Contributed by: Connie
Reviewed by: Evelyn Corsini, MSW, June 2010
Connie is a grandmother from Nebraska.
I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in November 2001. During this time I have been able to control my glucose level with diet. In the early years I was able to walk for exercise.
Since that time I have had three foot surgeries. It was after the first surgery that the neuropathy first appeared. The second surgery helped with the problem but another problem was created. Now with the third surgery there is nothing more that can be done for my left foot. It is very difficult to stand in one spot for even a short period of time. I can only walk a short distance and this is with a considerable amount of pain.
I had a fusion surgery of L2, 3, & 4 a couple of years ago for scoliosis. An MRI after this surgery showed an entrapped nerve below this fusion. The surgeon did not want to do further surgery so recommended a spine cord stimulator. This was implanted about 14 months ago. It has certainly lowered my pain level but has not eliminated it. I am happy for any pain reduction.
I do take medicine for osteoarthritis, for the nerve pain and when necessary I take an opiate for pain. The latter is usually taken when there is something extra that I want to do or to participate in an outing or activity.
When I go somewhere we usually take my long rectangular pillow. It is used as a cushion against hard backed chairs or church pews. It enables me to relax and enjoy the experience.
My husband has been a wonderful support person, cook, driver, and best friend. I am most thankful to have him in my life-he is irreplaceable.
Our three sons, their wives, and grandchildren all live out-of-state. They are very good support by way of phone calls, Skype, e-mails and visits.
Reading has always been my favorite hobby. Fortunately I can continue to do this. With neuropathy in my hands bothering me more, I prefer lightweight books or paperback editions. A book discussion group at the library is a motivator to get an extra book a month ready and to be able to attend the discussion and then go out to eat. It is a fun group to be with and to read books we normally would probably not read. It expands our vision of our world.
I also attempt to attend monthly meetings of a spiritual group at a local monastery. They have been an enormous support group during the very recent critical illness and death of my father. All of the members are a blessing through their prayers, cards, and support.
One of my motivations is the fact that I need to be able to make long distance trips by automobile to visit our sons and their families. Airplane travel became very difficult for me. Sitting in an airplane is torture. Lucky for me my husband prefers to drive and our son who had been living out of the country is back.
One of my long range goals is to be able to attend each of my grandchildren’s high school graduations – two down and five more to go. The youngest is going to be a third grader so I have quite a while to work on mobility issues.
This exercise has made me see that I need to think my doctor appointments through in a better way. I have tried to be more aware of the need to develop and maintain a good relationship with my medical doctor.
I need to find a way to possibly be able to walk more and to work with balance issues especially when going from one form of walking surface to a different surface. (Carpet to tile, grass to concrete, etc.)
These are big issues but I know that so many have so many more difficult lives to live. This is one of the main ways I cope – counting my blessings.