Chronic Pain….and other considerations

The title of this post is the reason I’ve not written since December 2020, and I wanted to update my readers (if anyone is still there, lol), share my experience, and support those who suffer similar conditions. It’s a milestone to be returning to the writing world, and I plan to create a new website that will include this blog in the near future.

Since 2014, I have been enduring progressive spinal degeneration that caused disabling pain and heralded a journey into continuous and countless treatments and procedures, frightening states of depression and isolation, and suffering that led to a recent spinal surgery I am currently recovering from.

My story is of someone who enjoys her career as a spiritual counselor, is still working in her sixties, and lives alone as a single woman. As my back pain worsened through the years and sitting became intolerable, I watched my social life narrow to eventual non-existence as my core reality became the effort to survive pain and maintain hope, while continuing my practice.

Long-term chronic pain weakens you mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. It alienates, exasperates, confuses, and drains you. It can change your personality. At its worst, it eats away the very promise of life, and leaves you as an empty shell without hope for the future.

When you have chronic pain of any type, it becomes a journey of self awareness and education, and inevitably forces a change of structure and relationships. Given the current state of the world, it can be difficult to find people with the time, patience, and listening skills to be there for you, and reaching out can become debilitating exposure to disappointment. Personally, I learned to endure everything I possibly could on my own, becoming quite creative in the process, but there is no way around the times in life when we become so vulnerable we need help.

Here is some of what I’ve learned to hopefully support and inspire those suffering chronic pain and for their loved ones who care about them. First, for those experiencing the condition.

Expect more of yourself than others. Trust yourself and your Source to find your way on the journey. Accept breakdowns, failures, and bad days and nights. Expand and express your gratitude. Educate yourself on the condition, as you cultivate your intuition and listen to what your body needs. Talk to someone and don’t give up when people are not available. Be willing to forgive.

Depending on your resources, create a team of practitioners and healers that can be there for you. I finally hired a housekeeper, got massage, discovered a local acupuncturist who offered hypnosis during the session, and found a chiropractor with a decompression table.

Express yourself creatively, journal your feelings and experience, watch movies and read books that inspire and nurture, and listen to or play music. Cultivate your inner and spiritual connections, including the practice of meditation. Grieve what you no longer have or are able to do and be willing to let go. Invest in and feed your belief in your ability to heal beyond any diagnosis. Stay open and curious to what this experience can offer you and look at what it’s forcing you to change.

The greatest offering others can give, is the time to listen and show up. Pay attention to the needs of your loved one and anticipate how you can assist them, before they have to ask. In my case, having a neighbor take out my trash occasionally because lifting was a strain, was enough to brighten my day and outlook. When I couldn’t work, those who donated financially relieved a tremendous amount of stress that enabled me to focus on healing. Having people who don’t give up on you, despite the toll it can take on them to bear witness to your suffering, is priceless.

What I’ve learned through this particular struggle, and all disease, is that whole healing takes a whole lot. It involves not only physical healing, but emotional growth, spiritual awareness, and the ability to change the pain patterns of the brain and create new neuron patterns of wellness and possibility, which I learned from Dr. Joe Dispenza’s work in this field.

Eleven weeks out from spinal surgery, I am happy to be well enough to return to work at the Ojai Valley Inn two days a week and resume phone consultations, and I can feel the potential of greater relief from pain in my body, though I’m realistic of what still lies ahead.

It can be hard to remember we are not our bodies or the conditions in our lives, and to trust our inherent state of limitless possibility. Though it’s not easy to create beyond embedded patterns and damaging conditioning, we can. The conditions of our lives are the teachers for our growth, and every one of us can be a fantastic student who graduates to higher levels.

Never underestimate what you can do to change yourself or someone’s life every single day. Every one of us can choose to love so big and create so fearlessly we evolve into a new reality. I am with you as you strive to go forward, offering the deepest compassion and acknowledgment of who you are, and cheering every step you take!

About Nancy Furst

Spiritual Counselor
This entry was posted in Chronic Pain, Healing and Spirituality, Spirituality, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Chronic Pain….and other considerations

  1. Judy Schmitt Krings says:

    We lived on the same block, and both suffered spinal concerns. I suffer with scoliosis, degenerative disc, sciatica, and arthritis, so I can say with confidence that I feel your pain. I hope you continue your healing. My brother died in March. He suffered with Parkinson’s and so many other afflictions, it was a blessing he was able to pass peacefully into the hand of the Lord. I hope everything works out for you. I will include you in my daily prayers. Keep in touch dear friend. Judy

    • Nancy Furst says:

      Judy, thank you so much and please feel free to give me a call – 310-707-7812. I am so sorry to hear of Mark’s passing, do I remember his name correctly? (I know I always had a crush on him!) And I’d love to hear more about what you are going through and talk about our lives now. Anytime. Much love, and prayers to you, as well. Nancy

  2. fifteenwilddecembers says:

    Dear Nancy ~ You’ve been on my mind a lot in the last few weeks. I’m glad to get your update.

    I have a condition I’ve been living with since 2018, a culmination, it seems from the previous 8 years. And I didn’t realize I was experiencing it back in 2016 when we last visited.

    Only today, I was thinking how everything that happens to us is Medicine to push us to our full humanity —even if it’s horrible.

    I’m glad to hear of your journey and your progress. Will look forward to future mailings.

    Always in peace ~ Lisa


  3. loren stephens says:

    So sorry to hear of your situation. You have been on my mind so it felt serendipitous that I received your email. I published my novel, All Sorrows Can Be Borne.” Seems like an appropriate title under the circumstances. I was diagnosed with cancer in January and just completed radiation and chemo. It bit me in the butt to say the least but I am slowly starting to feel better each day. Waiting for the brain fog to lift and my eneergy to return. Have too much to do to stay in the doldrums but need to listen to my body as you say and take care of myself which in my case means sleeping and eating little meals and staying away from all the good stuff (ice cream, etc.). Hoping that the doctor will expand my diet next week when I see him. It’s amazing how much you miss food when you can’t have something you crave like cheese. Wishing you continued recovery and know that I think of you. Luv, Loren

    • Nancy Furst says:

      Dearest Loren, my heart goes out to you. I’m thrilled to hear of your novel being published, that is such a beautiful accomplishment, but to go through cancer and its treatments as you are, makes my heart ache for you. I’ve been there, though no one else’s experience can be compared. You are remarkable in your stamina and I applaud you in listening to your body’s needs and not rushing things. That’s wisdom and you are the wise woman, indeed. Sending hugs, love, and prayers for ice cream to be on the menu very soon! Love, Nancy

  4. Leah Rodgers says:

    Dear Nancy,
    I was so happy to receive your blog post; you were on my mind this morning, and I wondered about your path to healing. I am so grateful that you are getting better and feeling stronger. I am sending love to you, and I hope I have the chance to wish you well in person this year. I was in Ojai in March, and I felt the old magic and support.Your advice in the new year helped me so much: I have been on my own healing journey, and I am amazed at how much better and happier I am. Your support and faith in me made a difference at a very critical time – thank you. I agree with your writing – more than we can believe is possible.

    • Nancy Furst says:

      Hi Leah! Your note is so lovely, thank you, and I’m thrilled to hear you are doing well. I appreciate the feedback and wish you continued wellness and happiness. Until we meet again…. much love, Nancy

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