goals and guidelines for 2008
As I've been working through my own personal hell of this flare which won't go away, I've strayed from blogging far too long. Depression and anxiety have helped me to create a world in which I see the world so darkly that it isn't worth trying to write. There are several lies this flare has gotten me to believe which have prevented me from blogging. But I'm back now, and I want to continue the healing, even as I still struggle with health issues and the fall-out they have caused. Please be gentle with me, I'm taking a tentative step out into the world, allowing others to read my thoughts and seeking the support my cognative thoughts tell me I don't deserve.
This flare has lasted longer, been more painful and taken away more of my joy in life than any other flare I've ever experienced in my five years of living with this disease. Every gain I made was a gain I could not easily keep. We fought to find the right combination of medications that would allow me to sleep at night, be moving around in the day, manage my pain effectively enough that I could function in therapy and not cause unbearable side effects. We've also started looking at new therapies to try which will hopefully give me more skills to take care of myself and, as a consequence, help to keep me more comfortable. Now that I'm starting to feel like writing again, I want to return to those goals and see which ones I can make progress on.
Drink more water, juice and healthy stuff: Okay, I admit to slipping up on this one. I still am trying to drink water and juice, but I admit that sodas and coffee still have a big hold on my drink quantity. I've started to try to encorporate water into my days when it makes sense. I'm currently experimenting with trying to drink a glass of water every time I get up to go use the rest room.
Increasing consumption of healthy snacks: I've been eating more granola bars than chips, but I still enjoy my chocolate and candy. I've also tried to branch out and eat things I didn't eat before. Fore example, when I go to a restauarant for breakkfast, I get a bowl of oatmeal and some fruit. Many people think that's weird, but I do notice that I have a lot less nausea than I would if I ordered a big breakfast.
Start an exercise plan or work with a physical therapist: I've started doing physical therapy in a special pool which has water that's about 92 degrees. It's absolutely wonderful! I think this is going to be a key point in recovery, especially in the areas of weight-bearing and sensitivity to touch. I've only had one session so far, but I already know that I love it!
Find new therapies which will decrease my pain: Without wanting to outline a lot of what I've been doing, I will tell you that I've gotten my medications adjusted, tried some more nerve blocks (with sedation this time), and added some other therapies I'll write about in other portions of this update. For the first time in a very long time, I can say that my pain is finally down in the 6-7 range of the pain scale for most of the day, and that my breakthrough pain is finally able to be managed. I don't know how permanent this will be, but I'm enjoying it while I've got it.
Blogging about my emotional responses: I've been very bad about following up with this. I'm trying to start doing this more, though a lot of this is being done privately. I'm slowly starting to see my blog as a safe place to share again.
Seriously consider counseling: One thing I regret about this summer is that I don't have access to the counselor I worked with during the school year and I never made the effort to look for someone who I could work with on a temporary basis. I think that, in hindsight, that would've been very helpful.
Learn one new mindbody skill: I'm working with a wonderful biofeedback therapist right now, and I'd like to write more about this in a separate entry. It's a wonderful tool to use, and I'm really glad I'm able to do it.
Do at least 20 minutes of relaxation skills a day: This one is a bit challenging, but since I'm doing the biofeedback right now, I'm actually pretty good about racticing my various skills and improving my ability to use them.
Praying more: I'm starting to get better about prayer, and I've also been able to reconnect with the group I prayed with every Monday night during high school. They call me every Monday night and we pray. I'm glad to have the comfort of prayer back in my life again and the ability to talk to God is wonderful.
Read the Bible: I need to confess that I'm not as good about this as I'd like to be. I'm getting better, but haven't made it a daily commitment, which is where I'd like to be.
Start a grattitude journal: Well, I started it, but I've been horrible about trying to continue it. I think the key here will be to reward myself for any writing I do for this, and not try to scold myself for not doing it well enough. I've set myself up for failure by scolding myself for not writing enough, and now it's hard to want to do it at all. I think the key with this is that I need to want to do it, or at least feel like I can do it, not that I have to do it.
Read a spiritual book: I'm slowly making the move toward more spiritual literature again. I recently downloaded the first book in the Left Behind series, and read it. That's a slow step toward improvement in this area.
Need I say more? I'm sorry!
I haven't done much in this area either. I'd like to do better, since I'm within sixx books of reaching a relatively significant milestone.