I’m only 57 years old, about to have my 58th birthday in less than a month, I’m not really THAT old, yet my body feels at least 90 on most days.
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I honestly still have a mind of a 25 year old, I love being silly and playful with my grandkids. I love roller-coasters, riding horses, swimming and would really enjoy playing volley-ball again if only my body would cooperate. Instead, I’ve been forced, prematuely, I might add, to become a spectator of most of those things.
Oh, of course I’m a very stubborn and strong-willed person, always have been, so I do push my limits most of the time. Who can resist the twinkling in the playful, mishcievous eyes of their grandchildren as they squeal “come play with me!”? I know I can’t resist!!! So off I go pushing my body to enjoy the moment and suffer for it later.
How many times have you heard
“Oh, I saw you with your grandkids yesterday and y’all were really having fun, but you are in the bed sick today?” or “How are you so sick today, when just yesterday you were posting pics on Facebook of you at Six Flags with your grankids?” Yes, I’ve heard them all, I’ve even heard the “rumors” the snarky remarks made by family members saying I must be faking all the pain and sickness. It hurts, but I just keep going, I let it roll off of me like water off a duck’s back. It’s very difficult to ignore sometimes, especially when it’s family that you hear saying these things, but I just smile when I can, enjoy the “good days” as often as possible, and most of all, I pray that the ones that criticize me never have to live with chronic pain, an invisible illness or the depression that is brought on by living with such ailments.
So it’s really not ALL in my head
Because I do have a list of illnesses that are medically tested, proven and diagnosed by an equally long list of doctors. It really isn’t ALL in my head. Of course, after years of living with the illnesses I have, combined with limited phsyical abilities due to those illnesses, and don’t forget the criticism I’ve had to endure, I now also have some emotional issues that, well, are actually IN my head! Such as depression that has been triggered by learning to live with phsyical limitations at a rather young age. I’ve been living with fibromyalgia and hip pain since I was 34 years old. Along with diabetes, gastroparesis, heart disease and deteriorating vision due to complications of diabetes, just to name a few, I also have osteoarthritis. This normally isn’t something you’d worry about until after you’re 60 years old, but mine started before I turned 50. I suffer from Cervical Spondylosis, Lumbosacral spondylosis and, Trochanteric bursitis, which each of these cause extreme pain, especially when the joints are over-worked or stressed.
To give you just a hint of some of what I live with, The Mayo clinic gave this information on Cervical Spondylosis:
Sometimes, cervical spondylosis results in a narrowing of the space needed by the spinal cord and the nerve roots that pass through the spine to the rest of your body. If the spinal cord or nerve roots become pinched, you might experience:
- Tingling, numbness and weakness in your arms, hands, legs or feet
- Lack of coordination and difficulty walking
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
That’s just beginning to touch on a few of the things I live with from day to day. My body hurts to stand, walk, move or sit, but if I lay down for more than 3-4 hours at a time, then my body hurts from being still and I get stiff all over. I constantly go in a vicious cycle of unending pain, no matter what I do or don’t do physically! I’ve always been an active person and I loved my career as a nurse with unbridled passion. Being forced to give up my career and most physical activity at what seemed to be the prime of my life has caused major depression, just one more thing to deal with, and for others to not understand.
So how do I cope without giving up?
Some days it is all I can do to simply get out of bed, but I must get up because laying there just is NOT an option. I know I will start to hurt worse the longer I lay there, so I get up and start moving through the pain. I have to stretch my muscles even when it hurts. I have to tend to my basic daily needs, and I have my two furbabies that need attention. I love my pugs, Buster, now 16 years old that gets around only slightly better than I do, and Daisy my 1 years lively, rambuctious little girl that keeps Buster and me both entertained. Not sure what I’d do without them to keep me motivated!
Then of course, my children and grandkids are my entire world, if not for them, I really could not get up and put one foot in front of the other one each day. My daughters check in with me every morning and every night. My oldest daughter is checking first thing every morning to see if I’ve been active online, then sending a message, if I don’t answer promptly, she’s calling me to see that I’m awake and doing ok. Then each night, I get phone calls and messages so I can tell the grandkids “goodnight” or just to talk about our day. This again, pushes me to smile through the pain, enjoy my moments that I cherish so much! How could I possibly let depression sink in and drag me down to the depths of despair when I have a gorgeous, vibrant grand-daughter and two handsome, creative and sometimes mischieveous grandsons wanting to share their activities, what they’ve learned and just send their love to me each day? No, after all I’ve been through in my life, and with all I still have to be grateful for, chronic pain and a little depression will not stop me now!!
You are not alone in this battle
I know I’m never alone in this battle of chronic pain, or invisible illnesses, in fact my daughters’ have a few diagnosis’ of their own to deal with and I really hate seeing them in pain even more than dealing with my own pain. There are thousands upon thousands of people in this world that deal with these diseases, and symptoms every day. Please know that you are never alone! Awareness is rising in society all the time, but if you’ve stumbled upon my blog, I hope you will continue to come back from time to time. Here you will never be judged or criticized, you will only be understood.
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Until next time,