Caregiver Stress and Chronic Pain, chronic pain, Empathy

Overthinking: Stop Forcing Everything


Dear Self,

Promise to treasure your time.  Don’t fall in love with potential.  Remember that just because you want it, does not mean it deserves to have you…..yet.  Be patient, but do not procrastinate.  Be hopeful but not naïve.  When it is right, you will know it.  You do not have to force it.


Here I am in Orlando, Florida where my family took vacation or as my three-year old daughter calls our annual trips: ‘cation.’  On most of our trips I am very able to plan my chronic pain management schedule, making sure to include exercise/healthy eating/breaks/meditation times etc.  Well, this is a family road trip from New Jersey to Florida both visiting family, staying in an amazing resort/time share and bringing our three-year old to The Magic Kingdom (a dream come true in her beautiful three-year old eyes) and Animal Kingdom.  We are very fortunate to be able to get free tickets to certain parks which also include fast passes as my brother in-law works in Florida and has very good friends.  With all of the above said, it is almost impossible to plan my pain management schedule into my day on this certain trip: this is not such a terrible thing.  It has forced me to think outside the box.

On the drive down, my crazy husband decided he wanted to drive on through: which was a fantastic idea because our daughter was way too excited and driving through the night was the best escape from her every two minutes: “I want the Princesses, where are we?!”  He did it and at five in the morning he awoke me in the parking lot of a Waffle House in the middle of South Carolina.  He needed to nap as was becoming delirious so I awoke my daughter and we each tried out the waffles from the Waffle House for the first time as he slept.   There was no awaking at five am to do morning stretches/work out and make my juice.  It was pitch black outside, I had zero clue where I was and all that was in sight was a delirious driver and a restaurant clearly famous for their waffles.  You are forced to go with the flow, having Kayci with me makes it very easy and she was super excited about the infamous: “Waffle House!!”  Through the eyes of a three-year old: wisest person I know.  This is just part of our trip but clearly reveals how difficult it would be to keep to my “chronic pain routine” during ‘cation.’

We arrived this past Saturday and today is Wednesday.  The above picture was taken on Sunday on a River Cruise in Orange City, FL.  My brother in-law had planned a fun day with different things to do in Florida aside from the “usual.”  I want to go back for sure and go swimming in the area: it was quite beautiful.   Monday came around and we were settled into our time share and I started eating healthier and practicing yoga.  No way am I going to do a major work out as our three-year old is just as lively as I was/am if not more and can go and go and go. We spent close to ten hours at the Magic Kingdom yesterday and yes it did affect my chronic pain, I cannot lie but I also am not going to dwell upon it nor talk about it.  It was hot as anything and due to our fast passes my husband (being as crazy about parks as I am) wanted us to go on everything and we came close.   Around three in the afternoon, Kayci looked up at me with sweat in her eyes and said: “I want to go swimming Mommy. I want to go to ‘cation’ home.”  I felt her pain literally and figuratively and hinted at my husband we should head home.  He looked at me and only said: “I expected more from you Jessica, of all people.  Jessica, Disney World, free fast passes.  Come on!”   I did not talk about chronic pain: I may have bitched regarding the weather once or twice but I did not bring up pain.   I decided to suck it up (not sure I had a choice) and go on a few more rides: no lines he was right, so worth it.  It was such a great day and we stayed until eight pm.  It was a day I will never forget and a day I will be able to share with Kayci for the rest of her life.  Going on rides I did as a young girl reminds me of myself at her age and she is just such a great time.  All of a sudden we were dancing in the rain running through the towers of Walt Disney World.   I forgot all about chronic pain and knew that throwing away my chronic pain tools for a few days was well worth the memories, laughs, smiles that I still have with me and will for weeks to come.  Sometimes you really do need to let go.  Today is a down day and we are just relaxing.  I practiced yoga for an hour to stretch my muscles and swam with Kayci a couple of times.  I may not be able to do exactly what I usually do for the week but I can still eat fruits and vegetables, “real food,” and practice yoga and distractions.  One would think I would feel awful today after close to twelve hours at Magic Kingdom with a crazy three-year old in 103 degree heat but I am okay.  Mindfulness and not overthinking can truly go a long way.  So many of my readers overthink everything: chronic pain or not.  Nothing needs to be forced: when it is right it just happens.  Each day I am feeling better about my life and my decisions regarding my life and the life of those I love.  I am healthy, happy and although chronic pain plays a huge factor in my life: chronic pain is not my life.

This post is dedicated to my cousin, Barbara who helps me more than she knows!


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