Pain is Stealing My Life

Honesty & Hope (a.k.a. No Pain, No Gain) by Sheila Kalkbrenner
Honesty & Hope (a.k.a. No Pain, No Gain) by Sheila Kalkbrenner

“Wholeness means embracing brokenness as an integral part of your life.” Parker Palmer

Two days ago I woke up with the worst kind of Fibro pain, the kind in my back where it can even hurt to take a deep breath. Usually my pain sits somewhere between a 2 and a 5 on the pain scale, hitting a 6 or 7 during flare ups. But this is like an 8 when I move and nothing is bringing relief. I can mildly mitigate it by smoking pot, sitting very still against a lot of pillows, and using a heating pad. My back is actually discolored from how much I’ve used a heating pad over the past year. I’ve scarred the top layers of skin because it’s a small sacrifice when heat relieves the intensity of the ache.

While it is relatively easy for me to accept heart brokenness, it is damn hard to embrace this brokenness.

I don’t understand what the pain is teaching me. I am doing everything I am told I should make things better – good diet, supplements, medicines, yoga, walking, good sleep, and support from my loved ones. I don’t know what else I can do.

I am on my third day of bed rest and the fogginess of dealing with pain through heavy use of marijuana (yay for legalization!). I called in sick to work today because I can’t imagine trying to sit in an office chair all day, especially without the relief of the only medicine that works for me right now but isn’t allowed in the workplace (it’d be fine if I was on narcotics!). I have to go back tomorrow no matter how I feel because I only have one day of paid time to spare. While I am blessed to receive generous PTO, since I was hired in February a conglomeration of physical, emotional, and family issues have required me to take leave as I earn it.

This kind of pain is rare for me. I can usually function through my pain at all levels – at least enough to get through a work day and a bit of time with the baby. This is disheartening since I’ve finally taking Lyrica again and had such high hopes it would help. It still could, especially since I’m only a couple weeks in and taking half the dose that worked for me before. But I don’t see my doctor again till next week. I just don’t know what’s causing this intense flare up or if I can do anything to make it better.

Pain is stealing life from me.
I miss my friends. I miss going out – to music, theater, art shows, etc.
I miss being active in volunteer service and leadership in my community.

I miss being able to help with our son the way I did before I started working. It’s hard to admit to myself or anyone else, but I felt like a Mama then and I don’t anymore. That makes this brokenness so much harder and contributes to my need to move out.

I wish the people around me could truly understand what it takes to manage pain on a daily basis and how withdrawal is the kindest choice for all. When my pain levels are higher, I have to minute-by-minute spend some part of my attention on pain management. I have to do what I can to make myself comfortable. I have to push the pain into the background of my mind and diligently hold it there so that I can focus on work tasks and have grace with the people I interact with (rather than taking the pain away, weed helps with this). I mindfully manage my pain so that it doesn’t take control of my emotions. I’ve seen the way pain can consume people and then they walk around flinging it on everyone around them in hurtful ways. Retreating into the most comfortable place I can be is my way of preventing my pain from hurting others.

I desire with all of my being to have relationship and build community.
I am confounded by how this brokenness is an obstacle to doing so.
Pain is stealing my life and I need to figure out how to get it back.

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