Craig's World of Sport

Posts Tagged ‘Dealing with Pain

Home! Tired but so energisded too

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So after a long week I’m back home and have already enjoyed the fruits of my labour by enjoying some fun time in the sun outside with Clayton when I got home. This 5 days ago would of been unheard of. 


The change I have seen in myself is massive, even better is Helen has seen a change when I arrived home. I’m smiling and laughing which can only be a good thing. I also can see how the mindfulness will work when Clayton did have a little strop, I didn’t let it affect me and go straight to raging I stopped and talked calmly only when the strop continued into throwing something did I have to raise my voice but I did it in a calm fashion not just pure anger, again good. I was only shouting at him for being naughty not for me getting angry due to the pain effecting me. I also came home and sat on a chair at the table not getting onto the bed to rest my back, again that would be the easy option, not necessary the right one.


The hard part comes over the next 3 days while I’m at home, I have to maintain the work I have done, not lapse back into the easy route. The plan for tomorrow is still get up for around 7.30 and to take Clayton to school before I have an appointment in Liverpool. My plan there is to walk a bit too again something I haven’t been able to do too much.


Thanks all for reading I hope my journy through this pain management course is interesting to you as its helpful for me to write it down.


Should I get chance I’ll write about how I get on over the weekend and maintaining what I have done so far, if I don’t I’ll write more about the coming week on Sunday when I get back to the hotel.


Written by pegleg5125

11/07/2013 at 7:06 pm

Day 3 PMP I can see change

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Something I never expected after just 3 days of the Pain Management Course was to see a difference, be that difference in how I perceived the course or difference in me.

However I can, not huge but definite change. For instance I have a smile back, not a fake “yeah am ok smile” which I have had for a while (sorry) but a proper happy smile. I have been laughing with friends I’ve made generally having a good time. I am also progressing in understanding the pain not just normal acute pain but chronic pain that doesn’t ever fully go away no matter how many tablets you take. This is a big process, understanding the pain is the start of dealing with it. I guess that’s like any kind of psychological or neuro problem 1st step is admitting the problem. I have also started to understand the cycle of pain and how to go about changing that, pain can depress you, depression can tense you up causing pain. That’s the simplest way I can explain it, pain and causes of pain and then the anxiety that come with the pain is a vicious circle. That’s why sometimes I say no to things I would like to do because I’m scared of the consequences that may happen because of it. This is a cycle that is hard to break but one I am going to try, I can already see small steps towards that.

That is kind of the point, small steps, go to far too fast and it ruins everything but slowly slowly works. I was worried about our gym sessions but I’ve loved them and can already see a change their, my Buddha belly has reduced, again not lots but enough to give me confidence to keep on. The exercises have made me fitter already which in turn gives me energy.

As for the Mindfulness, well yeah I’m still giving it a go, some techniques are better than others some really work and I’d be happy to explain them to anyone who asks. Primerally its about putting you in the here and now, what can you control now, not worry about the future or the past but right now. It also helps you relax and not get to the “Angry Daddy” stage which is what Clayton has said he doesn’t like. To hear your 4-year-old say that is horrible, I don’t want to be that person, I want to be “Fun Daddy” now I know I may never be the most mobile and physical dads anymore but I want to be the best I can be. That was the biggest motivation for me coming on this course.

The big thing for me now as I come to the last day of the week tomorrow is to maintain, continue doing the right things over the weekend, indeed if as it turns out their maybe changes in plans then don’t be scared, tackle them in a positive way but also don’t over do it. Planning is essential, make sure I rest but also make sure I exercise and be fit for what I need to do. Use the scooter if I need but don’t rely on it, walk a bit too if I can.

All this will take time but I fully plan to get there, still maybe a bumpy road with pain flare ups ahead but the aim is not to let these dominate me as they have before and certainly no more “Boom and Bust” for me. Slow and steady Craigy boy slow and steady.

Written by pegleg5125

10/07/2013 at 5:37 pm

Living with pain! How do I deal with it? HELP! Pain Management Course so far

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Firstly I know I haven’t used this blog much in a while, reasons will probably become apparent as I go on. I also apologise for if I ramble on and get distracted again it will probably become apparent.


As most of you know I have a disability, well more than 1. I have obviously (well to people who know me it obvious) I only have 1 leg. My leg was amputated at the age of 7 in 1986 due to the fact it was 6 inches shorter than my “good” leg when it was taken off. At the ages of 1, 3 & 5 I had tendon lengthening operations to try to straighten the leg. These were pointless they never helped and all that really happened was I spent 10 weeks in traction on a bed unable to move. Going the toilet left me in agony and in tears because of pain. I remember at least 1 of these operations and this was probably my 1st real taste of pain.


I also have congenital hip dysplasia  (dislocated hips) to both hips. The left one “bad” having been seen on x-rays over recent years is nowhere near the socket it should be and happily pops in and out of its socket on a regular basis to a nice pop followed by me shouting aghhhhhhh! (sorry for graphic detail!). It was only about 9 years ago this really started to give me pain, but when I say pain I mean the worst pain I have ever had in my life. My right hip “good”, or so I thought never really bothered me, however, more on that in a moment. Added to the above I also have scoliosis which is a curve of the spine, but me being me it’s not straightforward I have a double curve!


As I say around 9 years ago boxing day it was I was due to go to work, yes I did used to work for those youngsters amongst you who don’t remember those days! I woke up in the most pain I can remember, worse than anything you can imagine. This lasted for 2 days, by the end of the second day I was in that much pain I had to go to the hospital. When I presented to A & E you see triage etc and then get sent for the usual x-rays. Luckily on duty that night was a specialist hip Dr. Now I should have known things were not going to go well when said Dr starts looking at the slides and starts turning them round every which way he can to try to get a grip on things. At this time it maybe worth mentioning when the took my leg off I have since been told it had “the most unique bone structure I’ve ever seen” to quote a Dr at the time. I am written about somewhere in medical journals or so I’ve been told.


Now getting a little worried by things I was wondering what was up. I was sent to a ward so the top hip Dr at hospital could see me next day. Again when he came round to see me next day, same thing happened and he could see no reason for pain. Trust me mate it was and still is there lol. I was discharged with high or so I thought pain medication and dispatched off home. I was back around a week later same problem. This time I was kept in a little longer and scans ordered. Again I was given more pain medication, I forget which, it all kind of becomes a blur or if you stop and move onto next one you forget the last one. I do know I was told to come see him as an out patient when results were known. This I did. I was greeted to the now familiar line “well I can’t see much wrong but…” Their never really was a but, but its something to add onto a sentence rather than just say I just don’t know!


It was decided I would continue with pain meds and go back and see him in 6 months which I did. Looking back even though at the time the pain meds may have sent me into space they were relatively low and shows me how much pain has got worse over the past 8/9 years. When I went back again pain was still persistent and getting no better indeed it was getting worse. It was decided I needed to have a couple more tests. 1 was a scan and 1 was having a quite big injection into the hip with some dye stuff a x-ray can pick up. This was done at the same time needle was in. I’m not sure if they just wanted to see if I really could take pain, honest I could lol. I was also sent for a bone scan, oh good more radiation in my body, I probably would have less if I was born in Chernobyl!


Surprisingly these scans found nothing and I was officially declared a medical anomaly. Dr decided to try a cortisone injection to hip, he did this but somehow put it in the wrong place and caused even more pain I was laid up for 4 weeks. I then had to wait 6 months before seeing him again and he decided to try again knowing what happened. He thought he may have gone into wrong nerve! Now don’t get me wrong it did work the 2nd time, well for around 4 weeks. After that I was back to square 1. Dr at this point was at a loss, he had spoken to colleagues, top professors who some told him to leave well alone but fair play to my Dr (who I’m not naming as I don’t think that’s fair) he didn’t want to just give up. He said a full hip replacement wouldn’t work as it had the chance to make things worse if I got infection and may not get rid of pain. For a similar reason he said fusion wouldn’t be suitable and would also possibly reduce my movement.


At around this time it was now 2008/9 and we were well into the treatment for IVF I had also started to notice some twinges in my back, I didn’t think anything of them and put it down to “just my body”. As 08 turned into 09 and Clayton had been born the pain really started to get worse and I had to go see my GP who refered me to one of the top back specialists in Liverpool.


I went to see the Dr who examined me and again corded tests. When I went back to clinic to see him he looked at my full body scan and my bone scan, more radiation (I will have no one wanting to come near me by the end of this lol). Again he could see no reason for my pain other than the double curve which was bad but not as bad as some he’d seen, that was something I suppose. He also told me my right hip remember the “good” one was in fact anatomically worse than my left “bad” one as it had found its own pseudo joint having dislocated and moved sometime when I was a baby. Now if this moves it could be very bad but at the moment this is unlikely for now at least. At the 3rd appointment with him he discharged me as their was nothing he could do for me as again spinal fusion would make things worse and make me less mobile than I am now and not decrease the pain which is what is causing me the problems.


He refered me to a specialist Pain Clinic at Clatterbridge. I went to see the Dr where I had to fill forms out and this helped me realise just how shit my life really was. My mood also wasn’t helped by the content sucking in of air when a suggestion was made. My GP had suggested a Pain Pump which put a shot of morphine direct to the pain source. This was ruled out through the intake of breath and uttering the words Pain Pump over and over. I think he may have been mad but I’m not sure, you know they say madness and genius are so close together and I was told this fella was the best! When I gave him the list of my medication by this point and still today consisted of 3-4 morphine a day, 2 paracetamol whenever I take morphine, 2 pregabalin a day, 1 duloxitine and 2 or 3 amitriptaline. All of which can cause so many side-effects I wonder how I function some days even the limited amount I do function. Again with a sharp intake of breath, which annoyed me, I was told “you’re at the high-end of your medication!” Oh great I’m 33/34 and I’ve been told there isn’t anywhere I can go with my pain meds.


This kind of takes me to where I am now. I should say during the early part of 2012 I did have a good period where I came down off some medication with a view to stopping other parts of it, I however had a fall which put me back on everything, stronger in some cases. Due to this I have taken legal action over that so can’t say anymore about that.


So back to now and I was pretty much at the end of my tether, and was refered to the Pain Management Programme run out of the Walton Centre at Fazackerley Hospital. I was dubious to say the least, “won’t it be like teaching your granny to suck eggs” was a comment I made, but I attended the assessment day. What did I have to lose? Even on the assessment day I was sceptical. Now I should explain there are 2 courses, 1 a 5 day course, you attend once a week for 5 weeks. The other was a more intensive 16 day course where you go for 4 days for 2 weeks then 2 days for 4 weeks. Now this seemed so silly for me as I would have to get here for stupid o’clock which isn’t good on my meds and I would have to drive through Liverpool rush hour, I would have to leave home at 8 just to get here blah blah blah. Looking back these may have been excuses not to do course because that is easy to say I can’t do it because of my pain etc (see I’ve learnt already lol). It was decided that I would be suited to the course having spoken to a OT, a psychotherapist, a physio and a pain specialist Dr. Only problem was they though I would be suited to the 16 day course! Now I had a dilemma I had thought this wouldn’t be practical due to the reason I stated but I was thrown a curve ball by the physio, you could stay at a hotel for the times you were at the course. Ok so that’s one less excuse, now I just have to sort the even bigger problem of being away from home leaving Helen alone to look after the whirling dervish that is Clayton.


I decided I needed to think about it and asked for time to weigh up the pros and cons. I did and was still unsure so I cam back and spoke to 2 of the staff, a OT and Psych with Helen who helped break up the course better so it showed I really wouldn’t be away that long and more importantly how the course would be beneficial to us as a family in the long run. We have started using the phrase “short-term pain for long-term gain”.


So now there was no barriers it was decided I would give it ago. Again I had nothing to lose and as I have found over the last 2 days I was at the stage of many others here I was at my last chance saloon having now been discharged by all other specialists, this meant really I had nothing left to lose! I got my letter Friday 25th June to start the course on the 8th July.


Not much time to sort things but as ever with Helen’s help we managed to get ready and I left home Sunday night to spend the next 4 nights at the lovely Express by Holliday Inn in Knowsley. This would be a big struggle for us as a family as I have not spent more than 2 nights away from Helen in the 13 and half years we have been married and I was heading into the unknown, I would have to be semi self sufficient for the time away, something I haven’t found myself able to do for at least 4 years really maybe longer.


Now onto the course in particular the PMP is not about fixing pain, this won’t happen it is there. It is all about managing the pain and how you can deal with pain to make your life better. This is done through a number of sessions 5 a day from 9.30 – 4.15. Now I intended to write this yesterday but for one thing and another I didn’t get round to it, mainly I had to go home after the course last night as I had Helen’s bowls in my car which she needed today (Tuesday). By the time I got back and had my tea I was tired and wasn’t up to writing. Probably a good job as now I’m writing this at 6.30 on Tuesday I’ve been writing since I got back in my room around 4.45.


Yesterday was an introduction to the course, as I said everyday of the course you have 5 sessions. Psych, targets etc, gym (which I was dreading) a session of something extra and something called Mindfulness. Now I really was dubious about this “mumbo jumbo claptrap”! The only real non introduction session to day 1 was the gym session where I did exercises like I haven’t done for a long time, some since I was playing football and it felt good! I think I had become frightened to do exercise for worry of damaging myself, a common thought I was told.


Now day 2 has been a lot more intensive, firstly setting targets for the week, small steps towards a big goal in time. The idea is not to rush, pacing is a word used a lot. This is something I am not used too, I have never been good at it but I can now also see how it is beneficial rather than going through big peaks and troughs as I do now. Again this is not uncommon for people who suffer with chronic pain. That was the morning sorted and my goal for this weekend is to spend sometime out of the bed playing with Clayton, going for a walk with Helen and the dog and spending more playtime with Clayton before I come back the hotel on Sunday evening. Now this may sound small and silly to some, but to me this is a big step. You kind of get yourself in a safe place and not doing things because your worried about the pain or potential to cause you pain, but by avoiding it your also making yourself worse because your then feeding your depression and self loathing which makes pain worse and so the cycle continues. Also one of the big reasons I’ve come on the course is to stop being “Angry Daddy”, now when a 4-year-old tells you that is how he perceives you it is heartbreaking. I know I get angry and as the smallest member of our family Clayton probably is the butt of that anger because a child winds you up at the best of times but when you’re in pain and on medication that effects your mood then it is a recipe for disaster. Now I’m not making excuses about this just stating facts. This is things the course helps you deal with.


This afternoon was started by my gym session where the idea is getting you moving, loosening joints that have become stiff and tight thus making it easier to do things and not feel so stiff and achy. Now one thing is walking, I have become frightened by it and avoid it as much as possible, but by pacing and today using scooter to get round most of the day I was able to do some walking and not be frightened by it. In fact it felt good, now I’m not saying how far or how quick I did it but I was pleased with how I did and by taking small baby steps to get to where I wanted I managed to do some walking inside 2 days, what will I be like by the end of 6 weeks! LOL. Being trapped from doing everyday things is something hopefully for you most people won’t go through but trust me it’s not a nice place to be.


After gym it was my 1st mindfulness session, this I wasn’t sure about but…It really helped, we had a really good meditation session that relaxed me and I felt good energy, but also a discussion about how putting yourself in the moment and not thinking anything else can really stop you getting angry and getting to the point where your so wound up you can’t focus on anything and pain becomes too much and the only way you let it out is by shouting. The idea is you concentrate your breathing and that really does help, well it did in the group session how it works at home is another matter lol.


The final session of the day was a psych session which talked about what is pain and how it affects you. Now we talked about the difference between acute and chronic pain, most notably acute is really some kind of warning from your body, like a light on your dashboard. As for chronic pain well that has gone past a warning for your body now its just kind of there not going anywhere not doing anything just pain, it is really hard to explain. Over these 1st 8 days that is how the day kind of runs but it teaches you so much, mainly planning. If your living with chronic pain plan, you need to get out of the cycle of peaks and troughs and big crashes when you’ve done too much and then can’t do anymore. If you plan you can factor in taking brakes which are essential and rest before the pain starts as when the pain becomes too bad it’s already too late. Also it is about taking small steps and not pushing yourself too far, something I have been guilty of for a long time. Not only that I need to start to be selfish, I am important too, if I don’t look after me and watch myself well I can’t do anything else anyway.


That’s kind of an overview of things so far, now I know this blog has gone on loads and I’ve rambled on, I just hope it gives those of you who don’t really know me and those who do an even better insight of me and how I came to this point of my journey with pain and things. I will need a lot of help and support to push through with this course and the techniques I learn, I also hope it will help me find me again something I lost somewhere back, I know I’m not the same Craig I was 5 years ago and even 5 years before that feels like it was a completely different person. I want to try to be more fun again and that will require work by me but also help and support from those who I love as well as my friends.


Thanks for reading and if you got to the bottom your amazing, but I can say writing this has been a good 3 hours for me getting things written down really does put things in perspective.

Written by pegleg5125

09/07/2013 at 7:52 pm