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Opioids for chronic pain

I just read a great article (and comments) about the use of opioids in treating chronic pain. 

 The small dose I use takes the edge off the pain so that I can function. I can take care of my house and my kids and be an active participant in life. I am trying new medications now as I’ve finally been allowed to see a non WC doctor.  

I’ve tried everything from supplements, TENS units, massage, acupressure, ice/heat, CBD oil (not pot), I do my physical therapy exercises and while I have had great success with many of these treatments, I’m still in pain.

 When my pain (normally a 5-6) gets up to a 7or 8 I take a pain pill and It brings the pain back down to my normal of a 5 and I can function.  

This isn’t every day, but on the days where I have to get stuff done and function.  

I have a lot of friends that also have chronic pain and it’s just horrible the way we are treated because of the actions of a few.  

 Click Here for a great article by Chronic Mom that sums this up better than I ever could. 

Essential Oils

Essential oils for Sleep

Sleep is so elusive, either you can’t get to sleep or you can’t stay asleep.  There’s one thing I’ve learned in this chronic pain journey – sleep is important.

I have tried pills (prescription and over the counter) and nothing has worked as well as these oils.

My new favorite oil is Rutavala.  You will either love the smell or hate it but this stuff works.  I roll it onto the bottoms of my feet and I can literally feel the relaxation creep up my body.  Within minutes I’m asleep and I wake up rested and ready to start the day.

Another bonus is that my honey is also sleeping better just breathing the oil off of my body.  Win win! Well except for the stinky smell that is.

Here are a few other oils that smell better and can also help support a restful nights sleep.

  • Lavender
  • Peace and calming
  • Cedarwood

Sometimes I rub the cedarwood on my chest to mask the smell of the rutavala.  Lavender is great for kids and even pets (diluted).

What oils do you use to help you sleep?  Let me know in the comments.

-Julie the Nurse

Chronic Pain

Relationship Pain Problems

Relationships are hard!  Add in the challenges of chronic pain and some days they seem just about impossible.

Lately we have been in such a funk. I’ve been in pain and stressed out about the job situation.  Rationing my remaining pain pills like they were precious gold to be hoarded and the increase in my pain had a severe effect on our relationship.

When you hurt it’s all consuming, all you can think about.  You tend to snap at people and just all around be a witch.  When you can barely find the energy to shower, it feels impossible to find the energy to give to a relationship.


The catalyst for me was when my man looked me in the eye and told me that he felt alone, that I didn’t talk to him.  Of course in my wisdom I tried to educate him that while he was talking all I could hear was my body screaming “pain, pain, PAIN!”   Armed with the above pain scale I explained that my pain is constantly a 5-6 with flares up to an 8.

You know something – it doesn’t matter.  One of the most important people in my life felt like he didn’t matter to me.  I was allowing the pain to control my life and ruin our relationship.  Something had to change.

What changed was my priorities.  Those of us with chronic pain only have so many “spoons” in a day and we have to be very purposeful in how we use them.  I’ve made it a point to allot a few spoons a day towards him.  Simple things, like doing a load of laundry, or making dinner.  I make sure the bed is made and the house is neat so he has a clean comfortable place to come home to.   Yes I made a list in my bullet journal to help me remember!

img_7622.jpgI’ve also started waking up with him every day.  This helps me be more productive and also means that by bedtime I am tired and not up on my phone all night.

Another huge (for me) change I’ve made is not allowing myself excuses.  For a long time I would say I’d do something and then for whatever reason (pain, exhaustion) I would come up with a reason why it didn’t get done.   He couldn’t count on me.  Not anymore!  Now I prioritize my day and write down the most important things I need to get done.  Amazingly I’m getting them done.

The best part about this is that as I’m showing him more love, he’s starting to trust that I’m there for him.  He’s starting to feel loved again and he’s showing me love in so many ways that I was missing.

Here are a few ideas to get you started

  • Read Love Languages and figure out what his is.  Concentrate on that.
  • Prioritize your relationship.
  • Write it down
  • Plan your day so that you have energy when he gets home.
  • Realize that you can only do your best and treat yourself with Grace.  If you are showing a true effort he will see it and on the days you just can’t – he will happily pick up the slack.
  • Realize it’s usually small things that make people feel loved.

I’d love to hear from you, what are your suggestions for a successful relationship with a chronic illness?

– Julie the Nurse

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Passion

In the blink of an eye, everything changed.  The path I was on disappeared beneath my feet and left me stumbling in the dark trying to find a purpose for my life.  What is a nurse to do when she can no longer be a nurse?  

I’m not proud to admit that For a while I did nothing, I curled up in defeat.  Angry at the world, myself, even God.  Why would he let this happen to me?  I’ve spent my adult life helping others, why do I have to hurt, to suffer?  Why are my children suffering?   


What I’ve come to accept over the last 15 months is that everything happens for a reason.  There is a purpose for my pain.  My desire to help others hasn’t left, it’s shifted.   I looked back on my career as a bedside nurse and made lists of what I loved and hated about my job.  What stood out for me almost immediately is that the part I loved was the personal interaction.  

Teaching and empowering others to care for themselves.   I hated the paperwork and the rushing, feeling like I didn’t have time to sit with my patient and hold their hand.  I felt something was fundamentally wrong with giving someone 15 pills for breakfast.  How on earth could that be good for the body.   We are only treating the symptoms, there is no money to be made by curing the disease.  

Some of my most cherished memories are simply sitting with a patient and feeding them, or holding their hand when they were scared.   I lived for the personal touch, the connection with others and the ability to make their day a little brighter.   

Is it possible that God has other plans for me?  Is it possible that my work injury and subsequent suffering are preparing me for a new path in life?   What is that path?   Why can’t God just tell me what he wants me to do, because I will do it.   I spent months screaming at God to just tell me what he wanted, begging him to relieve my pain, bargaining and threatening.  I was desperate and lost.  I felt abandoned and alone. 

The more I’ve prayed on this, I’ve come to notice small things.  Opportunities that have been put into motion.   Quiet ways that I am being led in a new direction.  I still want to help others, I need to help others.   I have this passion to help others in pain, physical pain and emotional pain.   My vision isn’t quite clear yet but it becomes clearer every day.  I see the doors opening in front of me and the opportunities that I believe God is giving me to share my message.  

I feel that I’ve been given the skills through my years as a nurse to understand one way of looking at dis-ease and pain, and that through my years long research into holistic treatments I’m in a unique position to understand how to incorporate the two.   This is my purpose in life, to be of service to others, to empower others to take control of their lives and their pain.  

My passion is to help others and that’s why I’m here!

-Julie the Nurse

Chronic Pain

Pacing with Chronic Pain

One of the hardest things to accept with chronic pain is that you can no longer do all of the things you used to do .  Some days just taking a shower is too much.  Forget about going to the mall or cleaning your house in one day.  What used to take me an hour now takes more like 10.

One of the things that people do when they first develop chronic pain is we try to push through it, when that doesn’t work we lay down because that reduces the pain.  The problem with this approach is that it makes you weaker, deconditioned, and everything becomes harder to do.

We have good days and bad days – we tend to take advantage of the good days and do as much as we can – then we burn out and end up in severe pain, unable to do much of anything.  This is a vicious cycle because we feel guilty for laying down and resting, recovering.  Once we feel better we rush to get everything done because we don’t know when the next good day will be.  The cycle repeats.

IMG_7527

I have recently learned another way to address this.  It’s called pacing and it goes like this: work – rest – work – rest – repeat.  In my case I can only stand for a certain amount of time before the pain skyrockets, so I work for 10-15 minutes, maybe loading the dishwasher, or wiping the counters then I rest for 20-30 minutes until my pain level gets to a tolerable point.  Then I repeat.

Since I have started doing this I have gotten more done with a decreased pain level overall as I’m no longer pushing myself past my safe point on the days I feel better.

I make a list of the top 3 things that I need to get done during the day, and I do those first.  I also use my bullet journal to map out my ideal day and track the things that are important for me to do every day.    I use kitchen timers or the timer on my phone to keep me on track.

IMG_7528At the bottom of this monthly calendar I have my goal tracking for the month.   With chronic pain sometimes it’s the simple things that get left out.  Making the bed in the morning makes it less likely that I’ll just go lay back down in it.  Cleaning the kitchen after dinner means that I start the morning without that hanging over my head.  Even something as simple as showering can be a challenge when you are exhausted at the end of the day and just want to go to bed.  I have set a goal to cook dinner 4 nights a week – this week it hasn’t happened due to increased pain levels and that’s OK.

My suggestion for others with chronic pain is to accept your limitations, don’t push yourself too far, and most importantly write it down!  Chronic pain does something to your brain and makes it so much harder to remember things, write down what you need to do, prioritize and give yourself grace if you can’t get to everything on your list.

Thank you for being here

  • Julie the Nurse

 

 

 

Essential Oils

Essential Oils and Emotions

One thing I’ve learned about chronic pain is that it can make you depressed.  A complete lack of motivation to do anything, you withdraw from others because you feel like a burden.  It’s a vicious cycle because the more depressed you get – the less you do, the more pain you have and then the depression worsens.

One of the tools I used to break this pain-depression cycle was essential oils.  I have always been interested in holistic/alternative medicine and had been using these oils for years before my injury.

Lets start with the basics and then I will explain what I did.

02-What-are-essential-oils

Essential Oils are the “life-blood” of the plant.   Nature’s first “medicine” and just as powerful today as they were in Jesus’ time.

03-Three-Ways-to-Use-Essential-Oils

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Please do not ingest any oils that are not specifically labeled for human consumption.  It could be very dangerous.

06-Identifying-emotions-1

OK, so we have 8 basic emotions – now what do we do with them?

07-Eight-Basic-Emotions-1

In my case I decided to use essential oils to work towards more balanced, healthy emotions.

13-Forgiveness

I really needed to forgive myself, and others who couldn’t handle my injury and pain.  I carried this oil around with me for a while.

14-Harmony

This is another oil that I used frequently.  I was isolated, I screened my calls and didn’t respond to messages from my friends.  I was so sad about my situation that I just didn’t want to interact with anyone.   I almost bathed in this oil.

15-Inner-Child

I used this oil while meditating on the purpose for my life.  It used to be helping others as a nurse – once that avenue had been taken away – I was lost.  I needed direction in life, I needed energy, happiness and to reconnect with my friends and family.

16-Present-Time

Oh, present time!  I still wear this most days as it helps me to release pent up emotions, accept things for what they are and flow with the changes occurring in my life.  When you have a chronic “invisible” illness, there is a huge loss.  For many of us, however, there are no outward signs of the pain we are in.   We suffer in silence.  We stuff the anger down deep inside and it begins to poison us.   This oil helped me reconnect with the present and work through the stages of grief.

17-Release

This is a very dangerous oil emotionally.  It does what it says.   I was afraid to use it for a while because I had stuffed my emotions so deep I was afraid it might kill me to let them out.  I wasn’t just angry, I was ANGRY at God, at myself, at others who had a part in my pain.  When this oil kicked in it wasn’t pretty.  I angry/ugly cried for a few hours and then went to sleep.  When I woke up – I could feel the difference.  I was at peace.

18-Valor-2

I use Valor and/or Valor II on a daily basis.  This is the armor I wear to face the world.  It seems to give me to confidence to stand up for myself and my needs.  It is one oil I never go without.

22-Resources

I own both of these books, and have used many of the protocols in them for releasing negative emotions.  This is not a quick fix process and it requires time and dedication to addressing your emotions.  If you are interested in more information on specific techniques – please contact me.  While I did use some specific protocols, many times I would just walk past my oils case, grab whatever oil I “felt” I needed and apply it wherever seemed logical to me.

I am a believer in our own intuitive powers for healing our bodies, and while the use of these oils hasn’t removed my pain, they have played a large part in my increased ability to cope with the pain and the associated emotions.

Thank you for stopping by

-Julie the Nurse

*** these slides are a portion of a larger presentation I have done on essential oils and emotions.  you can get more information and see the video by finding my facebook group (theoilyladies)***

 

 

 

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My Story

Have you ever heard the saying “seasons of life?” There is the season of youth, young adulthood, becoming a parent, caring for your parents, with thousands of different seasons inbetween.  I am currently in a season that no one ever expects to encounter.  The season of pain!  Chronic Pain is described as pain that lasts longer than 3 months.  I am on month 14 as of July 2017.

It’s funny how one moment in time can alter the course of your life.  I’ve heard people say that but never quite understood.

On April 14, 2016 one week before my 36th birthday my life was forever changed.  There was nothing unusual about the day, or even the situation I was in.  I’ve been a nurse for 15 years and I am really good in an emergency.  This particular morning I had a patient dying and we emergently transferred him to the ICU.  While moving him onto the new bed (something I’ve done a thousand times before) I felt and heard a pop in my back.

I have spent the past 14 months researching chronic pain, the causes and potential treatments.  I have tried numerous modalities with varying degrees of success.  I would like the opportunity so share this knowledge with you.

Please leave a comment and let me know what information would be most beneficial to you.

Thanks for stopping by

 

-Julie the Nurse5B8145E9-DD8F-43F4-8E2B-B545EEAC082E