in need of distraction

stillmovingblog.com

Disclaimer : I am not a medical professional. Do not follow my advice blindly. Always listen to your body [and your doctor] over me. I write from my personal experiences, not yours. 

Giving into a chronic pain flare* is the quickest way to escalate it. While it may seem impossible to get yourself out of bed [and the house], it’s usually exactly what your body needs. Filling our days with positive distractions can be as helpful, if not more, than taking a pill to mask those pain signals for a few hours.

Pictured above is a flowchart to utilize on the days when you just don’t want to do anything. Push yourself to get going, but listen to your body and give it a rest when it needs one. Know your limitations, but don’t let them keep you from trying new experiences.

I’ll confess, I push it too far some days, but I always learn something in the process. Every so often I have to cross that line that divides good and bad to know exactly where it is. If I don’t, how will I ever know of what I am truly capable?


*With chronic pain, your body is sending your brain pain signals because something is awry, not necessarily because you have an injury that requires your attention. Acute pain, however, is the opposite. You feel the pain so that you’ll stop what you’re doing and not cause further damage to the injured area. Only you can know your body well enough to be able to differentiate between the two.

looking to the elephants

elephants - stillmovingblog.com

I want to talk about elephants.

My love for these wonderful beasts began on a tour of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Actually, it started when I first saw Dumbo, particularly the scene when Dumbo is rocked by his mother, who is behind iron bars and chained up by heartless circus folk. To this day the song “Baby Mine” crushes me, and I dare you to honestly say that you aren’t completely gutted after watching.

But I digress…

As a new Freshman at Rhodes College I toured St. Jude right before the start of my first semester. The hospital is a remarkable place, packed with thoughtful touches to make it feel less like…well, a hospital. I remember the “Cancer Alphabet” that hung on the walls, framed pieces of paper adorning corridors that in any other medical facility would be spotted with images of healthy-looking people reminding the sickies to wash their hands. But this particular series of artwork was decorated by the young patients, and somehow made you simultaneously aware of the gravity of their experience while chuckling at the overwhelming preciousness. I recall the was for Kemo [I told you it was cute], and there was an eloquently-written poem all about “up chuck” beneath the scribbled letter.

I also remember that there were elephants everywhere, and at some point the tour, our guide finally explained why. I’m obviously not able to quote her, but whatever she said went something like this :

Elephants are the symbol of St. Jude because when a baby elephant is in danger the entire herd comes together to protect the calf. That’s what we do here; we stand alongside each patient’s family and friends to help shield a child from the disease as best we can. Everyone fights together. 

Whether it’s a predator, natural elements, or the overwhelming tiredness that comes from a really long walk, elephants do whatever necessary to take care of one another. People have even witnessed cases of role reversal when a calf has to step up to care for its mother. [If you have a few extra minutes they’d be well-spent reading this story about the bond between a mother and her calf, and how that calf saved his mother’s life.]

So, take from today’s post what you will. I’m not going to connect the dots or circle back to how this relates to chronic illness. I have a feeling doing so would be redundant and obvious. I just wanted to share a little extra love with you today, and maybe get you thinking about emulating these animals when a member of your herd needs an extra hand.*

 


*And we all need help sometimes, not just those with a chronic illness.

 

 

in with the new

So much is falling to the wayside as I determine what is unhelpful on my road to recovery. I realize that I’m kind of up against it, and if I’m going to go the remainder of my life without the use of opioids to manage my most difficult symptoms, I need to make sure [almost] everything I do aligns with that goal.

While some things haven’t made the cut, others have made a resurgence in my life, or even a first appearance. Here’s a bit of what I’m finding helpful, whether it’s for inspiration, information, or a replacement for my medication [see what I did there?].

Book : The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown

  • I’m reading so much lately. This recommendation comes from one of my doctors at Silver Hill and it is phenomenal! A good book for probably anyone.

Meditations : A collection of eight guided meditations from youarenotyourpain.com

  • The accompanying book You Are Not Your Pain by Vidyamala Burch is, in my opinion, a worthwhile read if you’re going to listen to the meditations on the site, or if you’re a novice meditator [like me!].
  • I have everything dowloaded to my iCloud so that first thing in the morning when I’m ready to meditate I can quickly access the file I need.

Apple Cider Vinegar

  • A bottle of Bragg’s is always in my refrigerator, but it’s been consumed much more rapidly since I returned home. I don’t particularly enjoy drinking it, but I know it’s helping heal my gut, which is the source of so many issues, including arthritis.

Modalities : Epsom salt, kinesiology tape, and topical pain relief cream

  • I took a break from epsom salt baths, but now they’re back! This brand is my favorite.
  • I’ve relied on tape to stabilize my joints for years, but for whatever reason I got away from it. I have tried countless brands and determined that I like Mummy Tape best.
  • Topricin is a new product for me. I usually use Salonpas patches, but they really stink…especially when I’m at the office or even just trying to sleep.

Blog : ihaventshavedinsixweeks.com

  • Lindsey Hall seriously puts it all out there. She is basically the queen of transparency!

Instagram : @hurtblogger

  • Britt has a wondeful collection of good habits, so I’ve enjoyed stalking her casually checking in on what she’s up to when I need an extra push in the right direction.

Music

  • As I’m trying to bring my tv-watching time down I’m listening to music more. “Human” by Rag’n’Bone Man, “Sounds Good to Me” by Nelly, and the Dear Evan Hansen soundtrack are just a few of my favorites right now.