CRPS is such an awful and mysterious disease. It affects each of us different and what may help one day will not help the next. This is in no way suggesting that if you suffer with CRPS that you should go out and join a gym. I am also not suggesting that I have all the answers and this is a cure all. I am sharing this story because there were many days (over 700 of them to be exact) that I thought I would never see this day. CRPS leads us down dark and twisty paths and we spend most of our days searching for a light at the end of the tunnel. Just as I have written about my worst days, I also want to celebrate the good with myself, my friends and my readers.
39 days ago I joined a gym despite the fact that I am dealing with the most painful disease in the world, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, CRPS (and Fibromyalgia). I developed CRPS in June 2011 when I sprained my ankle while leading an adventure hike in the Caribbean. (Read that story here). I knew it was risky but I decided to take things into my own hands. I was determined to make 2017 a better year and I came out of the gates swinging!! For the first time in 2 years I have felt good enough (And have been out of the hospital long enough) to be able to join a gym again and work out. You can read how I found my old “badass redhead self” here.
In those last 39 days I have turned high levels of pain for manageable days and I have decided that I am the one that is running the show. I didn’t have a “Master Plan” when I started off. My only hope was to recover just a little piece of the person that I use to be and hopefully gain some strength in the meantime.
Things I have learned from CRPS in the last 39 days
- CRPS is not the boss of me
- CRPS successfully took 2 years away from me and I thought the person I use to be had “died”. She did not. I found her.
- My body wants so badly to feel better
- Even my affected limbs are able to get stronger
- My stress is decreased which has decreased my pain levels
- I have goals and I can see myself moving forward. Every. Single. Day.
- The days I cannot get to the gym, I lie on my yoga mat for at least 20 minutes and breathe. These are often the most successful & fulfilling days
- I have dropped the CRPS narrative. It is no longer the star in the strory. I am. I am trying to look at CRPS like it is a past chapter. Dealing with pain as it comes and beign proactive but also not allowing fear and the fear of pain to stop me from living my best life (look for this blog post soon!)
- CRPS will try to manipulate the day. I always take back what is mine
- I am strong
- I am getting healthy
- What I eat does affect how I feel (inflammation is reduced through diet)
- Somedays I don’t care about the diet and I eat what I want. And more importantly I don’t beat myself up about it.
- I do some type of activity every day. Somedays that means washing the dishes or vacuuming one room, but I count that as a “WIN”!
- I am kind to myself
- I reward myself with praise. (Everytime my fitbit tells me that I have met my goal, I literally do a little 5 second, shake my booty kind of dance!)
- I am learning my limits and I
NEVERtry to not over do it. If I try to move to far, too fast it may set me back weeks and cause a flare (ain’t nobody got time for that!)
- Being around other people who are healthy in the gym is comforting. It is a community. You may not be friends but you share the common goal.
- People in the gym don’t know I am sick. I look like an ordinary person, lifting weights. They don’t know my story. They don’t look at me with pity. I am just another girl. AND THAT FEELS INCREDIBLE
- Positive Mantras help me the days that I feel I cannot even get out of bed
- I thank my body, outloud, every day for all the hard work it has done.
- I no longer curse my body & have let bitterness and anger go (bye Felisha!!)
- My friends have noticed I am happy again
- I have found the confidence to also start dating again. I deserve love (also a post that is coming soon!)
- I deserve happiness
- I don’t bully myself
- I have learned to put CRPS in a box. Shut the box. And allow myself to have fun, laugh and build relationships
- I don’t sweat the small stuff
- CRPS is a part of my story but it is not THE story
- I am limiting social media and I feel good about that!
- I practice mindfulness.
- I catch myself ruminating on the limits of pain and stop it before it sucks me down a deep dark hole
- I treat myself. I paint my nails, Style my hair and buy new makeup
- I am just a woman. Who just happens to be an invisible warrior.
As I wrap this post up and get it ready to publish.. I am wishing each and every one of you a low pain day and night. I know this is hard. It may even be the hardest battle of your life. But remember that it is just that… a battle. You are not alone. You are strong. You are a warrior.
Much Metta (loving-Kindness),