Saturday, 27 August 2011

Learning to deal with pain

A few years ago, I fell. I didn't go to the doctor even though I knew the fall was bad. I injured a shoulder muscle and tendon. Over time, it developed into what doctors call calcific tendonitis. There are calcium deposits in the deltoid muscle overlaying the rotator cuff. A tendon was also damaged and complex calcification developed. 

Calcific tendonitis is actually something that doctors consider predictable. It has been proven that it almost always resolves (eventually) without surgery. There are three phases of calcific tendonitis. The first phase is called the precalcification stage. During this phase, calcium deposits develop. There are no symptoms at this point. The second phase is called the calcific phase. Calcium deposits become significant and look chalky - they are not solid. In the second phase, when calcification is formed, a resting period begins that is not painful. It lasts a varied length of time. Once the resting period is over, the resorptive period starts. This is the most painful phase of calcific tendonitis. The calcium deposits then look like toothpaste. The third phase is the postcalcific stage when the calcium deposits disappear and are replaced by more normal appearing rotator cuff tendon. 

Calcific tendonitis can be treated. In my case, suffering is prolonged. I've been to the doctor so many times and the medication doesn't help at all. I usually go for treatment when the pain has radiated to my elbow and wrist. It is unbearable and I am left with a frozen shoulder. The treatment is always the same. It starts with anti-inflammatory injections, which are not pain relieving in any way. In fact, they induce more pain. After three or four days, the pain subsides and I go for physiotherapy. Acupuncture,  exercises and heat help a lot.

The doctor has considered surgery because there are degenerative changes in my shoulder and the longer I wait, the greater the chances are for a shoulder transplant. Before it's too late, they can do arthroscopic surgery and just remove the calcium deposits and calcified tendon. 

I am certain that I don't need surgery simply because the results from the ultra-sound scan show that the rotator cuff in my shoulder is not torn. This gives me hope.

 

I believe in the power of positive thinking. I believe I am in control of my body and, as far as possible, I will fight against surgery. At my age, I believe I am allowed to make these choices.

Pain is a symptom. My brain can handle it, as long as it isn't acute. Depending on my moods, attitude and beliefs I have been able to cope with migraines effectively, without taking medication on a regular basis or sleeping it off. The more I worry about the shoulder, the worse the pain becomes.

Being negative all the time has a devastating spiral effect on my health. Therefore, I choose to be positive. When I'm positive, I can conquer the world. 

Thursday, 25 August 2011

There's purpose in your smile

People spend too much time trying to find their purpose in life. Many feel that their life is worthless because they haven't found a purpose. The truth is that there is no perfect well-defined purpose. Life changes and so does your purpose.

No-one can say they don't have a purpose on earth. By just being here is purposeful. Purpose can be seen in the ability to reach out to others, helping them and trying to make a positive difference in their lives.

Your feelings and desires drive you. If you take action on what you feel or desire, without analyzing or criticizing it to death, you can easily identify your purpose. When your feelings and desires are negative, it is important to avoid reacting to them. A negative attitude and negative thoughts attract negative things. The same can be said about optimism. Therefore, we need to focus on positive things.

Purpose is connected to faith. People who think they have no purpose in life have no faith. Many people are inclined to believe that materialism is a purpose in life. Your life should be based on spirituality. If you can believe in things you cannot see, you have faith, and faith can move mountains.   

So how can you lead a purposeful life based on faith?

  • Realize your value. You are precious and there's no-one like you on this planet. You can make a difference in another person's life. 
  • Connect with yourself. Know who you are and what you want in life. Accept who you are and don't try to be someone else. Listen to your heart. Your feelings are real. They make you who you are. Don't ever be embarrassed about how you feel.
  • Believe in yourself, your present and your future. Strive to be better, but don't aim for perfection. We are all imperfect and we live in an imperfect world. While there's always room for improvement, don't break yourself down when things aren't perfect. Do everything to the best of your ability so that there will be no regrets.
  • Be positive - no matter what - and when life knocks you down, learn to bounce back quickly. 
  • Value meaningful relationships with other people; connect with them on a deeper level. 
  • Be in control of your life: your time, work, projects, goals, etc. 
  • Live life to the fullest; don't make excuses when opportunities present themselves.


Life is a journey. It's not about where you start or your destination. Life is about the distance between birth and death. Are you enjoying the scenery or complaining about the road? Your life is all about the way you choose to travel this distance. Only you can make the choice: to make the experience worth your while or to wish life away.

There's no point to life if you're wishing your life away. There's no time like the present. Make the most of every minute and be grateful for the gift of life. See where and how you can make a difference. It may seem small and insignificant, but anything you do from the heart is worth doing. Live your life and let others live theirs.  Focus on what's good and worthwhile, and smile, smile, smile.