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5 Reasons I Find Hope in Chronic Pain

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Today is a hard day. I saw a doctor yesterday that was a little less than positive about my issues with fibromyalgia and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and have been feeling a little discouraged.

I know my symptoms and diagnoses are stacked up against me.  I know my health is challenging. And I know that many of my health problems are irreversible.

But that doesn’t mean that I do not still have hope. That doesn’t mean that I am anywhere near giving up or giving in to my limitations. That doesn’t mean that I am not pushing for answers each and every day and finding resources and strategies to improve my everyday life. That doesn’t mean that these diagnoses are the end for me; that all hope is lost. No, my friend.  This is only the beginning.

However, when you visit a doctor and their attitude is a little less than desired, it is very hard to see the sunlight through the clouds.

I woke up today in more pain than I was experiencing yesterday and yesterday felt like an eight on the pain scale for me.  I could have easily thrown the covers over my head, refused to attack the day, and felt sorry for myself for feeling the way I do.  However, this is not me and this is not the way I allow myself to deal with these conditions.

So instead of thinking negatively about my situation, I forced myself to find the positive. Here are a few reminders I created:

1. I have a son who watches me every day and how I manage my health issues. I do not want him to see me quit. I do not want him to see me unable to enjoy life because of challenging situations. I want him to see my struggle but also see that I push myself to find the positive and do everything in my power to better my situation as much as I can.  I want him to see my determination, motivation, and drive to overcome obstacles in life.

2. I have friends, many of which have similar problems. Let’s face it. When you join a chronic pain, autoimmune disease, or chronic illness community, you naturally find others that are suffering from the same. Scenarios might be different but it is comforting to talk with others that know what a certain diagnosis feels like. I don’t want them to see me give up on my dreams because of chronic pain. I don’t want them to see me falter without pushing through for better care. I want them to see someone who has created a life based on limitations; someone who has accepted life’s challenges and pushes to succeed; and someone who finds ways to improve quality of life even with troublesome and challenging diagnoses. I want them to see someone who didn’t give up even when life was tough.

3. I have family. And they do what families do best and worry about me. They care about me and pray, wish, and hope for my success. They’re always cheering me on, even if they’re doing this in silence.  They’re my best coach, my guiding support, and part of my team. I don’t want to quit the team or quit the experience of working on life’s challenges together. I never want to feel alone.

4. I have faith. Even though it has been a very long time since I’ve even made it to church, I still believe that we are given this life for a certain reason. I understand that my life and challenges are to be used to help others. I acknowledge that my story is to be told and I am to make an impact somewhere. I accept this blessing even when it may feel like a curse.

5. I have a network. I know others with challenging problems, others that have difficulty finding doctors and specialists that understand, and others that are looking for the smallest glimmer of hope in their situation.  I want to be that glimmer. I want to be seen as someone who always pushed forward, even in adversity. Even when faced with the most challenging scenarios or situations where many others have accepted defeat, I want to be seen as someone who broke the odds and conquered the system. I want to be a solution, a motivating factor, and an institute of support for those that suffer with health challenges like me. I want to show others that life can still be positive; you only need to learn how to live with your disease.

And I want to write. I want to share my story, share my challenges, and share my accomplishments as I journey through this life that was chosen for me. I want to do it in the most positive ways that I can because frankly, I have a lot of people on my side.

I don’t want to feel alone. My diagnoses and health problems do not define me. I am a force to be reckoned with and have chosen war for this battle with many people pocketed in my army.

We are all warriors. It just depends on whether you choose to accept your mission or not. Fight strong. Be strong. And live strong. Because you are worth it.

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Thinkstock image by PetarPaunchev

Originally published: February 20, 2017
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