Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Questioning 'normal'

Can one define "normal"?

I thought that I knew what my normal was but I'm beginning to question it.

I've recently been challenged.
Just before Christmas I was literally stopped in my tracks by an acute episode of pain. That hasn't happened for a while. I'm extremely good at avoidance and denial. I know I am, but I still do it. If I can bury my head in the sand until it disappears I can almost convince myself that it didn't happen! This time though, as much as I tried my usual coping method I conceded and dragged myself to my GP. Lots and lots of tests and scans and specialists appointments later I had some investigative surgery.
This week I had a follow up appointment with the surgeon and I was questioned on the severity and frequency of the pain. During this discussion I began to realise that my normal is probably not quite what it should be!

I haven't thought about my response to the question "How is the pain?" for a while.
It is what it is. Part of life.
I just spouted out my stock response of :-

"I am so much better than I was...."

"It's not too bad now....."

"Yes, I think I can manage...."

"Medication works most of the time...."

The last time that I was challenged on this was quite a few years ago. A pharmacist had made a comment to me one day about the strength of my medication. It got me a little worried about what I was putting into my body so I went to see a Chronic Pain Specialist in a tiny room in the community hospital where I lived.  He was an anesthetist and also ran a pain clinic to look at alternatives to traditional medications. Over time I tried massage, acupuncture, reiki, yoga, physiotherapy, tens machine, homeopathy... Some worked, other didn't.

I have just adapted. I have more good days than bad and I really think that I am better than what I was.....

It's not all consuming anymore and I'm not frightened to plan things in advance with a chance of changing arrangements. Did I really live like that?

So I may have normalised my situation and consequently accepted a level of tolerance. I've been OK with it. I've been managing - but now it's been questioned again.

Someone has given me a possibility of a different normal. Not perfect, but potentially better. There are a few hurdles and hoops to consider and I'm working through how much of a jump I'm prepared to take but I am considering it all.

I'm keeping a detailed diary and an open mind. I'm trying to dispel ingrained beliefs of what's acceptable, manageable and expected and I'm trying to look at the real picture.

It's good to question things, it's good to be challenged.

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Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Just living...and a little bit of planning.

My new year starts in February.
It's not me trying to be clever or anything, it's just that I take extended leave over the Christmas and New Year period so January is still a lovely blur of days with no structure. It's a little like a month 'on hold'.

I'm now back at work, Sibs is back to school and we are on the treadmill of real life again.

Each February I consider the year ahead and make some plans. Some concrete and some tentative. I get a little nervous when my life is too mapped out as it just seems to speed up time. You know that feeling of not quite enjoying the moment as you're waiting for the next thing to happen?

I have quite a few things on the calendar for February and March; I know what's happening during the Easter holidays; I have a feeling what June and July will be like and I'm planning a trip home in December. That's quite enough I think!

I've never pressured myself with resolutions and goals, but I have been thinking a little about getting more regular with this blog. I remember a year or so ago I felt that I had lost a bit of momentum in my blogging and that I had nothing to write about unless it was a major change to everyday life. I seemed to be waiting for the "amazing" moments before I posted anything. I guess it's a self imposed definition though....?

As a reminder to myself and a push to blog more there is a lovely quote that I saved on my phone just before Christmas that I instantly loved.

"Life is amazing. And then it's awful. And then it's amazing again.
And in between the amazing and the awful it's ordinary and mundane and routine.

Breath in the amazing, hold on through the awful, 
and relax and exhale during the ordinary.

That's just living 
Heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life.
And it's breathtakingly beautiful."

LR Knost

I've decided to adopt the following line as my mantra for 2016.

Breath in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary.

I'm not suddenly going to bare my soul here, but I do want to capture a little bit of the in-betweens of life's stories.

Just to get me going - this is a glimpse at my recent amazing, ordinary and a little bit awful.

evening stroll in Noosa

Australia Day get together, chatting with Sibs in the pool and a day at home with the cats. 

emergency hospital with Twmff who thankfully made a good recovery.

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