I read a quote once that said: “If you want your children to turn out well, spend fifty percent less money on them, and fifty percent more time with them.” Having a child has made my chronic pain worse and better at the same time. It is sometimes more difficult to manage my pain because well the needs of a one year old do come before my own. I manage my pain without medication by following a pretty rigid schedule in which I make sure to incorporate certain things in my day such as: exercise, meditation, healthy eating, moderation etc. When I worked a nine to five job it was quite easy to incorporate a strict pain management schedule to my life.
I woke up at four fifty am every morning and was at the gym by five am. I slept in work out clothes every night and my gym in less than a mile away from my home. I was able to incorporate meditation at my job because as a medical social worker I taught and practiced meditation with my patients and they loved it. I was able to pack a healthy lunch and oddly enough at the job I loved was able to practice moderation most of the time. My boss knew up front about my brain surgery and my chronic pain before he hired me. Having been through brain surgery and chronic pain I was able to be the best medical social worker I could be. I knew what my patients felt and had more empathy and love for them than your average social worker.
Now, I am a stay at home mom and I would not change that for the world. Although some days are more difficult than others to incorporate each technique I use to manage my pain without medicine, most days are quite easy to follow my management schedule. It has taken a lot of trial and error to figure out how to make it work but each week it does get easier. When my daughter agrees to nap I force myself to do a meditation even when there are a hundred other things I would love to be doing like laundry, cleaning, organizing, etc. I know that for my pain management I need to do this as often as possible. And ya know what, the dishes, laundry, cooking etc. always get done. I very rarely miss a day of exercise. My daughter now has become such a mini me and loves exercise. She actually got excited today when I put in a work out dvd until she demanded more attention but most of the time she loves it. She has perfected many yoga poses. Many morning she literally grabs my running shoes and says: “shoes, outside, shoes, outside” until we are outside running. Yes, that is becoming a little difficult because it is getting colder out but I always find a way to get in a work out in the morning. I have a no excuses rule to that as nothing helps manage my pain better than exercise. She is also the best distraction to my chronic pain that there can be. I am so beyond happy in this picture and we spend hours at a time at the playground. I do not need to spend a lot of money on my daughter because we are so active and just having fun. Talk about a distraction to pain: look at her face! We are just two happy girls playing at the playground. Who would ever look at me and think: she had brain surgery and suffers from chronic pain. People probably would not believe me. I was very scared to become a mother because of my chronic pain. But the fear of never being a mother totally outweighed that fear. My dream has always been to be a mother, chronic pain or not. Now that I am managing it well I honestly cannot wait to have another child.
It is a very good feeling knowing you can do something and make things work that you never thought you could. I was able to do a meditation today and as I write this I hear my daughter singing in the den to Tree Foo Tom. I am literally smiling ear to ear as I write this and the only reason pain is coming to my mind is because I am writing about it. Motherhood is hard. Motherhood is a lot harder managing chronic pain without medication but if I can do it anyone can. Do not let chronic pain take your dreams away. I almost let that happen, thank god I did not give up.