It seems to me that my desire to write comes when my pain is at it’s worst. When I am feeling better, I don’t want to sit and write, I want to get up and live my life. So even though my pain has still been strong lately, my feet are finally feeling better for the first time in months, so I took a break from writing.
Unfortunately, now that the intensity of the foot pain has settled down, thanks to an increase in my gabapentin by an astute nurse practitioner that works in the rheumatology department at one of our large local hospitals, my brain is now able to process all the “other” pain messages my body has been sending…..those pain signals that were cancelled out by the intensity of the foot pain. I have learned that many times when there are so many pain signals shooting up the pathways to the brain, our brains can only handle so much and therefore some of the “less intense” pain signals don’t make it to our consciousness…..or at least not in their full glory.
Now, of course, my fibro and my osteo pain is moving to the front of the line. My fibro has been making me feel like a giant, walking, black and blue bruise and my osteo arthritis makes me feel like my joints are literally crumbling and crushed….the bone-on-bone friction and destruction of the joints themselves are extremely painful and getting worse month by month. It’s depressing and making me angry.
I sometimes wonder why, when some of the pain in my body recedes and eases up….I wonder why it is often then that I find myself getting more angry than usual. I think it’s because some of the pressure is off, some of the panic has abated and I feel a little less out of control. I think I am finally able to step back and look at it in a different perspective and then realize how angry that latest, protracted flare up made me feel, not just physically but emotionally.
My anger has been at an all time high lately. I’m not sure what it is. I am no stranger to pain. As you know if you’ve read my “About Me’ section, I have been dealing with extreme chronic pain for 31 years now. Even though it is all starting to get worse, and there are more things to deal with, such as the osteoarthritis, which hit me several years ago… (and now I am looking at a very probable diagnosis of Sjogren’s disease, something that has just cropped up in the past couple years)…..I guess I’m just seeing myself aging and realizing the very real and sure expectation of my pain getting worse as the years go by and how (??) I am going to handle that fact. I really don’t feel like I can take much more.
Anyway…..I am still just trying to keep taking it one day at a time. If I look at things long term, or even short term at this point….I can honestly say I really don’t know how I will be able to come to terms with even more pain in a body that is already wracked with pain 24/7, all while taking opioid drugs 3 x a day. I don’t want to even imagine it. But it’s happening already so I know that the future is now and it ain’t pretty. I feel like I’m falling, snowballing…..tumbling into oblivion, a black hole of pain that I will not be able to endure.
I’m trying to reach deep down inside of me and tap that inner strength that I know is within me. I have survived this long and dealt with so much shit over the years, I know that that inner strength is the only thing that I have to get me through this. I always repeat to myself an old mantra that I’ve used for all these years…..”I am the strongest person I know”. I have always said that about myself, since the very beginning of my pain journey. It’s not bragging, it’s just the truth. I truly am the strongest person I know. Because I know (and ONLY I know) all what I’ve been through from the point when I first began having health problems, mostly autoimmune diseases, then going into the fibromyalgia, etc. I think I’ve done quite a stellar job at keeping my head together considering all the obstacles that have come my way over the years. But when you have stuff like pain and illness, chipping away, constantly, for THIRTY ONE YEARS….it starts to get tougher to draw on that strength. You start to wonder if you have enough strength to get you all the way to the finish line.
One thing I have now that I didn’t always have is the internet. I spent so many days and nights, months, years….. that felt like eternity after eternity, with no way to connect to other people. As I laid in my bed, reading books and watching television….I really thought I was going to lose my mind, due to the isolation and the fear and the loneliness. Now I have access to so many other people that are going through similar situations, and I can reach out and connect with them, share with them, garner support and give support. It has made a huge difference in my ability to maintain my sanity and continue in the struggle to survive.
So…..I just try to continue to carry on. I just keep getting out of bed, getting dressed and facing each day. Some days I don’t accomplish a lot, but some of those days, just getting out of bed is a huge deal. Some days when I do manage to accomplish a few things, I give myself a pat on the back and say Well Done. No one really truly knows how difficult normal stuff can be, unless they are in a body that does not work right. A body that hurts so bad, you can’t hardly believe it yourself. Even tying a stupid shoelace for me is a challenge right now. My fingers are so messed up from arthritis it sometimes takes me four or five tries to get the damn things tied. But when I do manage to get them tied, I straighten myself up, stand up and say to myself “Well thank god that’s over with” and then head for the next challenge of the day. Each little thing is a victory. Each small accomplishment is a big deal.
I love what Bette Davis said…..”Getting old ain’t for sissies”. And I will add to that….”Getting older and dealing with worsening chronic pain ain’t for sissies, either”. Amen on that one. For sure.