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Feeling thankful for giving thanks

With all of the struggles I’m having lately, thanksgiving, gratitude and all of the ideas surrounding these days and concepts has been challenging. I’ve almost begun to dread it, because I struggle so much to figure out how to be grateful while dealing with so much pain, fear and stress. That sounds quite angstful written out, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it sort of is. I am fortunate, though, and I’m slowly coming to a point where I’m feeling grateful for things which have happened. Here are a few stories of what I’m grateful for, and why I feel grateful for feeling grateful.


Julio



Julio is a great dog, he’s loving, silly, full of wags and intelligent. He solves problems for me, such as the challenge of dealing with getting around safely. We sometimes have huge struggles. He'll choose not to listen. But much of the time, I find myself reveling in the feeling of the tension on the harness, the feeling of safety and the personality Julio shares as we walk down the street. As I write this, I hear Julio yelping/barking in his sleep (yip, yip... yip yip yip!). It makes me smile and think "OOH! He's soo cute!".

Good results



In July, while I was waiting to try another procedure to hopefully control my pain, I had a huge increase in my heart rate. No matter how you look at it, 205 is not a good heart rate to have. There were three nurses and a doctor, quickly monitoring me, and the heart rate sort of went down. But it prevented me from trying a treatment I still think would be beneficial. It was a scary situation for all involved, and eventually it spurred several medical tests which have only recently helped us figure out what might be going on. On Monday, I found out that I don't have any damage to my heart (which is good given the frequency of my tachycardia episodes), I don't have an adrenal tumor (which is good all around) and it's probably related to my pain, or the RSD centralizing into my nervous system. I've been switched to new medication which seems to be helping the heart rate, and I'm amazed at how good I feel when my heart is below 100 beats per minute. I feel so fortunate to have avoided these scary potential conditions. And although I know that this means we don't know what's wrong with me, this is a case of actually feeling like it's good to know what's not wrong.

Honest Medical Professionals


I was in "the mother of all flares" earlier this week and last (I didn't come down from a 9 on the pain scale for four days and am still in a lot of pain). I swallowed my pride, and realized I didn't want to spend my Thanksgiving and birthday like that, so I called the pain clinic I go to. They were great about getting me in, and when I said that I didn't feel that my meds were working very well, they acknowledged that there could be a reason for that, were honest about why they aren't working and were willing to start the process of moving to a different medication. I'm grateful that they are so honest and that I can have such an open relationship with all of the people there. I know others with RSD aren't always so fortunate, people with any medical condition aren't always so fortunate. I feel blessed to have doctors, nurses and others who understand and care about my needs as a person coping with pain.

Supportive People Around Me



It makes a huge difference to have great friends around, who try to understand what you're dealing with. Thinking about my friends brings a huge smile to my face. My friends and family are great.

I went to Perkins with some very close friends today, and it felt great to laugh, and share what we'd been up to. It's hard to explain just how important friends and family are to me, and if I tried to tell all of the stories that mean a ton just from even the last 24 hours, I'd miss a lot of them. But I hope you have friends and/or family who are this wonderful.

Blogging



I don't think I need to describe the numerous reasons I'm grateful for blogging, but I will do it anyway. Blogging has given me many new friends. It has improved my writing ability. Blogging allowed me to put together
my book
and that has given me joy too. I love having the record of my thoughts, feelings and experiences to look back at, and search with Google, if necessary. I couldn't have known how wonderful blogging would be when I started (and most of my first entries were absolutely hidious), but I'm so glad I went down the blogging journey.

There are practical, health and school related, reasons for loving blogging. Blogging, both through writing and reading, has helped me make important health decisions, understand what I'm going through in new ways and given me the courage I needed to work on papers such as the RSD/CRPS paper.

My Internship



I don't feel comfortable writing too much too publicly about my internship, but suffice it to say, I work with wonderful people, and we help wonderful kids whose needs are very close to my heart. I didn't picture myself enjoying working with kids, especially when I was younger, but I think I'm really going to love working with the kids here.

The Benefits of Giving Thanks



I didn't feel very thankful when I started writing this entry. I wasn't feeling very good physically, and emotionally, I've been struggling. But writing about the things I'm thankful for is a good practice. Sometimes, it takes significant effort to think about the good, when the bad, the pain or the sadness and depression seem overwhelming. Sometimes, I just feel so angry about how my life has changed. But writing this entry has overwhelmed that feeling of anger. No, my physical sensations of pain haven't improved. But what has improved is my outlook. I feel grateful about the people and things in my life that make it good.

Comments

( 1 shot of espresso — Add a shot of espresso )
shannon_elaine
Nov. 25th, 2007 12:44 am (UTC)
What a great entry. I love the complete honesty.
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