Pain relief from Kratom Tea – and I how I prepare it

Kratom is a plant that grows wild in Southeast Asia. It’s been used for hundreds, if not thousands of years, for pain relief and boosting energy. It’s ingested in capsules full of the loose leaf or the powdered whole leaf is brewed in a tea and consumed. I’ve been helped greatly by using Kratom in both capsule and tea form to help manage my chronic pain in the last six months.

How I make my Kratom Tea

(You can watch my video on how I prepare my tea each morning)

I’ve been sick for over 30 years and have taken opioid medication pretty much non stop since I had my first surgery at the age of 12. I’ve had a bunch of abdominal surgeries due to Ulerative Colitis. My pain is gallbladder, adhesions and possibly Crohns. I’ve been told by my surgeon that I have a history belly – and this hostile belly is constantly at war with me.

This year I was cut off from getting pain meds from my primary care doctor and all I can say is, thank god I found Kratom.

Kratom not only helps to manage my pain but it also made getting off of pain pills a breeze. I’m not physically or psychological addicted to prescription opioids but my body was habituated to taking the narcotics. Normally when I’d stop taking pain pills I’d be absolutely miserable. It would be a week or two of misery. Being sick and in pain and going through withdrawal on top of that was pure torture.

(This is where I buy my Kratom from:

http://www.naturalorganix.com )

Thanks to Kratom, when I stopped talking my Tramadol I had none of the body aches, or horrible restlessness or sleepless nights. It was incredible.

I’ve been experimenting with using Kratom for over six months now. I take it two to four times a day as a tea. My current supplier is Natural Ice Organics. I picked them because of their testing. I’ve stepped up to buying it bulk to save money as well.

If you have only been taking capsules and are curious about drinking Kratom as a tea, I say go for it. But be warned the taste is extremely bitter. It took me weeks to get over the taste. Some people add sugar, honey, or lemon to make it taste better. Personally I’ve found adding peppermint flavored CBD oil (which has helped my inflammation issues) almost masks the taste 100%.

When I first started taking Kratom I took it in capsule form and I even began making my own. The downsides of taking capsules is that it costs more – a lot more than loose leaf – and it can be a mess if you choose to make your own.

To make Kratom Tea I alternate between Green or Red Thai (I find Red has better pain killing qualities for me) and I use a digital scale to weigh out anywhere from six to ten grams, depending on my pain level for that day. That’s what is great about being able to buy Kratom without someone’s “permission”, you can adjust your doseage to your current level of pain.

My pain level can fluctuate greatly in the course of day let alone a month. When I was on chronic pain medicine management it didn’t matter if one day I hurt more than another. I had the exact same number of pills to take. While on the pain management protocol (they force you to sign a contract and submit to drug testing) you’re strictly limited to how many pills you have for the month.

If your pain is bad and you take more on one day then have to cut back on another day, or go without for how ever many days are until you could refill your prescription. The whole system is insane. I’m so glad to be outside of the chronic pain management bureaucracy. It was very demeaning to be drug tested, harassed by pharmacies, and insurance companies over my pain medicine. It is an inhumane system.

Without Kratom I’d be forced back into it and it’s even worse now. If I have to go and get prescription pain meds I’ll have to go through the pain clinic system. What cost me $40 a month and the price of four doctor visits last year, would now cost me around $2500 for just the monthly doctor visits and drug testing. Chronic pain patients are treated like parolees who’ve been convicted of a crime. My only crime is that I have chronic pain and my life depends on me finding a way to manage it.

In the morning I weigh out my Kratom and pour boiling water over it. Then I let it steep for 15 minutes at least. After that I either add ice (I find it more palatable if it’s cold) or I’ll just sip on it for an hour as it cools. When it gets down to the powdered sludge at the bottom of my cup, I add more water and then drink it over the course of another 30min to an hour. I repeat the process until I’ve consumed all the powder sludge is gone.

Within minutes I’m feeling better after taking my first sip. In thirty minutes or so I start feeling some pain relief. I find Kratom helps me with mild to moderate pain. But I find it doesn’t touch the pain when it gets really bad. I wish that we lived in a free society in which people who are suffering could get the relief they needed without being treated like a criminal.

I find that the effects last four to six hours. And unlike with prescription pain killers, I don’t have the intense short spike of pain relief followed by a steep crash. Kratom delivers a much more pleasant subtle experience without the intense mood altering effects that can occur with pain pills.

Depending on my day I’ll drink two to four cups per day. Kratom tea has given me back some of a life that’s been destroyed by not having pain meds. But from that destruction I’ve found hope and freedom. The hope that I can live a life with less pain due to drinking Kratom tea each day and the freedom to treat my pain as I see fit without kowtowing to the increasingly regimented and callous medical system and without being a pawn in the politically driven opioid crisis hysteria.

If you use Kratom please share your experiences in the comments. The more we talk about it the harder it will be for the DEA to make Kratom a schedule One Drug along with LSD, Heroin and Cannabis.

The reason they want to ban it is because, like Cannabis, it is so effective at helping millions of people. It’s estimated up to five million Americans use it everyday. People have used Kratom for anxiety, pain relief, sleep, and for energy. It along with Cannabis has helped tremendously.

If you have been helped by Kratom you might want to check out The American Kratom Association. They are fighting the good fight and helped to get the DEA’s ban reversed back in 2016 and they are working hard to keep Kratom legal today.

American Kratom Association

Wishing you health and wellness,

Brad Miller

Death panels, opioid crisis and chronic pain

“The Law”

The law perverted! And the police powers of the state perverted along with it! The law, I say, not only turned from its proper purpose but made to follow an entirely contrary purpose! The law become the weapon of every kind of greed! Instead of checking crime, the law itself guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish!

If this is true, it is a serious fact, and moral duty requires me to call the attention of my fellow-citizens to it. Frederic Bastiat French Economist 1850

One hundred and sixth eight years since this was written about the French government we are seeing the exact same thing occur here in America. The opioid hysteria has created a barbaric, evil, and insidious regulation and severe restriction of pain medication while at the same time enriching a few who use the force of law to profit from the misery and pain of others.

I’ve been in chronic pain for over thirty years now. It all started with a severe case of Ulcerative Colitis that required a major surgery to save my life. It didn’t go well. That began my horrible and terrifying relationship with physical pain.

My main relationship in my life since I can remember has been pain. It is always with me, demands my attention, and requires me to attend to it day and night. It is persistent and unrelenting.

I’ve been fortunate to have doctors who’ve in the past believed that I shouldn’t suffer needlessly and provided me with pain medicine. This helped me to eke out, somewhat of a life, in between the hospital stays and surgeries. Even with pain meds I still hurt but as long as I know I can take one or two at night to rest and sleep I can endure the pain throughout the day.

That has all changed since the hysteria machine around opioids has been unleashed upon us. My GP was providing chronic pain management with opioids for the last three years. He stopped this year in large part, I believe, because of the fear of attracting unwanted attention from regulators.

What makes this so insidious is that he isn’t even in trouble for anything yet, and he chose to stop for fear of something that may or may not happen in the future. My pain is a certainty. It’s easier for doctors to say no then it is for them to take a risk. You’ll here some say they are afraid of losing their licenses but that to me is an excuse for not wanting to stand up for their patients and their supposed principles.

When good people don’t stand up, tyranny and injustice multiplies. I’m experiencing that myself with my recent attempts to obtain pain medicine. My GP referred me to a pain clinic. I called them and after a week of back and forth phone calls they finally decided they didn’t accept my “limited benefit plan”, didn’t accept new self-pay patients and didn’t treat GI patients.

I did ask them if they knew of any pain clinics that did treat people with GI related pain and they said no. So long story short I called all the doctors I’ve known for about thirty years and they were no help, I called about ten pain clinics and none accepted my insurance, and almost none treated GI related pain and they didn’t have anyone they could recommend me to. One did wish me the best of luck though.

I did find a couple on my own that would consider treating me but they couldn’t guarantee that the doctor would deem me worthy of a prescription for pain killers until he saw me. I’d have to come in for an initial assessment. In order to see the holy doctor I’ll have to shill out $375 – $600 for the first visit depending on which pain clinic I decide to go to. This is insanity.

On top of the initial charge for the “assessment” if they are so “merciful” to grant me one of their precious prescriptions for pain killers, I’ll have to come back for monthly visits like I’m some kind of goddamn parolee. And each monthly visit will run around $200.

I’ve seen this process of demonizing people in pain slowly developing over the course of my thirty plus year odyssey of pain. I remember when doctors were told they could no longer call in pain pill prescriptions, I remember the first time I heard a doctor express concern about the DEA when I asked for pain medicine, and I remember when I was forced to sign a pain contracts and get urine tested every 90 days like I was a convicted criminal. All of these incremental policies did nothing to ease my pain or make me “safer” from myself. Instead they are what has led us to where we are today.

The Law has been perverted to reap profits for the pharmaceutical industries, the doctors and the addiction industry. Their profits are paid for by the misery and pain of millions of Americans who have no lobbyists and have been abandoned by the medical community.

Besides the profits that those who benefit from this type of hysteria are raking in, I belief there is a dark undercurrent at work as well. We are rapidly approaching more and more regimented healthcare. Chronically ill folks like me are a drain on the system in the eyes of central planners. I do firmly believe there are those who believe in the tenets of centralized medicine who would prefer I was not around soaking up “healthcare resources”.

Pain pills are extremely cheap though. Last year including doctors visits for chronic pain management plus the cost of my pain medicine added up to around $600. Now I’m stuck with a tab, if I’m able to obtain a prescription, of around $3800. That is insane. But my surgeries and hospital stays have cost insurance companies millions. If I stick around I’ll more than likely need more surgeries and hospital stays.

When did it become okay to bully people in pain? When did it become okay to treat people in physical pain like criminals? When did it become okay to rape them with insane costs for doctor visits? When did it become okay to make people in pain ashamed or afraid to ask their doctor for pain medicine? When did it become okay for doctors to refuse to treat people in pain? When did it become okay to deny one of the only truly effective treatments medical doctors have at their disposal?

The options for people in pain today are worse then they’ve been since before the discovery of the effectiveness of the poppy plant to alleviate physical suffering thousands of years ago. Those who are in pain and denied or restricted pain medication are effectively being forced to live in the Stone Age.

I believe that those in chronic pain are being pushed into making some extremely difficult decisions. The choices are to find alternatives on the black market, try to continue in agony or end their life. All three are a death sentence handed down by the uncaring, ignorant and greedy individuals in the government and the medical industry.

Living in pain is like being in hell. The one description of hell I liken it to is not the fire and pitchfork type but the cold and desolate hell, where God is totally absent. If you believe that God represents all that is good in the world then living in physical pain is the absence of all of that.

Being in pain makes life unbearable. The equation that everyone makes each day is, “is the pain of life worth the results of your actions?” For me the answer is many times no.

A few years ago Sarah Palin (I’m not a fan) was lambasted for daring to suggest that Obamacare had provisions for a death panel in order to ration healthcare. Today we are seeing this concept put into action. Chronic pain patients are being denied the very treatment that would save their lives. The new opioid regulations are effectively a form of a “Death Panel” but it’s so diffused throughout the system no one takes responsibility for denying people in pain the relief they need to continue living.

I believe that a part of the medical community, some in the insurance industry and many in the government are all too happy to get rid of the chronic pain patient because they are easy targets, they soak up resources and remind them and others of the failures of modern medicine. Most chronic pain patients have had multiple surgeries or have an intractable disease that modern medicine can’t treat effectively. This is another driver of the propaganda pushing the opioid crisis narrative. The opioid hysteria is focusing on the wrong target. Pain patients aren’t the problem. Only about 1% or less become addicted. The opioid overdoses we hear so much about are really caused black market drugs laced with illicit fentanyl. Many pain patients are being pushed into this market by the increasing cost, time demands and humiliation required to obtain life saving pain medication. The very law meant to save lives is killing people while others make a tidy profit. (I’m not against profit. I’m against individuals and industries using the force of government to obtain it.)I’m not an addict. I’m just in pain. My abdomen hurts all the time. From adhesions pulling and stretching my insides to a pancreas/gall bladder/bile duct issue that hasn’t been properly diagnosed or treated, I suffer everyday of my life from the time I get up to the time I finally fall asleep.I wish I was stronger but the pain wins everyday. If I keep busy enough I can keep its shouting down to tolerable levels. But once I stop moving it returns like a bullhorn from hell. Pain medicine simply helps dial down the volume. The Law is meant to protect individual rights. It has been perverted today, as Bastiat wrote, to enrich a small group of people who use the force of the government to satisfy their greed while violating the rights of individuals. They are using the Law to violate my natural right to consume what I choose and to bear the responsibility of my choices. Pain medicine isn’t an evil that should be locked away behind armed government agents and doctors who are either scared or greedy, but should be available at the low cost the market puts on them for those who choose to take them. Physical pain creates a living hell for millions of Americans. It destroys hope, severs relationships, and poisons the mind. Pain medicine can help ease their physical and emotional suffering. I do have an appointment to see a pain doctor on April 4th. It will be at his discretion if he prescribes pain pills or not. That’s after I fork over $400 for the initial assessment. Where else do you give someone $400 for a service and don’t have a right or ability to know if the service you are seeking will be provided or not? It is insane how far this opioid hysteria has gone. On the surface the purpose of all these punitive and restrictive laws are to protect people from themselves.They are said to save lives but all they are doing is ruining the lives of millions of peaceful, productive and suffering fellow Americans whose bodies have already betrayed them. This further betrayal by the medical system has too many pain patients making the awful but understandable decision to end their suffering the only way they know how. They are being forced into taking their own lives due to the barbaric and unfeeling bureaucratic machine that cut them off from the one thing that allowed them to stay alive on this planet.Death is the only way out for those suffering from intractable pain if they are denied pain medicine. I’ve contemplated it in the past myself and have struggled with those type of thoughts during this stressful stretch of time while trying to find a doctor who will help me. I won’t go to the black market. I don’t trust it. So I can either suffer another ten days or so and hope that the doctor will find my suffering worthy or I can end my time here on planet Earth. I’ve tried alternative therapies like Kratom and Cannabis, both of which for me help with withdrawal symptoms, but not so much with the pain. I’m miserable tonight. I know I’ll wake up in pain and I’ll go to bed in pain tomorrow. It’s 4:00am and I have to get up at 6:30am to get ready for work. I’m so tired of hurting. I know if I kill myself those closest to me will be devastated. They like me for some reason even though I feel worthless, unreliable and unsociable most of the time. I known if I do end my life the little ones in my life would be most hurt. I read one time that if you have children in your life who love you and you commit suicide, it’s like hitting them in the head with a hammer. I won’t do that tonight. That’s why I’ll get up in a couple hours. That’s why I’ll continue on another day. Brad

Trust your gut, hate your guts, gut check

Why are there so many idioms about the gut and how do they relate to living with a damaged gut? Chronic inflammation caused by a GI disorder and the subsequent surgeries to correct them have dramatically altered how these everyday sayings apply to my emotional experience.

Trusting your gut:  The constant pain and inflammation plus the resected vagus nerve after many abdominal surgeries makes it hard for me to “feel” these gut feelings or to trust them when I do think I feel them. There are tons of information the human body processes without going through the conscious portion of the brain. Your guts respond

A study done with Chron’s patients showed that they actually experienced more intense emotions when in the active phase of the disease. The immune response and emotional health is closely related. First it was only thought that emotions effected the immune system but it’s a two way street, the immune response directly affects emotions.

http://scienceblogs.com/cognitivedaily/2007/03/20/stephen-colbert-was-right-guts/

Hating your guts: I don’t hate anyone’s guts except my own. My guts have been a source of pain and misery for 30 years. It could be from the practice of ancient Egyptians keeping the intestines and tossed the heart and brain. No one is certain. For those who have had abdominal surgery or suffer from IBD know what its like to explicitly hate one’s own guts. I have on more than one occasion shouted out that “I hate my guts”.

It maybe ironic that negative emotions like hate, can actually have a detrimental effect on one’s guts. This is why I try to limit the hate to a minimum. When “I hate my guts” I am causing more inflammation which results in my guts hating me even more.

Gut Check:  Gut health has a direct link to emotional health. I’ve known this for decades and for the last few years scientists are starting to figure it out as well. Whenever my adhesions are causing severe inflammation in my gut my mind is directly affected. I feel sluggish, indecisive, and unresolved. The very opposite of what “gut check” means.  Brain inflammation caused by the immune system has been linked to having a detrimental effect on cognitive thinking. The human immune system is centered in the gut. There is actually a branch of science that investigates the relationship between the immune system and emotion.

My guts are at the core of my being.  If my core isn’t functioning normally my body intuitively knows that I should flee instead of engage with external stressors. When I feel sick or hurt or have adhesion issues I want to hide from the world. I choose to flee from threatening situations; which can include something as innocuous as going to lunch with someone My guts are a huge influence over my emotional state due to all the abdominal trauma I experienced and maybe those who originated these phrases did as well.

Helpfulness and Hopefulness: A 21 Day Challenge

 

“The wish for healing has always been half of health.” Seneca

I was diagnosed at age 11 with Ulcerative Colitis and have been in pain, felt sick, and been in and out of hospitals ever since. For most of that time I’ve felt that I was the sole cause of how I felt. With UC and subsequently Psoriasis being both autoimmune diseases and having an immune system causing systemic inflammation,  I am in a sense truly the cause of my suffering. That is the conundrum I’ve faced all my life. My body attacks itself. No matter what I do consciously my immune system is out of control and causing me pain and causing me to feel terrible.

For the last thirty years I’ve been living in what I call the “Cycle of Suffering”. It is divided into three parts: The Lead-Up, The Crisis Event, The Recovery. The Lead-up is where my symptoms become worse and worse, its not a linear process, and there is moments when I feel better, but overall the arch is toward increasing pain, inflammation and fatigue. Then there is “The Crisis Event”. This is usually either a small bowel obstruction or a pancreatitis attack. I go to the hospital about once to twice a year for these but I have far more frequent crisis events throughout the year which cause me to be bedridden for weeks at home After The Crisis Event comes The Recovery Phase. This is where the pain begins to wane,  my mind is clearing and my body begins to get stronger again. I’ve repeated this cycle hundreds of times since the age of 11 with no sign that it will ever end.

That sounds pretty bleak. And it feels that way. But I’m done with dwelling on this thought. I can’t count how many times this type of thinking has caused me to stop an endeavor before I begin or to not finish what I start. I would always think “why does it matter?”. My reasoning was that eventually the lead-up phase will lead to a crisis phase and that will put a stop to what I’m doing anyway. This is what causes the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness to flourish and cause me to ask myself:

Why should I make a new friend? Why should I try a new business idea? Why should I ask a girl out on a date? Sooner rather than later I’ll be so sick I won’t be able to be a good friend and they’ll end up abandoning me, I’ll not have the energy to run a business and I’ll run out of money and I’ll fail, and if a girl I like get’s to know me she’ll find out how miserable I am, how much of a failure I am and will never want to see me again.

I can tell that I’m in the recovery phase of the cycle now because I’m desiring to make changes because I’m realizing how much is missing in my life and what changes can I make to get them. I’ve been here hundreds of times during my hundreds of Cycles of Suffering and  his time I want the positive changes I make to stick even through the next lead-up phase and even carry through the crisis phase as well. For the next 21 days I am challenging myself to replace my negative thoughts  that create the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness for the next 21 day with thoughts that create feelings of helpfulness and hopefulness. I’m going to use ideas pulled from Stoicism, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, NeuroLinguistic Programming and other techniques that experts recommend for breaking the Learned Helplessness mindset.

Day 1 Practical Action:

Five minute walk – I will walk at least five minutes everyday during the 21 day challenge. This is a “proof” that I am helpful to myself and firmly believe that the feelings of hopefulness are strengthened by positive actions.

Day 1 Mental Action:

Thought Replacement 

This is the thought I’m getting rid of today.

“I am the cause of my suffering”

Even just reading what I wrote here caused me to feel a twinge of hopelessness and sadness. I’ve had this thought a million times.

This is the thought I am replacing it with:

“I take good care of myself”

I felt empowered when I wrote that. By going on the five minute walk today I do have evidence that this statement is true. All during the walk I also said my new replacement thought out loud. I did get a look from a passing neighbor but I just waved and kept talking to myself.

Walking is a powerful tool for mental and physical improvement. It helps to relax the mind, strengthens the body and creates  positive neurochemicals in the brain.  It’s a concrete way to help demonstrate positive self-care.

For those who haven’t had to deal with a life of suffering, these two steps might seem meaningless or not worth the effort because they aren’t “big” enough to create noticeable change. I’ve in fact I felt that as well. And I’ve used that as an excuse not to attempt to improve when I only had the capacity for limited actions due to pain and fatigue.  I’ve also used that same logic to justify making too many changes at once, which I couldn’t maintain for long. Both of these approaches have been ineffective for me. That’s why for 21 days I’m focused on making small changes that I can maintain and build upon.

I’m not sure if I can ever truly end my “Cycle of Suffering” but I can adapt and improve my life during the lead-up phase as well as the recovery period. And I’m hopeful I can even shorten the time I’m totally down when a crisis event occurs. I’ve done this type of self-improvement stuff hundreds of times before and each time I do, small amounts of what I learn stick. But the helpless and hopeless feelings are deeply engrained in my psyche and I’ve not been able to get rid of them yet. My hope is that by the end of 21 days I’ll have a better understanding of  how to erase the mental pathways that make it so easy for the feelings of helplessness and hopeless to overwhelm me. I am doing this with the full realization that the physical triggers that have caused them to occur in the past may very well still occur in the future when another “Cycle of Suffering” begins.

I would love to hear from anyone who has been locked into a “Cycle of Suffering” and what they’ve done to adapt to it or even end it. And if you are following along with this challenge please leave a comment below and share what thought you are replacing today and what action you’re taking to rid yourself of the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.

Living better today one thought at a time.

Brad Miller

 

 

Ten ways that help me get back to living after being extremely sick

I’ve been in and out of hospitals for close to thirty years. I’ve endured over thirty small bowel obstructions, ten severe pancreatitis attacks and over twenty surgeries. In between I’ve had to deal with many episodes where I’d been extremely sick even though I didn’t have to go to the hospital. And what occurred after each of these events is that I had to get back up. I had to claw my way back into everyday life. There isn’t much written about these dark times for people with chronic illness. What’s even talked about less is how do we get back to living. I found these ten things helpful in my recovery the last time I was sick. I’m still going through recovery and practicing most of these everyday. This time around I was sick for months due to a small bowel obstruction and two extremely severe pancreatitis attacks.

Recovery for me means getting back control over my body and mind after being nearly destroyed by the pain and fatigue of my chronic illnesses. When I’m sick I don’t feel like myself. I’m exhausted and I’m in horrific pain. So it helps to be able to do what I can to survive and then begin to thrive again. These are some things I found helpful this time around.

  1. Time Warping – The ability to jump over minutes or even hours without being aware of the passage of time and the sensations of pain and misery in the present moment.  So many people say we need to be in the moment. My question has always been, why the fuck do I want to be in the moment when I am in extreme agony? This time around I was laid up for months and I found that playing Star Craft II really helped me Time Warp. It allowed me to not think about my pain or how miserable I felt for at least 15 minutes or so at a time. Another way I like to Time Warp is by taking a bath. From drawing the bath to sitting in it, to getting out, drying off and putting on fresh clothes I can burn through 45 minutes to an hour. I also like to watch something on Netflix while I’m taking a bath, like Star Trek or Family Guy.  I also started playing around with small drones. Even when my pain was really bad I could reduce the awareness of it for those five or ten minutes I was flying the drone.  It requires full concentration to fly it. I highly recommend anyone pick one up who is sick or in pain.
  2. Exercising in small increments – As I began to feel better I started making myself pay for each game of Star Craft II I played. I wouldn’t allow myself to start a new game until I completed a push-up or some other exercise. I started out with just a single pushup between each game – which was a great struggle -and now I’m up to fifteen. I would also mix in shadow boxing or doing squats as well. Along with the push-ups I started walking five minutes at a time outside just to get the body moving. When I’m laid up I feel powerless. Moving and feeling my body getting physically stronger through strength training and walking more and more each day gives me a sense of mastery and control that is in short supply when I’m laid up and life is on hold.
  3. Listening to podcasts – The number one podcast I listen to is the Joe Rogan Experience. Joe is an amazing guy who is always upbeat, funny and has a hunger for knowledge. He has guests on that are focused on living life to the fullest and talks about living a healthy lifestyle. I also like Joey Diaz’s The Church of What’s Happening Now. This one is not for the faint of heart. But through all of the coarseness and language is some great lessons. One thing he said recently  has stuck with me and I’m adding it to my list today. It is advice he gave to his producer Lee Syatt – He told him  “Stick to something for a year. You don’t know where it will lead”. I don’t know about others with chronic illness but commitment and consistency are something I struggle with everyday.
  4. Sticking with something for a year – When I’m sick it’s hard for me to imagine even getting through another day let alone trying to imagine living another year. But this advice from Joey Diaz has helped me to focus my limited energy in a positive way. In the past I’ve started and stopped many endeavors and two business before they got up and running. Now I’m focused for the next 12 months on posting three blog entries per week. I’m also starting up a podcast this week to talk with doctors, people in the cannabis world and those who understand what it’s like to live with a chronic illness. When I’m sick I try to calculate what my return on effort will before I do something. Most of the time I don’t even start something or if I do I don’t stick with it for long,  because I’m unable to imagine a return on my energy that will be worth the misery, effort, and possible disappointment if I fail. But Joey Diaz’s advice reminds me that I can’t know what my actions today will produce in the future. The effort is not wasted if I’m doing something that I enjoy and that may be of benefit to others.
  5. Helping someone – When I’m sick I always feel like I’m a black hole of need. I suck in everything and nothing escapes. For those weeks or even months I’m relying on others for a lot. Being sick for close to 30 years now has been a huge strain on my family. They have been awesome so when I can start helping them in some small way I always feel better. One of the turning points for me this time around was when my nephew and niece came to see me. They are 5 and 4 and so full of life. I made them juice cups and small plate of food. They were very appreciative. It made me feel great. When I can help those I love it makes me feel stronger and it’s very motivating to continue improving.
  6. Opening up one piece of mail – When I’m sick and in bed the last thing I want to think about are hospital bills, insurance or some phone call I need to return. But these things add up. I will have a stack of envelopes I know I need to open  but I just let them pile up. Opening one letter and taking care of what’s inside is vital to my physical recovery. Not addressing the things necessary to continue livings adds extra emotional stress which translates into physical stress. I always feel better when I begin knocking out the bills and taking care of what I need to do, one envelope at a time.
  7. Cleaning something or picking something upI have a tendency to allow my space to become overwhelmed with clothes papers and the mess of living when I’m sick. If I make myself pick up one thing I feel better. If I make myself take my plate and cup to the dishwasher I feel better. These little victories add up and I can see that I can still make a difference in the world even if it means just putting my clothes in the hamper. Also no matter how bad I feel I always shower and it never fails to help.
  8. Reaching out to someone – Being sick, in pain and alone is terrible. I’m fortunate to have two great brothers who are always reaching out to me. I will go weeks sometimes months without reaching out to them. Even if it’s just a simple text,  or a phone call, or commenting on an Instagram post, I feel better because I’m making the effort. One of the ways I know I’m getting better is when I ask my older brother out to lunch. We do this about three times a week when I’m in between feeling awful. So getting back into that routine is always helpful.
  9. Cooking a meal  – Cooking is a way to feed your body and your soul. It is also a creative act. When I’m ill I don’t feel very productive at all, because I’m not. Cooking something that will benefit me and my loved ones helps me to feel better. Recently I cooked Key West shrimp with butter and lemon on a sheet tray and some baked potatoes. It was almost zero prep time and not much clean up and it was extremely tasty and good for us.
  10. Getting outside This time around has been one of the hardest of my life and I spent a lot of time inside. It’s the most time think I have spent inside since I was first diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at the age of twelve. Being inside physically and mentally limits my ability to visualize a better future. The same walls the same stupid crap on t.v., the horrible commercials all serve to limit possibilities. By going outside and reasserting that I am a part of the greater world of nature lifts my spirits. Even if it’s ten minutes in the sun, watering some flowers,  or walking barefoot in the grass I feel physically better. My mind is quiter as well. Hearing the birds, seeing the trees sway in the wind and watching the squirrels chase each other reassure me that life persists and that I am a part of this miraculous natural world.

Entering back into the world after a horrible bout of an illness or a surgery can be scary, depressing, and physically and emotionally painful. Recovering requires physical actions as well as a positive outlook. When I am in the depths of one of these attacks or recovering from surgery my thoughts trend to the negative. It feels as if they are physically generated.  I have a mental fog that overwhelms me when I don’t feel well. The pain and fatigue and inflammation create a physical change in my brain that I can feel. Time plus postive small actions done consistently and the love and support of my family, help to turn my negative physical state which directly improves my mental state. Only by doing positive physical actions, listening to positive podcasts, and helping others can I keep the fog away and begin thinking and planning for a better future.

I’m just past through the most difficult part of my recovery process this time around. It’s the transition point from being totally consumed with pain, fatigue and overall misery to being at a point where I can begin reassessing my life, making plans and thinking about acting upon them.  After going through all this pain, paying the thousands of dollars in medical bills, and being alone for so long, I emerge to see what state my life is truly in. This his can actually be my toughest stretch because I’m still physically weak and now I have my entire life to get back into order.

I’m still ill, I hurt everyday, I live with my mom, I’m currently not working, I don’t have a girlfirend. I’m starting again from the bottom like I’ve done so many times before. It feels like I’ve gone through all this just to have a lifetime of struggle, lonliness and pain ahead of me. But as time goes on I know I’ll enjoy life a little bit more everyday. I’ll  laugh more. I’ll begin making money again. I’ll get my own place. I’ll find someone to love and who loves me. I’ll seek out new experiences and be fully engaged in life once more.

I would like to hear what helps you recover after being knocked down by illness or surgery. I’m always looking for ways to improve my recovery process.

Living better one game of Star Craft II at a time.

Brad Miller