Living With Chronic Pain

Hi, I'm Kathy,

Thanks for stopping by.

This blog is here to teach you a few things you may not know, to share what pain is and isn't. To inspire you, and to encourage you to tap into your potential to change your experience.

What is happiness?

Aristotle said that happiness was the only thing that man wanted for which he could give no reason. A simple definition of happiness is feeling good - enjoying life, and feeling it is satisfying. Mark Manson, the author, contends that the opposite of happiness is hopelessness, an endless gray horizon of resignation and indifference.

 
Image : © Mardis Coers/Flickr/Getty Images

Image : © Mardis Coers/Flickr/Getty Images

 

Following my stroke my body awareness was wholly disrupted; my brain could not merely "follow the map" and make the right connections. I had left-sided hemiplegia, and aside from my fingers not working I had also lost my sense of touch. A seemingly endless gray horizon was now my lens. So began the rest of my life.

Truth be told, before I had my stroke I paid little attention to this fantastic piece of machinery that we all have inside our head. Then the unimaginable bleed in my brain happened, and the future now held something for which I was unprepared.

I learned resilience in the immediate aftermath of my stroke and subsequent diagnosis of Central Pain. I had no choice. Lying paralyzed in my hospital bed, I vowed that within 12 months I would be 100% recovered. I wasn't.

Recovery from stroke (depending on the part of the brain that's damaged) takes a long time and involves a lot of hard work. Processing that the pain was here to stay was the hardest part of all.

What doesn't kill me makes me stronger ~ Nietzsche

Are you kidding me, Nietzsche? I am resilient, stoic even, but stronger? I don't think so! We can learn and continue to change throughout our lifespan. But I miss the old me, stroke and pain have changed me. It is so hard to stay motivated when you are fighting this disease.

I find it hard to ask for help. I've always been the strong one, the "do-er," the practical one, a "type A" no holds barred kind of gal.

It has been quite a process coming to terms with the fact that I am now disabled. Although society is more accepting than say 20 years ago, there is still stigma and shame attached to disability. I have been forced to admit to being vulnerable, which in turn feels guilty. I hate asking for help, but I've had to learn to lean on others for support and understand my limitations. This was so hard. I feel particularly grateful to my family who has always been there for me. They are my happiness.

We don't control what happens to us; we can only control how we respond.

 
Image Credit: © Kelsey Rein

Image Credit: ©Kelsey Rein

 

Accepting that you have chronic pain is a hard step to take. You want to believe it’s a temporary condition, that there’s a cure. I'm not quite sure how I started to make sense of my pain and travel towards acceptance. I guess it was a slow unfurling from all the pain science that I researched. And yes, the more I learn, the less I know, and the more I want to continue learning. It doesn't mean I've given up hope. I'm just not waiting for the pain to go away; this is my life now, and I want to make the best of it.

Questions or comments? Join the CPS patient conversation at our closed Facebook group or email us at info@cps.foundation