Friday, January 23, 2015

Reflecting on Life

The year that was 2014, has brought with it many challenges both emotionally and physically. I once again went under the surgeon's knife twice, just as I did in 2013. I am currently over 8 weeks into recovery & rehab. Due to living with an autoimmune disease, Axial Spondyloarthritis, this greatly affects "normal" healing and recovery times.

I have also been given the prognosis, from a number of my specialists, with regard to my nerve injuries and the resultant daily chronic neuropathic pain:
"There is nothing more we can do but to try to keep you comfortable."
That is very difficult to hear after 5 years of searching for answers and trialing many new treatments! I have lost a lot of my independence, as I am unable to drive more than 15 minutes a couple of days a week without extreme nerve & joint pain in my neck, arm, right hip and leg. This hasn't changed over the last 5 years!
This week, I was diagnosed with a condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) in my foot, which I was made aware could be a side affect of my recent surgery.

Not a week goes by that I do not have 2+ medical appointments; weekly visits to my physio for rehab and also to my Musculoskeltal doctor who gives me the vital injections of dextrose into trigger points as well as areas of severe nerve pain. This treatment has been of huge value to my quality of life over the last 3.5 years. Some weeks I attend far more appointments than the usual two.

As I reflect on the year, I am saddened to discover that my current inability to work has resulted in being judged by some. Even sadder is that some of those people are family. These people don't see how my chronic pain affects me on a daily basis, nor do they realise the incredible frustration and feelings of uselessness that it leaves me with.

I'm not a lazy person. I worked very hard (often 2 jobs at a time) over the many years that I raised my children alone, in order to keep them in private schools, buy a home and pay a mortgage after being left with nothing when my ex-husband left us. During this time, I worked through the often chronic pain associated with flare ups of my Axial Spondyloarthritis, when at times it was severely painful to walk due to issues with my feet, hip and back. I continued to work for 4 months after my car accident in November 2009, in spite of the chronic pain, until my specialists told me that it would be advisable to stop working.

I tried to study part time at University in 2013, but had to stop as the travel and sitting/studying for hours a few days a week was impossible. It was at my specialist's advice that I give it away as it was "making my condition worse".

Some days, reflection is all that's on my mind. I've given up reflecting on the "what ifs" as it serves no purpose to wonder what life would be like without the accident. Now I wonder more how I can contribute to the family income, what I can do to be accepted, how I can feel better about myself...

I am grateful that I have the wonderful support of my husband of 5 years, who has been by my side throughout all this, for those in my family who have seen my struggles first hand and have been there to support me through them. I am also grateful to my wonderful medical team; my GP, Musculoskeletal doctor, physio, and the long list of other specialists and surgeons I see regularly.

I don't want pity or sympathy... I only want understanding and acceptance from my loved ones. I don't think that is a big ask.

May we all strive to show more love, gratitude, understanding & acceptance to others. :)  


eileeninmd said...

Lovely views and sky captures. Have a happy weekend!

Bas. said...

Heerlijke reflectie wat is dit heel sfeervol

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Understanding, acceptance and valuing you for who you are - I hope we are all given (and give) these gifts each year, especially by those close to us. May your reflections rest on gratitude for where and when you find these wonderful qualities in others.

Beautiful scenes Liz - maybe an avenue will open to bring some income from your photography.

diane b said...

Sorry to hear of your chronic pain and your mental anguish. The photos are beautiful, restful and serene I hope this will reflect on you too.

Lisa Gordon said...

I am so sorry to hear this, Liz.
For as long as I have been visiting you here, I did not know that you were struggling with this.

Keep your wonderful spirit, sweet friend, and know that family or otherwise, there are definitely those out there who understand and value your abilities.

Stay strong, dear Liz. xo.

Tamar SB said...

So sorry to hear it was a tough year - hang in there!
These images are stunning!

fredamans said...

Family is usually who hurts us most.
Beautiful photos.

Michael S-B said...

It has been tough for you, Liz. Not just a tough year, but many years now, and a prognosis that makes the future look unbearable. I hope and pray that others around us will begin to realise and understand the truth of your situation, and that they will replace judgment and ignorance with empathy. But whether they do or not, you have my love and support always <3
Your photos here are serene and beautiful. Is that Gold Creek Dam?

Felicia said...

my heart goes out to you. I hear your pain. God be with you.

beautiful images.

maryaustria said...

So sorry to hear of your chronic disease and last tough years. I wish this year will be better for you ... I know there is this prognose but I hope the support of your family and friends will help you!
Your photos are amazing!!!

Stickup Artist said...

I kinda know what you're up against. My 18 yr. old nephew was recently diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis (though he doesn't have the gene). Maybe you could sell your photography, individually and stock. Just a suggestion and well worth the try. Your photos are terrific. Best wishes for improved health and happiness...

Graham Edwards said...

Liz I’ve never lived with constant pain in the way that you have. I have, however, a brother who has similar problems with neuropathological pain that he has lived with for at least 25 years and which has steadily got worse. I think he has the understanding of his family and friends so, to that extent, he is fortunate. However that doesn’t actually make living with the pain any easier. Unless we have lived with constant pain none of is is able fully to understand just how wearing and debilitating it must be.

I can’t say or do anything that will help your pain but I can do my best to understand.

shirley said...

Your post puts so much into perspective - that we should love much and always find gratitude.
I am always amazed by your images and they make a difference in this world. Your words on my blog were so encouraging to me - thank you!
I pray and hope your loved ones grow to understand more.

Pat Tillett said...

Clearly, many people don't know what if feels like to always be in pain. I'm sorry that some have treated you so badly, when you were already hurting.

I have a chronic issue that cause a lot of neuropathy pain also. I found one drug that REALLY helped. It is was Lyrica. I wasn't happy with one of the side effects and eventually quit taking it. It really did help though.

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