July 23, 2010

Pain has a message

I like to blog about a certain number of topics: Kenners, food, my family, my faith, everyday mom happenings, all mixed in with my own quirky ramblings.  My life is about as great as it gets, and I like to document it as my journal and share it with others.
I don't like to blog about pain.  Particularly any of my pain.
Who wants to read about that?!
I wouldn't.
So I tuck it away.  
I mostly try to pretend it doesn't exist.
I've done that a lot over the past 3 years in between seeing 5 different medical doctors and 2 chiropractic doctors who have had no answers or solutions for me. 
After each failed attempt and doctor's visit, I tell myself, "I guess that pain is just a part of life that I need to learn to cope with and accept."
While I think that there is truth to this statement that I tell myself often,
I have begun to adopt a new way of looking at pain that is so simply put by Peter McWilliams:
"Pain (any pain--emotional, physical, mental) has a message".

I have struggled with wanting to even write this post.
Remember, I don't want to be a "Debbie Downer" and talk about aches, pains, and maladies that in no way compare to far worse health conditions that I see others experience.
Besides, who really cares!?
I mean, wouldn't you all rather read a post about how Kenners ran straight into the deep end of the swimming pool today with two fists full of graham cracker?
I still feel strongly to share with you (I don't know exactly who "you" is!?) the message that I believe Pain has for me.
Actually, in the past few months I have identified 3 distinct messages that Pain has to give me....

#1. Become a better me.  In her book Feelings Buried Alive Never Die, Karol K. Truman states, "God (tries) to communicate with you through your body, and pain is one sure way He gets your attention".  I reflected on this statement over the past few months and have to agree with it.  It seems that it is in our darkest, most painful hours that we turn to our Maker for comfort and peace.  It is also from those darkest and most painful hours that we often emerge a better, stronger version of ourselves.  
So I have been thinking: while there may a physiological reason for my pain that I need to take care of through traditional or alternative medicine, I may have been missing one of the main purposes of my pain these past 3 years: I need to focus on improving myself.  I need to develop an even closer relationship to my Heavenly Father.  I need to listen and ponder more after I pray.  I need to be a better student of the scriptures.  I need to serve others better.  I need to become a better me.
So, I'm working on it.  Like really working on it.  I've been looking deep into who I am, what I feel, what I think, and what I do.  Honestly, I have not liked a lot of what I have seen and I am realizing a lot more imperfections and faults in myself than I knew even existed.  But the good news is, I'm putting plans into action to clear out the cobwebs and do a complete "me" makeover.  It's going to be a process, but it feels good.

#2.  Keep looking for answers.  After each discouraging visit with a different doctor, I have often felt pretty resigned to the fact that my body is just going to hurt.  Luckily, I have loving and persistent husband who is not okay with me being curled into in a little ball on our bed every night in pain.  
In chiropractic school, Garrett not only takes many courses standard to medical school and learns how to adjust the spine, but he spends most of his weekends attending seminars that focus on treating patients through nutrition and functional medicine.  We spend many evenings reading books and articles on these and other related topics.  I almost feel as if I have been going through school all over again (minus the tests, which is a plus!).  It has been wonderful to combine my experience as a nurse and knowledge of traditional/western medicine with Garrett's knowledge of alternative medicine and chiropractics.  We definitely haven't found all the answers but it truly has been empowering to learn so much while looking for them and I have felt much healthier and happier in my life as I have begun to implement what I am learning.  I feel like I'm heading in the right direction.  In a way, I think that the Pain is there to tell me "Keep educating yourself.   Keep looking for answers.  You'll find them.  You'll get better."
 #3. Share what I learn.  I have to be honest: while learning about health, proper nutrition, and ways to treat illness is rewarding, doing the research is a tedious, long, not-so-fun process.  I have read a lot and have had to wade through a lot of junk to get to the pearls that I have discovered.   Seriously, why do some chiropractors and naturopaths  need to have--in my humble opinion--such a kooky and extreme approach that it turns off the general public from seeking their services?  After reading a chapter in a book I was reading the other night, all I could do was turn to Garrett and say, "No wonder people think that these practitioners are just a bunch of crazies!" 
And it really is too bad, because I have found a lot validity and scientific-based evidence in much of what they practice and offer.  Knowledge, wisdom, and nutritional advice that so many people would benefit from but fail to accept it because of the way in which it is presented. 
I am excited for the day that my extremely smart and giving husband has his own practice and can help people.  In the meantime, this little journey I'm on right now is teaching me so much that I often feel a nagging to share what I learn with others.  I think that it is part of the purpose for my pain: to learn and then to share what I learn.  I'd feel a little greedy if I didn't share....but I don't want this blog to become that kind of a blog.  This is a blog about my family and I want to keep it that way. 
So I am considering starting a blog dedicated to documenting this experience I'm on with Pain and health and nutrition and what I learn along the way.  My question is, is anyone else out there on the hunt to find better health who would read or appreciate something like this?  Did most of you stop reading this post after the first paragraph? Have I pretty much just turned weird and kooky to half of my readers out there?  I don't know.  I just thought I'd toss this little idea out into cyberspace....


Anonymous said...

I read your entire post. Because I deal with the same malady, physical pain. Although I recently (7 months ago) had a total knee replacement that has certainly caused me more than my fill of PAIN, it is not the pain I write about. Mine is foot pain, and I have been battling it for about 5 or more years. I have had 6 foot surgeries, including pins, screws, Titanium implants, tendon reconstruction, etc., to name a few things. And, I STILL have major pain.

I, like you, do TONS of research online about the pain, and how I might find refuge from it. There do not seem to be my answers anywhere. My orthopaedic surgeon feels like he has let me down in not being able to help me further.

I would WELCOME, with a cartwheel (except that I do not know how to do one!), your blog about pain. Yes, please, write it!!

Happy day!

And, did the graham crackers all "melt" in the swimming pool? :)

Kayz said...

This is Kali from Jerusalem (I saw that you posted on pain through fb and was intrigued). I can relate (I've had health problems for 12 years and went to many doctors when I was afraid I was going blind and deaf--even the Mayo Clinic). I have several issues, but the most predominant is MS. Pain is definitely a struggle, but I'd love to hear how you get through your pain. Good to hear you're throwing out your lessons learned. =) GOOD LUCK GIRLIE!! =)

Danielle Price said...

I think you should totally write a blog about your journey with your illnesses and discoveries-I would read it! I don't have physical pain, but we all have some kind of pain in our lives and being able to relate and learn from others is an incredible blessing. You have amazing and inspirational insight..I appreciate you sharing so far. I'm sorry that you have health concerns and I hope this journey ends with miraculous answers and cures and lots of lessons learned a long the way!

Keep writing! :)

Linda G. Cox said...

Dani sent me this link! I love hearing about your personal life! There are a ton of people online who are experiencing pain, I'm sorry that you are one of them! Like Dani said, your journey is interesting and helpful for all of us! Here's my latest post http://lindagraceonline.com/define-our-new-reality/ - I look forward to hearing more from you!
I Love You!

Taylor said...

I hope this doesn't sound strange, but I'm happy to know you feel pain too. I'm happy because it means that I'm not some weirdo evil bad awful person for hurting. If the best of the best (read: you) can hurt sometimes, so can I.

I worry sometimes that I write too much on my blog about pain, though mine is mostly situational and not physical. Every time I think "this is too much", someone tells me that they have felt the same way and it's good to know they're not alone. I think that the universality of pain combined with the taboo of admitting it (and the implied imperfections) makes an honest, humble admission of hurt potentially empowering to others. I don't think admitting pain is a bother to anyone else as long as it isn't done in a way as to try and evoke pity.

Holly, you are amazing. This is a true story.

Claire Christensen said...

Holly I am looking forward to reading about your journey to better health and well being. I know their is an answer out there for your pain. It "pains" me to hear that you are suffering! But if your pain will help lots of other people it can be worth it, right? Especially when your pain is gone!!!

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