My New Year's Resolution for 2011 was to have a more positive attitude and to make 2011 a better year than 2010. I think that I accomplished that. It is probably the first New Year's Resolution that I've every kept because it was attainable.
Part of what happened in 2010 was out of my control; a wound infection following a spinal cord stimulator surgery that resulted in months of wound care but my attitude and and mood were within my control. I made a consciencous decision December 31st 2010 that I was going to have a more positive attitude this year and over all I think that I did. Of course I am human and had my ups and downs; but over all I tried to make some positive changes in my life.
There are some things that I can not change in my life. I can not change the fact that I have RSD. I can not change the fact that my husband travels 4 - 5 days a week for work and that I am alone during that time period. I can not change the fact that my family live either in CA, DC or the Philadelphia area. I can not change the fact that even after 5 1/2 years of trying, I have been unable to meet people here in Orlando to socialize with. What I could change is being able to volunteer. I began the process of becoming a Guardian ad Litem (although it is taking longer than I though the process is still moving forward). I joined the Ketamine Klub for CRPS/RSD Patients on Facebook and asked to be an administrator. I have met some terriffic people with whom I have so much in common. It has given me a huge boost to be able to share my professional skills in health care to help people try to get insurance approval for treatments that they deserve.
I have wanted to do physical therapy to improve my balance for over ten years, but every time I do PT at a facility by the time I drive there, my foot is so stressed out that I can't really do my best at the therapy. I was finally able to get a physician to order home PT and got a wonderful physical therapist who actually understood RSD. She didn't push me when I had pain. We worked on my core muscles and worked soley on balance to prevent falls (as prior I was falling at least once a month). She gave me easy exercises to continue at home after our 6 weeks together. Since my discharge in February, I have only fallen twice which is a huge improvement. Once was while getting dressed and the other time was when someone left a glass door open on a stereo cabinet. I didn't see that it was open and crashed into it. Neither time was while walking which was how I was falling before the PT. I consider this a huge improvement!
I had a long time friend whose exwife and I became friends when they first started dating because we felt it was the right thing to do. Even after they broke up, I maintained the friendship as she had primary custody of their daughter who I was close to. This friendship was very draining emotionally on me. She is one of these people who is your friend when she needs something from you and you never hear from her again until she needs something from you again. When you don't have that many friend (because all of your friends have abandoned you due to your RSD) you tend to over look the faults of the friends that you have and hold onto friendships even if they are toxic to you. Well this summer I took a big step for my mental health which in turn is a big step for my physical health since with RSD your emotions directly affect your pain level. I told this friend that I could no longer be her friend under these circumstances. I told her that I felt that the friendship was one sided and given the physical distance (she lives in upstate NY) and the fact that we would most likely not be able to see each other that it was best that we end the friendship. Since I made this break in June, my life has been much less stressful. This family has many issues and unfortunately our long time friend did take it personally that I decided that I could not be friends with this exwife, even though he had decided nearly ten years ago that he couldn't be married to her any more, but I know that it was the best thing that I could do for my health. You can only give so much and get hurt in return for so long and stay healthy.
I have tried to look at the positive things that RSD has brought to my life rather than dwelling on the negative all of the time. I think that I am a more compassionate person than I was. I am more tolerant of others faults now than I was before. I value postive relationships more now since they are more difficult to come by and harder to keep. I know that life can change in an instant so I treasure the good times that I have rather than dwell on the bad days. When I am having a bad day, I try to treat myself to a new video or something I can do while resting. (I get them ahead of time and put them away for a bad day just like people put things away for a rainy day). I record things on my DVR for a bad day as well. I snuggle with Nemo and we try to make the best of it. And yes, sometimes I get on Facebook and complain to my RSD friends, which makes me feel better too because they all know where I'm coming from. I try not to do that too often.
This last week of December has presented me with a dilemia that I'm not sure how to handle but I'm not going to let it get me down. I have moderate to severe Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in my right wrist with some muscle wasting and moderate Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in my left wrist. If I do nothing with the right, eventually I will continue to have muscle wasting until I lose function. Since my RSD is primarily in my lower body, I depend on my upper body to compensate. I have also always done crafts that involve fine motor skills in my hands to occupy me and fight off bordom. I have been having nore and more difficulty doing these tasks. Even cooking and photography have become more difficult. My RSD neurologist locally, Dr Hashmi, told me that people with RSD have a 50/50 sucess rate with the Carpal Tunnel Release (I really hadn't planned on having surgery until he told me that I was losing muscle and would lose hand function). That means that 50% get RSD in that hand after the surgery. That would mean not only loosing function in that hand but more pain that I already have in that wrist. Since I will be going to Philly in a month to have Ketamine with Dr. Schwartzman, I will discuss it with him to see if it would better my odds if I had the surgery while having inpatient Ketamine at the same time as having the surgery. I will get his opinion on the surgery in general as I remember that he has a strong opinion on CTS. I just don't remember what the opinion is. I am trying not to let this get me down, to keep a positive attitude about this. It is a bit difficult to process because it is still new and it is yet another thing being taken away but I will find a way to process it. I refuse to allow this disease to beat me.
So now to think of a New Year's Resolution for 2012 that I can actually keep....I think that it has to be the same one as 2011. I will have a positive attitude because I feel that attitude is everything!!