Chronic pain is a beast. It tries to eat you up. Body, soul, and mind.
As I face another doctor appointment, another surgery, another out of state stay looking for answers, I wonder to myself “is this my life now?”. I never felt like I recovered from the last surgery, and here I am facing another one.
Once, many years ago now, I was an athlete. When I could no longer be physically fit, I focused even more on my music. Started preforming for many local functions, did a few charity concerts, sang in choir. When my health declined further, I stuck to singing at church, started doing more crafts at home. I created my own teddy bear pattern and made teddy bears out of thrift store jeans. Now, one morning of singing becomes three days of severe head pain. Tendonitis and back pain keep me from sewing or playing the piano. Is this how the rest of my life is going to go? Losing the ability to do one thing after another until there is nothing left?
The doctors told me when I was diagnosed that my condition is progressive, I knew it would get worse over time but not this fast. I have seen other patients fight so hard for their old life, that they will put themselves through whatever it takes to get their original self back, and they destroyed their body in the process. They are now wheelchair bound, taking countless medications, just trying to survive. I’ve seen some patients accept their diagnosis so completely, that they don’t try to do anything. They sit home sending each other messages about how awful life is. I have seen some patients, fight just to have a life. Not their old one, just a life lived to the fullest their situation will allow. Some succeed, others are still just surviving, because there is no formula you can follow, no road to success that you can map out. It is just you and your beast, fighting for power, every day.
The beast is big and strong and sometimes he takes a bite out of you. When he does, it is hard not to feel depressed, defeated, hopeless and afraid. It is difficult to keep fighting
when you feel like every day you are losing ground and the end is inevitably coming. The thing is the end is coming for all of us. Sure it might be easier some days to give up and just let it happen. However, even with all I can’t do. All the things I grieve the loss of. There is still so much I have, and so many beautiful things I don’t want to miss out on.
I am blessed with a wonderful family. A husband who would give me the world in a heartbeat if he could. I live in a home with a view of breathtaking sunrises. I have friends that are there for me, in person and in spirit. I have witnessed a child enter this world and take her first breath. I have sat at the bedside of a friend singing of angels as he prepared to meet them. I’ve watched kids mature into adulthood and become amazing parents. I’ve experienced the kindness of strangers. I’ve seen God at work around me. These, and many more, are things that I can be a part of whether I am an athlete or an invalid, and I don’t want to miss any of it. So I will keep fighting the beast. Every day. Maybe someday I’ll tame him. Maybe I’ll still be facing off with him 50 years from now. We’ll just have to take it a day at a time and see what happens.