Living With Mesothelioma -My Diary- A good day today and the herb garden is planted

Today has been a great day. Ray has worked with me in the garden and he put the topsoil into the ex pond.

I really didn’t know what I was going to plant in there until I saw it finished. I planted the pansies my Brother and Pam gave me for my birthday. and I planted the snowdrops I had in a tub. so they will come up in the spring.

That left a lot of room so I suggested to Ray that we plant it up as a herb garden as we love fresh herbs in our recipes.

We had lunch and then went to the garden center but they only had a few as the lady said they really are bought in spring. She had everything  I had on my list except Basil.

They had Lavender under herbs I didn’t know that. I knew you could use lavender in recipes but didn’t know it was a herb.

I have just bought a lavender plant for the tub in the front garden so I will look up the recipes again.

We went to every place that sold plants and we could not get a Basil. So we came home and I planted up the Herb Garden. It needs hosing down but the back garden is now done.

The lights are all up and twinkling –well just for a while as there has been to much sun out so they lost the charge fairly quickly.


Half way through and lots of washing down to do but I was now shattered and came in doors cup of coffee and Zonk I had a power nap so that I was Ok to cook the dinner.

Today has really been a good day -you can push pain to the back of your mind when you keep busy. I wont let it get in the way I want to do so much.

Now Im very stiff and ache like you do when you do so much gardening.

I had a call from my hospice nurse who asked me funny enough how my pain was and my breathlessness was on a scale from 1-10.

We had a nice chat and she will call again next month.  I always answer 6 it is hard to say when you go for a walk like I did today I took Louis round a nice little walk but near the end I start to loose my balance and it wasn’t  windy. So I sat in the car as ray went to see if Home Base had a Basil plant.

I had this link which is very good for partners to understand the pain there is a lot of truth here.

1. I think that it is important to think of pain as your common enemy, not as a part of your wife or baggage that comes with her. It is something outside of both of you that impacts both of you and that can kill your marriage.

2. If your wife is anything like mine, she will try to hide her pain from you. She does it for two reasons: one, she does not want to be a wuss or a whiner. Second, she knows that her in pain is distressing for those that she loves, so she hides it from us.

3. Because women in chronic pain have to be good at ignoring their own pain, their maximum sneaks up on them and on you. Trust me when I say that you do not want to be surprised by your wife’s pain. The wall of pain will hit her hard, and if you are lucky she will end up snapping at your or the kids. If you are unlucky, she will collapse into sobs that will break your heart to hear. Before I learned to read the signs in my wife, it would seem like her breaking point would come out of nowhere. We tried to get her to tell us when she was coming up on her limit, but she only notices about 30 percent of the time, and that is after years of coaching and encouraging.

4. To avoid a pain-storm, be on the look-out for non-verbal clues of increased pain. My wife who is normally a font of cheerful patter gets quieter the further into pain that she goes because she does not want her voice to betray her pain. She holds her body more rigid, trying not to limp and holds her breath, taking one long rasping breath for every three that I take. There is also a look of grim determination that settles in her eyes, even if she is smiling.

5. When you note the non-verbal clues of increased pain, reflect them back to her. Ask that she put her pain on a scale from 1-10, but make note if she tends to tip to one side of the scale. My wife has had a C-section without anesthesia, so that is her 10. She rated a compound broken bone where I could see a jagged bone tip protruding through the skin of her ankle as a five. So know how she rates things. When you determine that she is in rising pain, encourage her to move towards a place where she can rest and take medication. Remind her how much the pain storm will cost her. If it is worth it for her to continue, then so be it. Do what you can to support her.

6. Chronic pain does not mean that the person has the same level of pain every day or even at various times in the day. So encourage her to put the fun stuff first. If she has enough energy and pain relief to do a quick trip out and about, encourage her to go someplace fun rather than the grocery store

7. Don’t let her “should” on herself—beat herself up for what she cannot do. Argue back when she expresses guilt or sets impossible expectations for herself. When my wife tells me that she is a bad mother because she couldn’t stand in the rain beside a soccer field, I remind her of all the other ways that she has been there for our kids. Encourage her to tell significant people in her life such as her boss and co-worker that her life is significantly impacted by pain. Remind her that stating the truth is not the same as complaining and it does not make her a whiner.

8. One of my early ways of dealing with my wife’s chronic pain was to encourage my wife not to do things that caused her pain. Then I realized that if she avoided all activities that caused her pain, she would never do anything. Let her grit her teeth and get through pain for things that are important to her, even if it kills you to watch her do it. And trust your wife if she says that she wants to have sex even while in pain. Sometimes and in some women, arousal can do wonders to offer temporary relief from pain.

9. Women in chronic pain are used to working through pain, distracting themselves, minimizing etc. They play mind games that help them get around it. But this means that they pay less attention to their bodies than other women do. In some cases, this makes it harder for the woman to get aroused. In my wife’s case, it makes her really really clumsy. I used to try to help her by saying things like “Your toes and nose should be pointed in the same direction as the location you are placing an object like a glass.” That really isn’t helpful. We have compromised: for things my wife knows are important to me, like lifting and carrying food, (I love her cooking and when it gets spilled all over the kitchen floor, I am in pain) she agrees as a favor to me to allow me to do those things. And, I keep plenty of Band-aids, ice packs and other things for the rest.

10. The key thing to remember is that pain builds even while you are managing to ignore it. The longer your wife is in pain, the more of it she experiences and the less she can block it out. So what would be an objective level 5 pain your wife can block out to make it a level 2. But when she is no longer able to block it, it will come back as 6-8. Beware of this whiplash phenomenon.


Rays Blog


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