The Chronic Pain Cycle

I, unfortunately, don’t have a solid diagnosis, just joint pain and unknown immune stuff going on. Hoping maybe 2019 will give me more answers. This is still very useful and powerful. I started this year with more hope than I’ve felt in a long, long time.

Spoonful of Stripes

Chronic pain is an intensely difficult for people to understand if they’ve never been through it first hand. And sometimes, even when you’re the one living with it every day, it’s still hard to understand.

The last few months, I’ve had pain that has just gotten worse and worse with very little relief. When you’re in excruciating pain every day, your brain chemistry changes and your personality changes. There are good days and there are bad days. Some days, I can go to the gym and lift heavy weights and ride my bike. Other days, I can barely get out of bed because the pain is so bad.

But with chronic pain comes a never-ending cycle of coping. This cycle is pretty similar to the stages of grief, but it’s not something you just go through once, it’s a continuous method of coping.

After diagnosis, there’s the initial grief…as anyone…

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The Rest of My Life

50th Birthday Reflections

My 50th Birthday was in September.  I had a really good day with my partner.  I had intended to have a large celebration with as many friends as possible.  However, my depression had other ideas.  I cancelled the party and my partner took me out to an excellent dinner instead.  As I said, it was a really good day.   We went shopping and tried on clothes and giggled in the dressing room together.  Then got all dressed up and went to a fantastic place for dinner.  

Smiling brown skinned woman posing in a blue floral dress. Left hand resting on the back of a chair.
Birthday dress up!

The setting was beautiful.  The view of the city was spectacular and the food was delicious!

collage of pictures of food, view of city lights and interior of a building

A Different Pointe of View is highly recommended for special occasions. The service is fantastic!

Reflecting Back and Looking Forward

Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my life up to this point and about what is to come.  Where I am and where I want to be.  I’ve been doing a lot more crafting and working hard on my business
 http://dragonwolfcrafts.com   

I’ve been going to a lot of medical appointments, trying a new antidepressant and being more active.   And lots of planning my next steps to make my life something more. 

Somewhere along the way, I got stuck and forgot myself.   I let my depression eat away at my soul.  It’s such an insidious disease.  And this time of year is usually bad for me with the shorter days and gloomy weather (yes, even here in the desert).  

However, I did some things in spite of myself.  I got out of my way let me be me.  I attended a protest and a vigil.  I hosted Thanksgiving for friends. I went out and sang karaoke.  I’ve gone hiking on mountain trails and walking around malls.  I’ve asserted my boundaries.  I am looking at the future and setting goals.

I am still wrestling with my depression and really looking forward to the Winter Solstice and the return of the sun.  My anxiety is very high right now with my anticipation of a new year, new plans and expanding my business plus waiting to find out more about what exactly is wrong with me (I had a nerve conduction study, hoping to not need surgery to fix whatever is going on with my hands).  

I take joy, though, in creating things.  More than before.  It makes me happy to see how far I’ve come as a crafter.  I plan to keep creating and improving and hope that others will be delight in my creations as well.  

Recent creations.

Anyway, in a lot of ways I feel like my real life has just begun here at the age of 50.  I’m actually looking forward to the next half of my life.  Both of my parents died before they were 60.  I plan to follow in my great-grandma’s footsteps and see 100.

A Day

It’s a down day for me. I’m weepy and unable to muster myself enough to make necessary phone calls. I plan to blanket fort and try to recoup for tomorrow.

Lots of not good news going around. I lost a long-time acquaintance in a freak accident. He was a truly good person. Then, well, you know. Plus I have a giant black hole in my bank account. ~sigh~ http://paypal.me/CherylMartin

It is Mental Health Awareness Week, however, and I want you to know that you are valued and loved. http://nami.org

Down

I’ve been spiraling for a while. After the vacation and then illness, I am back to regular therapy sessions. I’m also trying another antidepressant. It’s only been since Friday so, nothing yet.

My follow ups with various doctors have been wait and see, come back in X weeks.

I did go get my dental stuff done: deep cleaning and cavity filled. My jaw is still achy from having it open for so long.

My 50th birthday is Saturday. I’ve been very excited to reach this milestone. Except now, I don’t want a party. Just a quiet moment to mark my passage into the next stage of my life.

My anxiety is spiking. I’m on edge all the time. Getting to sleep is difficult and when I do sleep, I am plagued with anxiety dreams. One that stands out vividly is the one where the person who raped me when I was nine years old, has kidnapped me and taken me someplace in the mountains. Because I have long experience with nightmares and night terrors, I practice lucid dreaming so I was able to escape and find my partner. Then I woke up. Trembling, heart pounding and shaken. I did manage to go back to sleep into a different but still weirdly disturbing dream.

I’m hoping this antidepressant will also help with the anxiety. I’m so limited in what I can take because of the kidney disease.

Anyway. If you want to help me celebrate 50 years of survival, donate to your local no-kill animal shelter or NAMI or me. You could also check out my Amazon wish list

Yesterday was National Suicide Prevention Day. So, I’ll end with ;

Labor Day Weekend: Musings on

I spent Labor Day Weekend working. I was a vendor at a local first time sf/f convention called CoKoCon. We did very well. Made more money than our first two outings combined. However, the hours were long and the dealer’s room was *freezing*. By Monday, I’d accumulated a sweater, a hoodie, a knitted infinity scarf, dragon scale arm warmers and heavy socks. I was still cold by the time we packed out and headed home. And this is Phoenix AZ in the summer! It was over 100F outside and I was shivering and my bones ached from the cold.

The last time we were at this location, the dealers room was in a different ballroom and it was slightly too warm. Hopefully, they’ll get it right next time.

Seeing the numbers and chatting with people makes me think this will work. I hope it’s enough to sustain through the dry periods. My Etsy shop gets lots of views but few sales. I’m hoping to up my marketing game.

I’m looking for the next place to set out my wares. It’s hard breaking in. Trying to network and gain contacts.

I am achy and still haven’t fully recovered from my post Worldcon crud. But working my table did help lift me from my depression pit. I know post con drop will happen but hopefully, it will still mean I’m no longer at the bottom of the dark well.  There’s also a drop that will happen when my wolfcub goes back home.  That one will be more profound.  But if I’m able to get us in another show later this year, that will mitigate those feelings.

Next week, I get dental work.  I also need to reschedule with the ortho.

My 50th birthday is coming.  I’ll have more thoughts about it soon.

 

Sometimes

There are moments when all the doctor’s appointments and all the tests and all the scans are just overwhelming. I want a D&D cleric who could heal me with a prayer. Or a potion.

My veins are rebelling from all the sticks. It takes a skilled phlebotomist to get it right with one poke. Otherwise, they have to chase my rolling veins or poke elsewhere. Right now, I have a very slight bruise from the IV I had to get for a CT scan of my neck. I don’t think I will ever get used to the feel of the contrast through my body.

I have two new specialists to go see. I’m sure they will each want some blood work done. ~sigh~

I’m getting a biopsy of a node on my thyroid next Tuesday. The day before we leave for Worldcon 76 in San Jose. I’m very excited about the convention. Looking forward to seeing old friends and maybe making new friends. Totally not looking forward to the biopsy.

I hope with each exam and blood work and scan that there will be answers. It feels like my life is just an endless stream of medical stuff.

I’m just so tired.