Dear bluegrass and Karen!
Thank you both for sharing some of your experiences with me.
Since I received both of your emails, at the same time when I logged onto the HealingWell website this afternoon, this website’s software makes it impossible to answer both of you in individual emails, so I’m writing separate emails within this email for you both instead.
When I used to meditate in college, using Transcendental Meditation, I definitely noticed a reduction in stress. It was hard for me keep meditating for 20 minutes, twice a day, so I stopped after only a year or so, much to my detriment.
I also understand that in order to get well, we who were abused in childhood, need to stop thinking of ourselves as victims, but instead as Overcomers because we DO have choices that we can make today that can positively influence our lives. Meditation, for one, is a very useful tool/choice we can use/make.
Thanks also for your insight concerning the consequences of early childhood stressors and the benefits of meditation to counteract negative beliefs/influences. In your letter you mention:
"if you spent a significant time in "stress response" before age twenty, then your brain really does develop differently, you become hyper vigilant, with parts of the brain that send out stress hormones bigger than they should be and parts that inhibit them smaller. I found it really helpful to know this, and to know that meditation directs blood flow differently and can actually undo the damage."
Blueglass, I have also heard that chronic pain causes a severe stress load on the mind/body. As you’ve mentioned, chronic pain causes us to become hypersensitive to future pain episodes.
So we, as Survivors, are in a Catch-22 situation. But I believe we are NOT without any options to escape this vicious cycle.
I'm glad to know that meditation is one good way to reduce some of these negative physiological effects we face each day which compromise our health and our well being.
I found an interesting article about
how stress can increase the level of chronic pain. If you're interested in reading the article, the web address is:
http://www.everydayhealth.com/pain-management/stress-and-pain.aspx . The name of the article is "Eliminating Stress Brings Pain Relief".
The number one challenge I face theses days is motivation.
How is your level of pain these days?
Thanks for your encouragement!
Best wishes always,
Dear Karen (2much2bear),
Thank you for responding to my email.
Some days I feel like my illnesses are 2much2bear.
I can only imagine the daily struggles you face with your rectal/motility issues since your reverse Ileostomy surgery on Sept. 23, 2010.
FYI, I found an article on Wikipedia which addresses the connection between pelvic floor dysfunction and pregnancy.
The web page is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelvic_floor_dysfunction . In the Wikipedia article, it mentions defecatory dysfunction (which includes constipation) as one of the pelvic floor dysfunctions.
I definitely suffered, after my pregnancies, from long-term constipation and I twice had pelvic floor surgery which didn't fix my stress incontinence or my rectocele.
Constipation is no longer an issue with me (obviously with my Ileostomy), but keeping my electrolytes in balance has been a challenge for me.
At one time or another, I have suffered from too much blood potassium and/or too little blood sodium. Electrolyte levels in one’s blood are critical because too high or too low levels can cause heart arrhythmias which can, ultimately, lead to sudden death.
My doctor daughter, Sangita, told me not to be concerned about
what I eat. Drinking too much juice, however, adds a lot of calories and can affect the level of electrolytes in the blood.
It's better just eat raw fruit, if you can afford it. I'm at my daughter's house now, so she's buying lots of fresh fruits.
Did you know that "No-Salt" (or any other salt substitute made from potassium chloride) can raise one’s blood potassium levels precipitously? Also, various kids of vitamins and processed foods (read food labels!), can have high hidden amounts of potassium. I have often found the potassium listed in the small fine print on the labels instead of the large print.
I’m curious, Karen, have you had difficulty with balancing your electrolytes? You may not have had any difficulty. I believe my health is complicated by the fact that I also have heart issues.
Good luck if you decide to undergo a reversal of your Ileostomy. We, on this website, will be pulling* for you!
I know it has taken me more time to learn how to live with my permanent ileostomy, because I wasn’t able to find an appliance that didn’t leak, burn and cause my skin to constantly bleed for nine long months.
Someone suggested that I get busy doing things I enjoy, like volunteer work and/or cross-stitching etc.. This will help keep my mind off my chronic pain and health issues and help me feel more useful and productive and, thus, more satisfied with my ’new’ life, post-surgery.
I've been on Social Security Disability for several years. I'm hoping to get some job training and, in the near future, an employer who will accommodate my health needs such as, on some days, having to go to the bathroom every few minutes due the my bladder pain caused by the disease Interstitial Cystitis.
Remembering to take just one day at a time is the best way for me to deal with my life these days.
My four children are all grown and gone. I miss them because they gave me a sense that I was doing a very important 'job' raising them as a single mom. I lost my internal compass, along the way due to my illnesses and chronic pain. I long to find my purpose once again.
I'm so thankful for this website.
Please keep in touch!
Best wishes always,
Judy (from NH, temporarily near San Francisco for another 1½ months.
*Push n' Pull (definition)
When we say we are pulling for you, we have a long rope that leads to heaven, and the heavenly Father answers our prayers. Yes, we should be pulling for each other, every day. It would be unwise to tell someone not to pull lest the rope goes around your neck. .
My Credentials- Life Experience in Summation
I'm a 56 years old woman (11/13/54), Mom to four grown children (27-34); 6 grandbabies with one more in the oven (girl named Angeli, due July 31st.)
Sufferer of Interstitial Cystitis since July 1985; an incurable, (in my case) untreatable bladder disease caused by sexual abusive by first husband.
Raised by an alcoholic, abusive, unloving mother.
My beloved father tragically killed in a single car accident in Dec.1970, when I had just turned 16. He was the only person, in my life, who loved me unconditionally.
I’ve suffered from untreated ADHD all my life, diagnosed at age 5. A lack of social skills (inherent with ADHD) has caused me great interpersonal difficulties all my life.
I had heart failure, age 52, caused by heart valve damage due to ingestion of the weight loss drug Fen Phen. As a result of the heart value damage, I’ve been unable to take stimulant ADHD meds. An untreated ADHD life is like living in a chronic state of chaos, confusion and memory loss. I describe my brain as a "Swiss cheese brain" full of holes where memories escape into a void. I forget and miss so much in life. Having untreated ADHD is like being on a merry-go-round that is spinning so fast you're unable to focus on anything.
I’ve had Clinical Depression since childhood. I’ve been treated by every known prescript
ion medication available, plus 12 sessions of electroshock. All treatments and medication were without any significant improvement in my depression. Recent counseling has helped me to become assertive in most situations when needed. Previously, I was a very passive person and let people walk all over me. Realizing that I DO have choices, today, has also helped me to feel a lot better mentally.
I was married for 14 years to an abusive first husband. Four children ages 27–34. I think they are my greatest achievement as I was a single parent for 11 years!
I've been happily remarried for 10 years to my second husband. We’ve had our struggles, but we have a greater understanding of one another now.
I had a botched left knee replacement surgery in June 2009. I'm suffering more pain now, than before my surgery. Right knee is also in great pain and distress due to osteoarthritis and my current obesity; bone on bone.
I had my surprise, emergency Ileostomy surgery on July 1, 2010 due to a twisted colon and an atonic, grossly enlarged large intestines caused by a parasite or virus contacted while in India (2007) and then misdiagnosed by an incompetent gastroenterologist. I’m still trying to recover from the most difficult surgery in my life (my Ileostomy surgery). I’m slowly making progress.
Being able to connect with other women (men?) on this website who understand, has been wonderful, a Godsend!. There’s nothing like Being validated!