Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Happy Mommy Moments

Anyone who has ever been around kids - your own or other people's - knows that they can be little monsters sometimes. They're kids. Sometimes they misbehave. Sometimes get into trouble. It's just one of those unfortunate inevitabilities in life. Fortunately for me, though, those times are greatly outweighed by the times when my kids are incredibly awesome.

When my daughter woke up yesterday she ran to my room, climbed up in my bed, and gave me a big "good morning" hug, after which she told me "Mommy, you're the best Mommy in the whole world." Nothing like having your heart melted to wake you up in the morning. I have no idea what prompted her to say that, but I'll happily accept it.

Life is full of great moments like that when my kids are around. Last week my daughter and I had to stop at the bank while my son was at school. Now, if you have kids you know that going to the bank is super-exciting, mostly because the tellers always have suckers. When it came time to pick out her sucker, my sweet little three-year-old asked if she could have two, so she could take one to her brother. (And of course the teller, recognizing the sweetness of the gesture, gladly gave them to her.)

That very same afternoon when we picked my son up from school he proudly told us that he had gotten to go to the treasure box that day. (The treasure box, as we then learned, is a box full of little toys that the kids sometimes get to pick from when they've been especially good. Because kindergarten is cute like that.) But instead of picking out a toy for himself, my amazing five-year-old picked out a toy for his little sister. His explanation: "I saw this and I thought she would like it, so I got it for her."

It's little moments like these that remind me why being a mom the best job in the world. I may not get paid for all of the overtime I work, and I may not get sick days or vacation time, but you just can't beat the benefits package.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The First Year

Last night it occurred to me that today is my anniversary. It was one year ago today that I went under the knife and became the proud owner of my very own spinal cord stimulator. And yes, dear friends, this feels like an event worth commemorating. (I kind of feel like I should have baked a cake or something.)

As with any relationship, my stimulator and I had a bit of an adjustment period. We had to get used to each other. Some wounds had to heal. We had to figure out who was in charge. It was definitely not love at first sight. But I am happy to say that we've put our differences behind us, and ours is now a happy, healthy, beneficial relationship.

If you've been with me this whole time (of if you've gone back to the beginning and read all about the journey) then you know that the surgery (or mostly the recovery) was not even a little bit easy. But you also know that I would do it again in a heartbeat. When it comes to the CRPS pain, it has made a world of difference.

But there is another, very important thing that I've learned from all of this: The spinal cord stimulator is not effective for every kind of pain. For the CRPS, it works wonders. I don't have nearly the pain I used to have. (I still feel some of it now and then, but it is nothing close to what it used to be.) Unfortunately for me, though, the CRPS is not my only problem, or my only source of chronic pain.

Going into this, my doctor and I had kind of been cautiously optimistic that, since the stimulator was being placed in my neck, it might also be able to help the other pain that is being caused by my oddly misshapen spine. But sadly it has not. The unit is set up so that I can get stimulation to that area. Unfortunately the pain is such that the stimulation just doesn't mask it.

Obviously it's disappointing that the stimulator couldn't do it all, but we knew that might be the case. (And we're still working on other ideas for the neck pain. Hopefully one day in the not too distant future I'll have some good news to report there.) For now I will continue to be very happy that at least I was able to get some much needed relief in one area.

And so, because it's my anniversary (and because I really like balloons), here's today's little bit of happy:

Friday, September 2, 2011

Pain Awareness Month

I woke up yesterday morning in terrible pain. More than I've felt at the same time in.... well, a while. It seemed like every little thing that I have wrong with me - literally from head to toe - had decided to make itself known in unison. It was wicked. And I could go into great detail about every little bit of it, but you get the idea.

Later I discovered that September is Pain Awareness Month. (Yeah... I was already fully aware of it, thanks.) Somehow I don't think that's exactly what they had in mind with the campaign. But appreciating irony like I do, I couldn't help but be at least a little bit amused.

So I think I'll be sharing a few pain-related things with you this month. I can't see myself focusing just on pain the entire month, because frankly it gets a little depressing if you focus on it for too long. But there are a lot of positive things out there, and of course (you know me) those are the things that we'll be discussing here.

To start us off, I have to share the current campaign from the American Pain Foundation. You can read all about it on their web site, and join their "If I lived in a world with less pain" event on Facebook.

As they so beautifully say:
Imagine a world where people with pain are believed. Imagine a world where people with pain are heard and shown respect and dignity. Imagine a world where pain is as important to manage or treat as any other disease. Imagine a World With Less Pain.

According to the APF, in the United States alone there are more than 116 million people living with pain. With that in mind, I'd say chances are pretty good that you might know at least a few of them. So now is the time to show your support, and help spread awareness. And hopefully one day soon we won't have to imagine that world, because it will be a reality.