Chronic Pain Coping

Around 2013 I copied this from a library book. I have tried to find the title and author online and cannot, thus I have no author to credit.

These are not based on 12 Steps, but steps for coping.

  1. Accept the fact of having chronic pain. (That is enough to make one gag.)
  2. Set specific goals for work, hobbies and social activities toward which you will work.
  3. Let yourself get angry at your pain if it seems to be getting the best of you.
  4. Take your analgesics on a strict time schedule, and then taper off as directed until you are no longer taking any.
  5. Get in the best physical shape possible, and keep fit.
  6. Learn how to relax, and practice relaxation techniques regularly.
  7. Keep yourself busy.
  8. Pace your activities.
  9. Have your family and friends support only your healthy behavior, not your invalidism.
  10. Be open and reasonable with your doctor.
  11. Practice effective empathy with others having pain problems.
  12. Remain hopeful.

My first response after typing these steps is “I will with God’s help.” Over the years (since diagnosis in 1990s) I have tried to learn and practice these things. Would love to brag I have mastered them all. I have NOT!

Yep, something like this during a fibrmyalgia flare!

Like Paul I continue to try to learn to yield myself to God and stay responsible to bring my flesh under control. God will not magically take care of this for me. He requires my cooperation.

But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9:27 NKJV

Along with my body, I must discipline my mind, my will and my emotions to bring honor to God as long as I live!

In the Episcopalian Book of Common Prayers you can find the Baptismal Covenant. After each declaration the congregation says, “I will with God’s help.” I believe that coping with chronic pain requires my focus upon the goals of this covenant too if I am to be truly successful.

Celebrant	Will you continue in the apostles' teaching and
fellowship, in the breaking of the bread, and in the
prayers?
People	I will, with God's help.
 	
Celebrant	Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever
you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
People	I will, with God's help.

Celebrant	Will you proclaim by word and example the Good
News of God in Christ?
People	I will, with God's help.
 	
Celebrant	Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving
your neighbor as yourself?
People	I will, with God's help.
 	
Celebrant	Will you strive for justice and peace among all
people, and respect the dignity of every human
being?
People	I will, with God's help.

May the Lord bless you as you face your own struggles. We are all broken and need His help!

Consistent self-care is not selfish. Consistent self-care for me is a holy obligation. "These skills protect us by building inner resilience that shields us from most problems and enables us to bounce back from the rest."  Just do your best and lean hard upon the Lord.

So we moved and by the second day, May 13, I had trashed my back. Really did it the worse than ever before.  That slowed down unpacking for certain! I had lots and lots of help, but I did not pace myself well, I did not remember not to bend over. I did lots of things wrong. Degenerative disc disease is one of the reasons we moved. On June 15 I had another epidural. Trying to behave now. Time will tell if that is all the treatment I need. Please pray for me!

Hope those coping steps help any of you who also suffer from chronic pain. Twelve step programs often repeat, "It works if you work it!"

“Honey, We’re Home!!”

Hello my family, friends and followers! Yep, we signed the contract November 18. The moving truck delivered our household belongings on May 12. We went into a whirlwind like the Tansmanian Devil chasing after disorder and chaos, if they were in the persons of Daffy and Bugs! First ten seconds is my image of us. Then when Bugs calls the Taz Baggy eyes is when we crashed and burned from trying to get too much done!

So now we are unpacked about 85%. Bob is working in the garage today in anticipation of Harbor Freight delivering his new workbench. Wish it had been here the last couple weeks for him!

We have filled cabinets and then gone back and rearranged them as we have lived here. The first few times trying to cook I felt like Dora the Explorer! Neither of us allowed the other to ask “Where is …” the first 2 weeks here.

We have meet many, many neighbors, especially out walking on cooler days. None of us have lived here for more than 18 months. We began collecting names and house numbers to try to keep people straight in our brains.

The house is wonderful. We are finding as Bob puts up a few extra wire shelves in the closets that we might have more space than we imagined! Once his workbench arrives and rakes and mops get put up on the garage walls we will know more about that. Do not have both cars in garage yet.

Our yard is dirt. Evidently, some time, the landscape company will bring plants and follow that in a few days with sod. We will then be responsible to keep that sod moist so it can get established. The streets are packed with dirt from construction trucks. So on dry days there are dust storms and on wet days there are mud rivers. The 2-1/2+ inches of rain over the weekend really helped clean the streets! Our driveway is partially filled with picnic table, garbage and recycling cans, plants waiting to go in the ground and one of the cars.

We are home. We are grateful and joyous. We are amazed. No rain during the move. No cicadas during the move (or even in this neighborhood). No injuries during the move.

We give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever.

Grow Accustomed …

Reading through some notes from what I think was a Franciscan retreat many years ago I came across this. Enjoy!

One retreat handout was entitled God – With – Us Paraphrase by Leslie F. Brandt Psalm 139

O God, You know me inside and out,
	through and through.
Everything I do.
	every thought that flits through my mind,
	every step I take
	every plan I make,
	every word I speak,
You know, even before these things happen.

You know my past:
	You know my future.
Your circumventing presence covers my every move.
Your knowledge of me sometimes comforts me,
	sometimes frightens me;
but always it is far beyond my comprehension.

There is no way to escape you, no place to hide.
If I ascend to the heights of joy,
	You are there before me.
If I plunge into the depths of despair,
	You are there to meet me.
I could fly to the other side of the world
	and find You there to lead there to lead the way.
I could walk into the darkest of nights,
	only to find You there
	to lighten its dismal hours.

You were present at my very conception.
You guided the molding of my unformed members
	within the body of my mother.
Nothing about me, from beginning to end,
	was hid from Your eyes.
How frightfully, fantastically wonderful it all is!

May Your all-knowing, everywhere-present Spirit
	continue to search out my feelings and thoughts.
Deliver me
	from that which may hurt or destroy me,
and guide me along the paths of love and truth.

Looking up Leslie F. Brandt online just now, this was likely taken from a book called Psalms Now.

On the back of my paper I wrote “Grow accustomed to encountering the hidden Christ …” and then:

“I am a holy God and Lord of the Broken Things. My greatest victory was through My broken body and spent life. I use imperfect beings perfectly. My love covers, cleanses, fills, renews.” Have no idea if someone spoke this at the retreat or I heard it in my spirit.

“I too shed tears. My tears were not some painless spiritual symbol, but pain-filled, aware feeling tears. And they were born out of my hurt and disappointment, anguish and anger at how things COULD have been. I know tears. And I feel and am aware of yours.” Again, I have no idea if someone spoke this at the retreat or I heard it in my spirit.

“This mornings flood has left fresh ponds where dust was before. On contemplation this puddle is teeming with life. Worms with feathered heads writhe out a dance of life. Bugs I always associated with DIRT scurry along unhindered underwater. Oh voice of many waters, make me this adaptable and joyous I pray.” Fairly certain I wrote this one!

Reading and typing these things out makes me aware how I SO need a spiritual retreat! When I go on retreat I make an effort to still the chatter in my soul, listen for His still small voice, wait for the King of Glory. If nothing else, I am refreshed from stilling that chatter. Usually I am refreshed by the Presence of the Lord in ways I could not create on my own.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;

    I will be exalted among the nations,

    I will be exalted in the earth.”

ISA 46:10

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord

Acts 3:19

Then the Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

1 Kings 19:11-12

Signing Off for a Time

Considering the computers, tv, wifi system, etc. all have to be disconnected, packed, unpacked and reconnected you might not hear from me for a while. But wait! through the magic of the Word Press Cloud I could write and store and schedule until my strength runs out! That is how the posts usually come to you. I typically write on Monday and Tuesday morning. This week Tuesday will be running to various places like T-Mobile. Energy is not in abundance right now. So in case you don’t see posts for a while, remember to lift us in prayer regarding the move.

During 15 years a couple can accumulate a bunch of stuff. We have given away, thrown away and donated items for months now. We also know that once we begin to unpack we are likely to unload even more items. When you pack things up and get them out of sight for several months it is amazing what you can live without!

I have also been missing my wall calendar (I know, so old fashioned). The magnifying mirror from the bathroom wall has been absent since Bob patched and repaired practically every single nail in every single room.

He is such a hard worker. I have no idea how I would ever accomplish most things without him. We often debate who will die first. If he goes first I get a Corgi. They make me smile. Been told they kill sweepers with their constant shedding. Anything to make me smile during the grief of losing my husband would be invaluable. Fifty years of marriage and counting. We are amazed!

They say corgi puppies look like potatoes on legs.

Speaking of dogs, I let Lucky off the leash inside the new house for the first time last Sunday! She pranced around as if to say “Oh, I get it now!” She has been going in the house since it was just studs, no walls. Soon she will have an enormous closet in the master bedroom to sleep in when it storms! I will set up a water bowl for her Saturday before we get her from the kennel.

There she is, coming out of hallway to laundry and Master Suite!

We area moving eight miles, one zip code away, undoing 15 years of settling in this place. We are calling Platform Street our last home unless we get moved to a nursing home some day (hoping not!).

Even to your old age and gray hairs

    I am He, I am He who will sustain you.

I have made you and I will carry you;

    I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Isaiah 46:4

Yes, Lord, we look to You to sustain us, carry us and rescue us from ourselves. Even as we enter our old age and lose more gray hairs! We trust You with all of our lives, Most High God.

Abraham Knew Not

I do not know much either about where we are going on Platform Street! The people we have met are all friendly. No idea where they stand as far as their faith life.

I have two other acquaintances who are moving to other neighborhoods about the same time we are. One is praying, “Lord, show me what you want me to do next,” as in Bible study, neighborhood ministry, etc. The only thing that has crossed my mind so far is to put out my garden flags that praise my Lord, thereby declaring my heart.

I have also heard of people who begin prayer ministry in their neighborhood by putting boxes outside for people to submit prayer requests. I could do that! Of course, at first all I will have are cardboard boxes! That’s not likely to work in summer rain storms.

ACTS 7: 2-3 NIV “To this he {Stephen} replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran. ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.'”

The Lord led us to the area of Kline Station when we could not find a newer house with laundry on the ground floor. Many thanks to our faith filled realtor, Taylor!

 “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” Heb 11:8 NIV

I have always been impressed by Abraham’s obedience. He obeyed. He went. He did not know where he was going. He left all control in God’s hands. I want to be like that!

I heard this song on YouTube Music and had to share it.

Into the Countdown Now!

I am writing this Monday morning, May 3. We get the keys Friday morning the 7th and close that afternoon! Then the adult kids and grandchildren help us start to move in.

Whew! so much work getting to this point. And SO much work yet to be done. Just realized I should also move the houseplants on Saturday along with the plants we hope to plant outdoors once they lay sod and define our flower beds.

Bob and I have been trying to rest as much as we can knowing this adventure will zap our strength once the adrenaline wears off! He is at the bank now arranging the wire transfer for our closing costs and partial payment. He was on the phone this morning about arranging garbage pick up and turning water to our name on Friday. His next call will be to the power company.

And yep, there is always something to go wrong. Looking under the new bathroom sink yesterday I found a small leak. Praying they repair that early this morning.

The tile work is underway in master bath, but not grouted or finished yet.

Oh tile man please finish my shower!

I finally got to see the flooring without cardboard over it. This is the view from the front door looking towards the sliding glass door. It had just been mopped, so no, it is not really shiny. And look! I got my brown front door instead of black 🙂

The screen door for the slider is torn. There is a lump in the guest room window sill they will sand down and redo.

Meanwhile Siesta Drive is becoming a box maze! Neither one of us is allowed to ask “Where is …?”

So pray for us to keep our sense of humor and patience, especially with each other! Pray for safety for all those involved with moving our “stuff.”

We are so grateful for our many blessings. I saw a sign at Hobby Lobby that said “Crazy Blessed.” Yep! that’s me.

“Life Sayings?”

This seemed to show up for a few folks. I am sending it again for those who did not receive it. Hope it strengthens your faith.

When I used to mingle with some folks they would speak of their life verses from the Bible. I have those, but what I want to examine here are sayings or sentences that have influenced my faith life over the years.

How often I am walking outdoors and a feather comes on the breeze. At times it is from a bird on the roof or in a tree. Most times I cannot locate the source of the feather. Can you imagine yourself as that feather?

“‘Held by God … like a feather which has no weight from its own strength and lets itself be carried by the wind” – so wrote the medieval mystic, Hildegard of Bingen. Her image of a feather lightly floating on the wind is more than spiritual poetry; it gives us a way to live. Being like a feather on the wind is particularly necessary in these difficult days that teeter-totter two millennia.”

-Unknown

This one came from my struggles to obey the Lord my God regardless of circumstances.

Constant peaceful yielded joyful obedience to the Almighty.

I have made alphabet-beaded bracelets in so many forms to remind me of this. In the Old Testament the believers were told to take the commandments of God and “Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:8-9 So I have worn them, recited them, shared a few with friends, lost a few bracelets and made a few more. Recently I shipped most of my collection to my friends in Nepal.

One year tired of hearing myself complain about chronic pain I wrote the following and posted it on the bathroom mirror.

I have determined that this day, each time I am drawn up short by pain, I will praise You for I love You better than life – even better than quality of life.”

I so needed to type these out this week, especially about being drawn up short by pain and what reaction I will choose. Chronic pain never takes a vacation, but God is ever-present and loves me. When I was first diagnosed I heard Him say, “I will be with you in this.” What could be better than to have the Lord with you?

Strange Book

I just finished a strange book. Evidently in 2008 it was made into a movie. The title is Blindness by Josè Saramago. He won the 1998 Nobel Prize for Literature from this publication. I saw it on a “must read” list and bought it used from Abe Books (my favorite source for used books!).

It was haunting and written with very, very little punctuation. I told Bob it was like St. Paul with his run on sentences. In light of the Corona Virus Pandemic it was relatable. One person goes suddenly blind and then another and another until there is a pandemic. The text was translated from the Portuguese. It was worth my time. I kept wondering where the story was going and then found I could not put the book down. Blew through it in a couple of days.

The Library Journal says “Beautifully written in a concise, haunting prose … this unsettling, highly original work is essential reading.”

No, it was not a Christian publication. I often venture into other areas to broaden my views. You might want to check your library for it.

Having told you about my fear of one of us dying from Covid before we get to the new house, thought I’d share this quote with you. Here is a small portion towards the end of the book:

“I think we are all going to die, it’s just a matter of time, dying has always been a matter of time said the doctor, But to die just because you’re blind, there can be no worse way of dying. We die of blindness and cancer, of blindness and tuberculosis, of blindness and AIDS, of blindness and heart attacks, illnesses may differ from one person to another but what is really killing us now is blindness. We are not immortal, we cannot escape death, but at least we should not be blind, said the doctor’s wife, How, if this blindness is concrete and real, said the doctor, I am not sure, said the wife, Nor I, said the girl with the dark glasses.”

Evidently he went on to write Seeing and at least 10 other publications.

Influencer

Can you call to mind people who have impacted your life in simple ways? Do you remember how they showed their faith? What do you recall about them?

When as an adult, I first had an intense experience with the Risen Christ, the priest at the Episcopal church did not know quite what to do with me. He did know who to refer me to though! Mary Dirkse quickly became my spiritual mom. My birth mother had already died. In fact, grief over that loss is what sent me to the Lord, seeking His comfort as I anguished over missing her.

Blessed are those who mourn,

    for they will be comforted.

Matthew 5:4

Mary did simple things for me. She would listen to my woes without correcting me or throwing out trite sayings into my tumult of grief. When I became pregnant with our son I was So Very Nauseous the entire nine months. Mary would fix me an egg, cooked thoroughly, put it on buttered toast and urge me to try to eat. Her fixings always stayed down. After the delivery of my first child I was nervous and frightened about climbing onto the delivery table for another C-Section, wide awake. Mary and others prayed me through the experience. To this day she continues to pray for our son.

When I was eager for more of Jesus, she took me to a Women’s Aglow meeting. I continued going to those monthly meetings for ten years, eventually holding some of the offices to keep the local meeting afloat and operating smoothly. I met many Spirit filled women who inspired me to surrender myself to Jesus.

When Mary moved from Ohio to Wisconsin I was so saddened. After her husband passed she moved to Washington state to be with her children. Mary SHOWED me the love of Jesus. She would play her zither and sing worship songs with me. I was enchanted. Mary simply loved God and was willing to share that love in any way the Lord required.

We often shared the parallels of raising toddlers and teenagers. So much alike, yet so different in size, language and body maintenance.

Who has the Lord sent into your life to influence, guide, encourage and show the ways of Christ? I hope you have someone to nurture as Mary nurtured me. If you are not nurturing anyone, ask God who He might like you to reach out to with His light and love. Yes, she lives very far away now. We do try to email and share cards on occasion.

Mary, if you are reading this, I have no more words except thank you from the bottom of my heart for your inspiration, guidance and continued intercession. You certainly pulled a grieving young woman from the waters of sin and confusion. May the Lord bless you abundantly for the multitude of ways you have served Him during your long and fruitful life. I love you.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.  Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Titus 2:3-5