Tag Archive | Pain

Finding a new beginning

I know it has been quite awhile since I have blogged partly from being busy and partly from being  really discouraged. I think only someone who has dealt with chronic illness can understand how I have been feeling over the last  four months.

I have taken a break from my family which is really a painful thing to do but it seems I upset them by just being me. My sister and my father have admitted to me that they resent the way my illness had interrupted their lives when I was younger and they  no longer want to be inconvenienced  by me any longer. As my father so aptly put it was the only relationship he wanted with me is a casual visit once or twice a year. Despite hearing this I did still tried to keep the relationships going untill I found out they were no longer inviting me to birthdays because my work schedule made it to inconvenient for them to include me

I was shocked to hear this confession but what can I do I can’t change the way I am .

My church family was upset with me because they were all into faith healing and they were angry with me because I could not be healed. They started telling me I was full of sin and that’s why I could not be healed not even the pastor would come to see me in the hospital even though he visited others when they were sick. When my doctor prescribed a service dog for me the pastor refused to let me bring her even though there was another person in the church with a service dog.

Since that experience It has been hard to find another church that I feel comfortable in. I still believed in Jesus Christ but I am not so sure about his church . It seems that I am losing faith in my fellow-man but at least I still had my husband who I love and my service dog. I was once an outgoing person who loved God and the church but I have been so ravaged by poor health and unkind people that I have little desire to go back to the outside world and interact with people again. I think what has hurt me the most is how angry people are that I can’t live up to their expectations no matter how hard I try . And to tell you the truth I am sick of trying.

We have finally found another church that is very accepting of my service dog so I will attend and see how it goes. One good thing about having Riley as my service dog is at least when people approach me they focus on the dog and not me which makes conversation a bit easier.

When I was sick the drugs I was on made me gain a ton of weight which really changed the way I looked and I could not believe how badly my fellow church family handled it. Even when I explained to them I was not gaining weight because of what I was eating some people still would not believe it. I even had one person come up to me and say I am praying for you to change your eating habits. I was so embarrassed. I felt so bad about the weight that I stopped looking in mirrors and when I approached people I knew I could actually see the shocked look on their faces so I stopped looking up and just kept my head down when people walked by.

Now when I go out Riley helps me to walk but she also is helping to heal another deeper wound. I had lost all confidence in myself and interacting with others had become hard. Now when I am with Riley people are happy to see her and they smile which makes life a little bit easier for me.

This is a picture of me after finishing off  a final round of steroids and it will give you a bit of an idea of how swollen my face  was although when this picture was taken a lot of the swelling had already gone down. The red little dots you see under me eyes at the top of my cheeks is blistering rosacea which I developed and still have from coming off the steroids. They are painful little sores that can itch and bleed though the cream they gave me does make it better.

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The next picture of me is with Riley near Christmas. Even though I am finished the drugs the weight is very slow in coming down and because walking is so painful and I am having trouble breathing exercise is very hard but with Riley I am trying ! Together we are starting over, a new beginning if you will. One in which I hope to learn to love myself and focus only on pleasing God and not worrying so much about what others think of me. And with God’s help this might lead to a new kind of peace for me and a new way of life.

 

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My Service Dog Riley

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I have now had the reconstructive work done to my kidneys and I have been back to work for a Month. The surgery seems to be a success and now I can concentrate on moving forward to a new life with my Service dog in Training.

I choose to train my own service dog as it is next to impossible to get funded for one if you are working and they are very expensive. Depending on the work you want them to do a service dog costs anywhere between 30,000.00 and 60,000.00. Since I could not afford this I decided to train one my self with the help of others in the Service Dog community.

Despite being involved in obedience training for the last 30 years training a service dog  has been quite challenging and very different from obedience training and the first step in this journey began when my doctor prescribed a service dog for me. After battling chronic pain from fibromyalgia, Chron’s disease,kidney stones, dizziness and asthma that is crippling in cold and humid temperatures my doctor thought a dog that was trained in mobility  would help my walking and balance, deep pressure therapy done with the dog  would help me from becoming too anxious when these symptoms occurred and we are hoping she would medically alert me when the dizziness was severe so I would not fall.

After her prescription for a service dog  was given to me the next task was to decide on a breed to train. We have always had German Shepherds and they do wonderfully as Service dogs but I had just lost our German Shepherd Bruiser to liver cancer he was one of three that we had that died young from cancer and I just could not go through that again. So I begun to research breeds of dogs that might make a good service dog. The first thing I considered when choosing a breed was the size of dog I would need. During the last three years I was on a drug called Lyrica and the drug prednisone whose main side effects were weight gain. and swelling . As time went on my weight soared to a whopping 258lbs and no amount of dieting helped the situation. Since the dog would be used to help me up if I fell I knew a small dog would not work so I was looking for a large breed dog with some weight behind him or her. The next trait that I considered was the type of temperament I would need in the dog that was going to go  everywhere with me. Since the dog I was going to work with was going to be large I wanted a dog that was known for being calm, easy to train  and friendly to both adults and kids alike and I wanted a breed that would not be scary looking to the general public. After much consideration I decided on a Saint Bernard

Now a Saint Bernard  might not be the first dog to come to your mind as a Service dog but they are a friendly breed known to be intelligent , very friendly, calm steadfast loyal dogs that are easily trained. When researching the breed I was amazed to find out that the Monks that used the dogs to save people trapped in avalanches and bad storms did not train the breed to do this. The dogs did these things all on their own. They Monks would let the dogs out to roam in packs and if only half the dogs came back they would know that the missing dogs would be with travelers who were caught in the pass and they would send out search parties to rescue them.This breed also had an uncanny knack of finding people buried under large amounts of snow after avalanches had fallen. Again the dogs did this all on their own.Since I wanted a dog to alert me to an onset of dizziness when I walked I thought their uncanny knack of sensing unpredictable weather phenomena might help with medical alert training since an intuitive nature already seemed programmed in their DNA.

After making a decision about the breed I found a good breeder that I trusted and was introduced to the future mother and father of my service dog in training.Both Sam and Mocka were big solid dogs with calm temperaments and beautiful markings. It was love at first sight and I couldn’t wait to take a pup home.

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On July 14th Riley was born and I was overjoyed to see the first pictures of the litter shortly after .

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At six weeks of age we went to pick out our puppy. Upon arrival I knew that looks had nothing to do with the puppy I picked it was all about how the puppy scored on temperament tests. It turns out we picked the perfect day to go because the breeder had just moved the pups away from their mother to a puppy pen that was located at his daughter’s house next store. That meant that I would be testing the puppies in an enviroment they were not used to. This was perfect for me because It would be a great opportunity to see how the puppies would act in a place they were not familiar with. That is one of the tests that helps you see what a puppies temperment is like under some stress. All of the puppies tested really good but the one thing that made Riley stand out from the others is that when I showed her the tennis ball I had brought with me she got excited and when I threw it for her she was the only one who brought it straight back to me. This test shows a pups willingness to want to work with me. So I picked her and that little bundle of fur was my hope for a more independent life and I could not wait to bring her home. Most breeders insist on waiting till the pups are eight weeks old so it would be another two weeks to wait for her arrival but it was worth it and after what seemed a lifetime we were able to go and pick her up.

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Riley at eight weeks old

(Next Blog Riley starts training)

 

 

Who could thank the Lord

As I mentioned in the last blog I am now off Lyrica and the Lord was with me and made this change easier for me to do because I know that he is always there and I can call upon his strength. In stead of letting panic set when at times I felt weird. I was able to talk with him in prayer and work through it. Having such a powerful Allie is such a privilege. I am nervous about going back to work but as a good friend told me this morning don’t worry the Lord goes with you and I say a big Amen to that. Right now I am putting my mind back into fighting these diseases instead of giving up. The Lord has not given us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power love and a sound mind. This means he has already given me the tools to complete any job he brings my way. My only job is not to get distracted and focus on Him and His word and believe it.

 

 

Who could thank the Lord

Who could thank the Lord above for everything He does

The words you’d need just would not come, there would not be enough applause

To adequately thank him for all his love and care

For keeping me out of harms way in a world that is not fair

And despite my feeble attempt to follow Him, I often do get lost

Somehow I forget that I’m the sheep and the Great Shepherd is the boss

But always he calls back to me, so often ,I now know his voice

Tenderly he crones to me and makes my heart rejoice

And His hands they stand me up again ready to deploy

On any errand he would have me do, I want so much to please

Trying to trust Him honestly when I can’t see the forest from the tree’s

But still he is always faithful, no matter what my state of mind

And in this world he always hold me untill the end of time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medication Switched Check

And I have now changed over  medications and I am lyrica free in this journey. Next step  is to wean off steroids which is always very difficult but will  be made worse because I have to go back to work. I can no longer afford to take anymore time off or I will lose my farm. I have two weeks left to get used to the new medicine before I start back to work . Constant nausea continues because the steroids have pushed my blood sugars to 19 so I have to take metformin which upsets my stomach and bowel. This week I will get my pneumonia vaccine and then follow-up with the surgeon who did my emergency kidney stone operation. I know I still have one kidney stone stuck in my left kidney and I have to follow-up with the surgeon to see if he was able to do analysis on the stone he had taken out so we can determine the cause of them. I was going to see fibromyalgia specialist for special testing but I will have to scrap that because i won’t be able to get time off for doctor appts once I go back. Lord you know what Jim and I are up against and we are trusting in you to help us through. Thanks for helping me find homes for the 12 orphaned kittens whose mothers were killed by coyotes your providence is just in time as usual.

The calm before the storm

Since I started steroids a week ago for my breathing the inflammation in my legs cleared up and I could finally move around like I used to but today brought another frank realization this would be a small calm in the midst of a bigger battle to get healthy.

Today was the first day I would start weaning off steroids which always makes me feel physically sick but the steroids also make me diabetic which caused my blood sugars to soar to 19 which made me feel worse.

I am on day three of trying to come off lyrica on to another nerve pain medicine and tonight I have to drop down another level lets hope I have a pain-free night

Oh Lord I am so happy your here with me always throughout my life

To share in all that this life brings the joy the peace the strife

Your loving hand that holds me is the only reason I still try

Knowing that your unwavering love will always get me by.

 

Hard week but God’s still sweet.

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The hot weather is now upon us and I have been in the emergency dept twice this week but we now have new air condition units in the house so I hope to make it through this weekend with no trips to the emerg. I have made the decision to get off lyrica and try another medication to help with nerve pain so I can lose weight, not that you will notice for quite a while because I am back on steroids for breathing. On top of this I am already producing kidney stones in both kidneys, I hoped the kidney operation on Mother’s day would stop them but I guess not, on top of everything else the doctor thinks Jim might have contracted lyme disease after being bitten by a tick last week and we are awaiting conformation from blood tests. Sometime it is really hard for me to see God’s plan in this but I know he holds Jim and I in his hand so I will be thankful in all allows and leave the worry to him

We are having coyote’s’ hunting right at the back of our barn they have wiped out most of the cats on the property forcing me to take in 12 young kittens whose mothers were killed. I am working like crazy to get them ready for new homes and I am hoping some cat rescue agencies will help me out with this once again I prayed in advance for God to open up the doors so these kittens can find forever homes in safe environments. I have always believed that God has left us caretakers of the earth and all creatures on it and he sees all of  His creation, man included as being precious in His sight.

Today

I have not blogged for quite a while due to illness and a bit of the blue’s. My breathing is much better praise God but my fibro and chron’s is quite active making most activities painful. My doctor has recommended I quit work or at least take a five month leave of absence from my job. It was not an easy decision because I feel like the disease is winning and I am letting my family down. It is painful to go to the washroom, I endure cramps that make me double over, getting up from a sitting position is really painful, my legs throb, walking is a problem, pain comes and goes all over my body and sleeping is elusive. Most nights I slip my favorite dvd in and try to ignore the pain while I concentrate on the dialogue until I eventually drift off to sleep.

My husband has been so supportive and knowing I can’t walk very far he takes me for drives on the weekends and seeing the surrounding countryside all decked out in fall colours has lifted my spirits. Someday’s I can do chores on the farm and sometimes I can’t but I always try to do something. It gives me a sense of some accomplishment. We have a new batch of barn kittens and caring for them and the other animals allows me to escape dwelling on the pain, Four kittens out of nine had to be bottle fed but all are healthy and ready to go to new homes. The first one leaves this Sat and I will miss him but he is safer being a house cat rather than a barn cat,

My greatest source of comfort comes from studying Gods word I always feel uplifted and strengthen. Slowly I am getting better but I still have such a long way to go.  I get impatient wishing I could do what I used to be able to do but focusing on the past does no good so with God’s help I look toward the future and scale the mountain before me one step at a time