Sometimes Finding Yourself is as Easy as Finding Your Friends

“Life is partly what you make of it, and partly what is made by the friends we choose.”
– Tennessee Williams

My surprise 30th birthday orchestrated by my wonderful husband

A Missing Person

You may be asking yourself where I have been.  I have found myself asking that very same question over the last few months but more so after being released from all of my specialists’ care, with the exception of neurology of course.  Processing the diagnosis has been a difficult road, and returning to work as a full time graduate student provided its own set of challenges.

On October 19th, I traveled with my husband to Baylor College of Medicine to determine the options available in Houston.  After taking a thorough assessment, the pain management team returned to my room with a box of Kleenex.  The diagnosis of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome was one again confirmed, but this time few options were discussed.  In fact, only one option existed:  continual treatment with pain medication.  Devastation.  We walked out of the office with another prescription of pain medication, as I did everything I could to hold myself together until we reached the car.

The Journey to Myself

I fell apart.  I lost hope.  I blamed myself.  I was so distraught that I could not pick up my class work – even though I am scheduled to graduate in May.  I seriously contemplated quitting until the director of my program provided an alternative option to extend my semester.  Yet it was still difficult to concentrate, to accept life as it is now and not reminisce of how it once was.  I felt as if I had lost all that I had worked so hard to accomplish.  I spent the last few days of my 20’s worrying over finding specialists in the northeast, where we intend to move.

My husband drove the three dogs and myself four hours to my favorite big cat sanctuary the weekend prior to my birthday.  We spent our time with the wonderful family that owns it, walking around the peaceful facility and watching the cats play with their treats.  I was suddenly reminded that I was still capable, painfully capable…but happy.

Enjoying the intimate last moment one of my favorite baby lions before the passage of time requires a fence between us.

The evening after we returned my husband asked me to dinner for my birthday.  As I entered the restaurant, I realized my parents and friends were all there waiting for me.  I cannot remember a time I have cried so many tears of joy.  I had somehow overlooked the support system I had built over the past few years.  It was that moment that I realized I was there all along.  A little piece of me resided in each of those surrounding me in that room.  They were the glue that held me together.

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”
– Unknown
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About Journey to Optimism

I have a perfect dental record and a heart of gold. I volunteer my free time at every opportunity because I believe we can all make a small difference, and through the accumulation of numerous small differences, together, we can make a large difference in this world. I enjoy politics and public policy but not divisiveness, and I absolutely love writing.
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4 Responses to Sometimes Finding Yourself is as Easy as Finding Your Friends

  1. chiquitar says:

    You are young. My therapist reminds me regularly that medicine advances over the decades, and it would not be inconceivable to see a new treatment or even cure in our lifetimes. There’s also the chance of remission. But at the end of the day, it’s finding a way to live with the pain, one day at a time, and realize that while it is hard, harder than we deserve, it’s still possible to have a good and worthwhile life that includes pain. Our support networks are a big part of that–those wonderful people who will do a little more so we can do a little less and therefore have some energy left over for them. Glad you got some good reminders as to how fun life can be, pain or not!

  2. Polly Galway says:

    It wasn’t just the operation that started your RSD; it could have been there for a long time. When I got RSD in my foot at 40, I did a lot of thinking and realized it dated back to when I was 20 and my twisted ankle wouldn’t heal. Unless you had a biopsy done and your glial cells examined, you can’t put a date on it. But back then, nothing was known about glial cells and RSD! Now we have the research of Anne Louise Oaklander financed by RSDSA. Your therapist is right, things move on. If your pain doesn’t respond to any meds you will have to decide whether to go forward with a transmitter. You just do the best you can right now. Regurgitating the past and assigning blame doesn’t change anything. It sounds like you’re surrounded by love. Allow yourself to feel it and enjoy it. polly_galway

  3. Polly Galway says:

    Hi Crystal, you might want to look on the RSDSA website for support groups in the area where you’re moving. As well as support, they may be able to give you advice on doctors in the area. Good luck with your move. Take it slowly! polly_galway

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