Devoted grandma contends with chronic pain: Meet @grandmar
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JOHN: What brought you to Connect?
@grandmar: I actually came across Connect through a Google search. I was looking for a support group for people who were suffering with chronic pain and not getting any relief through conventional and not-so-conventional methods. My search brought me to Connect. When I saw and read through all the groups, I was amazed. I found that there were many groups that I could fit into. That was the beginning of my foray into Connect support groups.
JOHN: How does or what about Connect makes you feel comfortable to share, to be open with the community?
@grandmar: I find Connect and the groups I participate in to be a comfortable place to share and vent, when necessary. I have not experienced any backlash from anything I have said, nor have I seen this happen with anyone else. Each person seems to be genuinely appreciative of the support and suggestions given. I also believe that not knowing the others, face-to-face, makes it easier to say things that you might not want people to hear. Lastly, it is nice to know that when you share, there is someone out there who is experiencing similar things. It is nice to know my experiences might help others and that I am not alone and not going crazy.
JOHN: What groups do you participate in?
@grandmar: I follow these groups, although I might not post in all. In a few of these groups, there are threads in which I am very active:
- Chronic Pain
- Healthy Living
- Just Want to Talk
- Lung Health
- Mental Health
- Visiting Mayo Clinic
- Blood Cancers & Disorders
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Bones, Joints & Muscles
- Brain & Nervous System
- Depression & Anxiety
- Digestive Health
JOHN: Who has been a special connection for you on Connect?
@grandmar: I have made connections with several people throughout the groups. I’ve had multiple dialogues with @contentandwell @lioness and @hopeful33250, for instance. Some of these members are experiencing things I currently experience or have in the past. These are the people I keep tabs on and who keep tabs on me.
JOHN: What surprised you the most about Connect?
@grandmar: What has surprised me most about Connect is the way the moderators keep tabs on what is going on within the groups. They participate where appropriate and direct group members to other groups or discussions that might be useful in their lives. In many other online communities I’ve belonged to, the moderator or administrator of the group does not follow what is happening, which can lead to unpleasant situations.
JOHN: What energizes you, or how do you find balance in your life?
@grandmar: These are good questions I really need to think about. To be frank, I often feel like I do neither.
I have been suffering with chronic pain for over 15 years, and that is not my only ailment. When you are in pain each and every day, it is difficult to become energized. However, there is something that does push me a bit: my family, especially my granddaughter who lives down the block. She wants to do things with me and play. It will often give me the boost I need to go on. I adore her and my other family members. I don’t want my legacy to my family to be the sickly grandma. I want it to be the grandma who's fun and fought with all her might to participate in the world.
As far as balance is concerned? My hubby and I are retired. Not working or having any other commitments at this time of my life, balance does not become an issue. Or, maybe it is and I just don’t see it. I can only think back to when I worked full-time, went to graduate school, took care of my hubby and two kids, cooked, cleaned and more. Now that was when it was hard to find balance.
Now, if emotional balance is the question, that is a different story. As you can see from all the groups I belong to, I have several ailments that have had a huge impact on my life and my emotional well-being. I try to balance out what is going on inside of me with what is happening to me. I am afraid it is not easy, and I have not yet found an answer. I am working on it by participating in groups, getting medical care, being a part of my family activities and getting involved with projects within my scope of abilities. I am sure that one day I will reach that balance.
JOHN: Tell us about your favorite pastime or activity.
@grandmar: There are many things I enjoy doing. However, right now my physical issues are proving to be limitations.
I live in a warm-weather climate, so I love to be outside. I could just spend a day walking and window-shopping, or sitting on a bench people-watching. I also love to have people over to our house for a barbecue and swimming. We have our own pool, and it is not unusual for us to spend hours on a float, loving the sun and water.
My hubby and I are both shopaholics. Furniture, clothes, food — it does not matter. Frankly, it is also good physical therapy for me. For some reason, I can walk further and longer when I am shopping!
Finally, I would love to travel. It was our hope when we retired that we would be able to do a lot of that. Sadly, we really haven’t been able to. I cannot walk very much or very long, so sightseeing is difficult. Since many of the places we would like to go are old cities, many streets and roads are cobblestone, which makes even a scooter difficult to use. It is my hope that once some of these health issues resolve we will be able to cross some things off of our bucket list.
JOHN: Do you have a favorite quote, life motto, personal mantra?
@grandmar: I do have a life motto, but to some, it sounds like I am giving up: “It is what it is.”
It is not me giving up. It is just my way of accepting things. There are times when you just have to relent and accept things, people or situations for what or who they are.
I do have one more: There are people who live to fight and argue. I am a lover, not a fighter. A friend of mine used to tell me that I always sat on the fence and did not jump off to one side or the other. This is because it is my belief that unless it is something that is really important to me or my family, I will not argue a point or disagree.
JOHN: What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
@grandmar: The things I appreciate most in friends are loyalty, truthfulness, forgiveness, compassion and the feeling of family.
JOHN: If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see cast as you?
@grandmar: Barbra Streisand. I always wished I had the talent to be in a Broadway show. She is Jewish, like me. Loves her child, just like me. She grew up in NYC, like me. She frequented Broadway shows, like me. Could sing like no one’s business ... not like me, but wish I could. Talented, a dream of mine. A go-getter, sometimes like me. A woman who sometimes does a man’s job, similar to me.
JOHN: What do you love about where you live or vacation?
@grandmar: I love tropical places that stay green, for the most part, all year round. I live in Florida, so it fits the bill. Yes, there are times it does not, but it usually does. While many of my friends and family up north are preparing for storms, I am sitting outside, on the lanai, in my shorts and tank top, listening to the water in the pool.
My favorite place to be is Maui. We have been there several times and used to go yearly. To us, it is a second home and the place I believe I was meant to live. Seriously! When we arrive, my husband gets the car. I sit outside the car rental place, on a bench, with my eyes closed. I can really feel the tension as it leaves my body. So, I breathe deep breaths, then I become serene. I am home.
My children have been to Hawaii a couple of times. If they would move there, too, I’d move in a heartbeat. Sadly, they won’t. I cannot leave my kids and grandkids. They are our heart and soul.