I’m back! Technically I’m still recovering from surgery but I am healing a lot faster than expected and can definitely get back into blogging fulltime! Since surgery, I not only have had some of my bladder problems corrected but by some miracle, it has cured my chronic pain! I have been struggling with chronic pain for many years and the fact that my chronic pain left my body after having one surgery amazes me and sometimes I pinch myself to make sure it’s not a dream. Who would have thought that after having chronic pain for many years that the solution to getting rid of it was a visit to my urologist? My life with chronic pain has never been the same and will be different now that I don’t have to think about pain. My life revolved around my pain and was affected in more ways than you know and never in a million years would I have thought I would be pain-free so I kind of accepted my pain for what it was. Pain controlled me and took so much from me that it won’t be easy getting used to a pain-free life. Pain affects everyone differently and for some, it might be easier to adjust than it will be for others. It will be a challenge for me though as it took away most everything I did but I am happy most of these things I now have back even though it will be difficult adjusting.
Sticking to a diet- I went low carb which I didn’t really need to do but there is no harm in eating healthier! Sticking to diet would have never been possible with chronic pain as I had so many cravings that made it difficult to stick to a healthy diet and it got to a point when I didn’t really care about how healthy I was eating or if I was eating healthy at all. I honestly tried to have healthy eating habits but with chronic pain, I failed every time and came to the reality it not going to happen for me. Without chronic pain, I can actually stick to a low carb diet and have lost a few pounds as the result of my new diet changes all without hitting the gym! My diet is not perfect and some days like today I have high carb foods like mac and cheese but there is no harm in that because it’s all about balance. When you restrict yourself too much that is when you end up throwing in the towel because it will feel so restrictive. I have made too much progress to let that happen and don’t think I need to cut out my favorite foods because it’s simple to just have things in moderation. I haven’t gotten back to the gym as I am still too sore but I can’t wait to get back into it because I will finally be able to reach my fitness goals which I have been wanting to do for so long!
Refreshing shower- Yesterday, after my shower is when it really hit me that my chronic pain no more! Showers are still painful as I am recovering from surgery but they aren’t physically exhausting to where I cry because of the pain and feel the need to rest. I don’t know that last time I felt like this and it was an incredible feeling. After my shower, I texted my friend Karly because I was filled with so many emotions and no one would understand but think I’m weird for celebrating something so simple. I had to tell someone because it has been so long that I have had a refreshing shower that was not accompanied by severe pain making me totally miserable. You can’t win with chronic pain because even when I was given a shower it hurt just as much!
Sleep– When I had chronic pain it was not unusual for me to sleep four hours every day for weeks at a time. There were many nights I cried while I was sleeping because of pain which woke me up a vast majority of the time preventing me wanting to get back to sleep. I was scared to sleep because my pain was at it’s the worse at night and typically I didn’t sleep much until I crashed. I usually woke up between 6 a.m. and 8 like clockwork regardless of what time I went to bed and was so tired all the time because I was so sleep-deprived. Sometimes I still have insomnia because of anxiety but for the first time in years, I can stay asleep and even when I wake up to pee I can usually fall back asleep which I have never been able to do in the past.
Enjoying Shopping Trips- Most women love to shop but when you have chronic pain it is a little less desirable! Online shopping is your best friend if you live with chronic pain but most people don’t find shopping enjoyable as it can trigger a pain flare. I enjoy hanging out with friends and family but for the last couple of years, there has been nothing about shopping trips that I have enjoyed. I love shopping but because of chronic pain I hated every minute of it and as I am not eager to go to the mall until I fully recover I can’t wait to have that experience without pain because I don’t even remember what it’s like. I can only imagine it’s pretty great so it’s definitely on my list of things to do!
Enjoy food again – When I had chronic pain everything almost everything I ate made me feel nauseous! The list of foods that I couldn’t eat was much larger than the thing I could which made it very difficult to create a healthy lifestyle. I had to give up many of the things I loved if I wanted to feel semi-normal and even when I gave up those things new foods that I couldn’t eat were always added to the list. Now I don’t give up so many foods and can have an occasional drink without worrying too much about getting migraines.
Enjoy Working Out- Before chronic pain, I did high-intensity routines loved it and got in the best shape of my life and had fun with it. After having chronic pain I did low-intensity routines and worked out to the bare minimum and hated every minute of it. I could have pushed myself much harder but I was so worried about triggering a pain flare that I would have much rather let my fitness go than be physically fit. Once I fully recover from surgery I will finally have the opportunity to get in the best shape of my life without using pain as the excuse not to hit the gym and loving what I do! Years ago I did PIIT ( pilates intense interval training) which is high-intensity interval training with pilates infused into it that I loved and can’t wait to get back into. I changed it a little bit as it’s impossible to do it the way it’s designed but I still love it because it’s a way to use my creativity skills!
Controllable Emotions- When you don’t have chronic pain people often don’t realize how much it affects your physical and emotional health! My emotions were all over the place one minute I was happy and the next I was balling my eyes out for no apparent reason! It didn’t take much for me to cry and as a matter of fact, I cried pretty regularly and sometimes it was random and for no reason at all but pain just does that. It will be a very different feeling when I don’t have random crying spells and only cry when I actually am happy or sad.
Video games can be enjoyable- I have a ps4 but because of chronic pain I had to stop playing because of severe muscle cramps in my hands that shot up my entire arm making playing video games not very enjoyable because I was always thinking about the pain and that discouraged me from wanting to play. I didn’t want to have to give that up but I knew I had for bearable pain and knowing I can add it back in is such an incredible feeling that doesn’t seem real.
Planning is possible- When I had chronic pain I really tried to be a planner but my pain was unpredictable, unreliable and my life revolved around my pain so it was kind of impossible to be a planner. Sometimes when I planned to write a blog post it turned out to be a high pain day so I ended up doing a lot of things at the last minute. Planning blog posts or life events, in general, is possible to get done before the day of since I don’t have pain to consider!
I have energy!- When I had chronic pain all I wanted to do was nap because I never had energy! Napping didn’t improve my energy levels or motivate me to do anything more but it got me through the day. For the first time in years, I don’t need to nap and am wildly motivated to actually do stuff!
There was so much that was taken from me because of chronic pain that I couldn’t possibly put it one post and this is only a small fraction of how it affected my life. I have been fortunate that my chronic pain has been cured but chronic pain affects millions of people and many of them get little to no relief. My chronic pain has completely taken over my life these last couple of years and is not just a click of a switch for it to become the norm but it will take time maybe even years! It will happen and at some point, my pain will just be a horrible nightmare of my life! I won’t talk as much about pain even though technically I still could since I lived with it for years but I will feel like a fraud as will forget what it’s like since I do not have it anymore so I am leaving it to the experts and focusing more on disability. I will still talk about migraines as I will still get them because Hydrocephalus makes me more prone to headaches and migraines which is not going away anytime soon but they will not be labeled as chronic. I want to continue to give you information that can be helpful and elevate your life so it’s time to start a new chapter! What has pain taken from you?