How many of you are living with chronic pain? Maybe it’s from arthritis. Maybe it’s fibromyalgia. Maybe it’s back pain. Maybe it’s – God or someone forbid – cancer.
My late father died from brain cancer but before he died he spent six and a half years from diagnosis to death and much of that time in excruciating pain. Some of it I saw and heard – I was a child then. As I write in my memoir:
But with his second cancer stint, Dad … starts vomiting. Mother tries everything from toast to tomato soup, but nothing stays down. I hear him heaving in the bathroom. Mother and I draw no comfort from each other, she the fussing worried wife, and I scared back into my pea shell, not much protection for a 12-year-old.
Then Dad gets recurring headaches that escalate into one big throbbing hurt at the top of his head. It must be torture to bend over the toilet bowl to puke out his guts while his head drums to the same painful beat. He becomes weaker and spends most of his time in bed. Our family doctor sends him to the hospital, this time St. Michael’s.
(Excerpted from You Can Go Home: Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2011 Sharon Crawford).
My pain is more from an aging body fed up with all the stress and other stuff coming at and in it. So…I’m convinced I have to deal with the stress. Ideally I’d like to get rid of the stressors and stop them coming at me. I’m one of those people who believes in tackling the problem head on – once I stop waffling about what I need to do. I have never found that just changing my attitude gets rid of the stress or stressors. They are still here until I do something about them.
Doing something, however, I’ve learned, also means having a goal, a passion in life and focusing on it. I actually have more than one passion – writing and gardening. I am also learning that relaxing methods (like meditation and Yoga) can help to at least lower the tightness in the body and help the mind get to “clear” (although just temporarily) so that you can think better and focus on what you love to do. Another important thing to lower stress is getting enough sleep, which I’m finding difficult to do. Usually I don’t have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. My problem is trying to find the time to get ENOUGH sleep – not easy when you are alone with no partner, siblings or living parents and have too much to do. Yes, I have a son and friends who help, but none of them are here day-by-day, minute-by-minute to help – they do have their own lives to live. I’m grateful for the help I get from them.
So, I’m trying to delete some activities from my life – not easy when emergencies such as computer or house problems jump at you out of the bad blue. However, I believe the bottom line for me is taking control.
Which gets me back to tackling the problem(s) head on.
Excuse me while I deal with the latest computer problem.
Only Child Writes