Over

In the last week I’ve shared about 6 video’s in the raw. Unedited, me without make up, me with make up, me just going on about the last few months or more, blah blah.

I made it 15 years. I made the last 10 with SCS, medication and functional restoration and the last 4 by medication management, SCS, and home functional restoration enough to help me set goals and achieve them. Sometimes it can really take time to get unstuck from the pain cycles, the why me’s, sulking pity party. I busted my butt, learned, wanted to learn, and aside from a patient, I’m a caregiver too. Hard? It has to be done.

So many times I’ve had to alter my list of the 3 most important tasks needing done in a day. I’d move the least important to the top of the following day’s list. All those little tricks and things I’ve learned over the years that hang out in my toolbox of survival mechanisms.

I knew it was almost over. I just never imagined it would be by the hands and decisions of others/provider’s before giving up of my own. I just didn’t think…  of all the thinking I do that my award also became part of my end. I worked hard for that. Decades for that. Unpaid for that.

Spontaneous? Not really. I messaged my mom to have my Advanced Directive revoked and destroyed. I’ve tried to and I haven’t been able to get them back. It was Valentine’s Day, I called the radio station The new STAR and dedicated a song to my man. I’ll hold back on that song title right now. I took the last walk I ever thought I’d walk. It was long and hard, and I had to sit on people’s lawns or lean against trees or mailboxes and it was really only a little farther than end of our block.

Am I a quitter, a coward? Perception.  A quitter and a coward would have never rolled into those headlights, but let’s be fair, I haven’t quit yet.

I was already in withdrawal, unstable, but woke up to a nice day. It was all good until I re read the first denial letter stating those 2 medications (Cymbalta and Zonegran) weren’t medically necessarily and not supported by the California MTUS (Yes they are). It also claimed that due to the doctors report it was left to interpretation on a couple of matters and one of them was that those 2 medications didn’t reduce my potential for abuse or minimize my current opioid use. Seriously?!!

I appealed and I won. No potential for abuse or misuse and both medically necessary.

Approved on appeal February 16, 2016.  I’m still not on them, nor am I on any pain reliever at all.

I can get through the 7’s, bouncing 8’s and 9’s. I can use my tools to bring those 8/9’s down enough to level myself. I couldn’t handle the 9/10 I couldn’t bring myself out of it. The physical 9/10 that can make you lose your mind. Why? Because it’s in your mind where you’re coping abilities and strategies are.

Already living in your head all day just to manage your 7, see what happens when 10 comes and there isn’t any help. I’ve rarely used 10 in my entire life, I seldom use 9, except to acknowledge it gets there off and on throughout any day for seconds, minutes, hours.

10 though! I drank that bottle, intoxicated, drunk, I could care less about labels because I hit the ground on my stomach and face so hard I passed out. Somnolence, narcoleptic episodes (diagnosed) or alcohol, perhaps a combination of each. Though my husband said he dropped me as I was leaning against him.

I walked out of our gate and stood against our lamp post. Husband came out and told me to go back inside. I wasn’t doing anything but standing there, reflecting, thinking, but then…

He started grabbing me to lead me in and a lady called the Sheriff’s Department on him for abusing me. He wasn’t, but he was in my space and I just wanted to chill. I was sure to tell her that he didn’t hurt me, beat me, abuse me and that I was fine. I was. I think.

Our street, people drive down it like there is no road and a speed limit doesn’t exist.

That was my out! I laid down in the center of the street, spread my arms and my legs as best as I could and I could see headlights flying right for me. Am I mad I was pulled out of the street? A little. Why would I ever think to let a driver be responsible for killing me. Well how about this, slow down and do the speed limit. Everything is a learning experience.

The unbelievable inaccuracies in my medical records are nearly beyond fixing. Medications listed I’m not even taking, and a few for more than a year. I’ve updated again since my release and tonight I peeked at my Patient EMR. They’re all still listed. So the medications go on the record, but they don’t come off? There’s a difference between previously taken medications (inactive) and medications currently taking (active). It say’s I’m on 11 medications including 2 opioids, a benzo, oic med, lidoderm patches, cymbalta, and zonegran and I”M NOT!  Lisinopril, Hydralazine, Atorvastatin and Nuvigil. That is what I’m on. 4 medications. Red flag above 7, did you know that? So yes, I’ve been red flagged and it’s flying the wrong way.

I’m sorry to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, the Metropolitan Fire Department and the EMT and probably ambulance driver too. I didn’t trust you.

When you asked if I was in pain? I told you I wouldn’t tell you even if I was… Because… I wasn’t going to have in my record an opioid pain reliever documented as given to me. Yeah I suffered and I suffered for not being truthful. I’m learning though that truth and honesty is just someone elses made up lies. Unfortunate casualties of the world we live in.

To the Officer that lacked a little faith, I pray I left you with something. Heart! Have a little faith that sometimes not everyone is who the rest of the world made us out to be.

I’m not sorry for the actions that led to my consequences or my responsibility in it. It’s forever now.  I’m glad I screamed all the policy issues going on and made it loud and clear for blocks. I’m sorry for all those who played a part and either bailed or covered their own asses. I’m sorry for all those who think relieving pain leads to misuse, abuse and heroin above the overdoses that are self inflicted one way or the other.

Who ever thought it’d be me? No one!

Courage - Your fear

Goals? Get my lyrics out to those who’ve been interested and play that part of a lifetime. Really though, I’ve already done everything I wanted. From Poster Girl to TV Commercial, being published by my 20’s, being a part of Sacramento history in the news, hard copy, on the news live, iPain Foundation, my own endeavors. All in the background from my space, my cubby.

I’ll either fly off this earth by the grace of God, or by my faith in options. Take that as you will. I’ve had to choose, make choices, decisions, options to save my own life. My own!

Still not what you would simply assume.

I don’t hardly care about much right now because I can’t fix me enough to put in the few hours a month I had been to help others. I’m numb and it’s not the numb I wish it was. It really is easy to rectify wrongs, accidents, mistakes, oversights, correct errors and be responsible for your own actions. It really is easy to do. The only reason someone would choose not to is to hide their own guilt and be unable or against a face to face with you in the presence of a sit down meeting with lead staff for a reconciliation. I feel bad about that and I shouldn’t because I did move to rectify and was denied. I was even denied the 30 days of “emergency care” allotted by law when being dismissed by a provider.

I am grateful for the person who provided LLLT and Bowen Therapy yesterday. Bowen might take a few more times. LLLT I’ve done a few times before. The only “maybe” for months.

Really though, my problem is that I care too much but I think that’s been back handed out of me. None of this is finished, some has only just begun and the rest well…  it is what it is, for now.

Over and…

out.

 

The Body, Mind and Spirit; Humanizing the Soul

https://rsdadvisory.com/2016/02/11/the-body-mind-and-spirit-humanizing-the-soul/

It Really Hurts to Hurt | Live On. Give On.

https://rsdadvisory.com/2016/03/20/it-really-hurts-to-hurt-live-on-give-on/

The Unintended Side Effects of Fighting Prescription Drug Abuse by Twinkle VanFleet

The California Progress Report January 8, 2015

http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/site/unintended-side-effects-fighting-prescription-drug-abuse

Bracelets; Lockdown; Profound and Letdown

https://rsdadvisory.com/2016/02/26/bracelets-lockdown-profound-and-letdown/

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It Really Hurts to Hurt | Live On. Give On.

twinklev_onlygodcanjudgemeIt’s been a couple of days over a month since I came home from that hospital stay. I can’t say it’s gotten any better, in fact, worse in that I’m also now 6 days off of the very last medication that provided any relief and the only opioid based medication I was on in the first place. Let me back track to pre Hawaii and the honor I received by being a 2015 Bakken Invitation Award Honoree. I was already struggling harder that maintaining my average 7 (on the pain scale). I was to depart on January 13th. A week or about prior I knew or believed at the time that I couldn’t make that trip any longer. I made a non scheduled emergency appointment with my Pain Management provider, who attempted to help me. I had only been using BuTrans 5mcg/hour. I was increased to 10mcg/hour for 2 months. When my husband got me to the pharmacy, my 5 was ready. I put in the Rx for the 10 and didn’t pick up the already approved 5. Trying to always remain in compliance and thinking I was doing right by not picking up the 5, yet instead swapping it out for the new 10 backfired. (why would I try to get them both? I didn’t. That wasn’t the medical plan to have each of them.

I’ve been asked how Hawaii was and I’ll always say amazing due the achievements while living intractable pain that got me there. I never laid out in the sun, or made it to the beach, I never got to visit the cabana, or see the turtles. I went to Hawaii but didn’t get to “Hawaii”. My husband had the privilege to spend time on the beach on 2 occasions and have lunch with an agent of Medtronic. I didn’t.

Energy Pennies!

Each of us honorees were there for living with medical technology that had given us “extra life”. Extra life that let us give back selflessly and the ability to “Live On. Give On. I actually live with other forms of medical technology. An Auto Servo Ventilator by Philips that forces me to breathe when my brain shuts down the muscle that allow breathing in Central Apnea with Cheyne Stokes Respiration, and the Obstructive Apnea I have with it. Otherwise known as complex or mixed sleep apnea. I’ve had 2 clips holding me organs together. The injury that led to my CRPS over 15 years ago was a severe separation of my right foot, chip fractures, and tendon displacements. Either referred to as a mid-metatarsal separation or a Lis Franc fracture.

While my husband went to have lunch with the others, I was getting ready for my filmed interview. It was a hard day for me. That same morning was my Whale Watching Cruise. Each honoree was gifted an event of their choosing among a few choices. I chose the one that didn’t require any physical activity beyond getting to and from the location to each boat transfer for the cruise. I tried to walk the length of the beach upon arrival to get to the boat landing and I did! But in doing so, I set myself back. I had to use ADA beach wheel chair transport on the way back. When we all got back to the Hotel my interview was already waiting. The trip took longer over all. When we got back to our room, I had about 30 minutes to get ready and I used 10 or more of them to get off my legs and lay down. The clock was ticking, I had to change, and do something with my face. I didn’t wear makeup to the cruise. My husband headed for lunch and I got myself to the interview and back. It was that same night that we were having our awards reception. When I made it back to our room after the interview, I rested for an hour or so. My legs were burning so bad. My right side swollen and discolored, my left side could barely take it from carrying me. I had to do another change and get ready for the evening. Neither of the dresses I took was I able to wear due to the mass amount of swelling. I wore a blouse previously worn one other time. (Embarrassing but not everyone knew that I had). I’m not in many of the group photos because of inability, but I’m grateful for the photos I am apart of with a few special people that bonded in love, laughter, crying, and hope. Tanya, fellow honoree, Andrea, fellow honoree, Andrew, photography, Rich, Medtronic, Emelyne and Darren.

My BuTrans was picked up the day after returning home on the 18th. I attempted to refill Cymbalta and Zonegran on the 29th. The pharmacy said my doctor hadn’t responded to the fax request. In reality they had been denied by WC and I just hadn’t known it yet. I appealed via my PMD. Approved by another IME as being medically necessary February 16th. I still don’t have them.

2 months prior I had gone through similar delay of weeks, and before that. Always and abrupt discontinuation of either days, weeks or in this case nearly 2 months for 2 of them.

Can you imagine what it does to someone’s brain each time you go from something to nothing. What being on an SSNRI and anti seizure for over 10 years, yet coping through the adverse effects of on and off over and over again?
Can you imagine physical pain so bad that you aren’t just complaining or trying live anymore because you can’t? Can you imagine pain so visceral and crippling, you lose your mind?

I’ve known this pain before. It’s where all my piercing were born from. The diversion for pain to replace pain. I don’t often use the number 10 because 10 is meant to imply true inability to perform anything, the worse pain “imaginable”. Hospital bound, suicidal ideations, that’s 10. It’s not 11 or 20. It’s 10.

I don’t head for pills or opioid chase as some would like to believe we all do, my toxicology screens is and was negative for everything illicit, but it was positive for ethanol on Valentine’s day. I’ve been there before too, prior to ever getting into pain management in 2004. By the end of 2004, I woke up one day and didn’t drink again until 2012 and not to the point of intoxication and not again for another year. Gradually and after January 1st of 2015, I chose to drink when I wanted to, and not drink when I didn’t want to. January 1st was the denial and abrupt discontinuation of Klonopin 0.5, the reduction from 90 mg of Cymbalta to 30 and the denial of Lidoderm patches entirely as well.

The last 14 months have been a hell only certain people survive. I didn’t appeal those denials and reductions. It was the beginning of my decline in hope. I still had something left that couldn’t be taken and that was my Spinal Cord Stimulator which covers my lower back on down to my toes on each side.

Maybe you don’t like my politics or philosophies and maybe I don’t prefer your inaccuracies and errors in my medical records that I update each and every time I’m seen by anyone. Maybe you don’t prefer the thought provoking statements I make or consequences and responsibility topics I engage in.

That’s okay because I still respect your right to speak out against the pain you‘ve endured, perhaps you could afford me the same.

What good is the EMR (Electronic Medical Record) if it’s not used properly? In my recent hospitalization it showed I was on 11 medications, and I was injected with a medication potentially life threatening due to those errors which claimed I was still on a Benzo, BuTrans 5 and 10, Lidoderm, OIC med, Cymbalta and Zonegran.

I was only on BuTrans 10. The records only indicated a few of my diagnosis’ and left out important others. I’m not speaking of independent care or my PMD, I’m speaking of my primary health record. Dignity/Mercy Health.

The record shows that during that stay Morphine was prescribed, but denied.

Because of the medical record errors they gave me Cymbalta and Zonegran for 2 days which I had already been off for over 2 weeks. So when I got to come home I had to fall from it again.

As of now, I’m only on Lisinopril and Hydralazine for high Blood pressure. Atorvastatin for HC, and Nuvigil for sleep disorders.

Pain? You don’t know pain until you really want to live, but you pray to God to die.

And you don’t know pain until you’ve walked my shoes. Each and every worn out pair (not the ones you physically wear on your feet) but the shoes of life, struggle, being born with arthritis, PTSD x 3, DDD + Cervical, Diverticulosis (it is when flaring), CRPS 2, liver disease, reduced kidney function, female crap and all the others that would only take up space. Survival!

You don’t know pain until you keep doing for others to help them through, give them hope, change their lives, encourage them, love them, care-give when you can’t even care for yourself, yet you continue to put them before anything for you. I’ve been an advocate in one capacity or other for over 30 years and a writer for 40. I’m 48.

Friday evening it took over 2 hours to get myself out of the mind space I was in. That mind space that said go hit a wall, divert it, you know how. With the rest of me repeating to myself over and over #StrongerThanPain. “I’ll walk, when I cannot walk, I’ll carry myself, when I can’t carry myself, I’ll fly”

Late that night, my husband went and got me some generic Acetaminophen PM and another bottle of only Acetaminophen without sleep aid.

I’ll most likely never reach out again, but I’m thankful to Barby Ingle for when I did make it into a new day and I was able to talk a few her encouraging words assisted in the ongoing fight to live through it and with it, somehow. HOPE!

I’m thankful for technology and I’m grateful for those who humanize patients. Dr. Bakken, Dr. Duffy, and Susan Pueschel. I haven’t lost faith in my God, I’m losing faith in humanity.

As I said before, it’s all a Mirage, but I suppose it’s also part of the purpose.
PPP

I’m far from well, I can barely walk, my butt is bleeding, every part of me hurts not only from what I already had but from the injuries that occurred on Valentine’s day as well. A laceration/contusion of my head/forehead and face, deep contusions/sprains/strains/possible breaks of my hands/wrists, deep bruising arms, legs, back, butt. None of which documented at all. None of which are part of any record or care in those 2 days. Only my own/photos days later.

It doesn’t matter what caused it, how, or who.

Accuracy matters.

and…

#IHaveTheNerveToBeHeard

Godspeed!

Live On. Give On | 2015 Bakken Invitation Honoree | Pre-Review

Week of January 11, 2016 (never shared)

As I get ready to fly to Kona, Hawaii for the Medtronic Bakken Awards, I’m trying to help myself overcome challenges related to traveling, weight bearing, pulmonary and sleep disorder issues. My breathing has been unstable this week, my head, neck, arms, and even female troubles have poked me in the side.

I had my appointment with my PMD yesterday to ask for considerations that might help me through as it’s becoming harder and harder to stay up on my own and maintain pain levels. I already put in for ADA assistance during the travel and at the hotel. Yet, I won’t allow myself to be confined to a wheelchair while there, so I’m carefully pacing myself so that my legs carry me. My Medtronic Spinal Cord Stimulator has been my pill for 10 years. I’ll be able to adjust for optimum relief, but to do so also means that I have to either not be on my legs/feet at that time or not raising my settings for added comfort. I learned a long time ago how to get the best out of it for me. I’ve also learned that there are times I have to trade relief for walking and I can’t always have both at the same time. I can set my stim to numb me, but because I am one of the lucky ones whose stimulation does reach the toes, increasing this setting can knock me off my legs. I reserve this for non weight bearing pain relief. This is not an adverse effect, but a plus and benefit that has to be noted and chosen to best fit my time and place.

My Auto Servo Ventilator is too big and quite heavy to carry, so I may have to go without it. Still working on that. Otherwise I’d be traveling with 2 medical devices and have little room for anything else.

At this time next week, we’ll have already landed and be apart of the meet and greet with each honoree, Medtronic and so many others. I’m looking forward to representing Power of Pain Foundation as the new International Pain Foundation, myself as honoree, each honoree for what they have also accomplished and given, advocacy, volunteering, my family, my closest friends, and Dr. Earl Bakken and Medtronic Philanthropy.

There are a few wonderful people and establishments I want to say thank you to for being apart of this with me.

The International Pain Foundation (IPF) #iPain – Previously known as the Power of Pain Foundation. http://powerofpain.org/

Sacramento Pain Clinic – Dr. Michael Levin – Since 2004. Not just a Pain Management Doctor, but a patient advocate going above and beyond his own job for his patients.)

http://www.sacpainclinic.com/sacpain.php

Jacob Chopourian, Therapy Representative, Pain Therapist, Medtronic Inc Neuromodulation, Sacramento, California. www.medtronic.com

(Jacob has been part of my surgical team. He’s also adjusted me as needed. When I had my 9 year battery replaced I donated back to Medtronic my carrying bag, handheld stim (my stim) case, charger, hip straps, antenna, and manuals so that someone who needed these items in whole or in part could have them. Jacob came to my home to pick it up. Amazing man.)

Katie Tamez, Clinical Specialist, Pain Therapy, Medtronic Inc
Neuromodulation. Sacramento, California. www.medtronic.com

(Katie has worked to fine tune me, too.) I’ve no longer needed the 3 programs I started with many years ago, sitting, walking, sleeping. I use a single program with pulse. Wonderful lady.)

Compass Center for Functional Restoration – (Dr. Michael Levin MD)  Rick Wurster MSG, MPT, BCIAC  http://www.sacpainclinic.com/compass.php

(The center that taught me all there is about pain, physically, emotionally and psychologically. How to live with it using the mind, spirit and body to overcome flareups and maintain a modicum of sanity. Because of them I’ve been able to teach others what they taught me and find some joy and laughter in pain.)

Western Dental – Elk Grove Florin Road, Elk Grove, California

Dr. Tooloei, Staff.

You did great. Thank you for trying before I left for Hawaii. Trying meant enough to me.

Trudy Thomas, Featured BlogTalkRadio Host of the Living with HOPE Radio show on the Body, Mind and Spirit Network.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thebodymindandspiritnetwork
So proud of you and all you’ve given, selflessly. Happy that we have each other and our friendship survives the things we can’t do anymore.
Honored to have been both your co-host and guest speaker and warmed that you will always be family. Thank you for being all that I can count on as honorific leader/admin of my group. I love you!

Roy, MD Junction – http://www.MDJunction.com (Honored to have lead your Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Support Group for years.

http://www.mdjunction.com/reflex-sympathetic-dystrophy

Glad to have lead the ADHD support group on behalf of the children and parents who needed someone to oversee it. Pleased to still be a Senior Member and
MDJ Advocate. Love you all!)

Barby Ingle, www.BarbyIngle.com
(Together we can! Together we will! And together we are! Through MDJ and Trudy we found each other. I’ll forever remember the ones who cherished me for cherishing them. All 3 of you! Onward I go with #iPain. I love you!)

My Mom and Dad(s) (I know my dad is watching over. Gone since I was 22. My mom and dad was married 25 years when I closed his eyes. My mom and dad have been married 20 years and dated prior to that. So Mr. Don Tresca has been my father just as long as my birth dad was. I pray I’ve honored them all evenly and fairly as their daughter. I love you!)

Erik, Kharisma, Rikki, Kurtis and De’Mantai (my 5 lights). (Awards and recognition is great but not if they are seemingly meaningless to those that it should have mattered most, too.
There’s so much I’ve advocated for on your behalf’s that you’ve never even seen. I know that it all gets stale at some point but if you only knew it was never more for someone else than it was for you. Seek and you shall find.  love you! Ohana.)

I’m so glad Daddy saw, felt, and knows now. Sometimes it takes a miracle and that miracle came. It’s all good. Ask him ~winks

Annie-Marie Garcia (30 years! Time in between where we had gaps because life does that with work and loss. We don’t want to add burden to those we love or stomp on someone else’s, okay. That’s what we tell ourselves at least. I’m glad I got you now in the illness you should have never ended up with. I wish I was there when you were first going through it and if only I had known. Lets never let anything separate us again. For you and I, we have something special, we can see each other every day, or have weeks, months or years go by, but we always know that when it comes down to it, we are the ride or die. I love you!)

Maryann Kupidlowski Stafford (My sister since our babies were babies. Young teen daughters. If we weren’t there together we would have never met. Your curiosity, my extended learning, teaching. We both did, and we both gave, mine was just for extending natural order A decade? 12, 13. Time flies. Here we are moving forward in light, love and tomorrow. I love you!)

PK Saint-Amour (Bruja, pain, strength and the sight. Light and the “F’off. I so love you for being courageous in all of it. I’m so glad that you’re my sister in knowledge and fight. I love you!) https://www.facebook.com/groups/InvisibleWarriors/

Eileen McCready (A long time now too, background, foreground, compassion and understanding beyond pain. Sister of mine, always. I love you!)

Saskia Hubelmeijer (My international sister who does all she can in the Netherlands despite pain and hardship, and for America, too. Who’s assisted in leading my group since 2011, as formal admin and informal I love you!)

Billy Rose (Thank you brother for leading light and love above pain and hurt for all people. You demonstrate what the world needs more of and you are providing the change needed to overcome it all again) I love you!

The Council (We are who we are and one day when the earth is over, or death takes us, we’ll still be us, together, teaching, giving, inspiring, awakening those asleep all in their own time) I love you all. http://www.councilofenlightened.org/

The Sacramento News & Review (For featuring my voice and passion over 20 years ago) November 17, 1994, Speaking Out Edition) https://rsdadvisory.com/2015/07/24/sacramento-news-review-november-17-1994-speaking-out/

https://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/home

ECV Chapter 3 (Clampers/widders) E. Clampus Vitus was established in 1849.

http://ecv3.net/    http://www.ecvgazette.com/

(In memory of IRJR http://www.irjr.com/, a great man, friend, Clamper, who many years ago when founded Widders Web honored me with his chat program instead of the one I was using for us, I used his to then honor what he started years previous to that. http://www.irjr.com/widderschat/  While the pages are currently not found and the chat needs updating, I wanted to thank him again. Mr. IRJR is no longer with us.

SPPAN (State Pain Policy Advocacy Network) (I hope we continue on)

RSD(S)-CRPS Advisories

(Founded by me, for you)

—————

Refer to December 27, 2015

https://rsdadvisory.com/2015/12/23/twinkle-vanfleet-2015-honoree/

To be continued!…

The best is yet to come.

Dr.Bakken and Twinkle VanFleet2

Twinkle VanFleet, 2015 Bakken Invitaton Honoree, Sacramento CA, #iPain, with Dr. Earl Bakken Medtronic Co-Founder, Kona Hawaii. Awards reception. January 16, 2016.

 

http://bakkeninvitation.medtronic.com/honorees-winners/

http://bakkeninvitation.medtronic.com/honorees-winners/2015/twinkle-van-fleet/index.htm

http://newsroom.medtronic.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=251324&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1822170

http://newsroom.medtronic.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=251324&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=2122319

http://www.nasdaq.com/press-release/the-medtronic-bakken-invitation-award-honors-12-patients-from-around-the-world-for-giving-back-20151214-00566.

http://www.otcmarkets.com/stock/MDT/news

 

 

 

Overcoming Challenging Obstacles

Excerpts from, Overcoming Challenging Obstacles by Twinkle VanFleet below.

The past few years have been a test of strength, endurance, and possibilities amidst constant setbacks to overcome. 5 years after the injury that led to my CRPS, I did go back to school for a degree in Corporate Publishing. At the end of 2006 I took leave to have my permanent Spinal Cord Stimulator implanted and I returned approximately 10 weeks later. Due to not being able to drive any longer, my husband took me and picked me up in between his own full-time work schedule. By 2007, I wasn’t able to keep up any longer. My grandson was born in 2006, too. My husbands first heart attack when he was 37, 2 stent placements, his Diabetes diagnosis, he only used accumulated vacation time for it and returned to work in a weeks time. In 2007, we bought or first home, but he also lost his 13 year career and stability when his company C.S.A.A. (AAA) relocated out of California. I continued to raise awareness for chronic pain, met Trudy Thomas, became a leader at MD Junction’s RSD Support and remained for 3 years. My own support group which I began on My Space in 2003 was moved to Facebook, yet I didn’t move the members with it. I like for people to find us rather than to send out invites or notify. I met Barby through Trudy. My son had a traumatic brain injury in August of 2011 and my husband had a second heart attack within a year. I stayed in the PICU with Ozra for 10 days. In December of 2012 I stayed at the hospital with my husband for the entire 9 days during his quadruple bypass surgery, the first few days I slept in the van. In 2012, I had Gall bladder surgery and in 2013 I had another Gall bladder surgery which included the removal of part of my liver and multiple hemangioma’s. https://rsdadvisory.com/2013/07/17/gall-bladder-fiasco-continued-and-hopefully-the-final-chapter/

2014 my daughters liver disease, our sons birth defect diagnosis from Shriners Children’s Hospital unrelated to his TBI and my surgery to have my SCS battery replaced. Piece of cake, mostly. 2015 started with a bang and 3 weeks of hard Cymbalta, Zonegran, and Clonazapam withdrawal due to WC delaying Rx refills. The other 2 weren’t filled either, but really no effects from them as much as the other 3. I no longer take Clonazapam or get the Lidoderm. It hasn’t been easy, especially when Clonazapam did help and pain management medication was and is already at the lowest minimum. I already do all that I can to minimize my own agony and I practice these coping strategies each and every day. My husband just had surgery to repair a torn shoulder a few months ago and we just learned by MRI he has another tear in his knee. We’re still learning all we can at Stanford for our daughter. Rikki is managing well. My purpose is in helping others, it’s all I’ve ever done one way or another, but it isn’t my passion. I’ve come to realize it can’t be. It’s not the fire flickering about the dancing flames that motivates my spirit to fly. My bucket-list goal survives all this. It’s not writing, I have that. It’s not policy, POP gave me that opportunity again. It’s much deeper than that, at least for me. Our son and oldest daughter are moving in together on the 1st. My man and I will have our home to ourselves. January 26th begins my 16th year. I’m not sure where 2016 will take us, I just know I take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’ … for mine.


Overcoming Challenging Obstacles

“Pain isn’t in our head, but it is in our brain, and our minds. Pain is sent from the spinal cord, sending messages to our brain, back to our spinal cord and up and down those nerve pathways. Pain signals reach our endorphins, limbic system, https://www.dartmouth.edu/~rswenson/NeuroSci/chapter_9.html hypothalamus, where they then affect our emotions and other bodily functions. http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=10812

Functional restoration afforded me lessons and insight to be able to push on. Sometimes we already realize these lessons for someone else, but when it’s us, we don’t recognize it the same, we change, unless we change us back.

It’s a daily process to overcome additional challenges brought on by chronic or intractable pain. It’s moment by moment at times. Having to stop something suddenly to practice breathing exercises to decrease a stress situation brought on by either emotion or a spike in pain, bring a rise in blood pressure down, use focal points, imagery or going to my “happy place” in my mind to ease myself.

“I will walk, when I cannot walk I will carry myself, when I cannot carry myself, I will fly” ©2009-2015 Twinkle VanFleet/@rsdcrpsfire Written while attending Compass Center for Functional Restoration

John C. Thomas, PhD, Rick Wurster MSG, MPT, ABP, BCIAC, Leticia Camarena M. A., Tatyana Yatsenko, Larry Lane, Patient, Patient, Twinkle VanFleet, Patient. Compass Center for Functional Restoration Graduation July 17, 2009

I began recording both my P & E. I tracked my “pain” level and my “emotional” level using the same Numeric Rating Scale. The 11 point 0 – 10 scale where 0 represents “no pain” and 10 represents “worse pain imaginable”, “as bad as I can imagine” or unimaginable. I don’t do this anymore because I’ve learned to have the awareness without tracking, but for example at the moment I logged, my E/emotions/stress was an 8 and my P/pain/physical was a 5, I would eventually learn that my pain level would most likely rise anytime. I had to use my cognitive tools right away to reduce my stressors in order to manage the physical pain. I discussed this concept at MDJunction.com when I was a group leader in the RSD Support Forum in 2009.

Life itself can be hard, add pain to it, and it’s even harder. It can be managed with the right tools. It’s never going to be perfect, but we can make it as comfortable or as tolerable as possible for ourselves. Removing or decreasing triggers that instigate pain have eased me. I can’t watch the internet all day. It’s not because I don’t love or care for everyone. It’s because there are pain triggers everywhere. When we see images, graphics, memes of illness or disease scrolling by, especially our own, a trigger can occur. I’ve learned over the years to recognize this. I have the awareness to understand that I can be a contributing factor in my own discomfort.

I never went to preschool and Kindergarten was only for a week or two. I started school in the first grade. I was taught at home and I was reading at advanced levels by the age of 5. My comprehension and spelling ability was always above average. While I either suppressed it or just didn’t care to acknowledge it, I did go to special classes in the first and second grade because I couldn’t pronounce the letter’s S and T in words and sentences properly. I was a critical thinker immediately in life. http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/defining-critical-thinking/766

By the time I got to my 4th elementary school in the middle of the school year in the second grade, I didn’t have to tell anyone I went to the classes with the special ones. Those new kids and that neighborhood became the ones I grew up with until I left Sacramento in October of the 9th grade to move to L.A. County for my dad’s job. The rest of that year carried with it a bit of insecurity. I started Drama at my new high school and as a Junior I was in second year advanced drama, speech, debate and thespian clubs, involved in school plays, in chamber singers for a while, I swirled the baton too, but chose my priorities and kept to the one’s I still use today. By the middle of the 11th grade I was off to the high desert where my parents bought a home. I’ve been in 4 high schools, 2 Junior high’s due to the district split and several elementary. I learned to adapt young. I may not like it, but I do it fairly well. I’m a survivor of repeated childhood molestation and indirect physical and emotional abuse.

I’ve been an Empath http://themindunleashed.org/2013/10/30-traits-of-empath.html for as long as I can remember. I can vividly still remember leaving my teething ring on the back metal bumper edge of my dad’s best friend’s pickup truck and them driving away with it. I’m hypersensitive to people, places and things sometimes to my own detriment, yet I’m also a no-nonsense girl. I’m inclined to the natural order of things, including man and woman, but I’m not a doormat. I love my crazy and he does, too! Why? Because it’s really not all that crazy, I just like to have it appear so in the midst all the uncertainty in life. Laughing is the best medicine of all. If I can make you laugh, give you something to laugh at even if it’s at my own expense, I’m thrilled to have been of service.”

Empathy Vs Sympathy

http://www.diffen.com/difference/Empathy_vs_Sympathy

Sure there are times I think “Dang, no one gets it!” I don’t mean in everyday situations, I mean in my critical thinking. Those who are on the same page fear agreeing openly until my thought, reasoning, even an educated statement that I make is validated by someone with high education, authority or status. By that time I really don’t need the care, concern or acknowledgment. I might have needed it when I was no one to be acknowledged for. No one will ever know in these situations because I’ll not ever treat them any different and there isn’t any animosity, but there is recall. Why? Because everything we do or don’t do to another person makes an impact on them. Those impacts influence the rest of their lives by accumulation in decisions and choices. This includes my interaction with other people.

By the time I was in the 4th grade I was in the MGM program. At that time called Mentally Gifted Minds. My 9-year-old grandson is currently in the Gifted and Talented Education Program (G.A.T.E.).

During the 4th to 6th grade 2 of my class periods were reserved for tutoring the NES (Non English Speaking) students who just joined our Country from Vietnam, and other Southeast Asian communities. I was 8 years old when I began the 4th grade. These years were 1975-1977/78. Due to being bright enough to be a student teacher at such a young age, I missed normal class subject time; I began to fall behind in math studies. My mathematical education is only that of general knowledge. I held enough that I was promoted to General Manager for a Restaurant by the time I was 24.

I started college when I was 15 in the high desert of California. Law and Acting. I studied both Fundamentals of Crime and Delinquency and Theory and Practice of Acting. I loved being a minor, non-adult, in an adult law class. I loved that my mind was evolving, but it was at a pace others couldn’t keep up with. I loved learning by law enforcement mentors and the few things I participated in to grow and develop lifetime strategies for. I’ve been fond of the Law, Sociology, Philosophy, Theology, Theosophy, The Human Mind, Psychology, Enlightenment, Consciousness. Alternative Lifestyles, Natural Order and the last decade or so Pain Psychology. I like various other topics relating to each of these, too. When I indulge in a book these are the things I enlighten myself in.”  Excerpts from, Overcoming Challenging Obstacles by Twinkle VanFleet (Currently unpublished in its entirety) ©2015 Twinkle VanFleet, Overcoming Challenging Obstacles. All rights reserved.

(Several paragraphs have been removed from the original for this share)


 

It really is a multi-disciplinary approach to pain care and taking an active role in our own overall well-being that makes the difference between making it or breaking it. Even if we have to fake it to make it to get there.

~Twinkle

Pain Awareness Month 2015 – Feature 1 – The Faces and Limbs of Pain

The faces and limbs in these videos are many of the people you have crossed paths with over the years. They may be your friend, colleague, or acquaintance.  For other’s, you may not have realized what it is they endure. They’ve shared this part of themselves to educate and bring awareness to Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. The faces you gaze upon seem fine, look well enough, perhaps not even a glimpse of pain, or discomfort. Such an illusion. The delusion lies less in the patient who complains than it does in the provider who doesn’t care to look beyond what initially seen.  You’ll then watch the limbs of people and if you make note, you’ll find that those faces …   live with more than just an ache.  To see it, you have to look beyond the faces.

It’s Pain Awareness Month. Share and make aware to continue the common mission of all of us everywhere who strive to make a difference in the lives of those suffering to survive.

Thank you for all you do!

 


 

Faces of Motivation 5 by Power of Pain Foundation –  http://youtu.be/y8-ngc–Bpw

 

 

Uploaded on Jan 22, 2012
This is the 5th Faces of Pain video by the Power of Pain Foundation. The video contains chronic care patients who
are dealing with an autoimmune condition which attacks the nervous system, immune system, muscle, bone and
sometimes organs. For more information on the POPF or RSD please visit www.powerofpain.org. The video was
produced by Twinkle VanFleet and Kurtis VanFleet. Background Image taken by Kurtis VanFleet. This video is
property of the POPF copyright 2012. All rights reserved. The Power of Pain Foundation is a 501(C)(3) Charity.
Music
“Little Wonders” by Rob Thomas (Google Play • iTunes • AmazonMP3)

 


 

RSD / CRPS Limbs Montage – http://youtu.be/nsFs3EHpi-A

 

 

Published on Jul 12, 2012
This video goes through pictures of RSD/CRPS patients who have visual symptoms of their extremities (hands, arms,
legs and feet). RSD is a Neuro-Autoimmune condition which affects many aspects of the body. For more information
visit Power of Pain Foundation. Special thanks to Twinkle and Kurtis VanFleet, and singer Page Jackson.

 


Faces of Pain Video 6 (In English and Spanish) – http://youtu.be/HAnmVUKVncM

 

 

Published on Aug 2, 2014
Faces of Pain Video – 6th edition for Power of Pain Foundation
Created by Twinkle VanFleet, Executive Board Member, Power of Pain Foundation
Spanish Translations by Vanessa Lara, California Representative, Power of Pain Foundation

 

POPF September is Pain Awareness Month


 

Nada hay más surreal que la realidad.

Nobody Said It Was Easy..

Sometimes people only see what they want to see, hear what they want to hear, but do they really “hear” , “see” it”? It’s all perception! We live in a world of perception and deception especially online.  The typed word is “perceived as “tone of type”. People take from it what they will. Imagination goes with it, fantasy, an idea of who or what you are. Tone of Type means how the other person takes your post, how they imagine it as if it came from your lips. It may not be what it is intended to be though after all there really is no tone, there is no voice, there is no body language.. it’s all the typed word. No seen or heard emotion. Nothing to actually base the tone on. I’ve shared so much through Social Media over the years, but I assure you, even with those who I thought were “friends”, I’ve never shared everything.

Since December of 2012 my life, our lives  have changed drastically, but let me be fair in saying that just because I haven’t shared like I used to that it hasn’t continued.

(I know some of you know)

Due to betrayal, I haven’t revealed what I might have. I’ve shared pieces and parts. At the end of 2013 I learned a valuable lesson. One that carries with me. I already had reservations and a trust issues.. that person only reminded me that barriers and walls are meant to be kept up.

My husband had already had 2 heart attacks, he had 2 stents in his heart since he was 37 when the first occurred. The second occurred in 2011 if my memory is serving me correctly. Not many months after that our son, who was a freshman at the time sustained several brain injuries that still existIMG_0263 today, so while I praise all of his efforts and good deeds online, we are still working to relieve him of symptoms, like breathing, smelling and other issues.  I will not be ashamed to say that he was diagnosed with ADHD and was on Adderall for it for some time. By choice, partly his choice, we decided to go off the Adderall over a year ago and let his body take it’s course. He’s strong!  He’s young! My Lil ‘ OZ! My husband had a quad bypass 17 months ago and is still dealing with Diabetes, Neuropathy, and the aftermath. He takes 11 medications upon waking, 4 in the afternoon, 11 at bedtime. I could care less about me anymore, even though it’s hard. Yep, hard! He took care of the me, I couldn’t keep up on so much, now I have to pull for all of it and I …

Will!

ErikandRikki

 

 

WoodVanFleetFamilyMarch92013

Some people think because I have hope in my heart, once every 3 months or so that I’m able to go out that I think my shit don’t stink, that I’m better than someone else…

I’m not! Nor would I ever think it. Seriously? ! I’ll be the play’a in my own game!

A pretty outfit, a little make-up, one leg leaning to the hard left while the other holds it up, wheelchair in the van, the stick out of view, but no one knows..

Invisible diseases are even invisible among the very people they should be acknowledged from.

Even those in remission are looked down upon, I mean you can’t have a bad day, you’re in remission, right? Wrong! Remission only means an absence of symptoms for a time being it doesn’t mean that no symptoms will present.

A time being can be minutes, hours, days, weeks..  there is no absolute!

Those people still hurt too, still feel fatigue and get sore, wear down more quickly than someone without an illness.

I’m not in remission! I just understand those who are.

Now have a CRPS patient taking care of another ill disabled person… add struggles, surgeries, life, precious children, the grand baby. This has been my life. As my son approaches another surgery next week…

When you think you’ve had enough and you can’t go on….  Go On!

Don’t ask me how I do it..

Auto pilot!

Don’t ask me how I feed the dogs, the cat, love my children, my grandson, my family, however distant…

Or how I take care of my grandson…

Don’t ask me about me..

Don’t even ask me how I lift my eyes..

Just know that I do..

~ #TVa

#StrongerThanPain

(But he leaned in and whispered it might be worth it)

 

 

I originally wrote this weeks ago and used the same title recently on FB to show how proud I am of my (our) grandson De’Mantai Xayvier Howard who made 8 consecutive honor rolls and graduated at the top of his second grade class (and the entire school) . … (this post was written before that and left in drafts)

CRPS/RSD and Chronic Pain: Should We Stop Living Because It Hurts?

We should not stop living because it hurts! I’ve heard so many times if so and so has Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy or Chronic Pain in general if they go out for the evening, wear a certain type of clothing, shoes, accessories, move their bodies they can’t possibly hurt that bad. Wrong! It means they are not letting the pain and disability rule their lives. They want to live, laugh, enjoy a moment, make new memories, perhaps experience some of the old.

Too often we become trapped in the cycle of isolating ourselves. Maybe even feeling sorry for ourselves. It’s okay to feel that way from time to time it’s not okay to let the illness take over our lives and that which we love. Family, children, goals, dreams and wishes for ourselves.

If you see someone doing something you wouldn’t do or your body isn’t capable of doing please don’t judge them. Maybe all it means is that they are pushing past the pain for a few minutes, a few hours, or a few days. Granted there are people in the world that like to be sick, they crave attention and pity, but not all Chronic Pain Survivors have this mentality. It is not fair to group them into one category. One size does not fit all and it never will.

Some of us use medication to try to survive, other’s have gone off of all medication and use alternative strategies for coping and managing pain, other’s use a combination of both as I do. Just because someone can survive without medication doesn’t mean they feel better than you do it only means they have learned to manage their pain a different way.

If you love to dance as I did, dance! I do! I may last 20 seconds, I might make it through a half of a song, I already know my body is going to pay for it, so why should I hold back because I might end up down for a week after? I shouldn’t and you shouldn’t either! If you love to garden, do it! Pace your activities so you can enjoy your time. If after a half hour you can’t do anymore, don’t. There is a fine line between doing too little and doing too much! Learn you and what you are able to achieve. It doesn’t matter that the next person only lasted 5 minutes or another person lasted an hour. You are you!

Make daily goals. Lists can be helpful. I often have 5 things on my list, my goal is to be able to mark off 3 of them. If I can mark off all 5 it’s just a plus for me and if I only make it to 2 I’ve learned to let myself know it’s okay. Don’t put yourself down for not completing a task just move the one you missed to the top of the list and start again.

I tell myself “I will” instead of “I’ll try” it’s just something I’ve found quite useful after completing my Functional Restoration Program back in 2009. The word “Try” sets me up for possible failure from the moment I say it to myself. “I will” motivates me! There is no pass or fail here. We can or we can’t. We will or we won’t. We are not only individuals but individuals in our own pain,  depression and mindset also.

Many of us deal with depression and/or anxiety secondary to our chronic pain. Close your eyes, relax and go to your happy place. Using imagery can be helpful. Don’t forget to laugh and laugh with others. Laughter produces endorphin’s and endorphin’s decrease physical pain.

Physical pain and depression can be a vicious cycle in itself. Depression causes pain to increase and the pain causes the depression to worsen. Living, smiling, loving, practicing appreciation and gratitude goes a long way in helping us overcome and survive the diagnosis’ we’ve been handed.

While there are times I suffer, I know we all do, I do not consider myself a sufferer, but instead a survivor. I am surviving this! I am alive! It’s been said that pain is that one reminder that we truly exist and for me I believe it. I am reminded every moment of the day that I am living, I am alive.

Be good to yourselves!

Don’t stop living because it hurts, survive the pain and go on.

~Twinkle VanFleet