Chronic Pain

I’m writing this from a very comfortable position on my floor with my giant (thank you Costco and Momma) stuffed bear supporting me.

I note that, because comfortable positions are hard to come by.

Over the last four years of my life, due to over-training when I was in contortion classes (and, honestly, over-training in everything), I have had pain that stems from my low-back and radiates into my legs. There have been periods of time where I’ve barely noticed it, and then there are periods of time like the last five months where the pain has been awful on a good day.

I finally got an MRI done this summer, and it showed that I have two herniated discs in my lumbar spine, osteoarthritis, and what looked to be a healed fracture (when did that happen?? Honestly nobody knows). The treatment plan was physical therapy until it improved.

But, as this body and I are frequently at odds, it did not improve. A little over two weeks ago I got an epidural steroid injection to relieve swelling, with the hope that it would also relieve the pain that comes with the swelling.

This body doesn’t particularly like steroids, and I ended up nauseous with a terrible headache, and in an increased amount of pain for a week and a half. When that all subsided, I was hopeful that improvement would show and I could get back to my “real life.” The life that I live when the pain is minimal.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t been true. While the post-injection pain has decreased, I am still at the level of pain that I was at before the injection. I am continuing to engage in physical therapy in the hopes that it will help, but at this point I feel disappointed and…

Angry.

Anger isn’t really an emotion I have understood for a long time, so to feel it now makes me uncomfortable. And I’m not angry at the situation, or at the medicine, or anything to that point.

I am, specifically, very angry at this body.

It is hard to write this on a blog that is recovery-oriented, but it is true. I have avoided writing for some time in the hopes that this would change. But it hasn’t, so I am writing it.

It feels as though this body has betrayed me. It feels as though it has rebelled and removed all control I once had over it. It feels as though this body is getting even for the years of pain and misery I put it through. Which, to be quite honest, is fair. But I am still angry.

As someone who once took great pride in the fact that I could manipulate this body into what I wanted it to be, I feel lost. I spent so much time making this body hard, untouchable, and nearly invisible–and now I take every elevator available, sit on classroom floors, and ask people to help me get places. I am, essentially, everything I didn’t want. I take up space, I need/ask for help, and I am wholly visible.

While all of that is written in past-tense, it is important to note that old ideas can resurface at anytime. The anger at this body is not rooted in it being in pain (though that does not help), it is rooted in old ideas.

The point here, is not about this body, or my experience at all. It is that, sometimes, recovery gets hard. It is that, sometimes, we encounter situations which make us resentful and angry. It is that, sometimes, those old patterns of thinking worm their way back into our heads.

The point here is that we have to do the damn thing anyways.

I am mad at this body. So mad that I haven’t associated myself with it at all in this post. So mad that I don’t use possessive pronouns when I speak of it in my life.

But I have to work through it with the people that I lean on as a support system. I have to work through it with my treatment team.

do not have to work through it with this body. I do not get to work through it with this body.

I get to adjust my life and activities. I get to learn how to continue in recovery while this happens. And I get to let it teach me how to handle future situations that feel similar to this.

 

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