This won’t be a fun post to read. It is, however, going to be an honest one.
I guess today I’m going to write about pain. Because that’s all I can think about today. Every movement is agony. And there are so many people I know who suffer with chronic pain, and can’t get relief. I can’t write for them, I can only write for me, and my own experience.
I was diagnosed with OA in my 20s, I had it in my knees and in my thoracic spine at that time. But I was surprised about my spine since I wasn’t prone to backaches or pain, and I was slender so I guess I was surprised about my knees too. 10 years later, however, I went to the doctor for back pain and the arthritis had become worse while I wasn’t looking.
Fast forward to my 50’s and I now had good days where it was barely noticeable and other days that it caused enough pain to limit my movements…and as time went on there were fewer good days and more limiting days. I learned that if I had a very busy day where I did lots of walking and/or lots of lifting – like shopping or laundry as examples – I would then rest the next day, sticking to activities that were easy and gentle on me, and then get on with life again after that without too much physical grief.
Jumping to my mid-60s and most days are hard, my pain is always limiting in one way or another, and I can count the good days I’ve had so far this year on one hand. Today is one of the worst. Now, of course, the OA has spread to my jaw, through my entire spine, across to my shoulders and shoulder blades, my left elbow and wrist, into my hips and of course knees, and ankles and right foot; that’s the one that had a lisfranc fracture after a car accident so arthritis isn’t unexpected. And on days like today it feels like my spine is pulling on my ribs, so that even breathing is painful. Movement is severely limited, I can’t raise my left arm or lift anything at all. I can’t get down the steps to go sit outside, and can’t take Maisie out.
Because of my wrap (a nissen fundoplication I had in 2010) I can’t take NSAIDs. Because of the laws and rules imposed by my “health care corporation” I can’t take opioids or narcotics which I don’t like anyway because they make me feel funny in the head. Acetaminophen does nothing – it’s like a dart gun trying to take down an elephant. Chiropractic care in the past has proven to make matters worse. I’ve tried various supplements with mixed success. PT as ordered by former doctors hasn’t helped, not even a little bit; I think it has made my bones grind even more.
I spend more and more of my time packed in pillows to support my crooked spine, with my legs elevated to help control the edema (I also have cardiovascular disease, and am on meds for that), on my bed. I dread sneezing or coughing because feeling my spinal column misaligning and grinding is horrible, and many times starts the muscle spasms that sometimes twist my torso into grotesque contortions.
I’m thankful that I have lovely views out of the 3 windows in my room and I get lots of fresh air and wildlife hanging out to keep me company. I’m thankful for this dog that helps me get through my days, there are so many things I wouldn’t be able to do at all without her help. I’m thankful for my scwalker, without which I wouldn’t have any kind of life outside of our motorhome. I’m thankful for my ukuleles, one of which I always keep here next to the bed so I can make music to the Lord at nearly any time. Though sitting on the piano bench at my keyboards is torture most days, my ukes are light and always ready to be picked up and played. And mostly I’m thankful for the patient and loving husband who is always willing to help me, even though he has his own set of physical issues… I’m thankful for many things, especially for the joyful days like God gave me yesterday to remind me that He’s still here with me, and life isn’t only pain and helplessness. Days like yesterday are so much more of a blessing, I think, because the contrast between them and days like today is so great.
So yes I’m thankful, yes I’m blessed, yes I’m grateful to my Father for all that He provides for me. And, to be totally honest, I will be thankful to leave this part of my brief life on earth, and move on to the rest of it, with Jesus, where there will be no more pain. Because, frankly, I’ve had enough of it.