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How to Fight Pain and Chronic Fatigue A Personal Story

Updated on August 10, 2015
nancynurse profile image

I am a wife, mother, Nana and Christian first. I graduated from UNCC with a BSN in Nursing and a minor in Psychology.

Pain can make you feel Helpless

Women often are more sensitive to pain
Women often are more sensitive to pain | Source

Smell the Roses Photos of myself with friends of family

Celebrating a birthday at my sister-in-law's home
Celebrating a birthday at my sister-in-law's home | Source
People in your life help.
People in your life help. | Source
Try to enjoy you family and loved ones.
Try to enjoy you family and loved ones. | Source
Get Moderate Exercise
Get Moderate Exercise
Be sure you are Sleeping enough
Be sure you are Sleeping enough | Source

Dealing with my pain

I have come to see how many of us are living either in chronic pain or fatigue for various reason. I felt as though I was so alone and now I feel like I should share some thoughts as well as some of the things I have learned with my walk with chronic pain.

I have or had boundless energy prior to the onset of my Lupus, up at 6 am ready to face the day ahead. With the lupus flare and later a severe back condition I started to lose my zest for life.

I have learned some things along the way. I have to take each day for what it is. If anything this pain has made me more patient and compassionate. Pain is not something you can see so many of the people around me, even my family, do not understand how much it is effecting my mood, feelings and ability to function.

This is where I have to learn to let things roll of my chest when I feel as if I am being judged. Many people will come to see you as either lazy or antisocial and I am neither. If I have a good day I tend to err on the side of doing way too much because it feels sooo good to be living and moving. This is good in that it builds my self esteem and gives me the sense of accomplishment that I long for so much, but usually I end up paying for such days with severe pain that evening or even for days to follow.

So much is expected of us as wives and mothers that it is easy to fake it. I try to put my happy face on. When I drop my guard my family wants to know what is wrong. My husband is finally coming to understand my limitations and helps me out by not caring if we don't have a three course dinner. He still can't understand why I would rather stay at home and eat a light dinner, watch a movie and relax versus going out to dinner. These things take energy which I hold at a premium. We have become quite adept at cooking healthy easy meals, like salmon burgers with fresh spinach and sweet potato fries or grilling our favorite fish or chicken outside and using cold brown rice mixed with raw veggies, slivered almonds and a vinaigrette dressing poured over it. Add some fresh fruit and you have a great meal.

I have tried so many things to make myself healthy again. Aside from what my doctors recommend. I take supplements. Vitamin D, my levels have been very low in the past. I now take antioxidants and probiotics as well as B complex and magnesium and calcium for adrenal fatigue. I go to acupuncture with my daughter. I also am able to give myself a B12 injection monthly. Not sure how much it helps (maybe more mind over matter)!!!!

Recently I started using wheat grass protein and I make a high protein antioxidant breakfast. This give me the energy I need. I have been adding coconut oil and/or flax seed oil, both of which help us with reducing belly fat.

I have cut out most carbs and gluten products because so many people told me it would make me feel better but I have actually found that has not been the case. I have not seen a great deal of change in my condition from this at all so I am slowly adding bread back into my diet.

I would have to say the biggest help is keeping stress down, if that is even possible. I try to get outside most days because the fresh air and sunlight really seem to help. Stress is my worst enemy. I have a tendency to worry about people and things and try to be a pleaser (the middle child syndrome!!!). This can take my stress levels over the top.

When I wake up I usually hurt quite a bit and I have to use self talk to get past this. As you can imagine depression is a natural consequence of waking up feeling "crummy". I tell myself it will get better, this is normal for me and as I move and have breakfast it usually does get better. That first initial realization that I am tired and hurting when I open my eyes can be a killer. Those of us in chronic pain have to try to fight the negativity that accompanies this and push forward, Spending a few minutes in prayer and meditating on scripture helps me tremendously. Of course I usually am sitting with a cup of coffee my hubby has prepared and already taken my daily medications.

Often I will slip on some comfortable clothes and pull up my bed to feel as if I have already accomplished something. Later in the day it feels good to shower and put on some sunscreen, blush, mascara and lipstick. it is all a process. My sweet husband tells me to just jump in a hot shower first thing in the morning, but when you have the energy of a deflated balloon this is not appealing till later in the day. We used to have a functioning hot tub which helped quite a bit. I would often wake in the middle of the night in pain and slip into it long enough to soothe my muscles and joints and go back to bed. Unfortunately it has been out of commission for quite a while and heating water 24/7 is not something we look forward to facing early retirement.

I would love to go for massage more but again that takes energy,scheduling appointments, getting there and even making chit chat at your massage appointment.

We try to buy my groceries in bulk so I don't have to go back often. We have discovered a grocery store chain (Aldi's) that has incredible prices and just about all you need can be found within the store's small 4 isles including organic ( see article on the Dirty Dozen) This makes shopping so much easier. They do not take coupons either which I somehow feel obligated to use at regular food store chains. I also use Warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam's to stock up.

Listening to my body has been something I have not been very diligent about but when I do the rewards are huge. Examples; go to bed at the first sign of fatigue, ( I don't sleep well so I take melatonin about 7 pm with great results), eat whenever hunger or thirsty.( You need to stay hydrated) I take my pain medication before the pain becomes unbearable. Take frequent rest periods; do not over commit; try mind control to keep from getting into bad moods or letting little things hurt my feelings. I like a quote I found on Pinterest " Every 60 seconds we are angry is 60 seconds we have lost happiness".

It is especially important to get together with friends. I admit I have to really work on this because of lack of energy but I do I notice how much better I feel afterwards.

Chronic pain sufferers, like myself, need to try to not hide our feelings too much, as we can find strength in numbers and the more we share the less alone we feel. Be careful not to complain constantly and be labeled a complainer. Everyone has problems and you will always find someone in a worse condition than yourself.

Spend time alone with your spouse or significant other daily. Taking short walks are great for both of you.

I used to do exercise at a gym near our house but we have since moved. I found this to be quite an energizer and something I need to force myself back into.

Daily rest periods are awesome but be careful if you are a poor sleeper. Maybe just stop and close your eyes for a few moments and listen to some good music.

It is very difficult to live with chronic pain but try to live in the moment and focus on the small blessings brought your way each day and you may find yourself a little bit happier.

We need to try to focus on the things that aren't hurting each day. I am not saying be a saint but positive energy feels better than negative energy and it takes more energy to frown than to smile. I try to greet my family with a happy comment and a smile when I see them.

One HUGE struggle we have is scheduling because my disease is so unpredictable. I know this frustrates my family and close friends and I wish so much things were more in my control but again you have to think of your own health or no one else will.

Learn to say no. Easier said than done, but if you are a people pleaser and have chronic pain or fatigue you will find your need to please is causing more harm than good. People will love you whether you are always doing something for them or not. Let them know how much you care and be yourself.

Surround yourself with things that are beautiful to you. Paint your home in soothing colors like greens and blues. It amazes me how much our environment affects our moods. Yellow is also uplifting to me and our den and front hall are yellow. Bring in some flowers from your yard or grab a small handful at the grocery. Place little bouquets all around your home.

It is easy to say try to smell the roses and enjoy the good times but you have to remind yourself to do it. Soon it becomes a habit.

Try to love yourself as God loves you. Self love is hard but you need it to get through any chronic illness.



Life is full of Happiness and Pain

My precious gifts from God
My precious gifts from God | Source

© 2012 Nancy McClintock

Comments

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  • Susan Trump profile image

    Susan Trump 

    3 years ago from San Diego, California

    Because I write about toxicity, chronic pain and alternatives I've found some info to my misdiagnosis of lupus. My issues were similar or the same as lupus, but caused by lead and arsenic poisoning. The days are the same and the lack of vitality you describe is the same. I've learned NOT to accept a diagnosis easily or I'd be treating fibromyalgia with medication for two decades. It's important to find the cause and not just settle for a cure that gets you a rx. Recently, in trying to heal from poisoning and trying to relieve some of the daily pain, I've learned that my leaky gut is part of the equation. Those of us with this chronic pain need to investigate leaky gut syndrome. I've just written about it because it is so prevalent and so misdiagnosed. Thanks for writing.

  • nancynurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Nancy McClintock 

    5 years ago from Southeast USA

    Thank you so much for your input. I wish your friend the very best.

  • DIYmommy profile image

    Julie 

    5 years ago

    Though I have never battled with chronic pain myself, I recently read a book written by someone who has. It was written by my neighbor, and in it she details a very candid look into her personal struggle with chronic pain. After an accident years ago, her fragile body has been through surgery after surgery. Since the beginning of this year, she has been through two separate surgeries, requiring the placement of pins in both sides of her hip. It's hard to see her go through what she has gone through. I recently made her a meal, and I've been visiting her frequently in an attempt to help her while she recovers (although, with chronic pain, it never seems like she will actually completely recover...) Your hub, combined with her book, has really shed light on a problem that at least appears to becoming very widespread. Thanks for the insightful hub and I wish you the very best!

  • nancynurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Nancy McClintock 

    5 years ago from Southeast USA

    Hi Pamela I know we have written before. We do have a lot in common . You are an Rn too. I hate you don't sleep That can be so frustrating. Praying for you today. Thanks so much for commenting

  • nancynurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Nancy McClintock 

    5 years ago from Southeast USA

    I am so glad you read it to. Pain can't be seen and people don't realize when we hurt, even family. D0 you push yourself to do more because no one understands? That can be difficult too. Thank so much for commenting. I feel a kindred spirit with you!!!!

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 

    5 years ago

    I have a lot of pain also and I sleep poorly at night. I am often up at AM and then get more sleep later in the day. I also find stress to be a huge problem, so I have learned to not get stressed over little things, like traffic. My faith sustains me through the harder times and the support of my husband if great. I try to get the most out of each day and some days are much better than others. We do have a lot in common and I wish you better health in the future.

  • FaithDream profile image

    FaithDream 

    5 years ago from (Midwest) USA

    I am so glad I stopped by here to read more of your hubs. We are alike in so many ways.

    I struggle daily with Fibromyalgia and many of the things you suggest as well as discuss here are related to this disease.

    Thank you for sharing this with others. Perhaps those who live with someone who suffers from chronic pain may find some understanding here.

    Living with unseen pain causes some misunderstandings, thanks for turning on an educational light into this topic.

  • nancynurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Nancy McClintock 

    6 years ago from Southeast USA

    I agree . Stress is impossible to escape and it is perceived more by some than others.

  • nancynurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Nancy McClintock 

    6 years ago from Southeast USA

    Thanks so much for your comment. I read your profile and we could be twins. Sent you a return comment. Pain is my worst enemy right now. As a christian I try to learn what God might be teaching me. Do you have lots of pain with your lupus. Thanks to A fellow RN

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago

    I have also found that stress can be a big problem.Vitamin D is so important also. When my level was low my doctor told me they want lupus patients to be on the high side of normal. I love all your suggestions, as they are so important in helping to get the most out of each day and still maintain better health.

  • Lita C. Malicdem profile image

    Lita C. Malicdem 

    6 years ago from Philippines

    I live daily with chronic pain, too, due to diabetic peripheral neuropathy that affects my lower limbs and hands, aggravated by nerve damage pain on my right thigh up to my buttocks due to shingles.

    You write so well about your chronic pain and I appreciate so much how you educate me on your struggles against chronic pain, energizing your body, and all that! You are one brave woman whose healing and caring touch reach out to me. Thank you for the sharing.

  • nancynurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Nancy McClintock 

    6 years ago from Southeast USA

    Thank you for the tips. I so appreciated your input and your thoughtful comments

  • nancynurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Nancy McClintock 

    6 years ago from Southeast USA

    Thank you so much for reading and for your thoughtful comments. I hope you feel better soon

  • editorsupremo profile image

    editorsupremo 

    6 years ago from London, England

    I empathise with your pain. I suffer from chronic pain down the left flank of my body as a result of nerve damage following kidney removal. I have found that cold/hot treatments and juicing a mixture of carrot, beet and cucumber helps, drinking approximately 1 1/2 Litres daily.

  • mwilliams66 profile image

    mwilliams66 

    6 years ago from Left Coast, USA

    Thank you for the peek into your personal fight with lupus/chronic pain. I have lupus, ra and pidd and I too battle the chronic pain and fatigue issues. I absolutely agree with your article. It is easy to fall into the pool of self pity and to withdraw from those who care about us. Good on you for pushing yourself to leave the pity party and join life. I have too often been guilty of holding these parties. It's tough to find the balance between over doing it and totally pulling away. You have provided wonderful tips and insight. I look forward to reading more of your hubs.

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