I spent almost 25 years working in a much loved career in Occupational Therapy. I worked mainly with the elderly population affected by orthopedic, neurological, muscular, cognitive, pulmonary, cardiac and psychiatric diagnoses causing decreased movement, function, strength and pain, among many other issues. A huge aspect of helping them recover is teaching techniques to maneuver the maze of whatever their physical and/or mental diagnoses left them to deal with in life and to be as independent and functional as possible. This often means learning to live life in a new “normal." Oftentimes using adaptive equipment, energy conservation techniques and/or works simplification techniques. This was my passion! It still is! It always will be!
I never dreamt my career would be cut short by my own multiple spine diseases, several spine surgeries, leading to nerve damage and resulting in a neurological pain disorder called, Central Pain Syndrome. (Some physicians who diagnosed me with CRPS state they are one and the same. It is not the same - there are a lot of similarities, however, Central Pain Syndrome is centrally initiated along the spinal cord vs. peripherally as in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome).
Being unable to work in my career due to being overpowered by 24/7, moderate to severe pain, in addition to the pain of multiple spine disorders, caused me to be thrown into a pit of anger, depression and the other stages of grieving inflicted by all the horrific losses this brings to ones life. During this dark time of feeling I had no self-worth, as well as no purpose at all, I had been encouraged by my hubby and my pain specialist, Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, to find a way to use my skills in occupational therapy and figure out what I needed to do with my life.
Gripping tightly to my career, I did continue to keep up my license in Occupational Therapy through the state of Michigan, my certification through the National Certification Board of Occupational Therapy and my membership with the American Occupational Therapy Association. I had never lost hope of some day working in occupational therapy again.
I have since become an advocate for chronic pain sufferers and those with chronic illnesses, an administrator of a spine disorder chronic pain and illness support group, author of this blog called, "Functional Living with Chronic Pain - Living Life in a New "Normal.,” as well as I recently wrote a series of eBooks called, Preparing for the Holidays with Chronic Pain, for those with chronic pain, with the purpose of giving specific suggestions and ideas to help make the strenuous activities of the holiday season simpler and more tolerable, ultimately decreasing the stress on us and helping us to be able to reduce the chances of increased pain flares, thus hopefully allowing us to spend cherished time with family and friends. The ideas are in the blog as well fora you be that wants to be informed.
My goal was to help just one person “maneuver the maze” of being flung into a life of having everything you once knew shredded by a health crisis, to have tools to help themselves by using skills I had learned in my career in occupational therapy, as well as what I am continuing to learn from living with chronic pain. My hope is that whomever is helped by any of my posts will then encourage and educate others on the same journey by sharing what they’ve learned.
I dedicate all my work to those whose lives have been torn apart by horrific chronic pain and illnesses. We are not alone! Together we can learn to push through the crushing pain and the deep, dark grief it shrouds us in due to all the losses we endure. We can learn to live a functional life in a new "normal." We need each other on this journey. We need to be there for each other, giving words of encouragement and comfort and to share knowledge with those we come across! This gives us all a purpose in life!
Feel free to browse through my blog for something that may help you!
There are many communities of deep friendships for support for those suffering from chronic pain
and illnesses. If you have not found a place of support, please email me and I will let you know where to look. Sherikay823@gmail.com.
If you have found something to add to your own knowledge that helps you in this life of chronic pain, please share it with others you meet along the same journey. We need to be there for each other sharing knowledge, as well as words of comfort, with those we come across! Being there for each other, encouraging and comforting gives us all a purpose in life!
Just know that I am not a doctor and everyone is accountable to seek professional help from ones own physician. Nothing stated in this blog is medical advice. Always ask your own physician about
any recommendations or treatments you might find to be sure they are appropriate for you!
Blessings, Sheri Kay
Functional Living With Chronic Pain is a blog I recently started. The goal is to help other chronic pain sufferers learn to live a new "normal" by using various "tools" to rebuild their lives. In doing so, to find understanding of various aspects we face, a purpose, even peace and joy in living with chronic pain. As well as encouraging sufferers to help others on the same journey.http://