Hurting Shoulder / Thankful Heart

I have not been blogging as much lately and I miss it. There have been so many things I've wanted to write about (including things I am learning from this experience). However, my chronic shoulder pain has taken a toll on me, mentally as well as physically. I don't have my normal enthusiasm for even the activities I enjoy because I'm hurting most of the time. Now and then I cry for no reason. And I'm not crying from the physical pain (even though the pain may be more severe in those moments). I cry because I'm so emotionally tired of feeling bad.

I'm having a lot of nerve pain in the left side of my body, in addition to my shoulder pain. It's mostly in different parts of my arm and hand. But sometimes I have sharp twinges in my neck, shoulder blade and hip (sciatic nerve). It's all on the same side, so I assume it's all related. The pain is not excruciating, just constant. And it wears on me. But I remind myself frequently that I would choose this pain over so many other afflictions I could be dealing with. I don't feel sorry for myself. I feel blessed to have endured so little physical pain and to enjoy such overall good health for someone my age. But I'm also not one to pretend I'm fine when I'm not.

I have such admiration for people who push through their pain and so effectively rise above it with a smile and an upbeat attitude, saying "Good!" when asked, "How are you?" But that's not me. And maybe that's another reason I have avoided writing on my blog recently. I don't want to whine incessantly about how bad I feel. (And yet that is exactly what I seem to be doing right now!) 

I'm thankful for the days when my pain is dull and the nights when, for some reason, I sleep through it and wake up more refreshed. But I don't seem to have those days or nights in succession. I've gotten my hopes up several times that maybe I'm starting to spontaneously heal simply because I had a good day or slept better. And then the next day or night is especially rough. I know I do things to aggravate the pain unintentionally. There are so many movements we make without thinking. They are just automatic reflexive responses. Especially when it comes to our arms. I prop my arm up on a pillow at night to take the pressure off my shoulder joint. And a couple of nights ago the pillow started to fall off the bed. Instinctively (not even fully awake), I tried to catch it with a quick arm movement and it felt like I was being stabbed with a knife for several minutes. The following day I felt the painful consequences of that involuntary movement all day long. (I also do intentional things like picking up my 18-month-old grandson because I can't resist him when he reaches for me.) On the other hand, I can't explain the days I have when the pain is so dull that I don't need heat or pain medication. But I sure am thankful for them.

I was fortunate to be able to spend last week at the beach with one of my dearest girlfriends, Cindy Robbins. We go way back and we have the kind of friendship that time and physical distance have no bearing on. Although we hadn't seen each other in several years, from the moment she arrived, it felt as if no time had passed. Our relationship is always the same; warm, natural and uncomplicated. Cindy is thougtful and considerate (almost to a fault). We have different temperaments and personalities, but we are really comfortable with each other. And while we look at so many things differently and often hold different opinions, we can talk freely about anything. If our friendship was based on seeing eye to eye or having the exact same interests, we would not be friends. But instead, our friendship is based on mutual respect and love. Our hearts are deeply bonded and we have shared values. Because of that, I think our differences may even enhance our friendship. I believe we gain insight and learn from each other because we do look at life differently. I also just enjoy being with her because she is special to me and I love her so much.

In spite of the continuing pain, this has been a rejuvenating week enjoying my friend, leisurely mornings in the condo, relaxing afternoons in our beach chairs, delicious food, meaningful conversation, reading, and spending time with Danny, Rebecca and the boys (who were just down the road in Seagrove). There is something so soothing about the beach. The warm sunshine, the sand and the waves did provide a bit of mental relief and helped to distract me from focusing entirely on my physical discomfort.

My pain is worse today, but I'm hoping it's just from being in the car all day yesterday. I see Dr. Elrod a week from Thursday. At first I was dreading surgery. And I still can't say I'm looking forward to it. But I'm ready. I'm so tired of hearing myself whine (even in my own head)!

We have a special weekend coming up. A family wedding followed by a Howerton Cousin Reunion! I have been looking forward to it so much and I want to be able to enjoy it. But I told John this morning that I doubt I will be bugging him to dance with me at this reception! : )

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