Saturday, 30 April 2016

Still Learning

I've never been much of a joiner. The things I usually prefer doing, like writing and art, are solitary activities.

But I decided to join this 6 week workshop about chronic pain because, being honest here, the pain was getting me down and I knew I was giving in to it.

I learned a lot during these last few weeks, and have made some changes in my life, in my attitude.

It's been a productive week, got some art work done, taxes completed and mailed, house work complete (I did 't do the work but I did pick up).

So this morning, the sun was shining and it looked beautiful out. When I woke early the back pain was bad so had another little sleep on the heating pad and when I got up an hour later, it was better.

I drove to my daughter's place, and though she wasn't home, my granddaughter was. While she got ready, we contacted her Mom and waited for her sister to come home. Then we hit the streets for garage sales. All totaled we hit three places, plus Timmie's for coffee.

Everybody bought something, and I found some interesting metal pieces for my art project. We had lunch (not very healthy, mind you), poutines, from the chip truck before I took the girls home.

I was in pain, needed to lie down, but feeling good, if you know what I mean.

I made it to my heating pad and had a nap, and rested as I started the new book I'd picked up at the Treasure Trove. A good day that I would have missed if I'd given in.

All in all, a good day. I need to do this more often, and isn't it nice that this new awakening has come when the weather is getting better.

Friday, 29 April 2016

I Think I Can, I Think I Can

I can't remember the exact story, was it something about a little train trying to make it up the hill, saying I think I can, I think I can?

I'm trying to keep this positive thinking think I can.

Yesterday was a good day, considering I had no hot water and my day got all mixed up. I wanted to put the dishes I'd ignored the night before in the sink, to soak, while I had my shower. Had the sink filled before I realized it was cold water.

I'm glad the sequence was dishes then shower, because that water was really cold, and I wouldn't have wanted to be under the shower spray when I discovered the hot water tank was gone.

I spent the day working on art projects I'd had on the go, and was pleased with the results. Not so pleased when I went to wash out my paint brush and found they'd turned the water off.

So, we went from cold water, to no water, and after a time and a lot of sputtering to clear the lines of water. Yeah.

I didn't let it get me down, made it a stay home work day. And while I was sorting through the piles of paper for the collage project, I found the rough copy of my tax return. Oops, out of sight, out of mind. The deadline date is really close, like Monday.

So there is something positive to be said for not having hot water.

Now, showered and ready to go out, first thing is to mail my return, and that other government form I was to have sent in. All is good.

It's going to be a good day, and the sun will be shining when I'm ready to go out. Positive thinking.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Power of Positive Thinking

I was at my workshop yesterday... the one Living Better with Chronic Pain...and one of the topics was positive thinking.

I am a firm believer in the power of positive thinking, though I must admit it's not something I've practiced for some time. Years ago a colleague gave me a book with that title, The Power etc. and I read it and took it to heart. Another book I read at the time was called Choices. The combination was powerful.

The book Choices made me aware of the number of choices I make in a day, and how I was making some bad ones. Not all of these choices are major life issues, but can be as simple as "I chose not to eat that cream filled pastry, but chose the apple instead".

I used all of this and incorporated 'self talk' into my daily life. I became more aware of the mini choices, and chose better. I started feeling better about myself and part of that was losing weight. I gave myself the self talk as I drove to work...."Your metabolism is running high, it's going to be a good day" etc.

Unfortunately, in the following years, after my MS lost me my career, I forgot that self talk and positive thinking. Yesterday reminded me of that. I'm willing to give it another try, and hope it will end up in a weight loss again, as in those negative years I regained the weight I'd lost.

The day didn't start well, and I'm trying to turn it around. My self talk is bad start but it's all uphill from here. By afternoon I'll be feeling better and will do some painting.

The sun is shining, and I've been outside, done some deep breathing, have my windows open to the fresh air and the sounds of the birds. If I had my new chairs (on my To Do List) I'd be sitting outside enjoying my coffee. Positive thoughts, positive thoughts. I WILL get my new chairs this week, so I can enjoy the morning son on my patio.

Positive thoughts are another of those daily choices. What is that old saying...Life is what you make it?

Monday, 25 April 2016

Annual MS Walk for a Cure

The MS Walk was held yesterday, and my family make the trek in force. The group started last year to get into the team spirit and all wore neon green T-shirts. This year I ordered 12 matching hats, like ball caps, in black with a neon green front.

I was waiting at the library, a half way pit stop, and it made my heart proud to see this colorful group turn the corner and approach, laughing and smiling, having a good time. I've never worn a ball cap in my life, but I wore one yesterday.

I took my granddaughter, age 7, with me and we went on ahead to the school where the walk ended. She thinks we should add socks and gloves to our outfits for next year, and as it was cool enough yesterday, that's a good option.

We gathered at the school, listened to the music, ate the lunch provided and left, feeling good for our contribution in fighting this disease.

For the kids, this is an annual event, something they schedule and plan for. But, funny, they didn't talk about it, and as I don't get the E-mails about the event, it kind of snuck up on me. I assumed the kids had declined this year, maybe being too busy, or uninterested. And you know what they say about assumptions. So true, so true.

I did them a great disservice, for they were planning for it, just hadn't mentioned it until it got closer to the day. This one day equals Christmas in my mind, for the feelings of love and support I feel from the family. They may never understand what my day to day struggles are like, but I know they will be there for me, whenever and for whatever I might need.

Love you all, more than you will ever know..

Friday, 22 April 2016

Comedy of Errors

I was just out of the shower, when the phone rang. The caller's number was my friend, the one I was meeting for lunch in a few hours. Uh oh, change of plans?

I answered, could hear her voice, but obviously she couldn't hear me. We played the old phone tag, but couldn't manage to get through. I figured it was my phone, as there was some little icon on the screen. I didn't know what it meant, or how it got there, or, of course, how to get it off.

She left a message, but the phone wouldn't let me listen to it, kept telling me I had the wrong pass code, which I didn't.

The phone kept ringing, and each time I could hear the caller, but my end was silent. There was a new caller now, my son, and his voice was sounding more and more frustrated.

I understood his feelings, I was obviously answering the phone, but not speaking. He would immediately have worried that something had happened to me. I had to get the phone working.

My phone is not that complicated, two extensions, one by my chair, one by the bed, wireless, so I can move around and still talk. I played with the buttons, muted, un-muted, speaker, no speaker, and went over and over the numbers in my call list. Not sure what I did, but the little icon disappeared.

First, I called my friend. She wanted to know if I could do lunch today, instead of Monday, as she'd forgotten plans she'd made and double booked. I laughed and told her we were supposed to be having lunch today, as that was the plan, so all was good. Our plans had been made yesterday, over E-mail. It was her last day of work, and as she was retiring after thirty years. I can imagine the confusion and emotionally charged atmosphere at the work place, so many thoughts and feelings going through her head.

I called my son, to relieve his mind and now all is well with my world. I'm getting lunch out with a friend, and what better way to spend what looks like a dismal rainy day.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Tests Completed

Finally made it the 60 + K to the clinic to get the x-rays and ultrasound of my shoulder. It's a shame my doctor is so far away, but then when we began, I lived away. A good doctor is hard to find, so I guess I'll keep on trekking north when the need presents.

It is amazing the things that cause pain in the shoulder, things that seemed effortless a couple of months ago. Like pulling the covers back in the morning, wiping the kitchen counter or picking up a full saucepan. Even the movement of my thumb and index finger when typing causes pain from shoulder to elbow.

The technician was very understanding. I laughed when she asked if I could turn my hand behind my back. I could, but very carefully.

Got my trip to Michael's Craft store while I was in the city...20% off coupon, for all regular and sale items, plus 60% off one regular priced item. I couldn't pass it up, and bought more gifts than craft supplies.

Now to wait for the test results.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Expressions of Support

There was an ambulance parked next door yesterday, one of my neighbors also suffering from a chronic illness taken to hospital. My friend came home, saw it leave and immediately checked on me. I was having a sound sleep and didn't even hear the knock.

We just talked, and it makes me feel good to know people are checking in on me.

My daughter also called, and confirmed plans for next Sunday, the day of the MS Walk in town.

I don't think the kids realize what it means to me that they do this every year. I love the family photo taken at the end of the walk, love to see the kids and their families join together to support a good cause.

It's as if, on this one day, they give recognition, more than ever, to the issues I live with, and confirm their love and support.

Last year we all wore neon green T-shirts, this year we're adding hats. Every year something new, something to look forward to.

Thanks guys, it means the world to me.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Monday, Monday

I'm so glad to see the end of this last week. Today began better, I could put the cane back by the door and was walking about unassisted. Even got the shower done with minimal difficulty, and the hot water felt so good.

Today is garbage day. I gathered my bags of recycling and waste and carried everything out to the curb. It was raining and the sky was overcast, not a welcome spring feeling at all.

The problem with shopping and being busy is that I don't have the energy to prepare meals, and a lot of the fruit and vegetables spoil before I can get them eaten. So this garbage day, I have some cleaning out of the fridge to do. I may switch to frozen veggies, just so I'm not wasting the fresh.

I need to feel productive, in a creative way, and have a new project in mind. I have a beginning, but need to sit down for some of the finer details. This is where my set up becomes frustrating, the lack of space and the inability to leave everything out and within reach.

I do mixed media collage, and have a hoard of paper to use in my work. It would be nice if I could just sort through one storage bin for inspiration, but I have bits and pieces in too many places. The fine work I'll do with a temporary table set up by my chair, not the greatest as my back will be sore after.

What I do for my art.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

A Wretched Week

If nothing else, this wek has taught me that I can no longer manage three days of activity, not in a row at least.

Monday was shopping and out to get my car. Tuesday was more shopping (taking advantage of being in another town) and the Pain Workshop. Wednesday was another, longer trip out of town to have my x-ray and ultrasound. We hit a blinding snowstorm half way there, and turned around.

I was out Tuesday evening, and let me tell you the meeting chairs and the seats at the arena were harsh. I was in a great deal of pain, all night, and managed about 3 hours of sleep. It was easy to make the decision to reschedule my tests. We had lunch out instead and I came home.

The next couple of days were "crash" days. I accomplished nothing, not with the fatigue and brain fog. It was so bad I couldn't keep track of the days, and felt quite out of it.

When I got up this morning, I wanted a shower, and maybe to get out of the house, pretend I was normal and alive.

I got up to the bathroom, and barely made it back to bed. The pain in my back was horrible, the shoulder as bad, and then there's the knee. I had to use the cane, and I never use the cane in the house.  After a pain pill and a rest on the heating pad, I tried again, and could barely move, so it was back to bed.

The frustration proved too much, and I found myself crying with the pain. As I have lived with pain all my adult life, in various degrees, I found this demoralizing, and hoped it was not a sign of things to come.

It was after noon by the time I was able to get up, and I needed to get something to eat, to take more pills.

For all its  rough beginning, the pain eased and I was able to do a few things,as long as I could sit to do them, and am now heading back to bed.

Could I have avoided this day if I had not pushed myself for those three days? We'll see what happens this week, workshop on Tuesday, dentist appointment on Thursday. I'll watch, and see if scheduling my activities with more rest in between avoids a day like today.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Start and Restart

When I pulled the covers back early this morning, I got a sharp pain in my right shoulder, this new pain that is the reason for the x-rays and ultrasound booked for last week but cancelled because of the freak snow storm.

I stood and had to wait a second, to see what level of back pain I would have, but managed to make it to the bathroom, and as it was not a good start, made my way back to bed to lie on the heating pad.

I tried to read, but kept dozing off, so gave up and put the book aside. Why then, when I close my eyes do I not sleep?

Up for the second time, pain all over. I apply the 'Motion Medicine" to my back, right shoulder, left knee and left lower leg. I have more pills to take, with food, so prepare my yogurt with some fresh strawberries and make a coffee to go with the breakfast bar. Times like this I love my Kuerig coffee maker, it is so easy and there's no real cleanup.

Now I've been sitting in my recliner, checking E-mail, Facebook and, of course, my blogs and the pain has eased, all but the shoulder. Everything I do is with the elbow tucked close to my body, to limit the movement, but it doesn't seem to matter.

I hate this feeling, wanting to go places and do things, but hampered by the pain. It's barely noon and I can feel a nap in my future, maybe this time when I lie down I'll be able to read, and keep my mind occupied. There's still a lot of the day ahead.

Thursday, 7 April 2016


For years I have followed the blog about MS that I found on Ask About. The information was excellent, and often presented links to timely articles, like dealing with hot weather, that I shared in my blog.

I noticed that the e-mails from this site were no longer coming, and at first I thought the writer was just taking a break. But quite a bit of time has gone by, and today I received an e-mail, but from a different writer, this time from a doctor.

Te previous blog was written by a woman with a doctorate, so obviously she was very intelligent, very well educated, but more to the point, she had MS and all her articles came from first hand experience.

She is married, with a young family, and had been writing her personal experiences with some of the new drug treatments.

I don't know what happened that she is no longer writing the blog, but can only assume her condition has changed and she could no longer manage it.

I hope it's a case of prioritizing, that some things needed to be eliminated from her life to allow her to give her attention to the things that matter most, like family.

I miss her honesty and insight into this disease, and wish her the best.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Too Busy, Too tired

The workshop on living with chronic pain is getting more interesting. We're all more comfortable within the group, so maybe listen more, sympathize? empathize?

I had a nice talk with two of the women, old nurses like me, and found a kindred spirit in a couple of artists and writers. And to think, two weeks ago we were just a group of strangers, in pain.

Out on Monday, and out again yesterday, I was over tired last night and could not sleep. I had to get up and going, to pick my friend up at 11 am to go out of town for my appointment (x-ray and ultrasound).

We were about 15 K north of the lake and hit a terrible snow storm. I couldn't see the road ahead and the sky looked dark and threatening. If it was that bad, and we had a ways more to travel north, what would it be like coming home?

I made an executive decision to turn around. April and the snow this bad, I shake my head. I knew it wouldn't last, melting as it hit the pavement, but I don't like when it comes down so heavy I can't see the road ahead.

Turns out the receptionist at the doctor's office wrote the 6th on my appointment card, when my tests were booked for tomorrow, the 7th. I don't know what the weatherman called for tomorrow, but I know I don't have the energy to have another busy day. I rescheduled and can't believe weather could possibly be an issue.

We had lunch out, and by the time I got home, I was in a great deal of back pain. Laid down on the heating pad and slept for hours, through the dinner hour. When I woke I couldn't seem to get myself moving, brain fog something terrible. Made do with a sandwich for dinner, and now, after a few hours up, am ready for bed.

Just can't do these busy days, one after another, but circumstances don't always allow for that days of rest. I don't care, I'm taking one tomorrow.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Pushing on, Week #2

Last week, day 2 of the workshop living better with chronic pain, was cancelled, but we are back on track today.

I put off doing the reading for the workshop, my homework. Somehow I feel I should listen to the advice I gave my granddaughter about leaving things to the last minute.

My problem is my inability to concentrate, so as much as I want to read the material, I can't seem to retain any of what I read.

I did manage the recommended chapters, though I get a bad grade for completing the action plan. But, I did make a final effort, combined my objective to walk, with a trip to the laundry. I have to say, that is the one downfall to living here, that walk across to the main building to do laundry.

When I go, I stay for the duration. I can't manage to walk over, put the load in and go back and forth to change it to the dryer and the final visit to fluff and fold.

It was late by the time I went to the laundry, and I watched the hockey game in the common room until I was done. But it had been a busy day and I was in such pain by the time I got home, I left the laundry on the basket on the walker and went to bed.

Still tired from yesterday, though I did get the laundry put away, finally.

I'll need a few days to rest after Wednesday. Tomorrow is my shoulder x-ray and ultrasound. I have to travel out of town, downfall to going where my doctor is, but am combining the day with lunch out with a friend.

I feel like I've done nothing so far for the day, and can hardly keep my eyes open. I want a nap, but need to push on, get dressed and out the door. My new friends at the workshop should be sympathetic, we're all in the same boat on this.