A flare up is a vague term, and can relate to a large variety of medical difficulties. Myself, and many individuals I connect with regularly, struggle with flare ups related to chronic pain; however, we often experience acute, breakthrough, and pain impacted by mental health. Whatever the flare up is related to, I think it’s safe to say that a flare up means you’re in a lot of f*cking pain. For myself, a flare up means I feel debilitated. I am incapable of committing to anything, struggle to take care of myself, and sometimes can’t get out of bed. Some flare ups last a few hours, while others can last up to a few days. The pain I feel can either be burning, stabbing, aching, throbbing, prickling, a few pains I can’t even describe, or all of the above, all at once. I might wake up with swelling in my ankle from over usage or no reason at all, or be impacted by the weather and experience pain all over. Sometimes I sit awkwardly for too long and suddenly can barely move from back pain. The list of what I have experienced in the nearly seven years of living with my conditions go on, and I rarely am able to completely manage a flare up, but over the years I have gained strategies to make them more tolerable. Below are some of the techniques I use when experiencing a flare up. I hope something in this post can help someone out there on one of those difficult days. I understand what you’re going through.
Continue reading “Managing Your Flare Up”
May we be advocates for one another. May we support one another. May we start this week knowing we are not alone, and whatever it is you’re fighting for, whether the pain you feel is physical, mental or emotional, there is a world of us out there who understand.
I know, it sounds ridiculous. It sounds ridiculous because we all know how vastly important water is… but do we actually? Are we aware of how important water is for our bodies, especially for those with a chronic condition? Do we actually utilize the water we have in the right way, the way that can improve our wellbeing? Well, if I’m going to be completely honest, as I hope to always be with my readers, I was one of those individuals who “knew” water was important, but never actually utilized it in the proper way. I lived with my chronic illnesses for years before I truly began to educate myself on the benefits of water, and appreciate and utilize its healing powers. I’m not just talking about chugging some water right before bed so that in the morning you feel “better”; I’m talking ingesting the right amount every single day, taking contrast showers and baths at home, getting myself a swimming pass and taking part of hydrotherapy programs, engaging in workouts/stretching in both hot and cold bodies of water and thus feeling like a completely different Maia, inside and out.
Continue reading “How Water Changed My Life”
It started with a phone call. The type of phone call that brings pure joy and excitement. I was driving to my apartment, crossing the Burrard Bridge in Vancouver; it was stunning out. It was the nurse from the hospital, giving me a date for surgery. She and I joked over the phone about how the day was March 13th, Friday the 13th. I don’t see that day as a day of bad luck, so I took the date. I immediately called my dad while bouncing in my seat with joy, probably looking like an absolute fool to the nearby drivers. My entire family was ecstatic for me, and a little shocked, because the date I was given was only a week away. It was a little worrisome to me, only having a week to prepare, but I had been waiting for far too long for this surgery and wasn’t going to let anything get in the way.
Continue reading “Postop during Pandemic”
Today is partially viewed as just another day. A day to wake up and enjoy the life that surrounds me. A day to feel joy from my recent, personal accomplishments, and to feel the same emotion for the recent accomplishments of my friends. Today is a day where I can reflect on the memories I have made in the past three weeks, and allow myself to become excited for my journey that commences on Tuesday morning. While I am fully capable of doing what I did yesterday, today, I can’t help but recognize today as the five year anniversary of the crash. Every moment that I consider that half of a decade has passed, I become flabbergasted. My memories of the oncoming car in Skookumchuck, BC, are from five years in the past. The thoughts of my mother stating she was going to die, and then waiting in that vehicle to get cut out, unaware of her injuries or mine, seem so distant and yet so fresh and prevalent. The broken ankle, bilateral knees, bilateral femurs, pelvis, bilateral forearms, right wrist, left collar bone, left first rib, left cheek bone, blood-poisoned small bowel, third-degree thigh burn, and mental and emotional trauma originated half a decade ago. Continue reading “Half A Decade”
“What medication are you currently taking?” – A question that previously took 20 seconds to respond to, but now results in a thirty minute discussion on the various narcotics, nerve pain, anti-inflammatory, anxiety and sleeping medication I am currently taking, and have taken in the past. I have come to accept that I will be having this conversation far into the future, as the majority of the natural methods to relieve my pain are insufficient. While I am finally at peace with prescription medication, I am in a constant battle with their side effects. In the past two months alone I have struggled with new doses of my fentanyl patch and nerve pain medication, leaving me feeling overly emotional, tired, and scared at times. There were moments in January where I would feel so “high” that I stopped seeing figures, just blurs, and I would cry just because I didn’t know what else to do. I left school for a few days to take care of myself, but ultimately to gain time to decide what to do: fight through this because the medication will improve the quality of my life, or completely stop. I wish I could say this doesn’t happen often, that I don’t get “high” off of my medication and become a person I can’t even recognize, but that would be a lie. Continue reading “The Morphine Diaries Part 1”
I continue to be amazed at how quickly time passes. I am suddenly four months away from gaining two bachelor degrees, only one month from seeing my incredible students and partner teacher again, three weeks from another surgery, and two weeks away from turning twenty-four. As time flies, I attempt to stay in the current moment, enjoying all that it has to offer, because I see and feel many changes that will be affecting my near future. But before I begin, let’s catch up. It’s been a while.
Continue reading “New Year, Many Changes”
I would first like to extend my deep appreciation for all of those who reached out to me with advice, support and love, after I posted my last blog. Since then, I have changed medications, returned to therapy, tried Chinese tea for sleep, anxiety, and my gallbladder, and exercised many self-help tricks to aid my sleep and calm my anxiety. Although I have not had a miracle happen, I would like to let those know who gave advice and asked about the tea, that after 6 days of drinking the tea I noticed some success! While my anxiety is still evident daily, and at times it feels like the world is going to end, I started to be able to relax my mind enough so I could doze off some nights. However, I am an individual who needs to learn how to slow down, as my mind races every second, analyzing several things and unable to focus on just one at a time (like sleep). After the 10 days, I was able to get a few hours in every night, and I had to celebrate this as I was not sleeping at all before. Last week, after visiting my sleep therapist, I was told to begin what is called “sleep restriction” therapy. It is excruciatingly difficult, as you are attempting to only be in bed for a specific amount of hours per night. However, I am overjoyed to say that I have had more success. While everyday I attempt to maintain my focus on taking care of myself before anything else, it is extremely difficult some days. Anxiety, stress, depression, it all makes my body feel sore, slow, tired, hot, and unfamiliar. The injuries where the scars are that I am focusing on today have been distressed from these illnesses in the past two months. However, those days that I decide, “I’m going to stay home”, or, “I need to do something for myself”, have a positive impact. With the utter chaos from the final days of classes, and teaching only six days away, I am taking this time for myself to write.
Continue reading “Beauty Behind The Scars – Part 3”
Before I go into this next post, I wanted to share something with you all, in hopes that someone out there has some advice. For four years I have been dealing with insomnia, unsure of whether it is anxiety, PTSD, or another reason causing it (possibly a combination). I was addicted to sleeping medication in the hospital, and after two years I was finally able to ween myself off of the harsh medication, only to put myself on another medication. The day I began school last week my sleep dropped from minimal, to nothing at all. I have been up most nights, thinking of whatever has occurred that day, a book I was reading, a song I heard, and planning the many things I must do the next day. No one functions well on little sleep, and for someone like myself, everything is heightened on these days. My emotions are wild, my mental health declines, and every part of my body aches. I have stuck to a routine, used different medications and essential oils, read before bed, and experiment with different ways to get comfortable in bed. However, nothing seems to be working currently. I am reaching out to anyone and everyone, what has worked for you during a stressful time? Anything is greatly appreciated. Now for Part 2, of Beauty Behind The Scars. Continue reading “Beauty Behind The Scars-Part 2”
*WARNING* There is a graphic photograph of my leg in this post from the hospital. I hope everyone is comfortable with viewing this picture, as it is an important part of my story.
I have taken the past three weeks to reconnect with some family members, explore the east coast, start a new chapter with my boyfriend, prepare for my sixth and final year of University, and ponder about this project. I was inspired by a woman, Sophie Mayanne, who I find enhances the beauty and uniqueness of scars, while making the world comfortable with them. Her Instagram (@sophiemayanne) reveals photos of diverse individuals, exposing their scars and the story that comes along with them. As someone who has many scars and over a dozen stories to tell, I believe that these scars have now become a part of me. For so long they felt foreign, and when others would stare and make faces or assumptions it increased not only my awareness of the scarring, but my discomfort with exposing them to the world. With time, I began to become comfortable with these parts of my body. Through her work, I feel as though Sophie Mayanne is not only making those who she photographs at peace with their scars, but also making her viewers comfortable with all forms of scarring. With the help of a friend and very talented photographer, Vanessa Paterson, I have decided to expose my scars and tell my stories. I have touched on a few of these stories in my past posts; however, there is much more to say.
Thank you, Sophie and Vanessa. Xo. Continue reading “Beauty Behind The Scars-Part 1”