Posted in Chronic illness, Health, Pain

The pain of the “constant”

My actual hand with fingers swollen like sausages. Joints inflamed, swollen, and a wrist out of proportion and which seems to be growing extra bones.

Once again the RA (rheumatoid arthritis) is hard at work and is giving me trouble. I don’t even know how I am able to type, thickly bandaged for support, I will keep to a minimum.

My pain is the pain of the constant. It’s a pain that rarely sleeps and it’s my faithful companion throughout each day. Sometimes more and sometimes less, and on other days excruciating like in this case. But even when the pain is low, given that it is that constant, it really makes things tough. Sometimes I have to force myself to have a good day. Sometimes I have to remind myself that it will pass and will reduce to the levels of the constant. But even then, given that it’s always there, I can feel the positivity dwindle and it’s nagging.

It’s a beautiful, sunny day outside, but my plans and all the things I was going to do today will have to wait. It’s 72 degrees Fahrenheit inside the tiny abode and I can barely stay warm. My body is fighting something and it is screaming at me. I am doing something wrong and it is rendering me “out of order.” I believe it might have to do with lugging overfilled grocery bags and other heavy things into the house yesterday. It didn’t seem like something that I couldn’t handle, but I was trying to cut down on the amount of trips back and forth, most likely handling too much. And the result was that just a few hours later, my joints had a different story to tell. A reminder was in order that I overstepped my boundaries, which by the way are ever changing. This could be even more reason to be afraid of what lies ahead in Germany, but right now I will try not to let this fear creep into my head. All will be ok and for today I just need to take it easy and allow myself time to heal as good as I can.

Posted in Chronic illness, Courage, Pain

When an old friend stops by

Once more the pain has increased over the last couple of days. I am no stranger to it and I have been here many times before. I have written about welcoming every guest into our home, no matter who shows up. I have written about my challenges with the pain body and I have even mentioned that one of my goals is to write a book on embracing the pain. I remind myself that even the toughest days pass, that nothing lasts forever, while acknowledging the hint of sorrow and depression that slowly creeps in due to chronic, a constant nagging pain.

It’s true, I have been a lot better for a little over a month now. Better compared to how it could be, and still the pain never fully subsides. All it is, is days with less or more struggle to accomplish basic tasks. As I woke this morning, some fingers were extremely swollen, following a mostly sleepless night. After dressing myself and easing into the day, I felt enveloped by sadness. Staring out the window, into space, an empty gaze and simply being tired of this vicious cycle. Sometimes it’s just hard to embrace this feeling and welcome this old friend, isn’t it? Sometimes our wisdom and knowledge goes right out of the window and we just have to work through the emotions of it. Maybe welcoming an old friend means having a cry together. Maybe it means pausing and taking a moment to identify a lack, an injustice we are doing to ourselves. Maybe it is realizing we haven’t taken the best care of ourselves. How has our nutrition been, did we drink enough water, have we allowed stress and worry to creep in, has the balance tipped, have we put ourself last instead of first? For me it’s a combination of all of it and I am learning to remember that pain is an outcry and your body’s way of telling you that something is out of balance. So while it might appear hard to embrace pain when we are hurting so much, perhaps we can see it in a form of warning and lack. From there we can eliminate or adjust what is tipping the balance, and from there we forge and create better days ahead.

Posted in Chronic illness, Health, Mental Health

Living well – mental stability

On the health front I have come across an article covering Stephen Covey’s 7 cardinal rules for life. It offers wisdom and insight on living well in general and with bipolar disorder. I think that these rules can be applied to every day life, with people that are healthy and those that are suffering and are affected. Somehow it caught my attention. Let’s get started…

Have you ever encountered someone which mood seems to change instantly? I could mention that this is said about my astrological sign, Cancer, which is often labeled as a moody sign. Does that mean I am bi-polar…I wouldn’t think so, but too me it means that I feel deeper than most. Over the years I have not only observed myself, but I have known some people that seemingly ran hot and cold almost within the same sentence. It’s not that all of a sudden a mean streak attacked these people, shifting moods in an instance, but what is it then? By no means am I an expert, but I can’t help but wonder if being bi-polar is somewhat connected to feeling too much. When we feel too much it’s usually because a memory, an experience, a wound is triggered. We are reminded of something, an experience, trauma, something that brought us pain in most instances. We become vulnerable, we feel exposed, we have to defend, we have to protect.

Bipolar disorder includes behavioral issues that happen when we are not stabilized. It greatly affects our relationships and choices. Bipolar disorder includes grief work and grief work takes time. And at times we, ourselves get hurt when we don’t recognize a low in someone. When someone is off and is fighting with something internally. When something sets off the usual warm and fuzzy nature that has touched our hearts with kindness so many times before. Sometimes we get stuck in the middle of it and sometimes we just take the brunt of it all. It’s hard not to take it personally or to remember that that someone might be dealing with a condition such as bipolar disorder. Mental illness is such a vast field, branching into so many different directions, it’s easy to take for granted if not affected yourself, or even understood and found compassion for when it seems so foreign and strange to us. It’s quite amazing how complex and delicate we really are. The slightest imbalance can set us into a downward spiral at any time. Stephen Covey’s cardinal rules for life is something we can all strive for to upkeep a healthy relationship not only with ourselves but also with others. It might even instill some understanding and compassion for someone that we know is struggling. We remember that we might just be that thread that someone is holding onto and needs. Let’s take a closer look at what we can do to help.

1. Make peace with your past so it does not spoil your present. Your past does not define your future – your actions and beliefs do.

2. What others think of you is none of your business. It is how much you value yourself and how important you think you are.

3. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time. Pain will be less hurting. Scars make us who we are; they explain our life and who we are, they challenge us and force us to be strong.

4. No one is the reason for your own happiness, except you yourself. Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in the world outside.

5. Don’t compare your life with others; you have no idea what their journey is about. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we would grab ours back as fast as we could.

6. Stop thinking too much. It’s alright not to know all the answers. Sometimes there is no answer and that just might your answer. Accept, and move on. Next!

7. Sometimes talk-therapy can cause you and me to overthink everything. Sometimes you just have to stop thinking about some things and move on.

And there we have it. 7 cardinal rules to a better life and a better understanding. Cheers.

Posted in Chronic illness, Memoir, My story

8/3/2021

Just a little intro to the meaning of this post. I am revisiting an old project and goal. Over three years ago I started to write a book, my story so to say. It’s a book about pain and despite of living with a chronic disease that causes much pain, there are various other forms that we suffer pain in today’s society. However this is my story and not an in general assumption or a one fits all approach. It is highly personal and based on my own experiences and research. Somewhere it fell through the cracks as I originally attempted to write it and I felt the timing wasn’t right. Today I understand how I ended up with that conclusion, how I paused at that crossroad, and how much of my story was still in the beginning, the development, and the “becoming” phases. And then 8/3/2021 happened….

Here is a little snapshot of what I hope to be a part of my book at some point. Feedback is graciously received and appreciated. 🙏🏼💙

8/3/2021

Something profound happened that morning. Something, that is hard to explain, and all I can say to summarize it, is that it was nothing short of amazing. It happened early morning when a vision, a channeled message, a glimpse into what’s next came through and found me. Where did it come from? Was it from my higher self, an awakened and conscious self? Was it my guardian Angel nudging me? Was it my guides or was it spirit sending me a message? Perhaps it was a sign from the universe or divine timing, telling me that the time had finally come. In all honesty, I felt that I was ready and I had searched for such a sign over the past weeks, perhaps even months. Maybe I even manifested it into existence. I say this because in addition I was wondering if it had something to do with what I was reading.

From childhood on, I have always been an avid reader and loved books. I love to hold them and feel them in my hands vs reading the E-book versions. I felt that over the years books were decreasing in value with fewer book stores around. I remember books advertised in catalogs while I was growing up and now it seemed like the carefully bound paper copies were a dying breed making way to their digitally stored cousins.

I didn’t see myself as that old fashioned that I was unable to appreciate the convenience of technology and storing my library in a cloud. From there I could recall the content at any time and from any place without carrying the weight. That in itself was pretty amazing and space saving, especially when living in a small place. And yet my books were my treasures and something I didn’t compromise on. To truly feel and connect with them, they had to come in the form of a hard copy or at least as a paperback.

There was always something magical feeling the pages, the smooth texture, while eyeing the bold and at times whimsical fond bringing the words and the story to it’s readers. There was a warmth that connected, compared to the cold computer/screen versions. Somehow, I always felt closer to the story, to the author, and it was as if I could feel their emotions and their heart pouring into their labor of love and passion. I never understood or knew why I felt this on so many levels, at least not until later in life when I learned of what it’s like to be an empath. It just simply was.

By now I had parted with many of my books and if I still had each and every one, from childhood on, they would tell the story of my life and how “it,”

or how “I” progressed over the years. How interests changed and how likes were outgrown, how fiction and drama became a reality show within my own life. Where unfulfilled love became a part of my every day routine, and where loss was casting it’s dark shadows of pain at an very early stage in my life.

Now, most of the novels were gone, the fiction and the romance, including the suspense and the thrillers. Long before then, the children books disappeared and I often hoped to find them somewhere, stuffed into a dusty box, deep inside the attic of my parents house. This was the only time someone else discarded my books, and Mom must have thought that it was time and that I had outgrown them. She never knew about my connection to my books. Maybe she’d thought I read it and it was time to move on. For me on the other hand, they marked more than just finishing the last chapter, those stories impacted my life and were a glimpse outside the sheltered life I was leading.

I wonder if we truly ever outgrow our books as they mark a pivotal time in our life. Pieces from a favorite story will always stay with us and sometimes I wished Mom could have asked me instead of making that decision on her own and discarding those all important little treasures. That I could have had a choice of whether I was ready to part with them or not. For the first time it felt like those things weren’t really mine but rather like some loaned property, here in my life for a limited time. If only one thing, it made me take good care of “my things” as I would never know when the decision would come along that I no longer needed those things.

I don’t remember much of those books, what they were and what I was reading, besides the ones, thick, with endless stories of magic and make belief, the ones that held all of the fairytales from princesses who kissed frogs to turn them into their Prince Charming, to Snow White – the seven dwarfs and other mystical fables. I remember those, despite that much of my childhood is nothing but a big blur.

What’s left of my books today are mainly self help books on the subjects of energy healing, holistic and plant medicine, Ayurveda, Reiki, Shamanism, Ancestral healing, how to re-wild our soul, or true stories about personal achievements that are mostly hiking related. The types of stories where we push ourselves and strip ourselves of modern day conveniences, only to connect deeper with ourselves, finding out who we are and what we are made of.

For the first time in my five decades of life on this planet I was reading two books at the same time. Until now, this was a first, something I had never done before. While I was reading the first book called Soulcraft from Bill Plotkin, the niece of my girlfriend

In Wales, Chloe Elgar released a psychic memoir titled “Revealed by darkness.” I was immediately drawn to the title and hooked. I ordered it and started to read the foreword and first chapter right away. As I continued further, I was in awe of how in so many ways our story parallels. Maybe with different experiences in the way we grew up but in the way of surviving and becoming. Perhaps what entered my mind in such a powerful way and completely out of blue that particular morning had found ground and a foundation between her lines to emerge and find me. Perhaps the time had come to tell my own story. A story I started to write a few years back. A story that is revisiting me again and urging me to come to life vs. living in the dark corners of my confines. As I dust off the cobwebs of dormancy, a slightly different title and subject reveals itself. One still in line with my original story but even more powerful than the first. I take it as a sign of divine timing with an even greater mission…

Posted in Anxiety, Chronic illness, Health

Narcissist – Sociopath Awareness

On the health front this week, and perhaps even something you relate with. It’s really something to think about and I don’t think the connection is coincidental. What we expose ourselves to, and what we eat for nourishment, everything plays a vital role on our delicate bodies and our mental well being.

Narcissist abuse and trauma survivors are often diagnosed with chronic pain and autoimmune disorders because long-term exposure to cortisol and adrenaline (fight or flight chemicals) cause inflammation in our bodies. Inflammation causes pain, or worse, it causes our immune system to attack itself because it thinks the inflammation is caused by a disease it needs to eradicate.

Bobbi Parish, MA

Posted in Chronic illness, Pain

No consistency with the pain body

Another post about the pain body and the RA. Glimpses of light give me hope and a feeling that I’m on the mend. That I am my own healer, knowing what’s best for me. And then there are storms, restless but pain stricken days and nights, that take all that hope and turn it into despair. There is no consistency right now and each day is truly different. Where is this going? Is this another moment you would just tell me to breathe. I’m trying my friends, I’m trying.

Sometimes I wonder if I truly did make it like that tarot card insisted! Or was it just simply too much and I pushed too hard! While I had no other choice, I wonder if my body can forgive me and heal once more.

It’s been peaceful living in the RV. It comes with challenges for a full time living which should be minor to healthy person that can go about their day in a normal manner. Yes, I don’t like medicines and the often harsh chemicals with thousands of side effects, but perhaps this is a time for taking them again, temporarily, as this is no quality of life at all.

There have also been glimpses of bliss, laying in the hammock, staring at the swaying trees and the sky. Life is finding a new rhythm. If it only wasn’t so hot right now. Cinnamon seems happy to be with her human, to chase lizards and receive lots of cuddles and love. There is good in life with some consistencies, even though the pain body is not one of them right now.

Posted in Challenges, Chronic illness, My story

Tangled up mess

I am planning to make weekly trips into town, for groceries, perhaps laundry, check the PO Box, the storage shed, and anything else that needs to be tended to. Such a trip is coming up for me on Wednesday, one week after our initial move.

We signed the final papers for the house the Tuesday before. Wednesday we vacated the house, and a final walk through with the buyers was scheduled later that day. Not that we had to be present during that time, but we were aware of it of course. Thursday morning we signed off that the house was accepted and all contingencies have been met. Our checks (separate checks from the house sale) would be ready by 2PM and I had to come back to sign, accept and deposit the check. Well it happened to be that there was no two separate checks, and the check was issued to both of us. Surprise, surprise, despite filling out a form about the proceeds division. Needless to say the entire check was deposited into my husbands account after we both signed it. With a two day hold nothing would be done until after the weekend. So here we were trying to figure out how to get me my money and bypassing the daily max of $2500 that can be transferred. A cashiers check it would have to be and I hope to deposit it next week during my regular trip.

In the meantime, the husband had found a house already and made an offer on it. I truly hope it works out for him and the offer is accepted. It sounded like a nice place for him with the potential of Cinnamon staying over, especially when I have to go to Germany. That would be a big load off of my back knowing she is taken care of and with someone she knows. As far as for him, I’m truly happy and hope this place can give purpose and a new outlook in life. Either way my fingers are crossed and I hope for the best.

Posted in Challenges, Chronic illness, Health

Metatarsalgia

January, a tough start to 2021 for me, with several health challenges. Surely had I identified some of my short comings just recently, but despite of it things only took a turn for the worse. Chronic pain became a constant, a daily companion and quickly it naw’ed away at me, leaving me feeling whiny and complaining for the majority of my days. Nights felt long with interrupted and little sleep and just turning from one side to the other caused pain. In prior times pain may have been noticeable in the hands and wrists, other times in the knees, the feet, the upper back, neck and shoulders which seem to be attacked quite frequently. Now it appeared that all areas where attacked all at once, and a few new ones made themselves known. One of them was the balls/bottom of my feet. Luckily only the right one and not both at the same time.

I had felt discomfort here and there but brushed it off to perhaps hiking too far or the weather. Surely my feet would recover after a nice hot shower and for the most part they did until the pain increased. It was always in the same spot and wouldn’t go away anymore. It was difficult to take steps and soon I adjusted my gait, walking with somewhat of a limp as to not put too much pressure onto the foot. And then I got tired of it all together and started to research what was goin go on. What I found is a condition that is called Metatarsalgia.

It’s a painful condition that affects the ball of the foot. The metatarsals are bones that connect the toes to the ankles. In the foot, there are small toe nerves between the metatarsal bones. When the head of the metatarsal bones presses against another, the small nerve is caught between them and starts to become inflamed. Putting weight on the foot can worsen symptoms, because with each step these bones rub together, increasing the inflammation of the nerve.

While there are several causes for this to happen, mine comes courtesy of my rheumatoid arthritis. Needless to say I’ve had to reduce my steps per week, ice my foot to reduce the swelling and do the best I can. Inactivity swells my feet which seems like a vicious circle and I hope nothing worse comes as a result from this.

At the moment the right foot is shot. There is an unbearable amount of tension and tightness in my shoulders, neck and upper back that bring with a headache out of this world. The hands are swollen and the fingers, especially the index fingers don’t bend that well right now. I’m a bit of a broken mess right now and I am restarting my kundalini yoga routine. Why did that fall to the wayside I ask myself. Strange how we forget these things when we feel well and how easily they fall to the wayside. Shouldn’t we instead recognize the great benefits we get from these modalities and maintain them, making them the utmost priority because they make us feel so good. What strange creatures we are at times, so here we go again and I hope to get the relief o find before.

January you are definitely kicking my butt this month, but you have to be this tough to put it into perspective for me. So with it I embrace the pain and learn the lesson for a smoother February ahead.

Posted in Chronic illness, Life

On the healthy side

2020 was a year that brought little health challenges. For sure there were a few things, here and there, especially when dealing with a chronic illness, but overall I have to say that it was manageable. A key word that makes all the difference for us suffering from chronic pain. Manageable, still a major annoyance and pain in the rear, but deal able.

Somewhere near the beginning of 2020 I got a little break. Big enough to jump on the bandwagon and run with the crazy idea that I could change my stars and improve my health. It’s amazing what a little believe, hope and motivation can do. It literally feels like it gives you wings and wings I had. I was soaring high.

I focused on water intake, more veggies in the form of juicing, which in turn helped me shed a few pounds, reduced the daily pain which then helped me become more mobile and active. Everything played an important part, equally contributing to the snowball effect. I pushed myself harder than ever on the physical aspect, and at times it even felt as if the clock was turning backwards. All of a sudden I achieved things I didn’t in younger years. What a high. How wonderful life could be if it wasn’t overshadowed by physical pain. There was still the emotional aspect of pain I seldom talk about. A life less fulfilled that I was trying to keep in check, but for the moment it was working and living with reduced pain fueled the quality of life. So much as though you’d think it to be enough motivation to keep going. I had such great results, how could something ever throw me off track again? Well it did and it’s called life. Life itself throws us off track and I didn’t even notice. Not until I took that honest look and of course the pain reminded me of an old familiar feeling.

More and more it returned. Not bad, but enough, swollen limbs and all, a constant dull pain with the occasional sharp stab. Things took more effort again and became a challenge, you’d never know what was going to hurt the next morning. Eventually even the dull pain, the manageable, the nudges and reminders that not everything is well, got to me and I tell you, it does some tricks on your mind. You almost become an instigator, acting out of character, starting up something so you can justify the lousy way you feel. Kind of like “I’ll give you something to cry about.” It’s awful, until the tears break and you get relief from one thing but now are left with the emotions aspect of feeling low and like a person with major issues.

I was feeling more vulnerable, emotional, perhaps subconsciously worried of going back to a point of feeling debilitated, fighting pain every day. I had been there so many times and it’s a scary, scary place. It still wasn’t “that” bad, but a warning sign that reminded me of how fast things can turn for the worst. It was time to reassess. What in the world happened? Why did I needed the reminder that this is out of my control, that the pain free days are a gift? I think I knew why and it was because I had taken things for granted. Feeling better and not feeding my body the nutrients required to keep going. I wasn’t honoring my temple, at least not in the way I needed to.

Despite of what initially was perceived as a setback, as a pain signal, turned around once I searched for the lesson, the positive, the silver lining, the cause, and what was in my immediate control. And it was eye opening.

One of the biggest things I noticed was that my water consumption had halted dramatically. I wasn’t even drinking 32 oz a day. In other words I wasn’t flushing out toxins. I wasn’t hydrating my body, my joints weren’t oiled and instead rubbing on each other. Time to fix that, it should be easy enough, now that I was consciously aware of it. And it was another one of these “what the heck happened” moments.

Another was that I took feeling better for granted. I was eating more of the stuff I love such as pasta and pizza, yeah even the occasional soda that is ultimately also the stuff that causes inflammation. Still drinking my veggie juice, it simply wasn’t enough to balance the things causing me harm. Inadvertently it became a bandaid for eating the bad stuff, and that’s missing the point all together isn’t it? Health halted and instead of making more progress, I slowly regressed.

More joint pain became the norm which in turn triggered and caused more inactivity. Surely it was the winter months when things are always a little worse, but could I – or truly wanted to use this as a crutch, as an excuse? It didn’t seemed right and I knew I wasn’t true to myself if I believed this to be the reason.

I used to sleep with my Copper gloves at night. They cradled my hands in perfect comfort, easing the stiffness in the morning, cutting down the time I could actually function somewhat normal and complete simple tasks such as dressing. It’s been months since I wore the gloves at night and despite swelling and increased stiffness, I have to admit that I was still functioning much better compared to recent experiences in the past.

https://rhapsodyboho.wordpress.com/2019/08/04/copper-health/

So overall, despite regressive changes and more pain, I believed that I was still in the green and could reintroduce a couple of things that had fallen off track. Today, I’d start with measuring my water intake to oil the joints for better movement. Once again I am dedicated and motivated to build a better future for myself. While I realize that there are things not always in my control, my focus lies on those things that are. So here we go….drink up and flush away those toxins.

If you suffer from chronic pain, I send you blessings and a reminder that it’s often the simplest of things that can make a difference for us. I hope you found something here you might even be able to add to your own routine. 💙🙏🏼

Posted in Chronic illness, Health, Self care

The Vagus Nerve

Picture from google

Just a few days ago I learned about the vagus nerve and I wonder if someone else has ever heard of it! It is the longest nerve of the autoimmune nervous system that regulates blood pressure, sweating, digestion, speaking, and heart rate. It relays anti-inflammatory signals to and from the gut, heart, lungs, liver, and spleen while promoting healthy digestion and vital living. But only when it is functioning optimally.

The article even suggested hacking the nervous system for healing. Now how would someone do this? Here are a few things we can do at home for vagus nerve stimulation.

  1. Breathing exercises like Buteyko
  2. Meditation
  3. Exercise. Movement is good; too much is not
  4. Yoga
  5. Omega 3 rich diet
  6. Probiotics and a probiotic-rich diet
  7. Singing and chanting
  8. Splashing your face with cold water
  9. Hugging
  10. Massages
  11. Intermittent fasting

If you feel like your vagus nerve is not performing at optimal level, here are a few more things to research and consider.

  1. Heal your gut. I have long believed that autoimmune issues develop in the gut, from conditions such as leaky gut.
  2. Balance your minerals. Is your body too acidic?
  3. LAUGH! Laughing is so helpful for the stimulation of the vagus nerve
  4. Gargle daily
  5. Work on neck and shoulder tension

I hope I have given you a glimpse into alternative treatments and considerations. All you have to do is pick one and commit to it. Once you have made it a habit you can layer on another, and so on. What you have to lose? Potentially feeling better and your health it’s what at stakes here. So let’s make a conscious choice, and pick one.

There are few on the list that apply to me and which could benefit from improvement. I am tackling a big one as I frequently deal with neck and shoulder tension. I have honest heart to hearts scheduled with myself to address the issues that cause these tensions. Hot showers and range of motion exercises will also be helpful alleviating some of the triggers.

Good luck everyone….