Home The Book Dr Articles Products Message Boards Journal Articles Search Our Surveys Surgery ESWT Dr Messages Find Good Drs video

Still on the mend

Posted by john h on 8/31/01 at 20:18 (058654)

i always fear making these post but hopefully it will give someone hope. i am about 8 weeks into a pain level 1 and on somedays i notice no pain. at dr z's urging i picked up my walking miles to 3 miles a day for the past 4 days. doing the runners stretch lightly and gentle overall body stretching each day. 7 years with bi-laterial pf, tts surgery,pf surgery, 3 ESWT treatment on both feet, and all the other things we talk about daily. after so many years you feel like The Sword of Damocles is hanging over your head.

Re: Still on the mend

Julie on 9/01/01 at 02:03 (058675)

John, I hesitate to say this in case it inspires you to go for a ten-mile run, but after eight weeks of minimal and occasionally no pain, I think it's time for you to change your mindset.

You're better. Believe it. Don't go mad, but keep gradually increasing the activity, and trust your feet to tell you if you overshoot their limits. That probably won't happen, but you know what to do if it does.

Banish the Sword of Damocles. Replace it with a halo: you deserve it for seven years of hard work and for all the help and encouragement you give others.

Julie

Re: Still on the mend

Wendy in NJ on 9/01/01 at 04:54 (058678)

Amen to that Julie!! John is the greatest encourager on here! Thanks John!

Re: Still on the mend

alank on 9/01/01 at 06:09 (058682)

I have a truly happy smile in my heart having read this. The best part is, I am in the same boat as you. It really is great to be getting over it. Now you can come and visit me in Thailand and hike over all your old haunts. (but please no sailor-like responses).

I always imagine you like Rudy from Survivor.

alan

Re: Still on the mend

john h on 9/01/01 at 08:27 (058688)

Julie: did you at any time feel the sword hanging over your head? you have this condition long enough and you just wait for the hammer to fall. the sword seems to be hanging by a rope now instead of a thread.

Re: Still on the mend

Julie on 9/01/01 at 08:53 (058694)

No, I don't think so. I didn't have it long enough for that. I think what I felt was that PF was a trip into the unknown: when it didn't clear up within a few days or weeks as most things do, I wondered if it ever would, andi f I would ever again be able to go for a walk without weighing up the consequences. When it began to improve, after about four or five months, I took heart, and gradually stopped worrying about it (that took another four or five months). It's exactly a year now, and I no longer feel vulnerable.

But I do feel pretty much the same as I feel about cancer: it happened to me once, so I know it can happen again. But that seems to be just a fact that I can live with, not a dire threat, and not something that rules or even affects my life to any degree. I don't think that would be the same as a sword of Damocles, would it?

Alan says that he was 'tempered' by PF and can now take on board a new affliction with equanimity. I think any serious illness can do that for one, and it describes very well the effect breast cancer had on me. Having been through that, PF did not seem so terrible: it was life-changing, but in a less frightening way. I don't know how I would have felt or dealt with it had it been worse than it was, or had it gone on for much longer, as yours did. I hope I would have dealt with it as well as you have. People react differently to the same things. I remember Kay saying almost a year ago (where are you, Kay?) that breast cancer hadn't been nearly as difficult for her as chronic PF, and I can well understand that.

Enough musing. I am very glad that there's now a rope keeping your sword from descending! I think you can probably trust it. Keep enjoying your 3 miles a day!

Re: Mind / Body

Glenn X on 9/01/01 at 13:12 (058709)

John: One of my favorite inspirations, attributed to Henry Ford:

Whether you think you can,
Or think you can't,
You're right!

It's strummed a chord in me for years. Re PF, it translates to:

Whether you think you will,
Or think you won't (or think you are or are not)
You're right!

I believe the trick is the certainty and passion with which we 'think.'

Re: Still on the mend

Glenn X on 9/01/01 at 13:19 (058710)

Julie: You regularly write well, and occasionally, as with this brief message, you are stirring!

Thanks for helping me better understand the gift in all this.

Re: Still on the mend

Barbara TX on 9/01/01 at 13:44 (058711)

Alan - John is much more handsome than Rudy, and a true gentleman! B.

Re: Still on the mend

Julie on 9/01/01 at 15:33 (058725)

Thank you, Glenn. I like the Henry Ford quote too. I agree with you that the clue is in the thinking, and I like the way you put it: certainty and passion. Faith.

Re: Still on the mend

john h on 9/01/01 at 21:12 (058745)

glenn: have not heard from you lately. we need your guidance big boy.
certainly what we perceive as reality 'is the reality' for each of us.

Re: Still on the mend

john h on 9/01/01 at 21:46 (058750)

i do not think Democles life was much affected by the sword. It sure bothered his poor servant who sat at his table under the Sword. Democles had probably gotten used to that sword although he knew it was there. perhaps that is the state you are in. i still look up there and see that sword every once in a while.

Re: Still on the mend

john h on 9/01/01 at 21:53 (058751)

rudy was my favorite on the survivor as you might expect. my old haunts are along the mekong in northeast thailand. there was not much there then except small villages and the jungle. you never got to really see what was really around you when you are in such tense situations. we have a large group of ex military who have created an orphanage up in northeast thailand. when we were there we made regular flights in helicopters to some of the schools and orphanages to supply them with anything we could get our hands on. check out the websit alan http://www.tlc-brotherhood.org/ it has some info on some of our experiences in thailand.

Re: Still on the mend

john h on 9/01/01 at 22:03 (058752)

being a gentlemen is a requirement of an Officer Barb. just ask your husband. and yes, i opened all your doors for you in new jersey while nancy and judy were out of there and gone in a flash.

Re: Still on the mend

Julie on 9/02/01 at 01:38 (058755)

John, I think maybe it would be a kindness to warn Mary to be careful when she sits with you at your table.

Re: Still on the mend

Glenn X on 9/02/01 at 12:34 (058795)

Hey commander: I'm way more student than guider, but appreciate the thought. If I pay attention, my reality is just off center of what I perceive.

By the way, I keep getting rejected deliveries to both your e-mail addresses. You work for the NSA or something?

Re: Still on the mend

Julie on 9/02/01 at 14:09 (058809)

Hey guys, our reality is what it is, not what we perceive.

Re: Still on the mend for Glenn

john h on 9/02/01 at 14:18 (058812)

hey glenn: we had server porblems in the little rock area for 4 days. our state agencies almost had to close down. i was having computer withdrawal. try these email address: home johnlh@sbcglobal.net
work: john1932@swbell.net . if that does not work call me at home. without you i become completely disorganized. you have become my organization and planning guru. in the military your would obviously been assigned to Plans & Intelligence at the Pentagon.

Re: Still on the mend

john h on 9/02/01 at 14:24 (058813)

julie: we need to discuss that! if i perceive i have no pain and my x-ray shows my toe is broken. do i have pain or not? there is the real world reality and the reality as we perceive it. i am sure we could have some interesting discussion on this issue with points made by both sides. on the debate floor you would crush me with your verbal skills but in the pub it would be a closer issue. i bet you tend to view the world through rose colored glasses on many things. is the glass half empty or half full? what is the reality? depending on who is looking at that glass it can be either.

Re: Still on the mend

nancy s. on 9/02/01 at 14:40 (058817)

this whole discussion has been really interesting me, especially since i'm currently struggling with so many issues raised here.
i used to be a glass-is-half-full type of person, including in the face of great trouble. now it's half-empty, and i struggle every way i know how to get the half-full back; or to accept the half-empty for now and try to have faith that the half-full will come back; or to lean toward half-full on the days i have some inner strength but then suspecting i'm faking it because i don't feel it through and through and it doesn't last.
so where is reality in all this? only in 'all things will pass'? i know it's true, but what if the Now is so uncomfortable that to sit with it is almost unbearable? what action can one take, in reality?
this probably sounds too personal for the board. but i imagine there are many in pain whose lives have been drastically changed by illness/injury and who have many of the same questions.

Re: Still on the mend

Julie on 9/02/01 at 14:56 (058819)

OK let's discuss.

If an x-ray showed that you have a broken toe, and you have no pain, I'd say you have a very unusual fracture. Or that you are in shock. (I'm being frivolous, but I couldn't resist.)

Seriously. Our perceptions always colour the reality: that's inevitable, and we have to accept it. That does not change the reality. It is as it is. and I don't feel it's helpful to say or think that it's what we perceive it to be. My aim is to see it as it is, or as near as possible to what it is, coloured as little as possible by my perceptions. I may be doomed to fail - but that's my aim.

It wouldn't matter whether we were on the debating floor or in the pub, I wouldn't be a match for you. My verbal skills aren't up to my writing ones - I don't think fast enough. But this isn't something I'd want to have an intellectual argument about: it goes deeper than that, as you know because you read my book.

I don't look through rose-coloured glasses - at least I try not to. I really do try to see 'the thing as it is', I know I don't always succeed, and I'm always aware that I am probably kidding myself to some degree or other. I do prefer to see the glass as half full because that gives me a better chance of being able to get up in the morning and get on with life, but however I view it, or you view it, there is still just so much water in the glass.

Your turn.

Re: Still on the mend

Julie on 9/02/01 at 15:04 (058820)

Hi Nancy, we're on line together again. You're not faking, whatever you do: you MUST know that! You couldn't.

The glass has just so much in it, and that's that: if it 's half empty for now, so be it. It will be half full again.

Sometimes no action is better than action. Sometimes we do have to just sit with the reality as it is, however uncomfortable it is, and wait for it to get more comfortable. That's my experience.

Now I'm going to bed. Good night, see you tomorrow.

Re: Still on the mend

Barbara TX on 9/02/01 at 16:50 (058831)

Julie - I have to say that this is my experience. After I had tried everything, even surgery, I felt a sense of relief that I didn't need to run around like a chicken with my head cut off, looking for the next thing. I can't find one thing that I didn't try. Now I am not so frantic and more at peace, just trying to make some kind of happy life. Only two things are really hard: not being able to take my kids on a walk, and thinking about not having other children. Those are the biggies. I try not to 'go there.' B.

Re: Still on the mend

john h on 9/02/01 at 17:29 (058837)

i think the problem arises sometimes julie in that there is not one reality but several depending on who is viewing it. there are mathmatical and scientific realaties that could hardly be desputed but when we get into areas of philosopy,religion and perhaps even pain the reality may very well be in the eye of the beholder. 100 people may view a lady and half may think she is beautiful and the other half an average looking person. we are in an area where i do not think there any answers. nancy s today sees the glass half empty and think in time she will see it as half full. i have seen that glass in both its states. yes you would crush me in a formal debate because you are elequent and smooth.

Re: Still on the mend

JudyS on 9/02/01 at 18:25 (058845)

This discussion prompts me to try to put in to words a philosophy that's been growing in me for several months. I've had PF for 3 years, and because it dramatically changed my physical world it dramatically changed my self-image. After some time I found myself 'floundering' about in a gray void wondering who I'd become. Not only did the PF actually alter my physical activities, I also allowed it to alter my entire being. I stopped many activities that didn't really have to be stopped. I became fearful, unsure, undecided, etc. I know that you all know what I'm talking about. This was so unlike me that my perception of reality was way off base. The reality was that I didn't have to give up so much, the reality was that I was still a whole person even without my physical activities, the reality was that both PF and my physical activity were just a componants of my life, not the whole darn thing! Earlier this spring I began to realize that my perceptions had slowly gone wrong. All this time, I hadn't really had to let PF rule my life. I gave up control in many areas that I didn't have to and, once having realized that, I started working on getting the control back which in turn brings back a self-image based on reality.
This is probably the single PF issue that I feel the most passionate about....that the ambiguious nature of PF robs us of inner-strength and I honestly believe that, if we can avoid that from the start, we're in for a far less problematic time.
Julie, I think you've made a terrific point.......the glass needn't be half full nor half empty.....it's just a glass of water. And the reality is that, if someone sees a glass half-full of water sitting on a table, that's exactly what they see. They don't see a glass that's half-empty of water sitting on the table.

Re: Still on the mend

JudyS on 9/02/01 at 18:37 (058846)

Nancy, I honestly don't think that any sense you have of 'faking' it is based on reality. I know this because I've had the pleasure of reading your writings here for over a year and there is just no faking the kind of inner strenth that they are born from. People who constantly give in light of their own struggles, as you do here, have an inner strength to be envied, admired and respected.
You ask what action one can take, in reality. A thought that I had in response to that was 'any action'. To be more specific, any action that produces a healthy sense of success even to the smallest degree. Mend a shirt, ride a bike, make one tablecloth (!), see a movie, vacuum a rug, write a letter to the editor......all things one after another until successful behavior belies a self-image that is not based on reality.
You are such a treasure, my almost 'twin-sister', (did we even decide we seemed to be married to twin husbands?) - you make the rest of us yearn to have your kind of heart.

Re: Still on the mend

nancy s. on 9/02/01 at 19:10 (058848)

thank you julie and judy, and john and all who have been contributing here. julie has many words of wisdom, and has been extra generous to me with them, and i try to see that it's just a glass of water, by itself. when you see it as half empty, the pain of that makes you doubt everything.
and judy, i know just what you mean. two years of foot problems, and now the shoulder problems (bringing me into my third year of significant pain), have altered my life completely -- some alterations were forced. and, like you say, i think some piled on top there that didn't have to be, because of mental anguish over the other changes (losing work, fear of pain for the rest of one's life, not being able to do the simplest things we once took for granted, a kind of shrivelling up inside of the spirit that accompanies all these things).
i do, when i think about it, have quite a few regrets about my first year or year and a half of foot disability -- i think i took on an 'invalid' (emphasis on first syllable) mentality despite all my efforts not to.
and i've found that it takes ten times the effort to climb out of that hole that it took to fall in. i remember that even very early on in his pf nightmare, uncle steve adopted an excellent attitude, and he got out there and did things, very rewarding things, that i would have found rewarding also if i hadn't gotten isolated psychologically and stopped believing wholeheartedly in what i could still do and in the probability that things would get better.
you are so kind to say what you said about my heart and my helpfulness here! i read every day, and i think i even now lean toward the computer screen when someone writes something i feel i could help with. but i don't write too much these days -- partly because i'm still trying to pick up the pieces, and partly because of a good thing: there are a lot of people on here, who have been here a long time, plus some new good people too, who respond immediately to posts and sometimes in great detail and always with the wonderful intention and drive to help people. too numerous to name, but you know who you are!
i do hope to be of more help again, when i'm feeling better.
in the meantime, i will try to bear the stillness of the water in the glass when i have to, and i will try to build up small accomplishments to the point where they mean something and also add up to confidence.
thank you again, everyone contributing to this thread. the many different perspectives all help.

Re: Still on the mend

john h on 9/02/01 at 19:27 (058852)

Barb: think about this! i have never read or even heard about 'anyone' that had PF for life!!!!!

Re: Still on the mend/julie

john h on 9/02/01 at 19:30 (058854)

Julie: did we just have our 'first fight' today about 'reality' and the 'half full/empty' glass? I cannot remember. Did i win or lose?

Re: Still on the mend for Glenn

Glenn X on 9/02/01 at 19:36 (058855)

John: Military intelligence. Isn't there another word for that?

You pressure me. You jest me. Feels like organized chaos at my end. Plan changes daily. Mission creep all over the place. Alligators at my keester. Swamp's rising. Why am I here again?

You da guy makin' da progress. How about Pentagonin' ME?

(Will try your e-mail adds).

Re: Still on the mend

john h on 9/02/01 at 19:43 (058857)

The half empty/full glass of course is just a metaphor for something much deeper and that is how we as individuals perceive things in our daily lives. our perceptions are colored by our past and present and who we are and how we got here. like the wind, our perceptions of events and things that are occuring in our lives is constantly ebbing and flowing. some people can be very stoic about pain. some through their religion can manage serious situations and many of us just deal with it one day at a time or one hour at a time. we all need some sort of rock to lean on and for many including me this board has been my 'rock'. my intelect tells me that no one has PF forever so our day will come.

Re: Still on the mend

Glenn X on 9/02/01 at 20:07 (058861)

My foot was sore, but I failed to perceive the soreness. Later, when it finally got my attention, I realized it had been sore and calling to me all along.

A friendship, or even closer relationship, wants for attention, weakens over time, suffers from shutdown, and dissolves. We reflect back and perceive the signs that were there from the earliest, there in our face but hidden from view.

I guess when I say my reality is off center of my perception, I'm trying to acknowledge my persistent ability to occasionally avoid the truth in favor of short-term foolishness.

Can reality that's imperceptible be relevant?

Might rose-colored glasses heighten the intensity of what we see?

Does a beer in a pub reveal or conceal? What about half a beer?

Now my brain hurts.

Re: Still on the mend for Glenn

john h on 9/02/01 at 20:11 (058862)

glen: i have got some great advice for you 'you got to walk before you can run!' Now, is that not inspirational. Maybe, even a pun for us PF folks. Yogi Berra says 90% of us will get well in 6 months and the other half will take much longer. Dolly Parton says to have a rainbow you must have rain. Am i inspiring you or what Glenn? 'Mission Creep' only a staff intelligence guy would understand that. If there is one person i am very sure will overcome this it is you. As for the alligators make like Crockadile Dundee man and go out into the rising swamp and get them before they get you. Now for my funny story for the week. I was on a survial trip for three days in the west texas desert. The only thing we were able to catch and eat was rattlesnake. When we came back to the base on a bus we stopped and i got a grape popsicle. I finished it about the time our bus arrived with all our wives waiting to meet us. Of course all the guys were telling about our only food being snake. My wife asked me about my purple mouth and lips and i convinced her it was from the snake. I also put a horned toad in her purse.

Re: Still on the mend

john h on 9/02/01 at 20:22 (058863)

glenn: you have hit upon it with the 'glass half full/empty' beer. that sucker will be gone in an instant and you will see the reality of an empty glass. when i engage in something that gets my attention and i enjoy it i tend to forget my pain. that is my perception and i like it whether it is real or not. if that happens long enough and frequently enough you have more room for positive thoughts to start circulating in the old head. nancy points to a very difficult problem and that is to break the negative thought patterns that develop from many causes such as PF, not being able to all the things you once did,etc. We all have to deal with that in different ways and there is no one answer/

Re: PF for Life

Glenn X on 9/02/01 at 22:20 (058872)

John: This is just ONE of the places you often shine. A few moments reflection on this simple thought has the potential to move the most discouraged of PF sufferers from IF to WHEN, from doubt to certainty. And once we are certain . . .

Re: No fight John!

Julie on 9/03/01 at 03:32 (058883)

No, dear John, of course we haven't had a fight. I would never want to fight with you. (I might, though, if you persist in thinking me 'smooth'. Take it back, immediately! )

And I'd never survive in a debate. Nothing is important enough to me to have a confrontation about it with a friend. I'd be too scared to lose the friend. I didn't have any brothers and sisters, so never learned to scrap and make up. So I'd give in quickly, and you'd win, if winning mattered to you. But I bet it doesn't!

In this case, I don't think there's that much difference between what we think, or have said. The point I was trying to make was that our real situation is what it is and that it doesn't help to delude ourselves that it is anything other than what it is. I am as sure as I can be that you agree with that statement: I've always known you for a realist.

And I was talking about our own individual reality, not the 'several realities depending on who is viewing it' you mentioned in a post higher up.Yes, we all perceive the same thing, or situation, differently. But I think that what matters, in terms of how we're going to deal with that situation, is how we perceive it ourselves, not how anyone else perceives it. And the closer our perception is to the reality, the better able we will be to deal with it.

Getting 'personal' now, when I had a life-threatening illness it was important to me that I did not pull the wool over my eyes. Yes, I wanted to heal, and did everything I could to encourage healing, but I knew, and never let myself forget, and I still don't, that I had an illness that could I could die from. And it helped me, and it was liberating, to look at that reality. If I hadn't done that then, I'd probably still be struggling to keep that knowledge from myself, wasting my energy in the process.

This is getting too deep. I'll just say one more thing - to complicate the original issue, which I seem to have started. I'm not a fatalist, and I believe we can sometimes, perhaps often, change the reality. We have a better chance of doing that if we see it as it is and don't kid ourselves that it's other.

Re: The Glass of Water - Judy

Julie on 9/03/01 at 04:58 (058884)

Yes. The glass of water analogy can be overdone, and as John says it's a metaphor for something deepr, but yes, the reality is that it's just a glass of water. One person looking at it will think, 'Oh goody, there's all that water in it' and another will think 'Oh, damn, there's not much water left'. Both will be looking at it through the somewhat distorted perspective of their own experience and attitude to life. Both are making value judgements. But it's just a glass of water and the amount in it is the same, however it is seen. What we do with it is up to us.

What I love about what you say is the detachment implied in it. The person viewing the glass sits there and simply looks at it, but doesn't get entangled in whether it's half full or half empty. She simply sees what she sees. Isn't that just what you did when you made that shift and looked at yourself as the whole person that you really are? And so much has followed from that!

Re: Still on the mend - Barbara TX

Julie on 9/03/01 at 06:02 (058885)

Barb, I'm glad you're feeling more at peace now. I can imagine that there really must be a kind of relief in knowing that you really have done everything there is to be done. I can't imagine what it must be like not to be able to take your kids for a walk, or to contemplate not having more children if you want them. Those must really be hard nuts, and my heart goes out to you. I know what you mean about not 'going there'. I guess you don't have to; you know that toothache only too well without prodding it.

But do listen to John - no-one has PF forever, and there will be an end to it.

Re: No fight John! Yes Julie

john h on 9/03/01 at 08:52 (058894)

As often as not the winner is the loser (in a disagreement). of course, we had no fight! I think with age comes wisdom and from wisdom comes much less aggressivness. What we had was a constructive conversation and apparently moved a lot of people to think which can be nothing but good.

Re: Still on the mend

Barbara TX on 9/03/01 at 11:13 (058916)

My pod here in Dallas told me that some people never recover. Thank you for the information!!!! Maybe it is because he does such radical surgery? Don't know. So, at the very beginning of this foot business he opened for me the possibility that I would never get better. I can't tell you how totally frantic and horrified I was (at that time, I couldn't even stand to lift the baby out of the crib, and I was in a wheelchair). I thought about how my whole life would be. I spiraled downwards mentally so fast i didn't know what hit me. I am still recovering from that awful, awful time. Most awful was having to wean my baby for drugs that did absolutely nothing but make me sick. I am still pretty angry about the whole thing. B.

Re: No fight John! I take it back Julie

john h on 9/03/01 at 14:34 (058929)

I take back the 'you are smooth' and replace it with 'words flow like a velvet fog from your lips'! Now Julie, you must remember who was known as the 'Velvet Fog'? Some of you will i am sure and if not i will post who it was later today.

Re: Velvet fogs

Julie on 9/03/01 at 16:42 (058939)

MEL TORME!!!

One of my favourites. Remember Mountain Greenery?

I win!

Re: Velvet fogs

nancy s. on 9/03/01 at 16:46 (058940)

someone told me it was mel toupee. (sorry)

Re: Velvet fogs 2

Julie on 9/03/01 at 16:56 (058943)

It so happens, dear John, that just about the only thing I pride myself on is my little bit clarity of thought and expression. You'll just have to think up another compliment. Sigh...

Re: Velvet fogs

Julie on 9/03/01 at 17:01 (058944)

Hi Nancy!

Re: Velvet frogs

nancy s. on 9/03/01 at 19:23 (058951)

hi julie! i want you to know that the half glass of water, just as it is, is perfectly acceptable to me today for some reason; i'm at peace with it. i wonder if all the 'mending' discussions are the reason. watching 'The Fisher King' last night also may have helped.

Re: Water glass: reprise

Julie on 9/04/01 at 02:10 (058981)

Good morning Nancy! I'm so glad.

Drink up, and enjoy the day.

Re: Water glass: reprise

JudyS on 9/04/01 at 08:46 (058992)

add some tequila to it first........:)

Re: Still on the mend

Julie on 9/01/01 at 02:03 (058675)

John, I hesitate to say this in case it inspires you to go for a ten-mile run, but after eight weeks of minimal and occasionally no pain, I think it's time for you to change your mindset.

You're better. Believe it. Don't go mad, but keep gradually increasing the activity, and trust your feet to tell you if you overshoot their limits. That probably won't happen, but you know what to do if it does.

Banish the Sword of Damocles. Replace it with a halo: you deserve it for seven years of hard work and for all the help and encouragement you give others.

Julie

Re: Still on the mend

Wendy in NJ on 9/01/01 at 04:54 (058678)

Amen to that Julie!! John is the greatest encourager on here! Thanks John!

Re: Still on the mend

alank on 9/01/01 at 06:09 (058682)

I have a truly happy smile in my heart having read this. The best part is, I am in the same boat as you. It really is great to be getting over it. Now you can come and visit me in Thailand and hike over all your old haunts. (but please no sailor-like responses).

I always imagine you like Rudy from Survivor.

alan

Re: Still on the mend

john h on 9/01/01 at 08:27 (058688)

Julie: did you at any time feel the sword hanging over your head? you have this condition long enough and you just wait for the hammer to fall. the sword seems to be hanging by a rope now instead of a thread.

Re: Still on the mend

Julie on 9/01/01 at 08:53 (058694)

No, I don't think so. I didn't have it long enough for that. I think what I felt was that PF was a trip into the unknown: when it didn't clear up within a few days or weeks as most things do, I wondered if it ever would, andi f I would ever again be able to go for a walk without weighing up the consequences. When it began to improve, after about four or five months, I took heart, and gradually stopped worrying about it (that took another four or five months). It's exactly a year now, and I no longer feel vulnerable.

But I do feel pretty much the same as I feel about cancer: it happened to me once, so I know it can happen again. But that seems to be just a fact that I can live with, not a dire threat, and not something that rules or even affects my life to any degree. I don't think that would be the same as a sword of Damocles, would it?

Alan says that he was 'tempered' by PF and can now take on board a new affliction with equanimity. I think any serious illness can do that for one, and it describes very well the effect breast cancer had on me. Having been through that, PF did not seem so terrible: it was life-changing, but in a less frightening way. I don't know how I would have felt or dealt with it had it been worse than it was, or had it gone on for much longer, as yours did. I hope I would have dealt with it as well as you have. People react differently to the same things. I remember Kay saying almost a year ago (where are you, Kay?) that breast cancer hadn't been nearly as difficult for her as chronic PF, and I can well understand that.

Enough musing. I am very glad that there's now a rope keeping your sword from descending! I think you can probably trust it. Keep enjoying your 3 miles a day!

Re: Mind / Body

Glenn X on 9/01/01 at 13:12 (058709)

John: One of my favorite inspirations, attributed to Henry Ford:

Whether you think you can,
Or think you can't,
You're right!

It's strummed a chord in me for years. Re PF, it translates to:

Whether you think you will,
Or think you won't (or think you are or are not)
You're right!

I believe the trick is the certainty and passion with which we 'think.'

Re: Still on the mend

Glenn X on 9/01/01 at 13:19 (058710)

Julie: You regularly write well, and occasionally, as with this brief message, you are stirring!

Thanks for helping me better understand the gift in all this.

Re: Still on the mend

Barbara TX on 9/01/01 at 13:44 (058711)

Alan - John is much more handsome than Rudy, and a true gentleman! B.

Re: Still on the mend

Julie on 9/01/01 at 15:33 (058725)

Thank you, Glenn. I like the Henry Ford quote too. I agree with you that the clue is in the thinking, and I like the way you put it: certainty and passion. Faith.

Re: Still on the mend

john h on 9/01/01 at 21:12 (058745)

glenn: have not heard from you lately. we need your guidance big boy.
certainly what we perceive as reality 'is the reality' for each of us.

Re: Still on the mend

john h on 9/01/01 at 21:46 (058750)

i do not think Democles life was much affected by the sword. It sure bothered his poor servant who sat at his table under the Sword. Democles had probably gotten used to that sword although he knew it was there. perhaps that is the state you are in. i still look up there and see that sword every once in a while.

Re: Still on the mend

john h on 9/01/01 at 21:53 (058751)

rudy was my favorite on the survivor as you might expect. my old haunts are along the mekong in northeast thailand. there was not much there then except small villages and the jungle. you never got to really see what was really around you when you are in such tense situations. we have a large group of ex military who have created an orphanage up in northeast thailand. when we were there we made regular flights in helicopters to some of the schools and orphanages to supply them with anything we could get our hands on. check out the websit alan http://www.tlc-brotherhood.org/ it has some info on some of our experiences in thailand.

Re: Still on the mend

john h on 9/01/01 at 22:03 (058752)

being a gentlemen is a requirement of an Officer Barb. just ask your husband. and yes, i opened all your doors for you in new jersey while nancy and judy were out of there and gone in a flash.

Re: Still on the mend

Julie on 9/02/01 at 01:38 (058755)

John, I think maybe it would be a kindness to warn Mary to be careful when she sits with you at your table.

Re: Still on the mend

Glenn X on 9/02/01 at 12:34 (058795)

Hey commander: I'm way more student than guider, but appreciate the thought. If I pay attention, my reality is just off center of what I perceive.

By the way, I keep getting rejected deliveries to both your e-mail addresses. You work for the NSA or something?

Re: Still on the mend

Julie on 9/02/01 at 14:09 (058809)

Hey guys, our reality is what it is, not what we perceive.

Re: Still on the mend for Glenn

john h on 9/02/01 at 14:18 (058812)

hey glenn: we had server porblems in the little rock area for 4 days. our state agencies almost had to close down. i was having computer withdrawal. try these email address: home johnlh@sbcglobal.net
work: john1932@swbell.net . if that does not work call me at home. without you i become completely disorganized. you have become my organization and planning guru. in the military your would obviously been assigned to Plans & Intelligence at the Pentagon.

Re: Still on the mend

john h on 9/02/01 at 14:24 (058813)

julie: we need to discuss that! if i perceive i have no pain and my x-ray shows my toe is broken. do i have pain or not? there is the real world reality and the reality as we perceive it. i am sure we could have some interesting discussion on this issue with points made by both sides. on the debate floor you would crush me with your verbal skills but in the pub it would be a closer issue. i bet you tend to view the world through rose colored glasses on many things. is the glass half empty or half full? what is the reality? depending on who is looking at that glass it can be either.

Re: Still on the mend

nancy s. on 9/02/01 at 14:40 (058817)

this whole discussion has been really interesting me, especially since i'm currently struggling with so many issues raised here.
i used to be a glass-is-half-full type of person, including in the face of great trouble. now it's half-empty, and i struggle every way i know how to get the half-full back; or to accept the half-empty for now and try to have faith that the half-full will come back; or to lean toward half-full on the days i have some inner strength but then suspecting i'm faking it because i don't feel it through and through and it doesn't last.
so where is reality in all this? only in 'all things will pass'? i know it's true, but what if the Now is so uncomfortable that to sit with it is almost unbearable? what action can one take, in reality?
this probably sounds too personal for the board. but i imagine there are many in pain whose lives have been drastically changed by illness/injury and who have many of the same questions.

Re: Still on the mend

Julie on 9/02/01 at 14:56 (058819)

OK let's discuss.

If an x-ray showed that you have a broken toe, and you have no pain, I'd say you have a very unusual fracture. Or that you are in shock. (I'm being frivolous, but I couldn't resist.)

Seriously. Our perceptions always colour the reality: that's inevitable, and we have to accept it. That does not change the reality. It is as it is. and I don't feel it's helpful to say or think that it's what we perceive it to be. My aim is to see it as it is, or as near as possible to what it is, coloured as little as possible by my perceptions. I may be doomed to fail - but that's my aim.

It wouldn't matter whether we were on the debating floor or in the pub, I wouldn't be a match for you. My verbal skills aren't up to my writing ones - I don't think fast enough. But this isn't something I'd want to have an intellectual argument about: it goes deeper than that, as you know because you read my book.

I don't look through rose-coloured glasses - at least I try not to. I really do try to see 'the thing as it is', I know I don't always succeed, and I'm always aware that I am probably kidding myself to some degree or other. I do prefer to see the glass as half full because that gives me a better chance of being able to get up in the morning and get on with life, but however I view it, or you view it, there is still just so much water in the glass.

Your turn.

Re: Still on the mend

Julie on 9/02/01 at 15:04 (058820)

Hi Nancy, we're on line together again. You're not faking, whatever you do: you MUST know that! You couldn't.

The glass has just so much in it, and that's that: if it 's half empty for now, so be it. It will be half full again.

Sometimes no action is better than action. Sometimes we do have to just sit with the reality as it is, however uncomfortable it is, and wait for it to get more comfortable. That's my experience.

Now I'm going to bed. Good night, see you tomorrow.

Re: Still on the mend

Barbara TX on 9/02/01 at 16:50 (058831)

Julie - I have to say that this is my experience. After I had tried everything, even surgery, I felt a sense of relief that I didn't need to run around like a chicken with my head cut off, looking for the next thing. I can't find one thing that I didn't try. Now I am not so frantic and more at peace, just trying to make some kind of happy life. Only two things are really hard: not being able to take my kids on a walk, and thinking about not having other children. Those are the biggies. I try not to 'go there.' B.

Re: Still on the mend

john h on 9/02/01 at 17:29 (058837)

i think the problem arises sometimes julie in that there is not one reality but several depending on who is viewing it. there are mathmatical and scientific realaties that could hardly be desputed but when we get into areas of philosopy,religion and perhaps even pain the reality may very well be in the eye of the beholder. 100 people may view a lady and half may think she is beautiful and the other half an average looking person. we are in an area where i do not think there any answers. nancy s today sees the glass half empty and think in time she will see it as half full. i have seen that glass in both its states. yes you would crush me in a formal debate because you are elequent and smooth.

Re: Still on the mend

JudyS on 9/02/01 at 18:25 (058845)

This discussion prompts me to try to put in to words a philosophy that's been growing in me for several months. I've had PF for 3 years, and because it dramatically changed my physical world it dramatically changed my self-image. After some time I found myself 'floundering' about in a gray void wondering who I'd become. Not only did the PF actually alter my physical activities, I also allowed it to alter my entire being. I stopped many activities that didn't really have to be stopped. I became fearful, unsure, undecided, etc. I know that you all know what I'm talking about. This was so unlike me that my perception of reality was way off base. The reality was that I didn't have to give up so much, the reality was that I was still a whole person even without my physical activities, the reality was that both PF and my physical activity were just a componants of my life, not the whole darn thing! Earlier this spring I began to realize that my perceptions had slowly gone wrong. All this time, I hadn't really had to let PF rule my life. I gave up control in many areas that I didn't have to and, once having realized that, I started working on getting the control back which in turn brings back a self-image based on reality.
This is probably the single PF issue that I feel the most passionate about....that the ambiguious nature of PF robs us of inner-strength and I honestly believe that, if we can avoid that from the start, we're in for a far less problematic time.
Julie, I think you've made a terrific point.......the glass needn't be half full nor half empty.....it's just a glass of water. And the reality is that, if someone sees a glass half-full of water sitting on a table, that's exactly what they see. They don't see a glass that's half-empty of water sitting on the table.

Re: Still on the mend

JudyS on 9/02/01 at 18:37 (058846)

Nancy, I honestly don't think that any sense you have of 'faking' it is based on reality. I know this because I've had the pleasure of reading your writings here for over a year and there is just no faking the kind of inner strenth that they are born from. People who constantly give in light of their own struggles, as you do here, have an inner strength to be envied, admired and respected.
You ask what action one can take, in reality. A thought that I had in response to that was 'any action'. To be more specific, any action that produces a healthy sense of success even to the smallest degree. Mend a shirt, ride a bike, make one tablecloth (!), see a movie, vacuum a rug, write a letter to the editor......all things one after another until successful behavior belies a self-image that is not based on reality.
You are such a treasure, my almost 'twin-sister', (did we even decide we seemed to be married to twin husbands?) - you make the rest of us yearn to have your kind of heart.

Re: Still on the mend

nancy s. on 9/02/01 at 19:10 (058848)

thank you julie and judy, and john and all who have been contributing here. julie has many words of wisdom, and has been extra generous to me with them, and i try to see that it's just a glass of water, by itself. when you see it as half empty, the pain of that makes you doubt everything.
and judy, i know just what you mean. two years of foot problems, and now the shoulder problems (bringing me into my third year of significant pain), have altered my life completely -- some alterations were forced. and, like you say, i think some piled on top there that didn't have to be, because of mental anguish over the other changes (losing work, fear of pain for the rest of one's life, not being able to do the simplest things we once took for granted, a kind of shrivelling up inside of the spirit that accompanies all these things).
i do, when i think about it, have quite a few regrets about my first year or year and a half of foot disability -- i think i took on an 'invalid' (emphasis on first syllable) mentality despite all my efforts not to.
and i've found that it takes ten times the effort to climb out of that hole that it took to fall in. i remember that even very early on in his pf nightmare, uncle steve adopted an excellent attitude, and he got out there and did things, very rewarding things, that i would have found rewarding also if i hadn't gotten isolated psychologically and stopped believing wholeheartedly in what i could still do and in the probability that things would get better.
you are so kind to say what you said about my heart and my helpfulness here! i read every day, and i think i even now lean toward the computer screen when someone writes something i feel i could help with. but i don't write too much these days -- partly because i'm still trying to pick up the pieces, and partly because of a good thing: there are a lot of people on here, who have been here a long time, plus some new good people too, who respond immediately to posts and sometimes in great detail and always with the wonderful intention and drive to help people. too numerous to name, but you know who you are!
i do hope to be of more help again, when i'm feeling better.
in the meantime, i will try to bear the stillness of the water in the glass when i have to, and i will try to build up small accomplishments to the point where they mean something and also add up to confidence.
thank you again, everyone contributing to this thread. the many different perspectives all help.

Re: Still on the mend

john h on 9/02/01 at 19:27 (058852)

Barb: think about this! i have never read or even heard about 'anyone' that had PF for life!!!!!

Re: Still on the mend/julie

john h on 9/02/01 at 19:30 (058854)

Julie: did we just have our 'first fight' today about 'reality' and the 'half full/empty' glass? I cannot remember. Did i win or lose?

Re: Still on the mend for Glenn

Glenn X on 9/02/01 at 19:36 (058855)

John: Military intelligence. Isn't there another word for that?

You pressure me. You jest me. Feels like organized chaos at my end. Plan changes daily. Mission creep all over the place. Alligators at my keester. Swamp's rising. Why am I here again?

You da guy makin' da progress. How about Pentagonin' ME?

(Will try your e-mail adds).

Re: Still on the mend

john h on 9/02/01 at 19:43 (058857)

The half empty/full glass of course is just a metaphor for something much deeper and that is how we as individuals perceive things in our daily lives. our perceptions are colored by our past and present and who we are and how we got here. like the wind, our perceptions of events and things that are occuring in our lives is constantly ebbing and flowing. some people can be very stoic about pain. some through their religion can manage serious situations and many of us just deal with it one day at a time or one hour at a time. we all need some sort of rock to lean on and for many including me this board has been my 'rock'. my intelect tells me that no one has PF forever so our day will come.

Re: Still on the mend

Glenn X on 9/02/01 at 20:07 (058861)

My foot was sore, but I failed to perceive the soreness. Later, when it finally got my attention, I realized it had been sore and calling to me all along.

A friendship, or even closer relationship, wants for attention, weakens over time, suffers from shutdown, and dissolves. We reflect back and perceive the signs that were there from the earliest, there in our face but hidden from view.

I guess when I say my reality is off center of my perception, I'm trying to acknowledge my persistent ability to occasionally avoid the truth in favor of short-term foolishness.

Can reality that's imperceptible be relevant?

Might rose-colored glasses heighten the intensity of what we see?

Does a beer in a pub reveal or conceal? What about half a beer?

Now my brain hurts.

Re: Still on the mend for Glenn

john h on 9/02/01 at 20:11 (058862)

glen: i have got some great advice for you 'you got to walk before you can run!' Now, is that not inspirational. Maybe, even a pun for us PF folks. Yogi Berra says 90% of us will get well in 6 months and the other half will take much longer. Dolly Parton says to have a rainbow you must have rain. Am i inspiring you or what Glenn? 'Mission Creep' only a staff intelligence guy would understand that. If there is one person i am very sure will overcome this it is you. As for the alligators make like Crockadile Dundee man and go out into the rising swamp and get them before they get you. Now for my funny story for the week. I was on a survial trip for three days in the west texas desert. The only thing we were able to catch and eat was rattlesnake. When we came back to the base on a bus we stopped and i got a grape popsicle. I finished it about the time our bus arrived with all our wives waiting to meet us. Of course all the guys were telling about our only food being snake. My wife asked me about my purple mouth and lips and i convinced her it was from the snake. I also put a horned toad in her purse.

Re: Still on the mend

john h on 9/02/01 at 20:22 (058863)

glenn: you have hit upon it with the 'glass half full/empty' beer. that sucker will be gone in an instant and you will see the reality of an empty glass. when i engage in something that gets my attention and i enjoy it i tend to forget my pain. that is my perception and i like it whether it is real or not. if that happens long enough and frequently enough you have more room for positive thoughts to start circulating in the old head. nancy points to a very difficult problem and that is to break the negative thought patterns that develop from many causes such as PF, not being able to all the things you once did,etc. We all have to deal with that in different ways and there is no one answer/

Re: PF for Life

Glenn X on 9/02/01 at 22:20 (058872)

John: This is just ONE of the places you often shine. A few moments reflection on this simple thought has the potential to move the most discouraged of PF sufferers from IF to WHEN, from doubt to certainty. And once we are certain . . .

Re: No fight John!

Julie on 9/03/01 at 03:32 (058883)

No, dear John, of course we haven't had a fight. I would never want to fight with you. (I might, though, if you persist in thinking me 'smooth'. Take it back, immediately! )

And I'd never survive in a debate. Nothing is important enough to me to have a confrontation about it with a friend. I'd be too scared to lose the friend. I didn't have any brothers and sisters, so never learned to scrap and make up. So I'd give in quickly, and you'd win, if winning mattered to you. But I bet it doesn't!

In this case, I don't think there's that much difference between what we think, or have said. The point I was trying to make was that our real situation is what it is and that it doesn't help to delude ourselves that it is anything other than what it is. I am as sure as I can be that you agree with that statement: I've always known you for a realist.

And I was talking about our own individual reality, not the 'several realities depending on who is viewing it' you mentioned in a post higher up.Yes, we all perceive the same thing, or situation, differently. But I think that what matters, in terms of how we're going to deal with that situation, is how we perceive it ourselves, not how anyone else perceives it. And the closer our perception is to the reality, the better able we will be to deal with it.

Getting 'personal' now, when I had a life-threatening illness it was important to me that I did not pull the wool over my eyes. Yes, I wanted to heal, and did everything I could to encourage healing, but I knew, and never let myself forget, and I still don't, that I had an illness that could I could die from. And it helped me, and it was liberating, to look at that reality. If I hadn't done that then, I'd probably still be struggling to keep that knowledge from myself, wasting my energy in the process.

This is getting too deep. I'll just say one more thing - to complicate the original issue, which I seem to have started. I'm not a fatalist, and I believe we can sometimes, perhaps often, change the reality. We have a better chance of doing that if we see it as it is and don't kid ourselves that it's other.

Re: The Glass of Water - Judy

Julie on 9/03/01 at 04:58 (058884)

Yes. The glass of water analogy can be overdone, and as John says it's a metaphor for something deepr, but yes, the reality is that it's just a glass of water. One person looking at it will think, 'Oh goody, there's all that water in it' and another will think 'Oh, damn, there's not much water left'. Both will be looking at it through the somewhat distorted perspective of their own experience and attitude to life. Both are making value judgements. But it's just a glass of water and the amount in it is the same, however it is seen. What we do with it is up to us.

What I love about what you say is the detachment implied in it. The person viewing the glass sits there and simply looks at it, but doesn't get entangled in whether it's half full or half empty. She simply sees what she sees. Isn't that just what you did when you made that shift and looked at yourself as the whole person that you really are? And so much has followed from that!

Re: Still on the mend - Barbara TX

Julie on 9/03/01 at 06:02 (058885)

Barb, I'm glad you're feeling more at peace now. I can imagine that there really must be a kind of relief in knowing that you really have done everything there is to be done. I can't imagine what it must be like not to be able to take your kids for a walk, or to contemplate not having more children if you want them. Those must really be hard nuts, and my heart goes out to you. I know what you mean about not 'going there'. I guess you don't have to; you know that toothache only too well without prodding it.

But do listen to John - no-one has PF forever, and there will be an end to it.

Re: No fight John! Yes Julie

john h on 9/03/01 at 08:52 (058894)

As often as not the winner is the loser (in a disagreement). of course, we had no fight! I think with age comes wisdom and from wisdom comes much less aggressivness. What we had was a constructive conversation and apparently moved a lot of people to think which can be nothing but good.

Re: Still on the mend

Barbara TX on 9/03/01 at 11:13 (058916)

My pod here in Dallas told me that some people never recover. Thank you for the information!!!! Maybe it is because he does such radical surgery? Don't know. So, at the very beginning of this foot business he opened for me the possibility that I would never get better. I can't tell you how totally frantic and horrified I was (at that time, I couldn't even stand to lift the baby out of the crib, and I was in a wheelchair). I thought about how my whole life would be. I spiraled downwards mentally so fast i didn't know what hit me. I am still recovering from that awful, awful time. Most awful was having to wean my baby for drugs that did absolutely nothing but make me sick. I am still pretty angry about the whole thing. B.

Re: No fight John! I take it back Julie

john h on 9/03/01 at 14:34 (058929)

I take back the 'you are smooth' and replace it with 'words flow like a velvet fog from your lips'! Now Julie, you must remember who was known as the 'Velvet Fog'? Some of you will i am sure and if not i will post who it was later today.

Re: Velvet fogs

Julie on 9/03/01 at 16:42 (058939)

MEL TORME!!!

One of my favourites. Remember Mountain Greenery?

I win!

Re: Velvet fogs

nancy s. on 9/03/01 at 16:46 (058940)

someone told me it was mel toupee. (sorry)

Re: Velvet fogs 2

Julie on 9/03/01 at 16:56 (058943)

It so happens, dear John, that just about the only thing I pride myself on is my little bit clarity of thought and expression. You'll just have to think up another compliment. Sigh...

Re: Velvet fogs

Julie on 9/03/01 at 17:01 (058944)

Hi Nancy!

Re: Velvet frogs

nancy s. on 9/03/01 at 19:23 (058951)

hi julie! i want you to know that the half glass of water, just as it is, is perfectly acceptable to me today for some reason; i'm at peace with it. i wonder if all the 'mending' discussions are the reason. watching 'The Fisher King' last night also may have helped.

Re: Water glass: reprise

Julie on 9/04/01 at 02:10 (058981)

Good morning Nancy! I'm so glad.

Drink up, and enjoy the day.

Re: Water glass: reprise

JudyS on 9/04/01 at 08:46 (058992)

add some tequila to it first........:)