Life Interrupted – The Pain That’s Keeping Me From Doing Things I Love

It’s a sure sign that things are bad when the prospect of two days with hubby’s iPad all to myself can’t keep me away from home!

My life is currently being interrupted, by pain. Lots of pain.

I didn’t really realize to what extent that is until I left the Problogger Training Event partway into the second session on Day 1 – after less than two hours of being there, and having spoken, so briefly, to only two other bloggers – and returned home to deal with my pain and anxiety (and yes, a few tears) quietly on my own.

For so many reasons I was looking forward to this year’s Problogger conference.

I was so excited back in May this year when I bought my ticket to attend the PB Event for the second year running.

I’ve been looking forward to this for months now. Looking forward to the opportunity to meet other bloggers that I’ve connected with on Twitter or on their blogs, and to getting two day’s full of new ideas and inspiration for The Inspired Notebook…

Really, just excited at the prospect of being in a room filled with bloggers. And with people who ‘get’ blogging. It was said to me only a couple of days ago that blogging is ‘another world’, a ‘bubble’. But today’s Problogger Event was filled with over 300 people who know that if blogging is a bubble, then it’s a VERY BIG one. And that it’s only likely to get bigger. And no, it’s not going to pop!!

So I’d marked all the sessions that I hoped to attend. And was eagerly anticipating seeing keynote speaker, Chris Guillebeau (creator of The Art of Nonconformity, the World Domination Summit and author of The $100 Startup). Not to mention, Darren Rowse going through with his challenge to ‘Do It in a Dress’!!

As excited as I’ve been, I was anxious too.

Which is nothing unusual. I think we all get anxious when it comes to huge conferences filled with people we don’t know.

Of the 300 bloggers attending this PB Event, many will have had some degree of anxiety – particularly as it seems the blogosphere is made up of plenty of introverts!!

But as well as the usual pre-conference nerves, I’ve been anxious about my current level of feet, back and hip pain, and how I’d manage two days of sitting, standing and commuting… Things I used to take for granted. Before my pain started. Before my pain got way out of control.

The health professionals who’ve been fortunate to get my time, energy… and money!

I’ve had chronic pain before. After the birth of our ‘baby’, who’s now 10, I experienced hip and back pain for at least five years as a result of pelvic instability. For all of those years, I did the rounds of health professionals, including physios, osteopaths, chiropractors, with little or no relief. I even saw a hip specialist who charged me $125 for the three minutes it took to tell me that I didn’t need to see him, he couldn’t help me.

Eventually, after so many health professionals – and so much money! – I found a local sports injury physio who was able to help me when no-one else had. And gradually my pain improved, and my visits became further and further apart.

When my feet started to ache at the end of 2008, and along with them my hips and back again, I was back at the physio. But also, at the podiatrist, getting a pair of orthotics that (after a few adjustments) completely sorted out my pain. After months of not being able to get out walking each day, it was an awesome feeling to be able to enjoy walking again!

Three years, according to my physio records, without needing hip and back adjustments. Without pain.

Until my feet started to ache again earlier this year.

For the past three or four months, I’ve been back and forth to the podiatrist, physio, doctor’s, and to clinical pilates sessions, trying to resolve my pain before our recent trip to Queensland. The number of trips alone was exhausting!

Several months after my pain began to flare up again, I’m now on my third pair of orthotics. Every adjustment makes a difference to my muscle pain, but so far the orthotics are still not ‘right’.

My life, interrupted!

As much as I don’t like to talk about my pain, and hate hearing myself whinge, lately it’s been hard not to. It’s started to affect everything.

I’ve had to cancel trips to my bestest friend’s, and to my parents’, because driving and sitting in the car is too painful. I’ve had to continually tell my MIL that I can’t get down to have lunch with her – because of the driving, but also because I’m too busy with all these health appointments.

I missed the opportunity to see my new baby nephew, because there’s no way I could’ve managed the drive we’d originally planned for our holiday from Brisbane to Melbourne, via Sydney to visit my brother.

It hurts to do housework. Which wouldn’t worry me too much! But it also hurts to sit at the computer, working on my blog. And that really worries me.

I’m spending a small fortune trying to resolve what I’m sure is resolvable. But getting increasingly anxious as the pain gets worse and I seem to be getting nowhere.

Now my pain (and the anxiety that goes with it) has again kept me from being somewhere I REALLY wanted to be. And from enjoying this conference that I’ve been so looking forward to.

That’s got to be the last straw!

It’s not easy explaining pain to the people you love – and who love you.

How do I explain to a 10 year old, who’s not expecting to come home from school and find me here? Not that he doesn’t love me, but that this beautiful boy tells me every morning as he leaves for school, “Make sure you do something you love today Mum, something for yourself”.

How do I tell him that I had a dizzy spell and felt like I was going to throw up. And that it may have been just anxiety, or the physical effects of too much pain, but having thrown up in a public place once before, I’m in no hurry to do that again!!

How do you explain chronic pain, and the anxiety that can come with it, to any of your kids, no matter their age? Or to your hubby – who possibly sees you as an expensive hypochondriac? Or to your mum, when you have to tell her again that you won’t be coming to visit, won’t be staying the night as you’d planned – and you know you’re only going to cry during that conversation?

Not. Giving. Up.

I don’t really have an answer.  All I know is that I’m not willing to give up. I’m really sure that if somebody can get the orthotics right for me, all my muscles will get back to doing the right thing, and stay in the right place!

When my pain is keeping me from so many of the things I love – from sewing, from my morning walks, from getting out and seeing friends and family, even from blogging and enjoying my time at the computer, and from being able to enjoy awesome conferences like the Problogger event! – I know I need to do everything it takes to resolve it.

I hoped I might get back for Day 2 of the Problogger Event. There are some bloggers I’d love to meet, or catch up with again: Liz from Last Chance Training, who was the very first blogger to say ‘Hi’ to me at last year’s event!; Kat from The Organised Housewife, who has such a beautiful, helpful blog, and who I smiled at only briefly at in the queue for the ladies’!;  and Grace, who I just quickly spoke to this morning; Kelly Exeter, whose story of changing her life is going to inspire me to change a whole lot of mine (and who creates awesome manifestos at The Smile Collective)… the list could go on…

But I think for now I need to accept the reality of this pain. And of my exhaustion.

At least I know I can enjoy the recordings of the day’s events from here at home. And trust that I’ll be in a much better place – and back doing everything that I love – by the time the next Problogger conference comes around next year.

For now, am off to dry the tears and sniffles before my baby boy gets home.


PS. That iPad of hubby’s, that I’ve now had to give back? Was very useful for writing most of this post on the train trip home. So guess what’s now on my Christmas wishlist?!

Do you have your own story of how chronic pain has interrupted and affected your life? For your sake, I hope you don’t, but if you do, you can share your story here in the comments.

Bloggers and would-be bloggers:

If you were lucky enough to be at the Problogger event, I’d love to hear how you enjoyed it – and what’s the best tip you picked up?

If you didn’t get there, you can check out the #PBEvent hashtag on Twitter.

22 thoughts on “Life Interrupted – The Pain That’s Keeping Me From Doing Things I Love

  1. I don’t have chronic pain, but we’ve lived with my husband being misdiagnosed as a diabetic for over 18 months now. 12 months of that with needles. People just don’t understand the physical toll. They can respect you and your disease, but they don’t understand. It forces you to slow down your life, which can get really annoying when you want to pick up speed. I hope you get your pain sorted out soon 🙂

    1. Wow, Vanessa, 18 months is a long time to live with a misdiagnosis. Does he have a correct diagnosis now?
      I can imagine how exhausting, and frustrating, that must’ve been for you. Right now I’ve realized I have no choice but to slow down, at least for a little while. But you’re right, it’s very hard to do. And there’s so much about life that does make it difficult to take things slower. Life seems to move along at a hurried speed all of it’s own!!
      Thanks so much for being here and commenting.

  2. Oh Brigid – I nearly wasn’t able to go to Problogger too but I was so glad I could in the end because of all the lovely people I got to meet in real life. My heart goes out to you and I hope there is an answer for your pain too as that is no fun at all. I can only imagine the anxiety that goes with it 🙁

    1. Kelly, so good that you were able to get to the Problogger event and get the chance to meet lovely bloggers!! I’m enjoying seeing the photos and reading accounts of the event – and already looking forward to being there next year. Hopefully the pain will be sorted long before then.
      Thanks for stopping by. And for the inspiring work that you’re doing with your blog and with your gorgeous manifestos!

  3. I can only imagine what chronic pain is like, although I am sure that it is something only those who experience it can truly know.
    My pain has been acute, four cesarians (6 weeks no driving), one torn calf muscle (2 weeks no driving!) and currently a bruised heel (no running for months). But all these acute pain stories have a diagnosis which is so different to misdiagnosis or no answers!
    The defined time frames make the “slow down” period so much more bearable.
    I only hope your answers come quickly and you can find some solace in these words I stumbled across at and
    Take care 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Kerrie. What a bummer that you’ve bruised your heel. I hope you’re still able to get out riding, even if you’re not running for a while. Hopefully the time will pass quickly for you too.
      Thanks for the great links. That link to Chronic Pain Australia looks like there’s heaps of info there, so I’ll have a look there for some ideas. The Chronic Adventures site looks very ‘adventurous’ – when you see my cycling past your window and up the hill, you’ll know I’ve been reading that one for too long!!!

  4. Sorry you had to leave so early Brigid – you were missed – after talking with you I thought of you all day.

    Just wanted to check you got set up ok with the virtual ticket? Please ping me directly on the email I left with this comment if you had any problems accessing it and I’ll get you set up.

    1. Thanks for thinking of me Darren. And for stopping by here.
      I hope I didn’t have you unnecessarily worried. I know I threw Jade Craven a bit when I sent a cryptic tweet along the lines of ‘… not the post I expected – or wanted – to be writing about PBEvent’ – but in my exhausted state didn’t link to the post!
      As much as I’m disappointed in missing the event, coming home was the right thing to do. And I have a feeling it will become one of my ‘moments of truth’, as I’ve already made some major changes because of it.
      I was able to get into the Virtual participants portal on Sunday, so have since listened to a number of awesome recordings. And I was at least there for your opening session, so will be thinking about the 15 minutes that I can do each day, as well as where those sparks of energy are!
      Hope you had a fantastic time, and have now had a chance to rest and recover. Thanks so much for the amazing work that you’re doing for all of us bloggers!!

  5. Hi Brigid, I’m new to your blog, but unfortunately not new to chronic pain. I live with CRPS in all four limbs and central sensitisation. It’s not easy, but I find that blogging about it helps a lot, both therapeutically and as a way to help friends and family understand what I’m going through and when I need help. I wish you all the best in finding a treatment that helps.
    -Caf 🙂

    1. Hi Caf, Welcome to The Inspired Notebook!
      I haven’t heard of CRPS before, but have been reading some of your posts and look forward to reading more. It’s great that you have blogging as an outlet – and your blog must also be a great help to other CRPS sufferers.
      Thanks for being here and commenting. Brigid

  6. Hey Brigid,
    I was really disappointed that we didn’t get to see each other this time around. I may have been able to help you with some direction with the pain management as I’ve had chronic SIJ problems since both kids came along. It can be managed with the right treatment. Sounds like you’re on the right track but that possibly your pelvis is so hypermobile the pilates is not providing enough stability. There are some other options so if you do want to email me, let me know – we can have a chat on the phone.


    1. Hey Liz, I did see you so briefly before the first session began, but of course at that stage thought I’d have all day to find and catch up with you!
      I’m actually not sure that my pelvis is hypermobile anymore. It definitely was for a long time, but I think these days it’s more about the muscles than the joints. Pilates has been helpful, but I have to drive half an hour to get there. And all the good it does seems to be quickly undone.
      Thanks for your offer for ideas and a chat. If changing the orthotics again doesn’t help, I will definitely be on the phone to you!!!

  7. Hi Brigid,

    Well it’s a small blogging world hey. I stumbled across you and was stoked to see my blog mentioned in your comments stream and that it had provided some inspiration to Kerrie. I know I’m a bit extreme – my Rheumatologist is always trying to get me to calm down a bit – but I’ve spent many years step by step building up to this fitness and most of the time I cycle in moderation. I find doing a bit each day, keeping moving and doing what you love is the key. Much love.

    Tracey ( AKA Chick Arthritic)

    1. Hi Tracey,
      That’s so funny! I can’t wait until Kerrie sees your comment – she’s going to LOVE the coincidence of you discovering her sharing your blog…!!! Kerrie comes from a family of athletes and can be seen running (now riding) past my window some time around 6am or earlier, so is way better on the fitness side of things than me.
      At the moment, I’m really missing my daily walks, as they tend to aggravate my pain considerably. But I like the idea of ‘building up’ your fitness – for me at the moment, even some strengthening exercises should help to do that.
      Thanks so much for the inspiration. I’m still laughing at the small blogging world thing too!!

  8. Hi Brigid,

    How frustrating to have arrived at PB Event (and so early!) only to go home so soon. I’m sorry to hear you missed it and hope that the virtual ticket and the numerous tweets and blog posts give you enough informationa nd inspirartion to make the difference to your blog.

    I don’t suffer chronic pain – I had a period of months with ongoing joint pain which was misdiagnosed as a tumour. Just that short time of pain gives me just an inkling of what you endure – I so hope you can figure out a solution, and soon.

    In the meantime, you have a lovely son – how gorgeous of him to tell you to do thigns for yourself every day.

    Best wishes, Tash

    1. Hi Tash,
      The PB Event experience was definitely frustrating, but yes I’ve gotten heaps already from the virtual access and from blog posts and twitter. The audio recordings have been fantastic. And I was there for Darren’s opening session, and managed to get a lot out of just that one session.
      It must’ve been scary for you, being misdiagnosed with a tumour. It sounds like your joint pain is a thing of the past though, which is good – hopefully I’ll be able to say that soon too.
      And you’re right Tash, I have three beautiful kids, but my youngest is wise beyond his years, and definitely knows what’s important in life!!
      Thanks so much for stopping by.

  9. Hey I’m going to PB too – that’s how I found your blog. I want to recommend another chronic pain blogger – Hayley – Also, I run a little chronic illness bloggers fb group – you’re welcome to join. There is a link to it on the resources page of my blog.
    I write a lot about pain too. I have a rare severe skin condition called Ichthyosis which is very painful. It’s hard to explain and describe pain to people, especially skin Pain.
    Look forward to meeting you on the GC x

    1. Hi Carly,
      Look forward to meeting you at the PB event too!
      I’ve checked out Hayley’s blog some time back, and really enjoyed her writing too. The chronic illness bloggers group sounds like a great resource. (Although reading about yours and Hayley’s battles with chronic pain definitely makes my own struggles seem very small by comparison).
      See you in QLD!!

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