracting. Then there is the weather. ¬†I could call them all excuses but I won’t. I’ll just call them “life”. A big part of my life is the Chronic Pain, but that is getting better little by little. Fatigue has been one of the sneaky fellows that comes and drags me down¬†when¬†I least expect. When living with Chronic illness, life really can do a 180 and you need to adjust expectations.

Obviously “life” and I have a few things to negotiate.¬† Since aging and muscle strength are both telling me I better get back in line, I should probably listen.

My new challenge is doing something I hate INDOORS. I can neither get out to “enjoy” the weather (as cold temperature¬†is painful and roads that are slippery¬†are not cool with me) I need to embrace the indoor exercise that¬†I can do. I should probably look at it as a possible gym class for my Home Schooled kids.

Enter in responsibility. I have the responsibility to myself, to God and to my¬†family to keep the mobility I gained last spring/summer. I don’t want to go back now.

I learned this summer that I need to do a few things to make myself more apt to succeed. The right gear, the right timing and let my body tell me when it’s one of those days I truly shouldn’t push it. The trick is to push my body when I can!

My basement is cold (remember I hate cold)¬†and since¬†it is where we have room and the equipment, I need the right clothes to deal with that. If I’m not too cold, I’m good.

I need the right music. I’ve downloaded some better running/exercising music.

Most of all I need God.¬†¬†I need to let God be¬†a part of the¬†inspiration to get back into a healthier lifestyle. He has been silently cheering me on and I can’t let my best cheerleader down! I know he will give me strength.¬†¬†I’m not that far away from the discipline and positive effects of running that I’ve put the memories of the accomplishment in the past. It must become my present as well as future goal.

My plan is to stay healthy enough to bounce back into running when spring commences it’s lovely season. There are a couple of things that could change my plans like…. a probable rotator cuff injury or a significant injury to the area that might need to be dealt with…but I will continue to think of how I can keep myself in a state of health that keeps me going. We’ll work with whatever life throws at us. “God is our refuge and strength very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

Who is in to run with me in something local? I don’t want to do the cold and muddy one, but I would like to do something in the spring. Ideas are welcome!

frazzle be dazzle

I almost promised myself not to blog a rant of any kind ever again. I get flak about those posts more than any other. It shows my ungodliness something awful! It shows how far behind in the process of knowing God I actually am. I’m pretty sure the closer you get to God the less rant-y stuff you have to say. Then again, there is Jeremiah who ranted for God all over the place.

I am frazzled. Stick a fork in me because this pork roast is DONE. I’ve said it before, I know. This time of year is probably the most unkind to my mind and body by a long shot. I see the weather changing. I feel it in my bones. No, honest, I really feel it in my bones. It’s not just a saying. It’s for real! Scary thing is, it’s not even snowing yet. The world around me is getting ready for it, though.

A distraction from the pain, for me, is seeing the post-harvest prairies which have turned a fiery yellow. The whole landscape is filled with the trees which have come alive with a blazing glory. The harvested fields turn a type of gold. I think God attempts to burn our retinas just a little with the color so we are relieved to see white after a time. There is nothing like the delicate beauty of the first snow. I am preparing my positivity now. My thankful meter. It works!

I was walking today, out in the beautiful autumn sunshine, reminding myself to soak it in. All of the sudden it hit me. I want¬†the Joy of the Lord to shine¬†and warm me¬†from the inside out. I am ready to stop complaining about my pain and start being warmed from the deepest part of me so that the light of Christ warms those around me. The external temperature is just that…outside of me. I can’t control it but I can let the glow of Christ’s love change my outlook.

Matthew 5:16

In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Job 33:28

 He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I will live to enjoy the light. 

Matthew 5:13-15
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven..’

Running with Pain, Part 3 – How I did it

English: This breathtaking view of the famous ...

English: This breathtaking view of the famous Canadian Rockies Three Sisters Mountain Range is taken from Canmore (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was told that if I had chronic pain or fibromyalgia, or CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) etc then I should definitely not do hard exercise. I have been so incredibly ok with this advice that I just decided that exercise was not that important. I was wrong. What they also told me is that it was essential that I get moving and continue in a regular exercise program to keep myself as good as I could be. I have been told many times to keep up with exercise programs that were low impact but strength building. Swimming, walking and yoga were exercise regimes of choice.

Laying in bed a few months back, I figured I should probably do something drastic to get me out of these drastically awful circumstances. Yes, I would go against the “soft” exercise program like swimming, walking, or yoga and go headlong into the world of running. I always hated it, had seen healthy people doing it and put two and two together. I should do exactly as they don’t recommend and specifically what I hate to do¬†and… RUN!

I figured I may as well do what I could do to make this actually happen and that’s what I’m going to tell you now. It took a few steps and trial and error along the way, but I came up with some strategies I will go on to use in life.

1. I gave myself a really rewarding goal. I was going to run in a 5 km run/walk. I was going to RUN the entire way!! My goal was the 5 km. The destination was the reward. Canmore, Alberta!! The mountains. How much more motivating could that get? Running in the mountains. Join me at my humor blog to see how that really went when I got there.

2. I made sure that the equipment I was using to run was good enough for me not to be¬†bothered by discomfort. With fibro¬†my whole body is sensitive to extra pain/discomfort. I affirmed my shoes were good to go, that my clothes were light and easy dry and that chafing was at a minimum. Jogging in my cotton shorts that rode up every step I took was a no-go. Running in a raincoat that didn’t breathe was not helping. I went and found what I could within my budget to make sure I was as comfortable as possible during the excruciating¬†thing called training.

3. I found a program that works and used my son’s iPod that would¬†help me in the training program. I downloaded the Couch to 5km program. It was great to have the program tell me when to walk/jog rather than me having to keep track on my watch.¬†As the program progressed it was helpful to see what I had accomplished. ¬†I moved through the weeks very slowly at first, making sure I could do what they were “asking” before moving on. Week three kicked my butt but I made sure I could run the interval that it was scheduled for before I moved on. I also downloaded MapMyRun which is a GPS program that showed the pace I was at, how far I had gone etc. It was all helpful in seeing how I was doing and how I was improving. Very encouraging!!

4. I celebrated my¬†improvements and forgave myself for the “bad” days. I had a group of people I could call or send an email and receive encouragement from right away. I told myself I would not let the failure mentality bring me down as it had so often in years past.I used to beat myself up inside when I didn’t do¬†it (Any physical discipline that was hard) at ¬†the level I should so then I would quit. I determined NOT TO QUIT!¬† If I had a bad day I would get back at ‘er.

5. I prayed and acknowledged that only God could do this in me and through me. I prayed that HE would get the credit for any good that came out of this. He was the one who led and directed¬† me in this. He gave me the dream. The dream of the impossible, for it truly felt impossible in the beginning when I couldn’t even walk 3 km.

6. I DID it!!¬† Even though I found out the race would be at an elevation higher¬†than I was used¬†to and that my body would most likely react to that in some way, I decided that all the training wouldn’t let me down. Not only that, my determination and God’s¬†strength would keep me going. I did it, even though I had a migraine of horrible proportions that week and couldn’t train even once. I kept on going, knowing that it would be an accomplishment to do the¬†5 km even if I had to walk, though I was determined not to.

In the end,¬†my time was terrible. I was not in a race though. Even if it was a “race” I was not racing against people, I was racing to beat my own fears and doubts into submission. I ran to overcome all the lies that told me that I couldn’t do it, for so many reasons. I did¬†it to show God’s mercy and grace and love toward this one little gal from the prairies. He did it!¬† He did it through me!¬† A broken and weak vessel.

I set myself up to succeed as much as I could, but God¬†gave me what I needed in the¬†end. He gave me the pep talk in the rain. HE whispered “You can do this…you can run a little further…you can stop listening to your legs screaming and listen to¬†me.”

We ran it together and together we will stay forever. It’s cool to think what could be next with God and I. It’s a wonder!¬† It was a miracle!

Disclaimer: I would advise that if you suffer from Fibro, CFS, arthritis or any other debilitating and deteriorating disease that you consult your Dr. I did. He thought I was crazy but that it was good.¬† When you find something you want to do then¬†do it,¬†and do it safely. I wanted to make sure I didn’t injure myself while running and learning how to do it. Please do learn how to do whatever exercise safely for your condition and take it slowly. You will improve in time. I have been sick a long time so don’t expect myself to change very fast. I still have a long ways to go and have set a goal to work toward slowly.

Running with Pain, Part 2

I have had a pretty decent summer with pain levels. Yes, I’ve had pain, but the intensity has not been unbearable most times. That all changed this week.

I believe it is a combination of things, but it’s all guesswork, really. I think it’s allergies, stress (think home school¬†start-up, Aspie kid adjusting, getting programming for my other gal with challenges and meetings, etc…) and peri-menopause. It’s kicking me in the rear.

Migraines are NO FUN at all. Even when you are laying in a room with blinds drawn and earplugs in (for the noise issues) there is still cloying pain. It is close to unbearable except that life goes on. Any mom who knows the chaos of children would give a front tooth for a dark room without noise. This I know. Except those that have migraines. Those people know they would give up a set of teeth to never have another pain in the head again. It’s disruptive to everyone.

“Shhh. Be quiet. Mommy’s got a headache.”

“Can you stop moving? I can’t focus on anything when you are moving like that in my general area.”

“Kids, can you stop being kids for this week because what you do as children makes my headache worse.”

Running hasn’t happened either. I tried on Monday, but then I collapsed with defeat on someone’s lawn. It was a beautiful moment as I looked up into the sky through the trees. I was reminded why I was running. To point to the One who made me.

I have felt the pressure build as I stumble through the week and the 5k gets closer. I pray and I hope that the pain subsides. I have prepared¬†for this for months (obviously, because I won’t stop talking about it). It would be a kicker if my pain won in the end.

I will NOT. LET. THAT. HAPPEN!

More importantly, I believe that God will give me the strength I need to get to the goal.

Running with pain. Well, it is a given that pain will be there. It’s just how much can a person take? I guess I’ll find out this weekend.

As a fabulous aside, I have now been able to raise $530 for CAUSE Canada and feel fantastic about that!¬† I had a goal of $1000 so if you want to help me reach that by Sunday, then please go to my donation page here. I may even attempt a backflip for that. No, I won’t don’t worry Mom!

Thank you to all that have helped raise money for CAUSE Canada so far!  You have made a difference in lives who would not have a chance without you.

 

Running with Pain

English: Female Jogger on Coleman Avenue in Mo...

English: Female Jogger on Coleman Avenue in Morro Bay, CA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gasping, shuffling, puffing and looking at my watch to see that only a few seconds had passed since I had last checked, I kept jogging badly until the one minute mark hit. Walking with a slight limp, I gratefully hoarded air into my lungs and cringed when I saw that I only had three minutes left to walk before my next minute of jogging.

These were the first few weeks, that felt like years, of my foray into the world of jogging. I had made the commitment to “run” in a 5km¬† in September and I had only¬†four months to prepare. The snow had just cleared off of the road and I pushed myself out the door, mentally kicking and screaming. Pain and fatigue had pushed me into such a tight corner that I desperately fought back by training for a run. Never, ever in my life had I imagined myself in such a spot.

The Couch to 5K program typically takes 9 weeks to complete. I took all four months. I still have a week left in the “program” before I technically complete it. I have nine days until I run the race.

I didn’t realize how mental the game of running is until I came to a point where the program pushed me to run eight minutes. I was pretty sure I couldn’t do it. Then again, I thought to myself, I had just run five minutes consecutively a few days before. Eight minutes were not even double that so I think I can do this. My brain changed during that run. When I wanted to quit, I told myself “I can do this …it’s only 3 minutes more”.¬†As I ran, I avoided looking at the time. When I finally did, I realized that I had already done five minutes. Surely I could do three more!¬†I dragged my feet on the ground, hardly able to lift them, but lift them I did. After that, it got easier to convince myself that I could do it! It was a miracle, really. If I couldn’t do the full-time I just kept trying, week after week, until my body said “YES!!”

With Fibro/Chronic Fatigue/arthritis, I couldn’t do it some days even if my mind was saying I wanted to. There were a few days I just couldn’t. I decided that even if I just walked or got out a bit, that was better than nothing. If I really couldn’t even get out of the door¬†I let myself off for the day and knew I’d get back at it when I could. I let myself go from the guilt I usually place on myself when I “fail”. I determined that God was at work¬†and I would be a willing vessel, so to speak. I would not quit this time.

The miracle of movement and energy has been overwhelming¬†this summer.¬†As time and training¬†has passed I have been so thankful that my energy levels have gone way up. That’s not to say I don’t have my bad days anymore, but ¬†I am able to do much more than I could just six months ago. I feel like I have a long way to go, but looking back it’s been¬† a hike already.

I have had incredible support throughout this summer with my attempts at running. My dear man, bless his heart, thought that I should do something besides running when I told him what I was going to do. After seeing me get out the door and make some progress he changed his tune and expressed that he was impressed¬†with how I was coming along. My mom, sweet lady that she is, thought I should do something less dramatic when I told her I was going to do this crazy thing called running. She, as well as my dad, became my biggest encourager¬†as well. The list goes on with the people who have cheered me on and it has kept me going. God works through the words of his people, I tell ya! I don’t know if I have ever felt that kind of support before. I consider many of my friends and family encouraging but in this difficult task I didn’t know I needed the words of support until I had people express them to me.

In a little over a week the official “run” will be over. I have thought about what I will do to keep up the momentum and not fall back on old habits. I only know how easy it is to hibernate and not move at all during the winter months. I have formulated some ideas to keep me going. I may just surprise myself again. You never know.

How about you? What are you going to do to keep moving this winter? I live nowhere near a gym or exercise facility. I never have liked exercising in my home but know I will have to do something. How about you give me some ideas?

Next time, I’m going to give away the secrets I found out that worked to help me be successful in training while living with chronic pain.