Sad mission, but pain disappeared

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Suze, Oct 22, 2005.

  1. Suze

    Suze New Member

    For the past month or so, everything hurt--muscles, joints, tendons. Shoulder pain (joints and *very* tender muscles) kept me awake at night; during the day, knee pain hindered my movements. My hands hurt too much to hold a telephone for very long. I could barely pull a sweater over my head. I was a mess!

    Then last weekend my husband, who had been in a nursing home over two years and who had pneumonia, got a lot worse. It was clear he was dying. You'd think this added stress would have put me over the edge with my pain, but in fact the opposite happened: Except for some soreness in my shoulder joints, the pain went away.

    It would have been amazing, except I'm familiar with the phenomenon. The pain went away because I was focused on a mission. Several missions, actually: to help my husband through his last days, to write his obituary and the poem I was working on about him, to put together a collection of photos for the visitation at the funeral home, to get through the visitation. It was that sense of mission, that focus, that took away my pain.

    I bring it up here because I think it illustrates the strong mental/emotional component of this condition. Has anyone else had a similar experience? I needn't be nearly as dramatic; any kind of focus, happy or sad, could do it. In fact, I remember in the days when I used to play volleyball there were times when I drove to the game and could barely get out of the car. But once I was playing, focused on the ball and being part of the team (granted, I didn't move around as much as they would have liked), I wasn't aware of the pain and exhaustion.

    Now that my current mission is over, I am HOPING the pain doesn't come back. But I won't be surprised if it does.

    Suze
  2. Kat_in_Texas

    Kat_in_Texas New Member

    I will be praying for your strength and peace in the coming days!

    I have recently had a similar, although not nearly as traumatic, experience. My dad was very sick for six weeks before he died in September. I drove three hours to be with him and my mom every chance I had, and while I was there I was completely focused on caring for both of them. The week my father passed away, I spent almost 10 hours one day cleaning my mom's house from top to bottom in preparation for out of town guests. I took care of most of the arrangements for the funeral and took care of my mom, and stayed with her for a week after Dad died.

    I did ache while I was there but was surprised every day that I wasn't feeling too bad. Once I got home and back into my normal routine here, I flared like crazy. I have hurt more this past month than I ever have.

    My husband's theory on this is that when a person is focused on helping others, he doesn't worry about himself. Whenever I am really feeling bad, he reminds me of this and reminds me that I have to "see beyond myself" and find a way to serve someone else, which would make me feel better emotionally and physically. (I'm kind of in a fog this morning, but maybe you get what I'm saying here!)

    I will admit that, while I think his theory is good, it does make me angry when he harps on me about it sometimes! Ha!

    Suze, I'm so sorry about your husband. I'm glad you're not physically hurting as much as usual right now, but please take good care of yourself so you don't flare up too bad down the road!!

    (((( hugs! ))))

    Kat
  3. olallie

    olallie New Member

    When I was caring for my spouse through terminal cancer, I felt better than I ever had in my life! I was doing two degrees, and working too. I would like to take advantage of that phenominum and use it conciously for my healing. My work, as an RN, does involve helping other people, but for some reason it' doesn't do it for me. Taking care of my kids doesn't do it for me. I think we all need to find "the thing" that we do that lifts us to that place, and try to make it a part of our lives. WOuldn't that be wonderful, if every living being did that? What a different world it would be. We are special in that we actually know when we are doing it right and we are motivated to do it, as if our lives depended on it.
    Take care of yourself, girl, it took me four full years to recover from being widowed. And what they say about not making any big decisions for a year, ITS TRUE!!!! Really. Remember that.
  4. sunflowergirl

    sunflowergirl Well-Known Member

    I looked up your profile and you look so very young. How old was your husband? I pray that you will find the strength everyday to focus on other things as you get thru this period of new adjustments.

    Yes, I also find it true. If I force myself to focus on something else I don't pay attention to how I feel. Isn't this really like a form of self hypnosis or what the Oriental culture teaches. I know I have seen operations performed with the patient just focusing on something else and feeling no pain. Perhaps this is what we all need to learn. It's just that it's so easy for us to think about how we're feeling. We just know that daily we will be given some sort of pain or fatigue or wierd feelings.

    May God bless you and your family.
  5. Suze

    Suze New Member

    That picture was taken four years ago, when I was 58. I feel as though I've aged a lot since--and I probably have.

    Joe was 74. His dementia began with slight memory loss ten years ago, and progressed from there. Part of me feels as though we lost him when he entered the nursing home (by which point he didn't know who I was, although he regained that later). But it's still a loss. I appreciate your kind wishes and thoughts about this phenomenon of getting beyond ourselves and beyond our pain. I think olallie expressed it well.

    Suze
  6. PepperGirl52

    PepperGirl52 New Member

    You will be in my prayers. May you have a peace beyond your comprehension, and may the pain that normally plagues you leave for a very long time, hopefully, forever!

    You are a very strong person and I know your husband must be incredibly proud of how you've dealt with everything. Please don't hesitate to come here if and when you need us for anything, ok?? Big hugs and angel kisses. PG
  7. LollieBoo

    LollieBoo New Member

    I'm so sorry for your loss. I know on many different layers how difficult it is to lose a loved one (Thank Heaven, God has left me in the dark about the loss of my spouse), and how sad it is to have to learn to release so much of your relationship before a loved one has actually gone. My prayers are with you, and I hope that you find a focus within the changes happening in your life that will free you from the pain of FM forever.

    Unfortunately, it all too often does return- and usually after the crisis has passed. That usually coincides with the retreat of friends and family back to their "regular" lives. My suggestion to you is to set up a strong support system- don't rule out anyone as a potential "savior". The funny thing about a struggle that lasts as long as your husband's did, is that old friends do often disappear in as much as new ones are made. Both tend to resurface at the funeral. Their reasons may vary from showing their respect toward your husband, to admiring your strength and determination, to simply caring for you and wanting to be there in your time of need.

    Everyone who arrived at your doorstep with a casserole, or a hug; everyone who held your hand or embraced you even briefly at the wake or the funeral- loves you. They all want to do something to make it all better, but know that they can't. Most of us will freely admit that it is so hard to know what to do or say when someone has lost such a close companion. (Even as I type this, I don't know if it will help or maybe strike you the wrong way... if it does, I apologize- it is done out of concern for you, a feeling of unity with you, and out of appreciation for reminding me that I need to find a way to focus outside of this dd.)

    All of the people that have surrounded you at various times following your husband's passing- including the Nursing Home Staff- care deeply about your well-being. Even if you always thought of them as "his" fiends or acquaintances, they are most likely very willing to be there for you. If they don't know what you want or need, they are likely to assume it is space, and will maintain their distance out of courtesy.

    Don't be afraid to make your needs known- and I don't mean to suggest you appear needy... just a simple- "I'd love to keep in touch with you- I have so much going on right now, but could you please give me a call around the first of the month, or whenever you have time? I'd love to go out for lunch.", or "Thank you so much for being here- I anticipate the holidays may be a little rough this year. Please feel free to drop in on occasion, just for a chat. I'd appreciate the company." For those who know and understand your illness (you mentioned wonderful friends in your bio!), be straightforward. Explaining the remission you are in, and that you worry your symptoms will return when all of the commotion dies down, would probably be enough for those closest to you to offer to pitch in their help. Don't be afraid to be specific. You certainly don't sound like one who takes advantage of ANYBODY, so I'm sure your suggestions would be quite welcome.

    Perhaps rug-hooking again while your symptoms are at a minimum... gardening in the spring. Does poetry provide the release you need? Maybe find a poetry group.

    I would like to hear back from you that a Karmic Exchange took away your suffering permanently! You know, for enduring the difficulties you have, your pain was removed... If not, there have been some wonderful blessings and great comments on this thread! "I am a strong, independent , woman!"

    God Bless you, you sound like an amazing woman.

    -Lollie
  8. rbecca47

    rbecca47 New Member

    your post touched me in many ways, and i am so sorry for you lose.
    i know when i focus on something important, the pain is also less. Like now the pain is very intense, but over the summer, when my daughter left her second child with me and my son in law. i was so focused on my grand daughter, and what she was going through, that the pain seemed less. and raising two grand daughters i needed the relieve.
    again i am so sorry about your lose and my prayers are with you.
    becca
  9. laura81655

    laura81655 New Member

    When I read your story it reminded me of when my Dad died 12 years ago. He had pneumonia in the nursing home from Alzheimer's complications. It was a long haul for my Mom and all of us to watch a very intelligent man just slip away.
    I pray that the pain will stay away during this grieving time and recovery for you.`You sound like a very courageous, loving woman.
    Bless you,

    Laura
  10. Suze

    Suze New Member

    I can't say that stress doesn't correlate with pain. Maybe it depends on the kind of stress. My FMS first appeared at a very stressful point in my life, and years later, after a very nice period of remission, it flared up horribly when I quit my job to take care of my husband at home (before he went into the nursing home).

    Thanks for so many good thoughts.

    Suze
  11. Empower

    Empower New Member

    I am very very sorry about your husband's passing. I know what it is like to lose someone you love, for I have lost a child and my dad.

    I think it is the mind over matter issue. Plus, your adrenaline was probably kicking in to keep you going

    Take care, and hope some day soon you will find peace.
  12. auntcon

    auntcon New Member

    about your husband.

    Sometimes it's like the adrinalin sp? kicks in and I'm able to do what's in front of me.

    But it's like that spoons story,.. I'll pay later for using all of my spoons.

    I hope you are able to pace yourself through this time that lasts for weeks to get everything done.

    I also hope you have someone to help.
    My prayers are with you and yours.
    Connie
  13. grandbetsy17

    grandbetsy17 New Member

    Suze, I know you don't know me, I just wanted to express my sincere condolences to you regarding your husband. I had a similar experience recently in that my Mom was sick and I was her caretaker. As much as I did hurt, the focus on her and the job I had to undertake overshadowed my pain.
    Hope you continue to have decreased pain and I pray for your strength during this adversity. Please take good care.
  14. Flaxen

    Flaxen New Member

    I am very sorry to hear of your loss...please try and take care of yourslf now, as best as you can..sometimes, a trdgedy gets your endorhins and adrenaline pumping(survival mode) when my mom died this happened to me..I had no time to think about pain..I did eventually crash and burn..that's why I say..eat and sleep as best as you can....Love,Flaxen
  15. mermaid01

    mermaid01 New Member

    Suze, you must be about my age, 61, I say that because of your husband being in the nursing home. I want you to know I understand a bit about what you're going through; although we go through the loss of a husband in different ways. I lost my husband when he was 39, he died right in front of me, and he was in perfect heath. You have been a caretaker for some time and so you were somewhat aware that your husband my not make it home. I do not know what the heck I'm telling you this for; except to say that my heart goes out to you. Unless you have gone through this process, you will not understand the word, feeling black, heavy hearted. It takes all of your strength to deal with all the unexpected feelings your having.

    I understand your question about feeling less pain when you are in overload, with an array of very stressful out of the ordinary tasks and mental fatigue. Every time a challenging event comes along for me, I've noticed that my pain is less. One good example has to do with trade shows that I take part in for my business. These shows are usually out of town (away from the comfort of home), for ten days and evenings, talking with people; it takes everything I have to do these shows. I am on oxycontin and have a breakthrough medicine that I do use during these times. I think our body goes into another plain, fight, or flight. In my case, I even get enthusiastic because people are always coming up to me, explaining how much they love my products, (I developed a line of cleaners over 20 years ago), it makes me very proud to hear these comments. It is during these times that my body seems to draw on strengths I didn't know I had. After the show is over, I do pay for the pressure and long days for a long time afterwards. Most of my time the pain is usually at a very high level with very few remissions. I do notice that if I decide to take on the job of preparing a dinner for friends that I pay for it during the meal and can hardly hold still while we are visiting after the meal, and for the next few weeks. I guess that the occasion has to be very straining for me to feel less pain. I don't know if I am making any sense to you.

    I try to exercise every day and during those times when I really hurt and the meds are not working I try to stretch and walk around a lot during the day.

    Take care of yourself; I'm sorry you have to go through the loss of your husband and friend. Lean on your friends a little during times of confusion and loneliness. Give yourself about two years before you can expect to feel better. It is a gradual thing and we go through this loss differently from one another. In all cases, it is one of the hardest times we will ever go through in our lifetime.

    Take care,
    Mermaid01
  16. mermaid01

    mermaid01 New Member

    May I ask what your husband died of and how long ago? After my post to you I went back to your first post and looked at your profile. You are so young. You are still raising children arn't you? My heart goes out to you. I hope you find peace and grace during the next few years. Take time for yourself once in awhile. As a past post said, do not make any big decisions. Try to stay close to your friends, I found that hard to do because the loss was too hard for me and being with friends was hard. If I had to do it again, god forbid, I would be more cognizant of my friends, they are hurting to. I hope you don't mind my being so brass, I am sharing a very personal lesson learned too late. Love to you and yours,
  17. Suze

    Suze New Member

    No, Mermaid, you were right the first time: I'm 62. That picture was taken when I was 58. I have a 14-year-old granddaughter!

    The loss of my husband is hard, but I went through a worse time four years ago when I lost my 25-year-old daughter. Her death was sudden, and the death of a child isn't something we ever get over.

    Joe was in the nursing home because he had dementia. He died of pneumonia.

    Suze
  18. tandy

    tandy New Member

    Sending warm thoughts and hugs~
    I'm so very sorry of your loss .

    I don't know what it is but,....
    I had the same thing happen last yr.
    I did'nt feel all my pain go away but
    My Grandma was put into a nursing home her last few months of living and I helped take care of her.
    I never thought I'd have enough mental strength or physical.
    But I found myself doing what needed to be done with no extra pain. I even felt a charge kinda.(??)
    Like I had to do this and nothing was gonna stop me!??
    Surprizingly I was able to do way more than I ever thought was possible!!
    My pain did get worse after tho.

    Best of luck to you~
    Tandy