Thanks, Paula, for the welcome wishes.
Years ago, I tried joining an online community, but most of the people on that particular group seemed to spend most of their time whining, and it really brought me down, so I've avoided such things ever since.
But just lately, I've been realizing how isolated I feel, and decided it was time to try again. I've looked at half a dozen groups in the last few days, and this one seems like the most positive place.
I'm lucky that my husband has been so fantastic. I also have a very dear friend who has similar physical problems to mine, and who is also a doctor, so she's been a great resource for me. Another good friend and I trade off supporting each other, and that helps a lot, too.
The hardest thing, I think, in additon to just the day-to-day dealing with the ups and downs of the pain and the sometimes overwhelming medical system (or lack thereof), is having to mentally redefine myself. I've always perceived myself by what I can do, and now I can do very little. So I'm trying to redefine myself by who I am, not what I can do. But even that is hard -- my patience level is very low and I get irritable easily.
I've tried to live what I'm calling a "minimalist life," where my triumphs are little things, not big ones. Today, for example, I put dishes away, started to reload the dishwasher, washed out the popcorn popper, hard-boiled some eggs and got the mail. And I'm exhausted.
Any advice on how to rethink your self-image in light of chronic pain would be appreciated.