Optimism What’s That?

Who’s to say what optimism really means…

Hmmm what can I say about optimism? Let’s see, first off for some it may be easier to muster up than others. Take me for example, you try looking at the bright side when everything hurts ALL the time. Not an easy thing to do.

Just haning in there because you know a flare will pass, that's optimismThat being said, I try. Goodness knows I try to be optimistic. Sometimes, the best I can come up with is that, this too shall pass. At least that’s something, right? I mean, it’s a glimmer of hope. A reminder that whatever big pile of steaming poop you’re dealing with right now will become a memory, eventually.

Now I realize that may not sound very optimistic to the average person. Believe me though, when your entire body, mind and soul are engulfed in an agonizing flare, knowing that it will pass at some point is pretty much all you have.

With chronic pain, when there is no relief to be had, you hold on to the hope that it will pass sooner rather than later. That my friend, is what I call optimism.

Optimism, It Can Mean Different Things to Different People

According to dictionary.com the noun optimism can mean, a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favourable outcome.

Taking that definition into account, if each time that you are suffering you hang in there because you know the latest flare will eventually end, does that not mean you are optimistic? Optimism is hope and having hope is optimism. Believing that there will be relief and that the flare will end.

Now, I’m not saying the pain ends completely. That’s the tricky part. When the flare ends the pain doesn’t just go away, it lessens. Sometimes a little bit and sometimes a lot. You just never know until the time comes, which it’s going to be. When you’re really lucky the chronic wide spread pain will drop from a 9/10 to a 4/10.

I know, we more than likely don’t sound very positive to the healthy. In fact, it’s probably tough to wrap your mind around just how much optimism it takes for us to get through most days.

When you hear the words “today is going to be a pain rating 3 kind of day”, what we’re really saying is “today is going to be a great day!”

Hang in there baby….

Chronic Pain is a pain in the butt!

I got dem’  Chronic Pain blues

Arggg! Don’t want to jinx it but I think I’m finally putting my latest flare behind me. This was a tough one; I’m talking widespread chronic pain everywhere. Even had to use crutches to get around.

When I was a kid I had to use crutches for a few years. They were like second nature to me…then again so were the painful palms and chaffed under arm areas from using them. I remember thinking…man I hope I never have to use those again.

Here it is thirty something years later. Turns out I did and quite likely will have to again. Silver lining? Seems using crutches is like riding a bike, no matter how long it’s been you don’t forget how to use them. Well, I didn’t anyway.

Enough about my latest go round with chronic pain, how about a little time out for some happy thoughts? Hmmm ok, here are two…my new flamingo ladies that hubby bought me and Buck the guinea pig helping me out with some typing 😉

Being silly sometimes helps me cope with chronic pain
Cheers!
Chronic pain distraction provided by Buck the guinea pig
Buck my typing assistant

So I guess what I’m getting at (or trying to anyway) is that though chronic pain is an everyday part of life at least the flares come and GO. There is always some kind of relief (or reprieve) on the horizon.

In the meantime I find that it’s sometimes the silliest things (like my ladies above) that can take your mind of the chronic pain and make you smile for at least a little while.

Just a few of my nifty thingys
Just a few of my nifty thingys

Hmmm…that makes me wonder, is it possible that my husband and kids realized this before I did?

Lately I’ve been getting some really nifty, silly n’ fun gifts. My desk and shelves are filling up with some interesting goodies that work wonders at distracting me from my constant companion aka “chronic pain”.

My Husband & Daughters make me smile. I really am lucky aren’t I? Right musn’t forget the pets; they make me smile too…

  • Dee Ohh Gee the dog
  • Piggly Wiggly the Queen of skinny pigs
  • Skuttle Bug the bunny rabbit
  • Rowena the red eyed guinea pig
  • Gopher the sweetest guinea pig EVER
  • Gizmo the squeaker guinea pig
  • Herbert the hedgehog
  • Buck the typing guinea pig
  • Bippity Boppity Boo Morgeana George Walter (that’s one name) the skinny pig
  • Crispy Bacon the skinnny pig – for the record I protested this name!


Warning! Shark Infested Waters!

Don’t Take Insurance Coverage for Granted…

For the sake of conversation, let’s say you have developed a chronic illness.  Let’s use Fibromyalgia for example.

Life as you’ve know it is about to change FOREVER,  but there’s at least one silver lining…you are working and have long term disability insurance.

As time progresses and the Fibromyalgia symptoms get worse you physically can’t work.  You have insurance so you can focus on learning how to LIVE with a chronic illness and how to manage your chronic pain.

It is a very stressful and emotional time, but at least you have insurance so finances for the time being are not a worry.

First to do….acceptance. It isn’t easy coming to terms with and accepting that you have a chronic condition. It’s a huge part of learning to LIVE this new life you’ve been handed.

So while you’re struggling physically  and emotionally you get a call from this woman. OK so I’m actually talking about me and it’s a true story….

Sharks aka Insurance Companies
David Jenkins Great White Shark

Apparently she is being sent by the insurance company. I’m lucky enough to have qualified for some extra help like physiotherapy and one on one time with a Kinesiologist.

Long story short – this woman put me through the ringer.  She was mean. She threatened me more than once about her 25 years of experience going to court.

She said she doesn’t believe in Fibromylagia. It’s just a label she says for fortysomething women who have burned themselves out doing too much for too long…ummmm? Wasn’t sure what to reply during that conversation.

I get sent for two days of testing called a Functional Capacity Evaluation. The gentleman seemed nice . Seemed like he really wanted to help and was remaining non biased. I’ll save clarifying my use of the word “seemed” for another day.

How ridiculous does this sound? I kid you not……

Phone call from insurance company, “we got the test results”. She starts reading them to me:

  • Standing 30 to 45 minutes at a time with opportunity for rest breaks as needed
  • Minor amounts of level walking up to 6 minutes at a time
  • Bending/stooping minimize avoid stooping with the exception of very occasional mild repetitive and/or prolonged stooping
  • Crouching/kneeling restrictions from performing this action
  • Climbing ability to perform on a rare basis
  • Strength Pushing, pulling, lifting and/or carrying limited demands only (avoid more than occasional strength activities)
  • Lifting bilateral 10 lbs on an occasional basis
  • Lifting unilateral 3 lbs left arm, 5 lbs right arm
  • Carrying bilateral 10 lbs on an occasional basis

With each thing that she reads, my heart sinks more and more. I am not happy about not being able to work. I miss my job, I miss my customers, I miss my team.

My husband is hearing this from the other room.  He’s thinking the same thing as me. This news sucks!

Here’s where it becomes laughable (well it would be if it wasn’t such a serious matter).  “Good news” she says.  I swear as God is my witness that’s what she said. I’m thinking what? My husband actually says out loud “WHAT?”

How is this good news? Wait for it….and the punchline is….

“You can go back to your occupation as a retail manager”.  We’ll pay you for December & January while you look for a job.

PS- Wow I’ve been typing this post since Jan 16th.  FYI test results were that I was able to type for 9 minutes of 30 the first day and 6 minutes on day two.