Anniversary Day 2023


Anniversary day … the 23rd Anniversary of my initial back injury … a freak accident that happened while working with severely, multiply handicapped preschoolers.  So much has happened in those 23 years; a huge back surgery gone wrong, trying to find my way in a world where pain was screaming within me 24/7, yet was completely silent to the world around me.  A world I found myself trying to disappear from.  Medical Devices and injections were tried and initially worked but rather quickly failed.  My maximum “sit limit”, apart from my recliner at home, was 3 minutes, so I became the woman who stood in the back at church and stood in a restaurant while eating a meal … you get the picture.  

A big turning point for me was when I went to a 6 week chronic pain program.  There I learned to push myself beyond what my brain and pain told me I could and could not do.  Following my time at the clinic, I tried “stuff” anyway… concerts, travel, hiking, exercise and even a 5k race.  Admittedly, all “stand up” stuff … and though I didn’t meet my end goal at the clinic of sitting for 12 minutes in a hard chair at a time … I continued to work at it until I could attend church and successfully eat a meal in pretty much any chair… (Chipotle, your chairs are STILL un-sit-able!!!).  

In those years of pain my faith and prayer life were both challenged and changed.  Either I believed God would bring good to me and glory to Him through it… or I didn’t.  I studied scripture, watched the world around me and decided I believed despite circumstances.  

A key scripture for me defined the algorithm for hope.  First comes “rejoicing in our affliction”.  It is the “rejoicing in our affliction” that produces perseverance.  It is the perseverance that produces character and that proven character that produces, yes, hope.  (Romans 5:3)

I would like to say I learned early on that the key to the algorithm is the “rejoicing”… but that would not be true.  It took the hard work of faith, study and time for me to embrace the rejoicing.  I learned that the ultimate test of faith is when mercy is denied.  When I finally stopped trying to rejoice “for” my affliction, but instead began rejoicing in awe and delight of God’s greatness within it… there, I found the perseverance.  I stopped praying that the pain would go away and started praying that God’s greatness would be seen through me in spite of it.  A hard and not fast prayer change.  

I already knew that the moment you connect the word “never” to any event … it most certainly will happen anyway.  In the last 22 years, I openly confessed to anyone who would listen to me that I would never have another back surgery… NEVER!  It wasn’t just the pain and suffering I didn’t want to revisit… but the anger towards my 1st surgeon that would pop up at times and challenge me to resolve it in a “spiritual” way.  Whenever I thought I had laid my anger to rest, before the cross… I would find when challenged, that I would pick that anger and hold it tightly once again.  I am still working on it…

So, my “never” happened on December 5, 2022.  Once I felt I was suppose to take the leap of this surgery, I wanted it to happen quickly so fear could not have it’s way with me… but It required a long, arduous process of approval from my Worker’s Comp Insurance Company.  In those 9 months of waiting I did battle fear… but God sent so many prayer warriors to pray me through the battle.  They prayed me through my fears, and the arduous process full of hiccups so that I was able to focus solely on rejoicing at the awe and delight of God’s greatness.  I can say by the prayers of many and the grace of God, the morning of surgery I felt an incomprehensible peace.  I woke from the 6 1/2 hour surgery with less pain and more mobility than with my previous surgery.  It was dramatic.  

As I continue to recover, the seething pain in my left leg is rarely ever there.  In honesty, I battle fear that the pain will take residence again… and at the same time… the lack of pain almost requires me to redefine who I am.  Then I remember… it is not who I am… but who God is … and my rejoicing in the awe and delight of who He is. Yes, today I am rejoicing!

Happy Anniversary Day!


Say WHAT?????

Pain has been a 24/7 constant companion of mine the last 18 years.  It is an icy, burning “rod” of pain that bolts from my sacroiliac down my thigh and calf with a pain # as low as 5 and as high as 8.  I also have lower back pain that finds its pain # anywhere from a 0-5 with the “0” clearly not happening as often as it use to.  My family can attest to the fact that when I add to this a headache (even slight), an insect bite itch, or the like …. it sends me over the edge.  

Over the edge for me is somewhere I fall deep within myself.  I don’t yell or scream or “usually” say things I regret … the problem is … I go so deep and numb within myself … I don’t feel emotion at all.  When I go into this place I protect myself from anger, but loose my ability to care … to care if I eat to many potato chips, spend to much money, or if the puppy is peeing on the carpet.  It is a temporary thing … when the “over the edge” incident corrects itself …. I have the “pull” to enter back into emotional reality. I can attest this “pull” only to faith in Christ.  A faith that allows me to repeat the words of Christ found in Luke 22:42 ….  “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”.  Words that I repeat as I go “in” and words I repeat as I come “out” of the abyss.

Recently, I was approved for a “trial” of a Nevro Spinal Stimulator Implant (  

About 15 years ago … I had different brand/type spinal stimulator placed and had great results, however, a faulty battery led to a new unit which never really worked for me.  Eventually, it was removed.  Fast forward to late 2018 … a new Dr. and new technology brought the implant back into consideration.  When the “trial” was approved I moved forward with the external “trial” unit (on Jan. 18, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. to be exact).  I had immediate relief.  Over the next couple days my leg pain diminished by about 80% and my back pain diminished by about 60%.  As a woman of great faith, it was contrary for me to have great hesitation to rejoice over what I can define for myself as nothing less than … a “miracle”.  I was so hesitant, I confided only to my sister-in-law and eventually my husband that I did in fact have great pain relief.  It was that same “caution” as waiting to share with the public you are pregnant until you are solidly in your 3rd month of pregnancy.  

During my post-op appointment, I learned that the internal leads taped on my back and connected to the external unit I was wearing on a belt around my waist were going to be removed in 3 days (they wanted to make it 2 days, but being the great negotiator that I am I convinced them it needed to be 3!) …  thus, allowing my pain to return while we waited for my Workers Comp Insurance Company to approve the permanent implant.  I knew this was necessary and had been bracing myself for what I “thought” was about a 2 week wait back in pain land.  It turns out that just because an insurance company approves a trial, it clearly does not mean they will approve the permanent unit …. WHAT!!!!!!?????? ….. it is most likely it will need to go through the normal Workers Comp denial and arbitration process.  A process that IF successful, will take at least 6 weeks.  I was despondent.  I remember putting my hand on Barry’s shoulder as he sat next to me … hoping he would get the non-verbal que to pay attention … because I could not.  I saw my Dr. and Nevro Rep’s mouth moving … but could not make any intelligible words from them … I could only think of returning to my life of pain.  

On the ride home, I was thankful that I had memorized Romans 5:3-5, “ …we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”  Honestly, I am tired of the suffering/endurance/character/hope deal-i-bob, but I declare it to be true in my head … even when my heart is tired and not on board.  

So where am I going with this?  I have no idea … it is just me being honest and processing what transpired this morning.  Me knowing that prayer is what gets the ball rolling … me asking that whoever may read this to stop and take a moment to pray that the permanent implant be approved … quickly, without arbitration … and “Father,… Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”  I sincerely thank you for your prayers …..

One Year Later …..

My husband recently encouraged me to share how my life has changed since my 9 week intensive experience at the H.E.L.P Pain Clinic in San Mateo.  This caused me to ponder …….  Even as I am writing this post …. I am pondering.  So much has changed …. And yet, so much is the same.

Sooooo ……. The easy part that requires no pondering …… What is the same …….   I am still married to the same wonderful man.  Still enjoy watching my daughter conquer the world Christ is giving her for His glory.  Still speak my mind without reservation.  Still do not exercise as much as I should and still do weigh more than I want.  Still meandering my way in the art world.  Still voraciously trying to consume and understand God’s Word ….. and, yes, still in pain.

As I look back, the changes were subtle … but, grew upon each other.  They began at the H.E.L.P Clinic where I gained knowledge about my body and confidence in my body.  Before even “graduating” from the clinic last September … I attended a night time concert (which involved sitting and “night time” …. this Cinderella turns into a pumpkin at dusk).  I had already gained enough confidence to “try it anyway”.  It was exhilarating.  That exhilaration gave me the incentive to try more things “anyway”.

On the 4th of July, I was invited to a family celebration on the Delta in Discovery Bay.  I was encouraged to join the family in various “floatable” vessels on the water.  I had great hesitation to work my way down to the water and into a vessel …. knowing it was likely I could appear to be the first beached whale floating the Delta … but, …… I did it anyway.  I played in the water, with much laughter and no grace, managed to get into the boat for family “tubing time”.  I have always LOVED the feeling of wind on my face and knew I was going to experience “exhilaration” again.  I was not disappointed.  I watched several family members tube and vicariously had a blast watching them.  I enjoyed my vicarious experience so much I asked Captain Greg if I could ride in the tube behind the boat in the “15 mile an hour” zone.  He stopped the boat a bit early and I managed, somehow, to get from the boat to the tube that I shared with my niece.  Exhilaration did not even begin to describe the experience.  Because I had been doing the exercises the clinic had designed for me … my arms, stomach and every other muscle in my body was able to keep me on that tube … that eventually got up to 35 mph …. and I hear that is a pretty good clip!  For the record, I did experience “reverb” the following days.  Some came from muscles I had not used in a while and some came from the ever present back/leg pain.  I can only say …. I “walked” through it with a huge smile on my face.

This August I attended my 40th class reunion.  There were a million reasons why I initially did not even consider going …. First, I had never considered it before.  Second, social situations are HIGHLY awkward for me for a variety of reasons.  But, again … with encouragement from several of my classmates (Dan, Nancy, Sherri!!!!) …. I did it anyway.  I had made myself a dress out of a pattern that I love, with material that I love, from a fabric store that I love (sooooo the fabric was ghastly expensive ….. I bought it anyway!) and had fun dressing up for the occasion.  I did have awkward moments … standing at times, during our meal when everyone else was sitting … the whole “what to say” thing …. But, I got over it and enjoyed my meal and was HORRIFIED to find out my classmates thought of me as “social” in high school.  I was so glad I went.


The confidence I have been building in my body, is now merging into other areas of my life.  I have always been very, again the word, “awkward” about sharing my art with anyone.  It has always been more about the “prayer” that comes during its creation.  However, a friend/artist has encouraged me to submit a piece of art to a Yosemite art exhibit.  I have been collecting fabrics for years to do a large scale piece of Yosemite falls.  Now seemed like the right time, but, initially I was hesitant …. unwilling to challenge myself.  Eventually, through continued encouragement …. I decided to do it anyway.  My goal is to have my art displayed in Yosemite at this event in December.  It doesn’t matter what my art looks like in comparison to the professional artists who will also be displaying …. It matters that I do it anyway!


As I ponder … and write …. I realize the biggest change in my life “one year later” is that I am trying things anyway.  Some of the “things” are things I could have done one year ago, but didn’t have the confidence or courage.  Some are things I could not have done one year ago, but now my body is stronger as I exercise with wisdom and experience with zeal.  The words I hear myself repeating in my “ponders” are encouragement, confidence, courage, wisdom, exhilaration.

One year later ….. I am doing/trying it anyway.


“It is what it is”

It has been a while …. I make no apologies … mostly because I am aware the entire internet-i-sphere has not be waiting with baited breath for my next posting.  Also, there is the reality of my new “catch phrase” …. “It is what it is”. I have learned a lot since last I posted. What you ask? Let me share ….

“It is what it is”. I often spend great amounts of energy trying to make things/people what they are not and/or what they were never intended to be. ~ I did not like that my mom was financially forced to sell her “home” recently to move into a small senior apartment. But, it was what it was. We both tried to take it day by day through the selling and moving process. It turns out she is quite happy in her new little space. ~ I do not like that my husband and daughter are the most out-going “social” people on earth, but when I ride the wave of hospitality … I most often have a great time, despite the pit in the bottom of my stomach that tells me I would rather be reading a book …… alone. ~ I do not like living with pain 24/7 … but, it is what it is … I am to celebrate the good things of life anyway. It is what it is …. Move forward anyway!

Every dollar counts in the kingdom of God. The last few years have been financially “tight” for my husband and I. Because of that, we have had the blessing of seeing God’s provision when normally we would have just provided for ourselves. There was the day that an envelope with $12 showed up in my Bible …. I had been fretting internally because I had no gas and needed to run important errands for both of our mothers. Yes, the $12 gave me just enough gas to run the errands and make it safely home. This type of provision happened over and over again the last three years …. usually, it was not provided tell just a moment before it was needed. Truly there were some real cliff hangers!!!!  As things are freeing up a “little bit” financially for us … I am quite aware there are others out there that are needing God’s $12 last minute provision.  I want to be used by God to fulfill that provision. It is not always about a $100 donation and a bucket of ice. It may be holding off on the purchase of a long desired new purse to help a teen get to summer camp. I have learned that weather it is $1.00 or $1,000,000.00 …. Every dollar matters.

Prayer is not about telling God what we need, but, asking what we can do to glorify him brightly. Yes, I do still tell him what I think I “need” … but, I also ask him to help me differentiate between “need” and “want”. Amazing how most things REALLY fall under the “want” category no matter how I try to rationalize it. Sad face. There was a point last month where my mom’s home was closing, all contingencies had been lifted …. and we still had no idea where her next “home” was to be. (Most senior/subsidized apartments have at least a 2 year wait). My prayer continued to be … “Lord, you and I BOTH know that “shelter” is a basic need … so I ask you to provide that shelter, but even more, I ask that I can glorify you brightly during the waiting process”. An opportunity arose and we jumped at it even though everything within my being did not feel “right” about it. One week later, another apartment came available in a different complex nearby that seemed like the perfect fit … except it was not available until 2 weeks after she needed to be out of her home. I was assured, despite the inconvenience of a double move 2 weeks apart, it was the right choice for mom. When we went in to sign paperwork, the manager told us that a different apartment would be coming available immediately. Admittedly, my first spiritual reaction was “Lord, why couldn’t you have provided this from the start, removing, what I perceived to be, unnecessary chaos?” Quickly I realized, early provision eliminates the opportunity to faithfully and patiently glorify God brightly.

There is pain on this side of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is not about me trying to rationalize that pain until it makes sense … but, for me to keep faith anyway. July 12, 2015 my nephew married the girl of his dreams. Ten days later, his first day home from their honeymoon, he was diagnosed with cancer. I tried to make sense of this turn of events …to see it from God’s perspective … but, I could not. As I watched them move forward, step by step, in faith and grace … I saw their ability to glorify God brightly in a dark situation. ~ I meet people who have had my type of back surgery, and they are walking freely, without pain. I cannot accurately conclude why I was the one with the “mistake”. I can only choose to move forward with grace and faith …. brightly.

Last but not least …. My new vocabulary word (thank you K.D.!) “monopulate”.

Monopolize + Manipulate = Monopulate

Moving forward, in faith, with Christ …… Tell next time!

Meanwhile …


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My mom’s mobile home is in “sale pending” mode and we are going through the dreaded: inspections, appraisals, finding a new place for mom to call “home”, sorting, packing, down-sizing. It is just a dreadful process. During the inspection phase we found out there was a “raw sewage leak” under the mobile home. Literally, “shit happened”. My mom, her realtor, and I … were ALL working on responding with our best efforts … but, of course … some miscommunications prevailed and some “words” were said (O.K., O.K., so the words were said by me ……. But, you KNOW they were thinking them also!). After a stressful 24 hour period, the leak was repaired.

Meanwhile, my back/leg found its way to quite a pain flair while trying to maneuver extra physical demands.

Meanwhile, my daughter is moving from a rented room to a full blown 1 bedroom apartment. My husband and I are ecstatic to have her “stored” items move to another location. Little did we realize, however, how much work sorting this stuff out was to become. Stored in our garage and small attic are boxes, furniture and articles of hers. Also present are boxes, furniture and articles belonging to my mother-in-law … and of course boxes, furniture and articles that belong to us … some of which have not been “peeked” into from TWO houses ago! WHY DIDN’T I LABEL BETTER? I am the label queen! I ask you WHY?

Meanwhile, I am now having a difficult time getting out of my recliner/bed. I am not sleeping.

Meanwhile, we receive a call from the wonderful caregivers that care for my mother-in-law. It seems that her “sundowner” episodes now include trying to escape the house and “aggressive” behavior. We make the necessary medical appointments which include a 4 step process; step 2 being a psych evaluation. I begin the process of researching “options” for what “could be” … having learned that waiting lists for good affordable care are often the longest.

Meanwhile, I decide that it is completely acceptable for me to go in “shut down” mode. The only information spewed from my lips is generally technical, organizational, necessary and/or is completely unfiltered.

Meanwhile, my BFF gives me a call to see how things are going. Such a precious woman of God she is. Aware that I am having great difficulty reading my Bible, she offers to help order me a Giant Print Bible. The tantrum begins … “I don’t want to be a Giant Print Bible person … I don’t, I don’t, I just don’t!!!” She then “redirects me” and offers to help in any way she can with “stuff” …. Yet, before I hang up the phone I hear a voice, very similar to mine, STRONGLY STATING …. “I just want to be alone!”

Meanwhile, my daughter, returns from a Youth Winter Camp unknowingly aware of “the state of mom”. Words are said by both parties. Both of us are in shock at what just took place. Not even in the “teen years” did such venom spew.

Meanwhile, an apartment becomes available in a senior complex nearby. It is not a perfect fit … but seems to be the provision I, and all my prayer peeps, have been praying for. I financially have to commit to this apartment for my mother (or loose it) before we get final verification the buyers are approved for their loan.

Meanwhile, my husband arrives home from work with a fresh bouquet of bright yellow daffodils and deep purple stock … … … I can’t deny their cheerfulness. It almost makes me mad that “cheer” is creeping its way back into the alien being I have become.

Meanwhile, my brother-in-laws birthday arrives. The family used to gather together often, but for various reasons … we seem to be unable to even celebrate most holidays together. I desperately miss that crazy bunch of characters … But, I also don’t feel like making the 1 ½ hour drive it takes to be with them. After church however, I/we … do it anyway. What a refreshing day full of dialogue and laughter.

Meanwhile, my daughter insists on a “talk it out” phone call. Though the initial situation may have caused the deepest pierce in my heart for the week … the “talk it out” phone call we had will likely prove to be one of the greatest blessing over my lifetime. She truly has become such a wise and rich woman of God.

Meanwhile, my Giant Print Bible arrives. I guardedly open the box. It is beautiful. As I flip the pages, that are sticking together, I see … SEE … the Word of God without any difficulty. The words are so familiar … I get that same feeling I get when walking in the door from a long road trip. I am home.

Meanwhile, I begin to see a “light at the end of the tunnel”. There seems to be more tunnel than light at this point. I am not even sure which tunnel I am walking in, where I am going, how many times I will stumble before I get to the end … but I AM certain that light will not be extinguished. Being in the middle of a study on the book of Revelation helps me to see that light as “The Rider on a White Horse” whose “eyes are like a flame of fire” (Rev 19:12). Eyes that I can’t escape … familiar yet terrifying, full of mercy & tenderness yet, also wrath & justice. Infinite, all knowing of both the good and evil in my heart. They are the eyes I look into when I am joyous or mournful, when I am certain and when I am unsure. They are the same eyes I see when I am in pain and the same eyes I will see one day when I am not … this side of heaven or that.

Meanwhile … what I do know is …. Hope is a process that begins with suffering and those fiery eyes are my focal point through the process.

“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us”. Romans 5:3-5

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Pain and “The Wall”


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Back in the ….. well … early 80’s … I was training for my 1st marathon. I had trained through a college class and was certain of my ability to complete the 26 miles, 385 yards. On race day the excitement and adrenaline almost overpowered my ability to keep a steady pace. I found it, stayed steady, enjoyed the run and remember feeling exhilarated as I breathed in the salty Pacific air. Even more exhilarating was when I hit mile 20 ……. and “the wall” was not presenting itself. It was clear other runners were experiencing it … I was elated to be moving myself from the middle of the back of the pack … to the back of the middle of the pack. It was glorious. However, comma, it appeared I was a late bloomer. I was but a couple of miles from the finish line when the “brick” wall fell before me. It is a sensation that is dreadfully indescribable. I no longer cared about keeping my space in the back of the middle of the pack or even if I was to be the last of the last of the back of the pack. I only wanted to somehow get across the finish line. I learned a lot about myself in those last 2 miles, my strength, my perseverance, my stubbornness, my resolve, my determination, and my ability to focus … on just one step at a time and not concern myself with the steps that were certain to follow. Those 2 miles have proven to be maybe the greatest “life lessons” in my 57 years life.

The Wall ……. How often do we hit the wall while living life? I assure you I hit it again on August 24, 1987 …. at 7 cm, and then 8 cm and again at 9 cm …. I ignorantly assumed that “because I was a marathon runner” I would push that baby out lickety split … not to happen ….. the umbilical cord had wrapped itself around our little girls’ neck making it impossible for her to “lickety SPLIT”.   But, again … it was that ability to focus only on the “current” breath and “current” push ……

With my chronic pain … “The Wall” presents itself in various ways. Most common is the 3:00 pm wall. I do not wear a watch and try not to know what time it is in the afternoon so I won’t “expect” this wall. Often … in fact, very often …. it comes anyway. It is not a painful cement wall … just a wall of knowledge that I can’t go on physically, socially or emotionally. Then there is the morning wall. The one that hits when it is time to “start the day”, though I am not. I despise this wall. It is a wall that has a huge, runny, dark red “happy face” graffitied on it reminding me to keep a consistent smile and upbeat posture despite whatever physical pain I may or may not be in. This wall is exhausting. Then of course, there is the wall I am most familiar with … the wall of overwhelmedness. (I know, I know, overwhelmedness is not a word, but neither is “lickety split” …). This wall is a Tempurpedic wall. Not painful, but makes me very aware of its presence … and its ability to smother me if I get to close. Dealing with chronic pain requires constant, somewhat focused, concentration. There is no “real” down time … then you add to that the graffiti smile and whatever life happens to be throwing your way ….. the outcome is …. Wellllll …. In techno terms …. ERROR MESSAGE, THIS PAGE IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE, ABORT, RETRY, FAIL, HTTP 404!!!!!!!!

What life throws your way ……….. I am having a lot of “life” thrown my way these days. In truth, glorious blessings are thrown in there also …. But, I seem to want to focus on the “a lot” part. I am hitting walls in every direction, of every sort and kind. I feel alone. Again, I am reminded of the 1st time I experienced “The Wall” … tackle one step at a time ….” Remember, Sandi … you are strong, resolved, determined, focused and yes, stubborn. These traits will get you through the wall”.

As a Christian woman, generally walking in strong faith, I am challenged to keep my faith in front of me when smothering in a Tempurpedic wall of overwhelmedness. I believe the key is to “step back” and remember who I am running the race for.

“… let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12: 1b-2

Pain and the word “Disability”

Sooooo …. As I have said … probably more times than anyone is interested in …. My husband and I are on our “Retirement Road Trip #1”. It has been a magnificent trip filled with friends, beautiful sites & skies, laughs, and tire blow outs. As we have traveled, my VERY social husband has catapulted us into conversations with mere strangers (Bree and Lashonda … you are excluded … I am proud to say I started our conversation at Wildflour Bakery). Anyway….. The word “retired” often was presented to describe ourselves. One day, as we were RollingDownTheHallway ( – Barry’s travel blog), I realized a newly found freedom …. I was now “retired” and not “disabled”. I have spent countless inward pondering moments trying to figure out how this happened. If I can figure this phenomenon out …. I am certain I can apply it to other areas of my life …. Ha! … I am not bitchy, I am challenged. It is not that I can’t sit, it is that I like to stand. Hmmmmmm.   The pondering continues even as I blog.

The interesting thing is that I have never thought of myself as “disabled”; just able to find different ways to accomplish what I want/need to do. I have a brother-in-law who was “disabled” from a stroke approximately 20 years ago. He has a handful of words he is able to speak. My sister-in-law and I laugh at ourselves because he is “able” to socialize with the world more than the two of us combined. Disabled is what you can’t do. Abled is what you can do.

Soooo why do I have a freedom to the word “retired”? I ask you WHY? I am a highly strong-willed (just as my mom!) woman of faith that believes that “All things are possible through Christ, Jesus who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4 something …. I think. For clarity, the “all things” are all things which bring glory to Christ … not ALLL things …). Any wayyyyyyy. As I ponder this while writing this blog it comes to me ….

I do not think of myself as disabled … but, have labeled myself as disabled. My new label is “retired”. Ahhhhhhhhh …. Thank you for giving me a medium to “write this out”.

I have to laugh …. Precisely at the moment I wrote that last sentence …. The computer went black. I was not disabled to get up and find the cord to plug into the electrical outlet …. But, I was warm and cozy in my bed …. And wrongly faithful that I could complete this blog, though my computer was notifying me that my battery was critically low. Am I going to label myself as “ignorant”? …. HECK NO! But, I will label myself as someone who likes to keep warm and cozy.

Soooooooo ….. What I have learned is: “Be wary of how we label ourselves.” Thank you blog world for helping me figure this out!

Pain & Arizona

We are on our “Retirement Road Trip #1” traveling through the south west …. Currently stopped in Chandler AZ. Chandler’s main feature, for me, is my most precious friend, Loretta. Precious enough that we have made it to Arizona once a year since she and her husband, Roy, moved here (O.K. – so she only moved 2 ½ years ago … but, it feels like forever ……… and I am CERTAIN we will make it here according to my plan).

Barry and I had a loooong arduous drive along Highway 10, in a wind storm, to get here. Long driving days often are a precursor to a bad pain day. I was “trying” not to plan on a bad pain day … for the reuniting with my precious friend … but, it was certainly on my mind. When the moment of uniting came; we chatted and sipped coffee … as if no time had passed. She asked about my time at the HELP clinic and my current pain levels. I realized despite the long drive the day before … my current pain was quite low. (Glad I “tried” not to plan on it!). We eventually chatted our way to dinner time and allowed our boys to join us. Dinner at a restaurant … with chairs/booths … never good for me … sitting is ALWAYS painful.

At the clinic I worked on progressing my “sitting time” from about 30 seconds up to 20 minutes. It took the full 8 weeks, but I got there! My plan was to challenge myself to sit at least once a day for that 20 minutes ….. but, it never quite happened that way. At the restaurant, (soooo yummy… Arriba Mexican Grill in Chandler … HIGHLY recommend it and the “Pollo Con Queso “). Good friends, good food and the dry, warm Arizona weather had me sitting in that booth for about 40 minutes! My personal best!

I now understand why retirees flock to the south for the winter. There is something about the dry, warm, continuous heat pack on the whole body, air. I guess it is similar yet opposite to the cold, wet, continuous ice pack on the whole body, air that can be staggering.

Since I love to “learn” … I did some reading from a very extensive and complicated study from John Hopkin’s University. Their control group had 3 different types of pain sufferers. Each responded to different aspects of the weather, some responded to the temperature, some the barometric pressure, some to the precipitation status. All were more likely to get outside and move about …. Increasing blood flow to the entire body and mostly highly noted was “mood improvement”. My theory to their very complicated bottom line is: It is more about getting out, moving about, and enjoying life.

Another challenge for me: get out and move about … enjoy life … even when it is wet and cold outside.

Pain & Travel …. Do it ANYWAY!


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Pain and Travel … Do It Anyway!
We are on day 2 of our RETIREMENT ROAD TRIP #1! We added a countdown widget to our cell phones beginning 3½ years ago! I remember the day we celebrated because it broke “1,000” and then had a celebratory dinner when we broke the “100” mark. There was never a doubt in my husband’s mind that the first matter of business in “retirementhood” was a road trip. Our family LOVES road trips. Our attempts to route our trip varied as much as our beginning destination, Alaska, and our end destination, the Southwest. (We will travel to Alaska … and we will do it with YOU Nicki and Rich Hall).
Soooo Pain and Travel ….. I am sure there must be internet references, how to’s, tips for, traveling with pain … I personally, have found nothing really helpful … Pain is personal, so I have an array of shenanigans I pull to see me through such as, “completing” my leg and back stretches, a pack of frozen peas always accessible and USED when needed, a pillow system for my “captain’s chair” up front and bed in the back (a system so complex even my hubby can’t get it right …. And he tries!), walks at every road stop (which is often with the amount of diet coke and water/tea we consume), relaxation techniques I learned at the clinic (which can be EXTREMELY helpful … but, seem a little harder to maneuver on the road), and …. If all else fails, after 2 hours of 8+ pain that cannot be remedied …. Yes, it’s true … I pop a (prescribed) Norco. But, my greatest advice … flat out tried and true …. When it comes to travel and pain is …….. DO IT ANYWAY!
Before my journey at the H.E.L.P. clinic …. I resisted with all strength …. And I am pretty strong willed ….. leaving the security of my home. (I just erased an entire unfinished paragraph about “resisting leaving the security of home” …. I realize that in itself deserves its own blog post.) The exception was ALWAYS motor home camping or a road trip. In fairness, our motorhome provides me its own amount of security. My home on wheels … what’s the difference … there is none unless I step outside that security and breathe the fresh air, view the beauty, see and experience the world around me without a bug spattered windshield.
Happy Trails to You!

And so it begins …

I wasn’t planning on making my first post to “OUCH, I feel the Pain” so quickly. My plan was to finish helping Barry get “OurHallway” site up (as we endlessly try to learn the ins and outs of Word Press themes, widgets, hierarchy, posts vs pages ……..) and then work towards getting my Fiber Art site up. HOWEVER COMMA …….. I “stand” with 2 computers, at my kitchen counter trying unsuccessfully to accomplish the above mentioned “Word Press challenges” … and my challenge begins with focus being centered almost completely on the back spasms I am having … one after the other, as in childbirth, only the simulated baby is trying to exit through my left leg.  Did I mention the baby is on fire?  I secretly hide the sadness and fear as my husband kisses me goodbye and travels off to a day of work. Today was SUPPOSE to be my 3rd in a row attendance to a real, live, sit in chairs (though I stand) church named Brentwood Bible Fellowship. Great peeps there (… though I am highly socially awkward). In recent months … OK, years … my puppy dogs and I have been internet attending Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minnesota and Grace Family Baptist Church in Houston, TX (p.s. It really is a family church …. I hear screaming babies in the background literally every sermon).

On a side note as I digress from the subject of pain (which I find myself oddly trying to avoid … lol), it is hysterical to me that I am seriously considering becoming a member of BBF … because it is also a Baptist church. I had a seriously painful experience at a Baptist Church when I first became a Christian in the 70’s and made an agreement with myself that I would never become a member of a Baptist Church again.   Not only is BBF a Baptist Church…. but, this church is seriously into being friendly … yikes …. again, socially awkward … LOVE unfriendly churches … ha! But, that is the thing about being a Christian, once you give your life to Christ, His divine plans take precedence over ours …. No matter how many agreements we make with ourselves!

ANYWAY….. The thing about pain is …….. well there are just so many “things” …. that it is so LOUD to the person feeling it and so SILENT to everyone else. It was somewhat troubling and also freeing when I learned at the Pain Clinic this summer (A big shout out to all my beloved H.E.L.P. Pain Clinic peeps) that pain is 100% in your brain. Hmmmm. Its, true …. This baby I am feeling trying to come out my leg is really a message my brain is sending …. (For who knows whatever reason …. that I am soooo not into…)   I learned that our bodies have a “blue print”. When something alters that blueprint … such as spilled coffee, a bee sting, broken arm … the change in our blueprint tells our brain to send a message creating “awareness” that something is wrong and needs to be attended to (Call 911!)  …  Chronic Pain, however, is an entirely different thing. The injury has healed … blueprint back to normal …. But, the messaging system remains.   My take on it is … besides the fact that is sucks …. (Yes, Brittany Hall I used the word sucks … reserved only for Cancer and Chronic Pain) … is … that as a perfectionist … my blueprint has dried from the spilled coffee …. and all the body parts are now able to use it correctly, but my brain is distraught that there is a “spill mark” remaining …. In the shape of a baby … trying to exit through my leg.

With all that being said …. The life of a CP’er (Chronic Pain) often is forced to make random, unexpected, unwanted diversions from best laid and highly desired plans. I have learned, HOWEVER, not to let those times keep me from planning and living life to the fullest … though I am definitely still a work in progress.


p.s. I just realized this is quite a momentous day. First it is my sister-in-law, Nicki’s birthday (Happy Birthday! Tomorrow is Birthday Cake Day!) Second, it is the 15th anniversary of my original injury date AND …. The first posting of my blog!   Crazy!

Factoid for the day: My hubby introduced me to a new word this morning … “cluesie” … he calls it a Barry-ism … but its definition is: a path that is not well laid out and needs clues to move you forward. Don’t you just love it “cluesie”!