Pet Pal #HAWMC

Today’s topic was suppose to be about writing a thank-you letter to that furry little friend that has always been there through your health condition! Seeing as I don’t have any furry little friends or pets of any kind I have to go to plan B!

I have to thank all the friends and family that have been there through all my health issues. There isn’t a day that goes by where they don’t have to put up with all the distractions that this illness causes! I thank you all for your patience, your kind words, and all the love that you show me. Living life with someone who has a chronic illness isn’t easy and often the friends and family fall behind the scenes when they are hurting just as much as we are. Thank-you for being so understanding and to support me when really I should really be supporting you those of you that have to put up with me!

When I look back at the hard times and the trials that you’ve been there to support me through it leaves me with no words! Without the words that so many of you speak into my life I’d be left lost and full of confusion so once again thank-you. When I find that things are getting to be too much to handle in all that a life of chronic pain throws at you I draw strength from those of you who are around me.

On those days that I find it hard to put a smile on my face you make it possible and for that I am ever so greatful. To my immediate family we are in this together and taking every step of this together, so thank-you for being the rock that I need when times get tough. We will get through this!

 

 

A Moment Away From CRPS

After arriving home from a great family trip late last Wed night, I had nothing left in me to write a post! I decided that I needed to give my body a few days after arriving home to get itself not only calmed down but turned around. We had a great time as a family in Cancun, and the last thing we wanted to do was come home to the freezing cold. The holiday met all our expectations and more! Not only did we get a lot of time as a family but my wife and I got a lot of much needed alone time as well. Every morning we’d wake up in our room and hear the crashing waves only to open the curtains to this amazing view!

My only regret on the trip was that I made the decision to not take my camera gear along with me on this trip. It was a hard decision to make because I knew there would be all kinds of photo ops presenting themselves to me but family and rest was the purpose of this trip and not pictures. We weren’t planning on leaving the resort and so that was another factor in making my decision not take it. As law would have it however the first day there, I looked next door to our resort to find an old abandonded hotel that was destroyed by Hurricane Wilma in 2005! Naturally the photographer in me came alive and I started seeing possible pictures before my eyes!

I’d been looking forward to taking this trip since we booked it in Sept, and so when surgery happened in Oct it made recovery all the more important so that I wouldn’t have to miss out! The travel is a great way to distract myself from the pain. However the reality is that its expensive and I can’t do it as much as I’d like to.

The relaxation was great though and I was able to calm my nervous system down while laying beside the pool most days! While I did some reading or even had the occasional sleep these two little monsters had a great time swimming or even meeting different kids from different places throughout the world. After the type of year I had last year it was good to just laugh and smile a bit more. I’m so thankful for the family that I have and the amazing support that they give me all the time. Even though I had to put up with my pain and the daily flareups I still feel as though it didn’t stand in the way of us having a good time. My girls had the time of their lives and that’s what mattered the most! As I’ve said numerous times before I don’t want to see CRPS limit me in the things that I want to do and the places that I want to go! I have a lot of this world left to see and I’m not about to stop. So check off Cancun and on to the next destination! The only thing I need to do after this trip was find a way to excercise because I ate way to much while we were there. I’m sure if I stepped on a scale that I will have gained about twenty pounds after all that amazing food!

After arriving home the temperature swing from 31C to -31C really shocked my nervous system and I’m sure its why my body is a bit more cranky than normal. I’m hopeful however that the extreme temperatures will start to ease in the next month or so! It just needs to smarten up or I need to move to the heat! Did I mention that I still have a mental picture of this beach in my mind, with the turqoise blue waters!

Okay! Time to get this post finished as the first week back was kind of crazy and I just wasn’t able to get to finishing this thing up. So its time to put the my nose to the grindstone and get this thing done. In lots of ways I feel like I have too many things that need attention right now. I don’t however have the energy to get it all done. There are two things that I’m really struggling with since having my surgery and that’s energy and the ability to lift any weight at all. I find that even lifting a shopping bag that’s moderately heavy is too much and almost kills me. So trying to push, pull, and lift are all things that I have real trouble with still. The pain doesn’t take a break because with CRPS it never will but over the last week I was able to take a break from focusing on the pain. Every day I watched my two girls take on new adventures and that brought a smile to my face. Both of my girls tackled the rock climbing wall that was there, a little nervous at first but eventually getting the hang of things! In this picture you see my little girl Katelyn scaling it to the top. Then they took a zip line down from the top.

 

So after a hard morning of climbing and zipping the girls would cool off by either doing some water sliding or laying by the pool eating a plate of fries! Yes vegatables seemed to be a rarity on this vacation for them. We would try but over and over they wanted fries and chicken nuggets. It was vacation so we weren’t going to force the issue to much, but it was funny! It was just fun seeing them have so much fun and be kids for a change. What so many people miss is that these kids are growing up with a parent who is battling chronic illness. So life for them is just a bit different because there are lots of times when they have to hold back on that because it affects dad in so many ways. It was the perfect enviroment for them to let loose and just be kids.

When your a family that deals with chronic pain your everyday routine is often a bit different and it can be more taxing on all of you. The moments of stress or tension within the family dynamic are often greater and you have to try hard to laugh at things even when you don’t exactly feel like laughing. This trip helped ease all that stress and for once we could just laugh at each other and smile as we had a good time!

 

Light At The End Of The Tunnel!

When I decided to start writing this post this morning I didn’t quite know how to start things off. Isn’t summer suppose to be lots of family time hanging out together taking road trips making lots of memories together? It hasn’t quite worked out that way because of all the chaos in my home. I do see an end in site however now that work is being done again. We got final approval to go ahead and drywall today! I’m hopeful that by the end of the weekend we’ll be ready for the final stages and that it won’t be long until we get our basement back.

It’s at times like these that I’m thankful that I have the family that I do. My nephew has come to the rescue and is now finishing the job off for us. He’s amazing and even though he’s living in another province and is extremely busy, he still found time to help us out. It’s a huge blessing and takes a lot of stress off my plate. My pain has been on the rise over the last few weeks and I’m finding that more of my symptoms from the CRPS are starting to surface. I need to slow things down but there are so many projects to get done!

This weekend I am taking time out to go and take in a family gathering which has now been dubbed “wing night” where the cousins host a party that has kind of become an annual event. It’s what cottage life at the lake is all about, lots of family gatherings and the added perk of having great food. In the midst of everything that’s going on right now it’s the perfect break.

On the health front a couple weeks ago I saw my surgeon for a follow up in regards to my implant. I was having a bit of trouble with the incision site because it had somehow opened and there was some concern that the site had become infected. The great news is that things have healed up and it looks like we don’t have to worry about infection anymore. I’m still getting some pain in the area but it seems to be on the mend. Having the implant in it’s new location has been a bit of a challenge because I’ve had to figure out my new limitations. However that being said I’d rather have the battery in it’s new location than in my back any day!

With all the stress over the last little while I’ve started getting a lot of shooting pain in my hand which for the longest time has been under control with the implants. It’s just telling me that I’m doing too much and that I need to get that stress under control.  My energy level has been really up and down as well, something that again is any symptom that I’m pushing things too hard. I’ve been trying to do a lot of relaxation therapy to combat the increase in symptoms.

I  don’t do well telling myself to slow down and I never have. I’ve always had a really strong work ethnic and pride myself on that. Now that CRPS is a part of my life however I can’t achieve the same high standards that I hold myself to. It’s something that I’ve had a really hard time dealing but over time I’ve had to learn to accept. It’s been a real struggle because my strong work ethic is a part of who I am and CRPS has tried to take that away from me. What I’ve really had to learn though is that my work ethic doesn’t have to change but the amount I do does. This might seem like an easy thing to change but for me it’s been a real challenge. I think I’ve gotten better over time but I still have my days where I think things should be normal.

Well I’d better end this post and get on with things. I’ll be back from the lake in a couple of days when I’ll post again. Hopefully at some point over the next little while I’ll get back to posting every couple of days but being summer and having so much going on I’ll do my best to get one up at least once a week. Talk to everyone soon.

Facing CRPS Together!

I’m back after a great long weekend at the cottage with my family! We spent the weekend opening up the cottage for the summer and cleaning up after the long harsh winter that we had. There is so much for me to do at the moment and quite frankly I’m feeling a little bit overwhelmed about it all. If it isn’t this project it’s another and often I find myself worrying about how I’m going to get it all done. My body will only let me do so much and I can’t afford to higher it all out! Also you can only call on so many friends to help you out. Somehow and someway I will get everything done!

My pain this week has been up and down and we’ve made a few adjustments to my medications to take care of that. I’m still dealing with a little bit of surgical pain in and around where my new battery was implanted. Slowly things are starting to heal but I’m still struggling with my energy levels. I’m finding that by the end of the day I hit a wall and then my pain starts to creep up even more. So I’m trying to stay aware of that and take things a bit easier.

At the moment I’m reading a book called “broken dreams, fulfilled promises” by Carolyn Ros. So when I started to think about what today’s post would be about, I had to reflect on what this book talks about. In a lot of ways it’s my families story and probably many other people’s as well. It’s about a husband and wife, Johan and Carolyn Ross and their story of dealing with Johan’s lose of his memory after a brain tumour. After having surgery to remove it he couldn’t remember who his wife and kids where and had a vocabulary of only a hundred words. Though not identical their story parallels the struggles and journey that my family has been on. It’s a story about a long hard road that they faced together, and how God would rebuild their lives.

This book really strikes a cord with me and I can relate to so many different aspects of what they had to go through. What’s great about this book though is that their story is told through the spouses eyes and what she had to live with and deal with every day. It’s a side that we don’t see enough and in fact need to see more often. What people need to understand is that the entire family unit is in crisis not just the person affected by the illness. How often do people ask me how my wife is coping with all of this, or how my kids are coping? They are dealing with just as much as me in all of this, and as a family we will get through this with Gods help.

For those of you who aren’t married with kids you might still be able to gain insight into what other family members around you have to live and deal with as you go through your specific crisis. Often when my wife and I are talking she’ll say she can’t imagine what it would be like to live in pain all the time. Do I stop and tell her I can’t imagine what it must be like watching a spouse live with that pain? Do I stop and think about how helpless a feeling it must be to watch you spouse go through everything and not be able to help. Not as much as I should! Do I ask my kids how they’re doing when they look at me with a sad face and ask me when I’m going to get the use of my hand or foot back? Once again this is something that I should do more often.

This story is a reminder that we aren’t on this journey alone and that you need to look outside yourself when dealing with your illness! It’s also a reminder of the amazing things that God can do if given the chance. On Friday I celebrate my 16th wedding anniversary with an amazing woman who’s been riding right along with me through this storm. I want to thank her for being there right beside me through everything and let her know that I’m right there beside her as well! I love you!