All about bowlegs, arthritis, pain managment….







The Importance of Self-Advocacy (When Mistakes Happen)

I write often about being a self-advocate. When it comes to your medical care, it is vital that you know what in the heck is going on. People make mistakes. That is human nature. No one is perfect. A medical mistake can have dire consequences if no one catches it. As a patient, it is your responsibility to know what your doctor says about your care as well as what your doctor prescribed for you. Every patient should not take every medication. It is super important to know what you are taking and the dose.

Just last week I visited my orthopedic for a follow-up appointment about my hip impingement. Currently, I have pain in my hip caused by a torn labrum (ring of cartilage around the ball of the hip).

I asked him if there was a non-narcotic medication that I could take other than the ibuprofen. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc) doesn’t seem to work as well as it did in the pass. I specifically told him that I did not want a narcotic because I need something I can take during the day. Narcotics make me so sleepy I can’t function. And of course there is always the risk of addiction.

Many addictions begin each year in the US because of uncontrolled pain. It starts as a way to manage pain but often ends up being an even bigger source of pain and misery. I am not against pain medication or narcotics for management pain. However, for myself I choose not to take narcotics for daily pain. After surgery, yes because it is for short-term use. For daily pain management, no.

Gold Pen check

For me the risk outweighs the benefit. Even when my knee pain was at its absolute raging worst, I refused to take narcotics daily even when they were offered to me.

My doctor and I agree on a medication to try that was well suited for me. I didn’t get a paper prescription as most prescription are sent electronically from the doctor’s office directly to a local pharmacy now. An hour or so later I got a text message from my pharmacy stating my prescription was ready. I was involved in a project at that moment so it was a few hours before I picked it up. I picked up my prescription and went home for the evening. Upon opening the bag, I discovered the prescription I received was not the medication we discussed. In fact it was the very type of medication I said I did not want! It was a narcotic prescribed to take 3 times daily. The doctor’s office was now closed for the day so I had to wait until the next morning to call. I left a message on my doctor’s line. A nurse called me back within minutes. I discovered that the physician’s assistant made a mistake when she submitted the prescription. My doctor circled the correct medication on the patient form however it was directly beside the medication that got submitted for me. Mistakes happen. Humans make mistakes every day.

Had I not known what the doctor and I discussed, I could have easily started taking the narcotic 3 times per day. I now have the correct medication. It is taken once daily and works well. Imagine the potential consequences if I took it 3 times per day. Every medication has precautions and side effects. Taking the incorrect dosage is guaranteed way to experience the negative side effects.

Be your own best advocate! When you visit doctor, ask questions and take notes. Make sure you understand what you should do and how you should do it before you leave their office. Your life literally depends on it.

There is a big difference between taking 500 mg and 2000 mg (2 grams). 500 mg versus 2000 mg is 1 pill to 4 pills in most instances!

Pills macro

You need to know what you are taking, the dosage (how much) and frequency (how often). A mistake can happen to anyone, at anytime. Be your own best advocate!

Live Joyfully
Kimberly





How to Stay Hopeful

Do you remember being excited as a child when your birthday was near?

Many of us still get excited as adults when our birthday approaches. I know I do! I absolutely love getting older. Each new year is a blessing. Birthdays are special. It is a day full of anticipation and excitement.

You daydreamed about the amazing party planned just for you and all the wonderful gifts received. You had hope. You hoped your special day was magical. You hoped your day was fun. You hoped your day was exciting.

Sadly, what many experience as a result of chronic pain or chronic illness (arthritis, MS, lupus, cancer, and fibromyalgia) is the opposite of that excitement and joy one feels about birthdays. Countless doctor’s visits, pain pills, infusion treatments, chemotherapy, etc and the pain does not improve or it actually gets worse takes a toll. You watch helplessly as the life you once enjoyed evaporates into nothingness. No joy, no fun, no excitement, just pain. Life takes on a feeling of emptiness that engulfs everything. When you smile or laugh or are outwardly enjoying yourself that feeling of emptiness lurks in the shadows threatening to eat your soul. That feeling is hopelessness.

Nothing seems to work. There is no improvement. There is no cure. There is no excitement about life. There is a never-ending cycle of appointments, pills and of course pain. The pain is the worst. It gnaws at you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is no escape from it.

Hopelessness is a dangerous state. It dampens and darkens everything. The sun doesn’t shine as brightly, colors aren’t as bright as they once were and even your face changes under the weight that constant pain causes. Hopelessness can lead to depression. It can lead to prescription pain-killer dependency (drug addiction) and even more heart ache and pain.

However, even when we are in the throes of pain, we have a choice. We can consciously choose life. We can consciously choose joy. We can consciously choose hope.

Choosing joy, hope and your life are not easy tasks when in pain every day, but it is possible. You choose joy, hope and life by:

1. Staying present – Don’t mentally, emotionally or spiritually check out of your own life. When we check out, we take on an ‘it doesn’t matter attitude’ about our own life. It does matter. Your pain matters, your life matters and you matter. Stay vested in your physical, emotional, and spiritual care.

a. Continue to see your doctor – Changes happen every day in the medical field. Ask your physician about new medical treatments and what you can do to improve your day-to-day life. However, slight the improvement is, any improvement is better than no improvement. Honestly we all want to be pain-free and hope that life goes back to what it used to be. Chances are that will not happen. Time doesn’t travel backwards. Create a new reality. Life is not the same but it can still be great.

b. Take notes when the doctor talks – Research everything the doctor talks about in your visit. Doctors are human. As unbiased as they are trained to be, they are still biased to some degree. It’s human nature. I learned doctors give better care when they know you care about you! Ask questions in a respectful way. Create an open dialogue. Communication is key. If you are physically or mentally unable to do this, always have a medical advocate with you. You want the best care? Be a vested patient.

c. Be grateful – If you recognize that you are in less pain today than on yesterday, be grateful for less pain. Yes, we all want to be pain-free but honestly that is not always possible. Learn to be grateful. Say ‘thank you’ for something every day. Gratitude heightens your spiritual awareness and connection and it makes you feel better emotionally and physically. Pray, mediate and pray some more to help you stay connected to you and your higher power.

Romans 5:1-5New International Version (NIV)
Peace and Hope

5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b]boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

2. Be optimistic – Is the glass half empty or half full? If you are alive the glass is half full. Pain makes you feel empty sometimes. Make a conscious decision to view life optimistically. Optimism changes the course of your day and ultimately your life.

3. Don’t play the role of victim – Playing the role of a victim essentially means taking on a ‘woe is me’ mentally. This means life happens to you and you are a victim of life circumstances. While it is true we cannot control what happens in life, we can choose how we respond to what happens in life. You can be a victim or a victor. The choice is yours.

Remaking hopeful in the middle of trials, illness, and pain is all about the choices we make day in and day out. Yes, you will have sad moments and sometimes sad days but you don’t have to stay down. Life is at times difficult. It is your choice to be hopeful or hopeless.

Choose HOPE!

Live Joyfully
Kimberly

Kimberly is a life coach and author who specializes in working with people with chronic pain or chronic illness.
Want the support of a life coach that understands chronic pain visit.
http://joyfullivingwithkimberlydixon.com/.
Ask about my post-TRK support calls!

Joyful Living

Joyful Living

For more information on arthritis, preparing for total knee replacement and what to expect after TKR check out my books. Available at http://goo.gl/QaqFF6

I Have Arthritis, Now What? (Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain)

I Have Arthritis, Now What? (Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain)

I Need a Knee Replacement, Now What? (How to Prepare for Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Need a Knee Replacement, Now What? (How to Prepare for Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (What to Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (What to Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (Six Week Companion Journal)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (Six Week Companion Journal)


Managing Total Knee Replacement Fear

Regardless of how many people I speak to and regardless of how we communicate (in person, via phone, through e-mail or on social media), there is one topic that comes up over and over. The one thing that resonates with people before and after total knee replacement is fear. Fear is not reserved for children or babies. It happens to EVERYONE!

Fear is an illusion because we create it within ourselves. However that illusion is so real that it causes a psychological and physiological response. Fear causes sweating, physical pain such as headache or stomach ache, sleeplessness, nervousness, anxiety and panic.

The acronym for fear is
False evidence appearing real. Fear may be an illusion but the response it creates is real.

Before total knee replacement

1. There are fears about the actual surgery. Every surgery has risks. These risks often keep people living in pain because they are afraid of the risks that total knee replacement or any other surgery carries.

2. There are fears about the pain. Questions loom. How much pain will I be in? How long with the pain last?

3. There are fears about physical therapy (PT). Will I need PT? How long will I need PT? Will PT hurt? This question is a big one because it leads you back to question two about pain and starts an endless cycle of questions and fears related to pain.

After the surgery

1. There are fears about complications related to surgery. Again every surgery especially those on the extremities (arms and legs) carry a risk of blood clots. So you question, do I live in pain every day or do I take the risk? (That is a calculated risk that is best for you and your surgeon to discuss).

2. There are again fears about pain. Will this pain ever end? How long does it take for the pain to get better?

3. There are fears about caring for yourself. When can I drive? When can I take care of myself? How long will I need a walker or cane?

Regardless of whether it’s before surgery or after, most people experience some level of fear. Fear is a normal part of the process. In fact fear is a normal part of life. Everyone experiences fear to some extent or another. Fear does not go away. No one is exempt from fear. Left unchecked fear can dominate your life and stop you from experiencing life at its best. Fear stops people every day from making decisions that benefit them. Fear stops people from flying on airplanes even through air travel is safer than driving. Fear stops people from committing in relationships. Fear stops people from changing careers or jobs. Fear stops people from having total knee replacement when they so desperately need it.

The thoughts about things that may possibly happen or unanswered questions cause people to stand still. They become stuck in a state of indecision.

Unfortunately, we can’t get rid of fear but we can learn to manage it. Managing fear is about learning to stand in your own power and trusting that you are capable of making the best decisions for you.

Steps to manage fear about surgery

1. Change your vocabulary – words have power. Use words that empower and uplift you instead of shrinking you. Stop making statements such as, ‘this is terrible’. If you say that, your brain interprets everything as terrible regardless of where or not it actually is. Stop asking “what if” questions. “What if” questions ask unanswerable questions about future events that have not occurred (Ex. What if I am in a lot of pain after surgery). As such you cannot possibly know the answer. These questions only terrorize you and keep you stuck in a state of indecision.

2. Re-frame fear as curiosity – instead of dreading total knee replacement get excited about living a pain free life that is the end result of total knee replacement. Expect a positive outcome. Being positive has an emotional impact and a physical one.

3. Trust
a. Trust the process. Trust that you have everything you need to have a successful outcome. (Great doctors, great home care, a great physical therapist and a great mindset). A great mindset is one that says I can achieve anything I set my mind to even when you feel like you physically cannot go further.
b. Trust god’s plan for your life and that god will provide whatever you need
c. Trust that resources are available to you in every situation

4. Take responsibility for your life – stop allowing other people to make decisions for you. You give your power away when you make your happiness, success or decisions contingent upon what someone else does or doesn’t do. Stop listening to other people’s horror stories. Second and third-hand stories are usually just that….stories filled with unintentional half truths and inaccuracies. Take responsibility for yourself by making the best decision for you based on your health, pain level and options available to you.

5. The last step to managing fear is breathe. Breathing creates clarity. In that moment of clarity fear subsides just long enough for you to act. When you are able to think clearly, you are able to make sound decisions.

Managing fear takes continuous practice. It is not something you can do once and forget about it. However, with enough practice managing fear becomes second natural. When it becomes second nature, you are able to manage fear in any area of your life.

Don’t allow fear to rob you of the life you deserve!

Live Joyfully
Kimberly
Kimberly is a life coach and author who specializes in working with people with chronic pain or chronic illness.
Want the support of a life coach that understands chronic pain visit.
http://joyfullivingwithkimberlydixon.com/.
Ask about my post-TRK support calls!

Are you a senior wanting to learn how to become more active? Follow https://seniorwhoexercisesislit.wordpress.com/blog/.

Joyful Living

Joyful Living

For more information on arthritis, preparing for total knee replacement and what to expect after TKR check out my books. Available at http://goo.gl/QaqFF6

I Have Arthritis, Now What? (Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain)

I Have Arthritis, Now What? (Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain)

I Need a Knee Replacement, Now What? (How to Prepare for Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Need a Knee Replacement, Now What? (How to Prepare for Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (What to Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (What to Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (Six Week Companion Journal)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (Six Week Companion Journal)


Rejoice

Today’s post isn’t about arthritis or pain per say. It is more about a state of mind.

Psalm 118:24
This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Over the last few days this scripture keeps playing in my mind.

On last Saturday morning I met some of my accountability partners for a walk. The weather here in NC was pleasant most of the winter. Actually, we really haven’t had a winter. Recently the temperature reaches 70 degrees most days. However as fate would have it, it was cold Saturday morning. It was very cold to us thin blooded southerners. But the sky was beautiful. It was clear and that brilliant blue you only get in NC (I might be a little impartial. I love NC).

When I stepped out of my car something rose up in me. It wasn’t my usual joy but something deeper, something stronger. Something on the inside moved. The cold didn’t affect me or the other walkers. We started the walk in prayer. I looked towards the sky as we walked and prayed and walked and prayed. The spirit of God was on us. My spirit rejoiced as we walked in prayer. I was glad for this day. I was glad to be alive. I was glad to be in nature. I was glad to be outside walking regardless of the temperature. I was glad to share this time with friends and accountability partners.

Rejoice means to feel great joy or delight, to be glad.

Most of us plan our day and many of plan our life. As a chronic pain suffer whether the pain comes from arthritis or other chronic illness such as MS, lupus or cancer, it is nearly impossible to make concrete plans because your life is on a roller coaster. From one day to the next day, you never know what to expect. You make plans but they get cancelled when you are in too much pain to engage in activities or simply don’t feel well. It is hard sometimes but even in these moments we must rejoice.

Essentially this scripture tells us to find great joy and delight in God and in life no matter what. Everyone experiences different seasons in life. This scripture tells us to find joy and peace in each and every day because this day was created for you. God already knows what this day holds for you and walks with you throughout it. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not promised but in this moment in this day you are alive. That alone is enough reason to be glad.

Learning to rejoice in life when I was at the height of my pain was difficult. I learned how to do it by appreciating every day. I realized that no matter how seemingly bad the day was, it could always be worse. Many days I was in so much pain that I could barely walk, but I could still walk. I thought about people who are wheelchair bound and wish they could take one step. How could I complain about walking regardless of the pain involved? I was thankful for every step I took.

Life hits us with unexpected and sometimes tragic events. Just remember that

1. It could be worse.
2. Life happens ‘for’ you and not ‘to’ you. You have to look for the lesson that will strengthen you.
3. God is always present and on your side even when you don’t see it.

Learn to rejoice and be glad in every season of your life.

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”
― Bil Keane

Live Joyfully
Kimberly

Kimberly is a life coach and author who specializes in working with people with chronic pain or chronic illness.
Want the support of a life coach that understands chronic pain visit.
http://joyfullivingwithkimberlydixon.com/.
Ask about my post-TRK support calls!

Are you a senior wanting to learn how to become more active? Follow https://seniorwhoexercisesislit.wordpress.com/blog/.

Joyful Living

Joyful Living

For more information on arthritis, preparing for total knee replacement and what to expect after TKR check out my books. Available at http://goo.gl/QaqFF6

I Have Arthritis, Now What? (Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain)

I Have Arthritis, Now What? (Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain)

I Need a Knee Replacement, Now What? (How to Prepare for Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Need a Knee Replacement, Now What? (How to Prepare for Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (What to Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (What to Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (Six Week Companion Journal)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (Six Week Companion Journal)


Alternative Pain Management

When we think of pain management, most people think of doctors or a pain management clinic. These are great sources of pain management but there are countless other ways to manage pain.
Pain Management is actually a medical approach that draws on disciplines in science and alternative healing to study the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of pain.
Many forms of alternative medicine treat beyond the physical sensation of pain. They release negative energy, stress, and tension and allow the body to naturally reduce pain.

Some forms of alternative medicine include:

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy uses the essential oils of plants to provide pain relief. It is only natural that aromatherapy would decrease pain. Every movement (voluntary and involuntary), sensation (pain), smell, taste, etc. originate in the brain. Smelling essential oils effectively change your perception of pain. Essential oils are even effective at treating pain when applied topically.

Massage therapy

Massage therapy is the manipulation of muscles, connective tissue, tendons and ligaments. This manipulation promotes health and well-being by assisting the body’s ability to release toxins stored in muscles. It has many applications and techniques. Massage therapy uses include cancer patients, pregnancy and chronic pain suffers. Massage also is relaxing and reduces stress.

Woman in a day spa getting a deep tissue massage therapy

Acupuncture ‘

Studies confirm that acupuncture is effective in treating pain. This method of alternative pain management existed for at least 2,000. It is of Chinese origin and involves the insertion of tiny needles into the skin. It is beneficial for back and neck pain, knee pain and headaches.

Chiropractic care

Chiropractic care uses non-surgical techniques and manipulations to reduce chronic pain. Chiropractic care makes adjustments in the spine through a variety of techniques. Correcting the body’s alignment is thought to relieve pain and improve function. This helps the body to heal itself. It is used for back pain, headaches, asthma, neck pain, and whiplash.

Yoga

Yoga uses controlled breathing, meditation and movement to stretch and strengthen muscles. Yoga use for pain is quite popular. People with arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines, lower back pain, etc. use yoga. A weekly class typically increases mobility, improves mood and promotes psychological well-being.

Young woman practicing yoga in the park.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi improves balance, coordination, flexibility, strength and stamina. It is a mind-body exercise that uses slow-motion, controlled breathing, meditation and movement to strengthen and stretch tight muscles. Tai Chi is thought to reduce stress and anxiety which help relieve pain.
Hypnotherapy – uses relaxation techniques to alter your awareness. This approach decreases pain by first reducing the anxiety that pain causes.

Reiki

Reiki is of Japanese origin. It is made of two the Japanese word Rei which means “the wisdom of God or Higher Power” and Ki which means “life force energy”. This form of alternative medicine was developed in 1922. It is practiced in varying cultures across the world. This technique aids the body in releasing stress and tension by creating deep relaxation. Reiki is thought to promote healing and overall health.

There are many forms of alternative pain management. Some forms work better for some people than others. The key is to keep searching until you find one that works for you. It is not a one size fits all. However, I used many forms for pain management prior to bi-lateral knee replacement. In fact I enjoyed them so much that I continue to use aromatherapy, chiropractic care, yoga, and massage therapy as part of my self-care routine. Taking care of our physical, mental and spiritual needs are a top priority.
Many of these practices reduce stress and anxiety. Ongoing arthritis pain is a tremendous burden which creates stress in all areas of your life. Reducing stress reduces physical, emotional and psychological pain. Using alternative pain management offers many benefits that extend far beyond the physical.

Live Joyfully
Kimberly

Kimberly is a life coach and author who specializes in working with people with chronic pain or chronic illness.
Want the support of a life coach that understands chronic pain visit.
http://joyfullivingwithkimberlydixon.com/.
Ask about my post-TRK support calls!

Are you a senior wanting to learn how to become more active? Follow https://seniorwhoexercisesislit.wordpress.com/blog/.

Joyful Living

Joyful Living

For more information on arthritis, preparing for total knee replacement and what to expect after TKR check out my books. Available at http://goo.gl/QaqFF6

I Have Arthritis, Now What? (Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain)

I Have Arthritis, Now What? (Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain)

I Need a Knee Replacement, Now What? (How to Prepare for Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Need a Knee Replacement, Now What? (How to Prepare for Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (What to Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (What to Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (Six Week Companion Journal)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (Six Week Companion Journal)


  • Contact email: kimberly@bowlegsandarthritis.com
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