Dealing with chronic pain on a daily basis
Every morning I get out of bed a little too early. I wake up at 2am or 3am or 4am. Sometimes I have a migraine. Sometimes my entire body aches. Sometimes I just can’t stay asleep.
I get up and make myself a pot of coffee. It’s several hours before I need to get ready for work.
I sit and write for a couple hours.
Then I do a workout. Even though my body hurts. Even though I’m exhausted. i still try to move my body.
I go to get some exercise before work because I’ll be sitting all day in front of a computer. In fact, that’s how I spend most of my days. Either in front of a computer at work, or writing at home. The part that matters is that I sit. For hours. It makes my body seize up in more pain.
I never thought I’d be like this. I used to run nine miles without even thinking about it. Now, I walk a mile on the treadmill, walking out the soreness in my muscles. It’s the one thing that sustains me.
Sometimes I can’t move. Sometimes it takes all my effort to move. It can last for days or a week. I don’t work out on those days, but I do continue on with my life, coping as much as possible. I take my antidepressants, and my migraine pills. I see the doctor and get trigger point injections and steroid injections. I avoid narcotics or anything that would leave me addicted. I don’t need that too.
I also do yoga and meditate. I rest my body when it signals to me that it’s had enough. And I walk. I walk without going anywhere.
When I’m feeling really good, I walk faster. And I lift weights, at least until the pain rears its ugly head again. Then I rest.
My insomnia is the worst part, really. I know when I wake up at 2am and can’t go back to sleep, it’s going to be a bad day. Especially if I have to work that day.
Naps are my best friend.
Being an introvert, I stay away from too much stimuli. I don’t like parties with a bunch of strangers. I like one-on-one conversations with my friends. I love spending time with my husband. I like having my kids around. My dog is my companion. That’s enough for me.
As I get older, my body changes. I never know what new issue age is going to bring me. All I can do is be ready and maneuver through it as best I can.
Still, I love life, even though I’m in constant pain. When I look back at recent memories, I remember the good parts, like when I walked down the aisle to marry the love of my life. Or when an old friend comes into town and we meet to catch up on our lives. Or when I help a patient and feel accomplishment that I’ve fulfilled my lifes work again.
I never remember the part where I’m in pain. I only remember the good parts.
Pain is a constant for me, like breathing. It’s always with me. It has become my unwanted companion. My only choice is to embrace it and carry on with my life, regardless.
My body needs me to move it through the pain. My body has been beaten and abused, and now it’s like a child, needing my attention. I give it the gentle attention it never used to have. I encourage my body to get up and go, like a cheerleader on the sidelines. I love on it, and give it exercise, food, and rest. I listen to what my body is telling me. I promise my body that I will take care of it.
I continue to move, because I know this is what’s good for my body. Even though it protests. Even though it hurts. I move gently and work through the pain, until my body thanks me.
I know that my life can’t stop because I’m in pain. So I keep moving.