Sue’s Baker’s Dozen For A Happier New Year In Living With Pain


As we look forward to a new year approaching, with the Christmas holidays upon us, Im sure you are thinking ahead. I realized how close 2020 is when last week I began making doctors appointments for the coming year. Here it comes, ready or not. Time to order a new datebook and time to contemplate the new year coming at us. I thought it would be fun and enlightening to look ahead, once more, as we have in years gone by; or perhaps I should say whizzed by? Please let me share with you my own personal vows to myselffor the coming year, 2020. I will probably have to read them myself often over the coming year.


1. Don’t let us get sucked into the “puny, failing health” way of thinking. Each year brings new drugs, new remedies, possible new doctors with new approaches and helpful ideas. Our mindsets have a significant influence on our health in the coming year just as it does now. Never underestimate the power of our minds. No matter how seriously we are assaulted by our bodies, we don’t have the right to sit down on our backsides and slide into the slime pit of despair. Just the thought of that act alone makes me cringe due to all my backside problems. Sliding anywhere on my sitter and back is just too hideous to comprehend. Ouch! I wont be sliding anywhere anytime soon.


2. I must avoid, as if they had the plague all individuals who want to dump on me or have the desire to play, mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the sickest one of all.Its a waste of precious time to talk excessively and obsessively about their own health…or mine. I try to save that conversation for the doctors office or an article Im composing. Complaining day and night is of no use.


3. I try to fight against every part of my malady, injury or disease that is trying to suck me under. I try to remember sometimes life hurts but that’s doable; and just keep moving, planning ahead and breathing in air as I take one step after another. I take my medications, follow orders from my medical specialists as long as it makes sense and look on the bright side, laugh and love so those healthy endorphins can affect my brain and body.


4. I try not to let myself fall apart. I used to be cute, a bit pretty and know I am no longer either of those things but I still strive to be attractive. Sick, older and infirmed does not equal ugly so why help it happen? I remember my Moms words to always look my best and take pride in my appearance, think about hygiene and when it becomes difficult, I make myself remember any exercise is good exercise. Brushing my teeth counts. Rubbing lotion onto my arms, feet and legs counts; especially if you literally count to forty while you massage it in forty times. That’s forty times each arm will be exercised each day. Climbing stairs counts as does all daily functions. I must keep counting on my body to come through for me. If I give up on it, it might retaliate and give up on me.


5. You and I must think about what we eat. I try to keep up with nutritional precepts.Food is fuel but it is so much more than that. If you and I don’t eat a well-balanced diet, I still take my vitamins and minerals each day. I try as much as humanly possible to be aware of what I am putting into my body.


6. My eye sight isnt great and I miss reading a daily newspaper or a weekly news magazine, but still try to stay up on the news; until it becomes too depressing. Then I must take a break. The idea is to get my head outside of myself. There is a huge world out there full of healthy, some sick, innovative and wonderful human beings. It will remind you that you are not alone. Keeping up with the outside world will also help us keep our perspective and find numerous individuals who also must face life as a challenge. You and I are members of a vast array of humanity. Some days, if the news is too heavy, Ive learned to turn it off. I dont want some idiot politician or news reporter trying to ruin my day. Beware, theyre everywhere these days.


7. My dear husband and I try to give a portion of what we have to charity. There are so many who need help in today’s world. There are children’s hospitals, veteran’sorganizations, food banks, etc. Even if you only give one dollar it will come back to enrich your soul as well as helping another fellow human who needs you and I. I have found you dont have to be rich to share what you have. We certainly are not.


8. I have left three doctors over the last two years. One was a jerk. Another was inadequate and only talked about her political obsessions and a third, well it was just time to move on. Those of us with chronic pain succumb more easily than most to depression and discouragement. I find it difficult to get to the doctor, especially one in another town due to the ride. I decided to stop wasting my time and energies. I also try to reach out toward any source of inspiration whether it ismy faith in God, the beauty of a sunset or the awesome sight of a bird in flight. Let your mind give you strength through the beauty of of nature when your body has little of it; I try to.


9. I try not to be a morose moron and on awakening each morning I pray, Morning Lord. Thank you for this day you have made. I know I have 24 hours to do something small, significant or worthwhile. Please help me work through the pain and value my life.


10. I try to remember, each day, the fleeting quality of life. I am not going to live forever so I try to truly live my life, not just exist. I can easily find joy in myspouse, our pets and our friends and family. Laughter is a medical modality. It’s good for my health and yours, also our hearts and minds. You cant find any better medicine than that.


11. I avoid anyone who tells me to be realistic. I like to be fanciful, believe in magic and look for the fairy dust in life. I refuse to embrace invalidism or those who encourage me to do so. This includes moaning, sighing and self-pity. Crying is allowed as a release valve or preferably if you are crying on behalf of someone else. If I must behave in a bitchy manner (Yes, it happens), I make it quick, get it over with and get on with the business of living. If I need to cry, I cry; then dry it up and get back to life. The same goes for irascible behavior.


12. I try to beware of the pitfall of displaying my maladies to others as in toting around a heating pad, complaining excessively or attempting to wrench pity from others. I avoid fainting couches and handkerchief waving. I am neither Bette Davis in DARK VICTORY, nor some other melodramatic actress and this is real life; I am also not Joan of Arc. Both of those women ended badly. I have foundthe rewards of such behavior to be hollow, empty and non-gratifying. It’s also an abuse of love and caring both for myself and for others who care about me. Love is a gift, not an excuse to beg, whine or grovel for attention. I try to keep this pain in its place and not let it dictate bad behavior on my part. I find I can be true to myself by behaving myself.

13. I want this coming year to be one of miracles for all of us. Ive already had two amazing things happen this past year and a half. None of the doctors Ive gone to for the last 15 years have known much about one of my diseases I have lived with for over 30 years. Its so rare, it is only found 4 times out of a million patients. Its a rheumatoid disease that effects the soft tissue of the body, joints, etc. It primarily changes the composition of cartilage. It is called Relapsing polychondritis. I now have been led to two doctors, my new rheumatologist and my fairly new internist who have actually, each of them, had a patient with this rare disease. They are not only knowledgeable but young, bright and compassionate. I have always believed in miracles but now I believe in them more strongly than ever before. I am loved by a loving, caring spouse and family and friends as well as a heavenly Father and feel so very blessed. This loving God is there for anyone who will embrace Him and have faith. How about if each of us make this the year of believing in miracles of all types?

4 thoughts on “Sue’s Baker’s Dozen For A Happier New Year In Living With Pain

  1. Sue
    Wonderfully written !
    So many good things in there. Much of it I do, some I need to work on. I always think of you when I am putting on my lotion. I stretch my legs and back then as well. Exercise is my middle name (most days). I pray that He will help me to keep myself able as long as I can.
    Healthy diet : I have started really getting with that . My son has lost over 100 lbs in 3 years just doing that. He is the same size he was in High School. I already had a lot of it down. But pushing back the sugar, processed foods, and eating as fresh and I can. Such a difference. 15 lbs. and still going. I want to get it all off. For my knees, back and well being. However, the more I loose, the more sagging skin I have……oh well.
    Doing for others. I find this to be a simple and joyous thing. Like you, I figure a few dollars more will help, not hinder any organization. Right now I am crocheting hats to send to the school in the Dakotas for the kids there. I love to do for them. I have been on the Rez and I know how awful their conditions are. Singing a song someone wants to hear, helping someone in the store, or simply smiling and saying “hello” to those we meet. It all adds up.
    Most of all letting Him lead us what to do and say. Because we know He will never lead us astray. We do such a good job of that ourselves.
    So…have a happy week all.

    • Dear Tonie(exercise), I know how hard you try to stay strong due to so many of your duties at home and on the farm. I am hoping this winter will not be as bad as they are predicting. I also have always loved the way you volunteer at your church and other church with your music as well as all you do in your community. Wonderful about your healthy diet. Good for you sweet friend. Thanks once again for posting my writing for me. I’m all thumbs when it comes to a computer. Born out of my time I do believe. Love you much, Sue

  2. Great pointers to live by sue
    As you say when you take a road you never know where it’s going in life,but the best option is to get the best out if it….with the cards we’ve been dealt
    Also doing things keeps the spirit going and to forget yourself for a while is bliss
    I’ve got to buy a new diary for all the info and appointments now coming in..sometimes it seems like just more of the same tho
    I know we can’t both eat a balanced diet with what we’ve got..ain’t it a …. and over the holidays
    But we are here so might as well do the best
    Colours are changing on the trees and look so pretty it’s a joy to go out to see it,cold or not,but in the car…
    Hope you are getting some stuff underway for preparation for Xmas I’m sure you are…I’ve still got to start

    • Dearest Chris, how true. The holiday feasts are very different for many of us. I am looking forward to the holy days but you’re so right. I started Christmas shopping online last week. I just want to spread it out so I don’t become so exhausted and in such pain I can’t cherish them and my family. My DD will host Thanksgiving at her home and I will contribute. Jim will peel the potatoes for mashed because he doesn’t really cook but learned how to peel away in the army. I will contribute a vegie and a pie, probably chocolate pecan. It and pumpkin are our family’s traditional favs.
      I found a wonderful new rheumy last week as you saw briefly in the recent blog. She has actually had one patient with my rare disease…one of four as you well know. She is also very familiar with Sjogren’s.
      I bought the same datebook I buy every year but with a new cover. I like it because there is room for notes and it is spiral and lies flat for writing in it. It’s found at I love them. Hope you are planning ahead and you probably are. I know what you mean about appts. To have an open week around here is rare. Labs today. Internist tomorrow and oncologist on Wed. Not one of them for fun….Love you much, Sue

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