"What do we think about Pain?"
I wanted to start this blog out with a question that must have a million different answers, and most of the ones I know about are pretty much my own thoughts, especially those that come in the lowest of times with Chronic Pain, knocking me here and there. It's been a while since I blogged because my one job has been to slowly recover from a procedure I had done to the nerves of my back called Radial Frequency Ablation. The procedure zaps the nerve endings with a laser to give a person relief from miserable pain. It has been quite amazing for me because the original Pain that was dragging me to Hell and back has been lessened so much that it's hard to believe! Of course, I never have a dull moment during recovery and took a hard fall just a few days ago when I tried to get out of my recliner. My foot got stuck and suddenly I saw the floor coming up to greet me fast!
It was right then when some of my hidden thoughts about Pain came racing to the surface. Instantly, my husband was by my side, worried sick and then saying, "Well, every bit of relief you just had is gone!" Thought #1: How much damage is my Chronic Pain doing to my husband? I have been blessed with an amazing man who loves me so much and reminds me of the vows "in sickness and in health" and I feel it's okay to tuck that thought away. A good friend has kept in touch with me during my recovery and emailed me some lines from a book of poetry. One line of a poem hit me with Thought #2: "I am so distant from the hope of myself" There it was–how many times I find myself wondering if Pain has truly made me distant from who I once was?
When we suffer with Chronic Pain each day, the changes we go through sometimes happen so fast there is no time to reflect as to what these changes are doing to the person we were before Pain showed up. I have learned through the years that although I do NOT like the changes Pain has brought to me, in some fashion I must allow room in my life for the changes. But I've got to remember I was here before the Pain came. And I believe with ever fiber of strength inside me that I can still be ME! I do not fool myself when making that statement because I am so different from the young, vibrant woman who was stupid enough to climb that tree. Yes, I am more aged, bent over to some degree and walk a lot slower than I once did. But Pain does NOT keep me from smiling, laughing, crying, raging–all those emotions are what make us unique individuals who have a deeper insight to real suffering.
The suffering my Chronic Pain has brought to me over the years gave me something that snuck up on me, almost a surprise of sorts, as I began to notice other people who obviously were dealing with Chronic Pain. The surprise hit me like a ton of bricks when I realized how deep my level of compassion for others who are hurting had grown! Yes, I have always cared about others, but when I would see somebody who was walking slowly with such obvious signs of Pain, it was easier to look away quickly. That was before my Tree day. Now I find myself unable to take my eyes from a person who is suffering with Pain, almost feeling like I am glued to the spot and my heart soaks in every movement they make, because it's a reminder of the rough days I must go through. Those are the times when I almost feel ashamed of all the moaning and groaning I have done over the years. But then I stop and tell myself, "Hey, you are human too–don't forget that."
I will close this with Thought #3: Pain is like a big box filled with misery and dark days. So is there any chance I could ever see this Chronic Pain being some form of a gift to me? Just asking that question feels Painful to me, but it causes me to think hard about everything Pain has brought my way, such as learning how strong I can be, fighting through the darkest of days with Pain, still being able to sit and watch a wonderful music concert on public television and allow tears of joy to fall from the sheer beauty of the music, and–best of all–feel deep compassion for others, which is the biggest reason I push myself out here and share with others who are suffering so much worse than I do.
So I can say the Gift that Pain has brought to me is the phrase I live by each day–Pain Won't Beat Me! You, too, can still find a tiny piece of Joy each day! Just keep looking for it. Never stop doing that and always remember Please say one prayer for Me and I will always say One for You.