It’s Hard being Human.

I snapped at my husband today.  I felt justified to boot.

Why would a therapist, who KNOWS relationship dynamics, why would a therapist who counsels others on how to conduct themselves to make their life better, why would a therapist respond in such an unhealthy way?

Why would a woman with a husband and friends who love her and dog who gives her licks upon request, why would a woman who believes that we are all connected and God is in all  feel alone?

Hate to admit it, but I keep getting reminded that I’m human.

After the stress, excitement, tension of  being “up & on” all day yesterday I’ve crashed.
My body’s aching, my face, feet, legs and arms are burning, I’m exhausted and yes, I feel alone with it all.
Humbling experience.

Ironically, one of the pictures I talked about yesterday was the collage I did depicting my exhaustion and the part of me who yells to pull myself together, get up and get going, the part of me that just sits, frozen in place, and the exhausted part that just lays there listening.

I also talked about the Buddhist saying –
Pain is inevitable.
Suffering is optional.
Today I told that yelling me to shut up and leave us alone.
I choose suffering.

“Gumping” Through 2011

Forrest: “That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I’d just run across the great state of Alabama. And that’s what I did. I ran clear across Alabama.

For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going”.

At the end of every year I find myself at another ocean, re-viewing my own “run” . . .

2011 has been an eventful year — Tallulah was falsely blamed for my light-headedness, chest pain.  That went on for about 3 months.  I was visited by “mysterious visitors” that kept me up all night coughing.  That went on for about 6 months. (recurs periodically but still don’t know why).  Couldn’t run without pain for about 6 months. (Finally gave in and had a cortisone shot).

I worked 7 days a week.  Every week I figured since I already had worked 5 I might as well work two more.

Consequently I got fibro fogged and messed up my appointments – double booking or forgetting to write down the right time or writing the right time on the wrong day …

Those are the things that went wrong.  What went right?  I’m sure there was a lot – I just don’t remember where I wrote them down.

Not quite sure what I’m suppose to learn from 2011 . . . yet.  With years of hindsight I figured out that having fibromyalgia gives me greater compassion; Having  heart problems reminds me to wake up everyday with a  loving heart;  My study of Baha’i removed my fears and gave me faith and  a bit of wisdom.

I can hear my friends saying it was time to apply the compassion, love and wisdom to myself and stop running.

Hey, Forrest, pass me the box of chocolates . . .

P.S.  In case you didn’t notice, I have been lying on the beach without a computer for the last several days!


Do Your Tears Dilute Pain?

As I read Ramesh’s poem, I reflected on my own experience with tears.  Tears for me do dilute pain.  Tears also signal truth.  

My first experience of tears and truth was when I was in therapy over 30 years ago.  Whenever my therapist made a comment that was a truth I hadn’t consciously known or acknowledged I would unexpectedly, spontaneously burst into tears.   Tears that welled from the core of my being.

To this day, tears are a barometer of both my pain and my truth.   Perhaps my pain and truth are one in the same?

by Ramesh Sood

White sheet of paper
And the poet in me 
Got tempted
As the thoughts 
From the heart
Started flowing,
I scribbled
“Presence of pain 
In my heart doesn’t mean 
I am not happy……”
Suddenly, a lump in throat 
And a tear from the eye
Rolled out and fell 
On the paper
The word ‘Pain ’ got
Scattered and diluted 
. . .      . . .
And hey, haven’t I

Found a truth here:
Tears indeed dilute pain…

http://rameshsood.blogspot.com/2011/12/i-p-enjoy-writing.html

Thank you Ramesh for a beautiful and thought-provoking poem,


Scientists Find a Gene that Regulates Chronic Pain & A Link that T-Cells Play Key Role in MS.

When I was 8 years old I had no clue that one of the most significant findings of our times was made when James D. Watson and Francis Crick described the first correct double-helix model of DNA structure.  In my mid 30’s the sequence of a gene was unraveled.

Since then the understanding of the human body has developed at an astounding rate.  Here are excerpts from two articles in Reuters that I just read.  Hopefully these findings will benefit all of you who have touched my life while I’m still alive.  Here’s hoping!

Gene that Regulates Chronic Pain

 by Kate Kelland, Edited by Sitaraman Shankar

“What is exciting about the work on the HCN2 gene is that removing it — or blocking it pharmacologically — eliminates neuropathic pain without affecting normal acute pain,” McNaughton said in a statement about this work. “This finding could be very valuable clinically because normal pain sensation is essential for avoiding accidental damage.”

“Neuropathic pain, which is distinguished from inflammatory pain, is seen in patients with diabetes — a condition which affects an estimated 280 million people around the world — and as a painful after-effect of shingles and of chemotherapy in cancer patients. It is also a common factor in lower back pain and other chronic painful conditions.”

Read more from Reuters

Lymphocyte

A Link that T-Cells Play Key Role in MS.

By Kate Kelland

LONDON | Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:55pm EDT

(Reuters) -” Scientists have found 29 new genetic variants linked to multiple sclerosis (MS) and say the findings should help drugmakers focus treatment research on precise areas of the immune system.

In a study published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, researchers said the newly found links point to the idea that T-cells — a type of white blood cell responsible for mounting an immune response — and chemicals called interleukin play a key role in the development of the debilitating disease.”

Read more from Reuters

Face-off: Which gets the most hits -Epiglottitis OR Butterfly Fish?

Butterfly fish started it all.  I don’t even remember how I got on the subject but since then of EVERYTHING I’ve ever written about DAILY the most searches that land people on this blog are butterfly fish or just plain fish.

My good cyber-friend Laurie Fessler wrote the following post and guess what!  The most word searches she gets are “epiglottitis!

I proposed a face-off between butterfly fish and epiglottitis.  She posted a piece on butterfly fish http://hibernationnow.wordpress.com/2011/10/09/butterfly-fish/ and I’m reposting her original article.

The two subjects are like Mutt & Jeff, Oil & Water, serious & frivolous, pain & pleasure.

We’ll keep you posted!

Calling Epiglottitis A Bitch Is A Vast Understatement

Picture from Wikipedia

http://hibernationnow.wordpress.com
By hibernationnow

I have had epiglottitis twice; it is an ulcerated part of your epiglottis, below your throat, hidden in thieves. It is the worst pain I have ever had and I’ve had it two years in a row. Nobody knows what causes it, they think it’s a viral infection. As much as I have BEGGED for answers on how to prevent from getting it again, there are no answers. The doctors shake their heads kindly but have no information.

The first time I had it the ENT ( Ear, Nose,Throat Specialist) scoped me through my nose and saw it he literally said “How the hell did you get that?” Those were not comforting words to hear. I don’t know how I got it and I don’t know how I got it again. I just knew that this was the worst pain I have ever had. Childbirth was a breeze compared to this long, incredibly painful illness.

Has anyone out there ever have this monster of an illness? I’d be interested in knowing. The most my doctor could do was promise me to give me pain medication. If I could, I would prefer being asleep for the ten days that I have it. It makes sore throats seem like a cute tickle in your mouth. It feels like a hot, serrated knife butchering you every time you have to swallow.

Don’t come again, you mean and evil illness. I’ve had enough.

Doctors Call For Pullback On Narcotics For Chronic Pain

I am prepared to take some flak for what I’m going to say.  It’s simply my truth.
I’ve avoided taking pain medication because I was intimately privy to the experiences of my clients who have been on pain medication. I’ve never met anyone with a painful chronic condition, with the exception of terminal cancer patients, where I believe pain meds made their life better.  Initially their pain was more tolerable but their life was not better.  In the worst cases, it was a downhill spiral, needing more and more medication, higher and higher doses which led to less and less functioning.
 
I’m not against pain medication or meds in general. I do think narcotics are appropriate for intractable pain.  Thank goodness my own Mother and Father were on morphine at the end of their life (my Mother for years with spinal nerve pain).
 
 The people I see whose internists have put them on pain meds without exploring alternatives and watching them get worse and worse as they up their dosage are the ones I am speaking about.
 
Medications are a gift to be used when appropriate.  Ultimately  it is only the person who suffers who can make that decision.  The difficulty is that when pain levels are so high there’s desperation for any relief.  Initially narcotics provide that.  I’m not convinced it’s needed for many who have been on them with little or no relief.

Doctors Call For Pullback On Narcotics For Chronic Pain
by SCOTT HENSLEY

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/09/16/140540259/doctors-call-for-pullback-on-narcotics-for-chronic-pain

“Painkillers like these being counted at the Oklahoma Hospital Discount Pharmacy in Edmond, Okla., need to be used far less often, some prominent doctors say.
In a bracing call to action, three doctors from California are telling their peers to think twice before prescribing potent narcotics for patients with chronic pain.

Drugs such as Vicodin, Percocet and Oxycontin have become among the most prescribed in the country. Between 15 and 20 percent of patient visits with physicians the U.S. include a prescription for an opioid, the modern painkilling medicines whose roots can be traced back to the opium poppy.

But their editorial, published this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine, says there’s a troubling shortfall in the evidence to support the use of such drugs for long-term treatment of pain. And, there’s ample evidence of harm.

“Unfortunately, the use of prescription opioids currently results in more deaths in the United States due to intoxication than heroin and cocaine combined,” says Dr. Mitchell H. Katz, a co-author of editorial, in a podcast. “That’s shocking.”

Doctors’ prescriptions for the medicines that are supposed to decrease pain and improve patients’ ability to function, he says, are “killing more people than two drugs that we think of as lethal, so much so that they’re illegal.” The death toll from the legal pain pills is about 12,000 a year, he says. “It’s a public health problem.”

So what’s their prescription? Until there’s more scientific evidence, doctors “should not continue to prescribe high-dose opioids” for chronic non-cancer pain. Narcotic drugs for short-term relief of pain are fine, but Katz says there’s insufficient evidence to support their use over the long haul.

Instead, doctors should talk with patients about the limits of pain relief and give alternatives to opioid drugs such as physical therapy or yoga, their due. To some patients, doctors may need to give a sobering message, Katz says in the podcast: “This is not something I’m going to be able to completely take away.”

The bottom line of the editorial, part of a series in the journal called “Less Is More,” a rethink on these narcotics that is overdue.

What do the pain specialists think? I asked for a comment on the editorial, and got a statement from Dr. Robert Chou, who heads the group at the American Pain Society working on guidelines for clinical practice.

“While it’s important for clinicians to be more thoughtful about who they prescribe long-term opioids to and to stop opioids when they aren’t helping or there is evidence that it is causing problems, the American Pain Society believes opioids have a role in the management of chronic non-cancer pain in carefully selected and monitored patients.

There is evidence from long-term observational studies and evidence coming from some long-term clinical trials that opioids are effective for improving pain in some patients.

For example, we do not believe that a trial of low doses of opioids should be denied to a low-risk woman in her 70’s who has severe hip arthritis, who may be able to garden and walk with decreased pain on it.

While the data on overdose deaths and abuse of opioids should concern all members of society, it does not justify an  extreme blanket position of no opioids for chronic non-cancer pain.””

Lost in pain or drugged?

Questioning where my life went

Don’t know which is worst

Pain is Not a Coincidence

Fear in the Face of Pain, Acrylic on Canvas Board by judy

“On a serious note – YES, I can be serious, seriously!
I believe that life isn’t random and there are no coincidences. Everything that happens is to help us learn to let go of what is not needed and hold onto what is. The trick is learning the lessons before we are towed under. It’s hard when the lessons involve pain. But then again I believe the most important lessons always involve pain of some kind. It’s still hard”

I wrote that in response to a blog post on another blog.  The reply I got back was,  Weird how I believe there are no coincidences with good stuff and interesting stuff. I never thought of it for this [pain, catastrophe, etc] but I do now.”

I was surprised. I had never considered that there might be people I work with in my practice who believe pain, physical or mental, was a coincidence, a random happening when they collided with fate.

I know that all the most important learning experiences I’ve had come from pain or fear.  Even the most basic of things.

I lose weight because I fear what others will think of me in a bathing suit.  I eat healthy because I have gastric pain.  I rethink my life when in the throes of betrayal.  I could go on and on and on and on – which is my tendency, as my good friends know.

Here’s an exercise I’ve taught: Reflect – How many significant changes, how many important life altering lessons did you learn when you were happy, pleased, content, complacent, oblivious . . .?

Draw a line through your life and find the common thread of what you’ve lost, what you’ve had to let go of, what you feared losing,  losing a dream of what should be, could have been.  Almost always there is something difficult, painful, trying that recurs in different forms, different times, different ways throughout our lives.  Most often it is about loss, letting go.

If you follow the thread and how it weaves into your life you will probably find the lesson(s) you are here to learn.

My big lesson I have had to learn over and over in different times and ways is that I am not my pain, I am not what I do or what I have.  And I am here – as I believe we are all here – to serve with love and help each other grow with wisdom.

 My pain is still here. I’m still learning.