What Surprises the Dalai Lama?

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Oh Endometriosis, how do I hate thee?  There are countless ways.  Far too many to list.

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At the moment, I hate that I am still awake (painsomnia) after midnight on a Sunday night / Monday morning, when I have to be up in only a few short hours to start getting ready for another busy work week.
I worked 50 hours last week, and close to the same the week before, and my body is paying the price. I guess I can’t blame you for that, as I already know my limitations.

My hubby and I are going through some intense stress right now due to situations involving lawyers, the broken disability system, and doctors, which probably isn’t helping my pain levels.
I do thank you for staying away (for the most part) during the past few weeks, when I needed the ability to work and focus, especially since my evil ATN decided to morph into what feels like a migraine, in addition to the typical 24/7 pain that it has so generously provided for the past few years.

You also waited until after my Dad’s birthday dinner yesterday, so I was granted the opportunity to enjoy spending a little quality time with my parents.40c8c0662f5904301ba15b170abadcad

You probably know that I needed to work from home this weekend and I would have appreciated you allowing me the opportunity to do that, but I guess I can’t expect you to stay away forever since we are apparently bound for all eternity.

If I could ask of you one favor, it would be for you to ease up enough for me to get at least a little sleep tonight and make it to work tomorrow.

I made a decision the week before last.  In the midst of an Endometriosis flare-up, I decided that I was going to push through and force myself to go to work and complete my normal daily activities, NO MATTER WHAT.  Well, as long as it was physically possible anyway.  I have had many flare-ups that render me completely, 100% incapacitated and during those I would not have been able to simply “will my way through it.”  This one however, I could and so I did.

Did I succeed?  Yes.

Did I feel good about myself?  Yes.

Was it a good idea?  In hindsight, no.

Do I regret it?  Yes and no.

Will I do it again?  I’m not sure yet. Continue reading

Guilt & Small Victories

I have felt it on the horizon for days now and, without invitation, it’s here.  The excruciating Endometriosis flare-up that is becoming more and more frequent and is the one thing that I can count on to stop me in my tracks and bring my life to a stand-still for a 3 to 5 day stretch every 4 to 6 weeks.

Don’t get me wrong, the Endo monster is very much present on a daily basis, in one way or another.  However, flare-ups like this are a very different level of agony.

I am celebrating a small victory in the timing of this one, because it just so happened to start yesterday, which was Friday, at about 3:00 pm so it didn’t cause me to miss any work (yet).

At this point, I have made it 5 consecutive weeks without calling in sick.  That may not seem like much to a normal, healthy person but to those who work each day with severe chronic pain, debilitating fatigue, and a plethora of other unpleasant symptoms, making it through 5 weeks of work actually IS an accomplishment. 

Continue reading

Pain In The Neck

I had planned on posting about another topic this week; something useful that I have discovered to help make the work day a little easier, but something happened that has left me basically incapacitated today so I have been in too much pain to spend much time at the keyboard or concentrate long enough to finish the post. This one will probably be short and sweet.  Hopefully I can finish my originally scheduled post sometime later in the week.

When I was getting ready for bed last night I was caught completely off guard by this terrible neck pain that radiated into my shoulder, back, and all the way down my left arm. It was a sharp piercing pain unlike anything I’ve experienced before.  It is similar to the pain that you get with a “crick” in your neck, when you can’t move it a certain direction.  I actually have that too and can’t turn my neck to the left.  I have experienced that part many times before, but the radiating pain into other areas is something completely new to me.  When I woke up today, not only was it still there but it is now affecting my right arm too but the radiating pain in my right arm doesn’t go down as far as it does on the left side.  Continue reading

Working with an Invisible Illness & Chronic Pain

If someone asked me what my greatest challenge was, with regard to living with an invisible illness and chronic pain, I wouldn’t even have to think twice before I answered “working.”  The reasons are likely obvious to anyone who has a chronic illness and/or lives with chronic pain and those reasons are MANY.

We never know how we are going to feel from one minute to the next, let alone one day to the next.  For me, something ALWAYS hurts.  Not just a little annoying pain, but severe, debilitating pain.  Luckily my brain seems to process primarily one pathway of pain signals at a time.  This means that the most severe source of pain is what I feel at any given moment.  Sometimes that is facial pain due to Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia or Atypical Facial Pain (the doctors keep switching back and forth between these diagnoses) and TMJ/TMD, which feels like someone has placed a needle into my upper right teeth without ever taking it out.  That pain radiates into my cheek, temple, head, and neck.  Sometimes it starts in my neck and radiates outward from there.  My other source of chronic, invisible pain is in the abdominal region due to Endometriosis, PCOS, Endosalpingiosis, and abdominal adhesions.  I usually just refer to it all as “Endo” for the sake of simplicity.  This is often the most debilitating pain of all because it is peritoneal quality pain, which has a tendency to affect a large portion of the body (stomach, abdomen, pelvis, lower back, and upper legs/thighs).  Sometimes it is only a dull ache (my facial pain is usually more severe during those times), but other times it causes severe stabbing, cramping, ripping, crushing, and tearing pain which can bring me to my knees, cause nausea, severe GI symptoms, make it hard to breathe, and even cause me to pass out.  Many compare Endo flare-ups to acute appendicitis or even labor contractions.  It leaves the body in a constant state of inflammation and causes my abdomen to swell to the point of looking pregnant at times.  All of this also causes a debilitating fatigue, which research has shown often reaches a level experienced by those with end-stage cancer.  When that happens, it feels like my arms, legs, and other body parts are carrying around 100 pound weights (which is more than my total body weight).  These are just some of the physical symptoms.  The psychological and emotional symptoms are another monster all their own.  Imagine trying to concentrate on work, completing complex or even mundane daily tasks, dealing with co-workers, attending meetings, managing stress, and meeting deadlines while feeling this way.  Sound tough?  It is.  This is the best way that I know how to describe it but even these words don’t do it justice.  Continue reading

Social Media Hiatus

A little over a week ago, I made the decision to take a break from social media.  Yes, I am now officially on hiatus from Facebook and Twitter.  I may share my blog posts there but for now, I am sticking with my decision not to log on, check messages, etc. until further notice.  Any comments on my blog posts will not be visible to me unless they are posted directly through WordPress.

A break from social media may sound like no big deal to some people but for me it has been huge.  Since chronic pain moved in (uninvited) and decided to take up residence in my life, my contact with the outside world has diminished.  I have never been a social creature, so that consequence of chronic pain isn’t all that devastating for me.  However, when my life started to change, I found myself turning to social media for support, social interaction, education, and raising awareness for Endometriosis, chronic pain, and a few issues that go along with it.  That part has been great and I have met some wonderful people along the way.  Continue reading