Several months ago a fellow blogger and I attended a lifestyle blogging conference that I really enjoyed. However, when a group would get together and ask each other what they blogged about, most answers would be fashion, or make up, or maybe something more serious like self-love. The groups would normally ooh and ah at everyone’s topics and discuss them for a minute or two. But when it got to me, and I said I blog about chronic pain, I got a way different response.
Get inspired: Champion YOUR Chronic Pain
At first people would look a little surprised (which I couldn’t blame them for; I was following the girl who blogs about cupcakes after all) and then they would get a sort of blank look on their face. Last, they would scrunch up their nose and say, “Well that’s not very fun…” and then hurriedly move on to the next person. And this was not an isolated incident! Five, yes FIVE, people said that to me. And then there were the variations like, “Oh, I’m sorry honey.” I appreciated the sentiment, but I did not appreciate the immediate change of subject that followed. One woman even said to me, “Wow. Well, that’s morbid” and then walked off looking disgusted!
Throughout the day, I just smiled and made jokes and laughed it off. But you know what I was thinking the whole time? They are all absolutely right. Chronic pain is NOT very fun. It’s not fun to deal with, it’s not particularly pleasant to talk about, and most of the time it is difficult to write about. What these women failed failed to realize as they quickly dismissed my often harrowing topic, was that even though it’s not fun, it’s something that needs to be discussed. Because I HAVE to deal with it, I HAVE to talk about it, and it’s important to write about! Over 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, but because no one ever wants to talk about it, chraintims* like me get ignored and forgotten!
Photo credit: http://blog.joshsundquist.com/post/41278442715%5B/caption%5D
1 MT, 1 MT. This is a motto that paralympic skier, bestselling author, motivational speaker, and YouTube personality Josh Sundquist used to write on his skies to remind him to continue doing one more thing, one more time. I love this motto, and it is something that I think is especially inspirational to the spoonie/chraintim* community. In Sundquist’s words, “One more thing, one more time means doing one more thing than you feel like doing, because successful people are the ones who do one more thing than what everyone else feels like doing.” And everyone wants to be successful at something. Whether you want to be a successful student, successful at your job, or for some of us, we just want to successful at getting out of bed to take a shower. If we push ourselves to do one more thing, one more time, we can all be successful.
At this point you may be thinking, well that’s easy for this guy to say. Actually, it isn’t. Josh Sundquist got cancer and had to have his leg amputated before he was ten years old. His dream of being a professional soccer player was swiftly ended. But he didn’t let that get him down. He learned to be great at another sport, then he decided to help others overcome their struggles, then he wrote two books about his life. If you have never heard of him, please take a look at the video I’ve included in this post, and then check out the rest of his YouTube channel. He is an incredible person who is an inspiration to so many people, including myself.
*This image and article (although written by me) belongs to The Glitter Diaries. Check out this article on their amazing site here.
At first glance, this article title may seem a little ridiculous. How can I tell you not to worry about what’s going on in your life? I don’t know what’s happening with you or your family right now. You could be suffering through the hardest time in your entire life. However, no matter what the situation, it’s never healthy to worry excessively. All that will get you is anxiety and high blood pressure.
If you are going through a time in your life when you see no light at the end of the tunnel; if you are in a constant state of apprehension and distress about your situation: sit back and (at least try to) relax, and read this article about why you should worry a little less.
As a spoonie/chraintim*, there are certain struggles in life you have to learn to accept. These often include being fatigued, increased irritability, and for many of us, trying to get those damn patches not to fall off. I wear two different types of patches: I wear a 25mcg/hr Fentanyl patch and a 0.2 mg/day Clonidine patch. When I first started wearing them, they were such a pain! (No pun intended. :P) I would try to find a fairly hairless area that I didn’t have wipe down with alcohol, and hold the patch on for 30 seconds like the doctor/pharmacist/box recommended and hope for the best. My patches would dry up and fall off just walking around, but the worst was the shower. I would lose at least one patch every shower I took! This made me have to apply patches more frequently, which meant I ran out of patches too quickly, which meant I didn’t have enough medication in me, which resulted in higher pain levels. You see why this is a real problem?
Well after wearing multiple types of patches for the past five and half years, I’m going to share the tips and tricks I’ve learned over many moons to getting your medicine patches to actually stay on your body! I’ll start off with my main three ways to apply patches, and then I’ll share some general tips that most people wouldn’t even think about when giving directions for making a medicine patch stick.
I baaaaack! *She says in creepy girl in horror movie tone* No, but really, I know I took a little break (or a long three month break; tomato, potato), but Jaw Surgery Pain is back and will posting regularly again. I’m back and better than ever!
The posting schedule will be a little different. Instead of posting Monday and Wednesday, I will now be posting new content on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Some of you may have noticed that the website has been redesigned and that I now have my very own official logo (the big thing at the top of the page that says jawsurgerypain.com), thanks to Emily Dawn Designs. A big thank you to my amazingly talented cousin for making it for me. I love it, and hopefully you all do too. If you want to check out more of her work, or possibly even hire her, check out the graphic design, specifically logo/web banner, company at emilydawndesigns.blogspot.com.
And now for a little update on me and why I have been out of the blogging business for the past three months.
Every chraintim* knows how important a good sleeping arrangement is. When you spend the majority of your time in bed you end up having this perfect balance of where everything should be. And you know, you just know, when you lay down and something is off. Because if your pillows aren’t in just the right spot and your medication and water bottle aren’t within reach, it can result in disastrous pain. So this post is about when your bed becomes your home.
When your bed becomes your home:
I have a variety of readers for this blog. Many of you are chraintims*, some of you have a loved one who suffers from it, then there are those of you who are just checking this blog out and know nothing about chronic pain at all. This post is for all you.
I recently did an informative speech on chronic pain for my public speaking class and I was shocked at how little people actually knew about chronic pain. So this post is purely informative. This is a collection of facts, some well known others more obscure, to teach every reader a little more about a problem that plagues over 100 million Americans, chronic pain.
*This image and article (although written by me) belongs to The Glitter Diaries. Check out the amazing site here.
So I know this is going to sound strange, but I’m 20 years old and have only ever been on one date in my entire life. And that first date was only about two months ago, right before my twentieth birthday. I know some of you must be thinking, “How the heck do you go 19 years without ever going on a date?!” And then I’m hoping there are at least a few of you in the same boat as me. Either way, I will elaborate.
I graduated high school after the ninth grade at 15 years old. It wasn’t because I’m some sort of genius, (though it’s true I did have enough knowledge to receive a diploma at that age) it was because I had reconstructive jaw surgery that put me in debilitating pain. I’m not going to go into all of the details here, but if you’re interested in knowing more about my situation, I have an entire blog dedicated to the topic here: jawsurgerypain.com.
*Reminder: I created the word chraintim, which is a combination of the words in the phrase “chronic pain victim”.
Many of you are probably familiar with the saying “Alone, but not lonely”. There are definitely times that you can be all by yourself, but not necessarily long for companionship or understanding. Sometimes we all need a little alone time. But I’d like you to take a moment and imagine months or even years without these privileges. Imagine spending almost all of your time in chronic pain, sleeping and alone. Imagine being in my specific shoes: graduating high school early, being surrounded by people who are not only years older, but also couldn’t possibly understand the kind of stress your body is under. A little different than having some “me” time, isn’t it?
If there is one thing all chraintims understand that other people simply don’t, it is how alone pain can make you feel. Your family members and friends, no matter how much they go through with you, just couldn’t possibly understand what it’s like to live your life. And this is very difficult to come to terms with. This has been especially hard for me to cope with since there are not many 15 to 20 year-olds who deal with debilitating pain. Up until I started blogging a few months ago, it never even crossed my mind that there were other chraintims out there who would understand how I feel. It seems ridiculous now, but I felt so isolated and so alone I completely forgot that I’m not the first, and I definitely won’t be the last, person to deal with chronic pain.