Chronic pain is a part of me. I live with it but I don't thrive with it.
There are now two sides of me: The side that can no longer take a single moment more of the misery pain brings, the kind of pain that demands to be felt, that leaves you wailing inside, stoic on the outside… And then there is the side of me that knows this cannot - and will not - be how my story ends.
You look at me and see the smile on my face, the smile that so easily hides the lady that’s inside; the lady who feels hopeless, lost and completely broken down. On occasion, there are still moments where the old me surfaces…the overly determined and ambitious type A personality I used to be. The one with the deep need to prove herself, to push herself past her limits and achieve what people don’t believe her capable of.
But these days I see her less and less.
Days fade and bleed into one another; my life swiftly passing by. Some days I can function, others I have to give in to the pain, put life on hold and let my body reboot. I resent those moments. I resent those days. God made me to be full speed ahead; pain makes me pause. If it isn't the chronic sinus infection, it is lupus... or fibro... or something else... or all of the above... but it is always pain.
Years ago, I woke one day pain free. I cannot remember a day prior to this day nor a day since that day of being pain free. I asked Steve if that is the way I was supposed to feel... He just stared at me.
I don't think anyone without chronic pain understands those of us with chronic pain. Bumps on the road hurt us - even little ones. They are approach them with no thought at all. We cringe when we see them coming, brace for the painful impact and cry out when it bolts through us. Oblivious to us, they barrel through life without a care in the world.
A drop of water on a stone does no damage, but constant dripping eventually erodes and changes the shape of the stone forever. That is what pain has done to me; it has worn me down and changed me forever. That is what people without chronic pain do not understand; it eats away at us day after day, month after month, year after year until you wonder if this is all there is left of you. It strips your smiles, your goals, your happy dreams and your will to thrive. It has left a void that cannot be filled - one that makes me angry, desolate, reminiscent and longing for "Oh! The things I could do..."
If only I were pain free.