Claire Gawinowicz lives and writes in Oreland, PA. She and her husband have two 20-something children who keep her young and supply her with endless writing material.
As an active “younger” senior, I was so proud of how well I stayed in shape. I could keep up with younger people, no problem. Then one day, it almost seemed like overnight, I got this pain in my rib area and I could no longer do my favorite hobbies of cooking, baking, gardening and Zumba. Whenever I exerted myself too much I was hobbled with excruciating pain. But the emotional pain was just as bad. I was 60 years old and had to come to terms with the fact that I was no longer able to keep up with my old ways. It was depressing.
But I was determined to get back to myself. I went to doctor after doctor after doctor and received just as many different diagnoses and treatments with no relief. Finally, I realized I had to get my stubborn self to try alternative methods - many of which I was skeptical. But the acupuncture, yoga, meditation, Shiatsu along with a new family physician who finally “got it” and gave me some good medication started to work. Oh, I have my bad days, believe me. But I carry on. I also go to support groups and talk therapy.
I have turned the corner in many ways. Whether it be practicing the non-Western forms of therapy (by the way, went to about 3 or 4 different yoga classes and acupuncturists till I found the one for me), the acceptance that I am no longer as young as I used to be, and the ability to work hard to stay healthy as well as maintain my sense of humor, I am feeling better. It’s been an extremely rough two years since my diagnosis of nerve damage. But I have learned how to manage myself and I can cook, bake and exercise again - just not at the level I used to - and that’s okay. I hope to have many, many years ahead of me.
Editor’s Note: September is Pain Awareness Month-The National Pain Report has received a number of personal stories from persons who battle chronic pain. Let us know if you like to submit your story for consideration. firstname.lastname@example.org
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