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. :)