life-altering pain

by kat

i have suffered varying degrees of pain for somewhere near twelve years now. so MUCH pain for the last three. sometimes it feels as though it will never end. i am told that perhaps it won’t. sometimes i feel that i am just being whiny, knowing that so many suffer so much worse. how do they manage?

i used to be so ABLE. so strong. so active. i helped my friends when they moved, never thinking twice about carrying 50 pounds or more. i hiked mountain trails. i felt the thrill of the wind in my hair as i rode my first motorcycle, a 1350cc harley named pele and, more recently, my 750cc kawasaki vulcan, pele II.

i’m having trouble understanding how three years, just three simple years, can change a young person with so many dreams, into an creaky old woman who often needs help just getting up from a chair, even if the situation at hand demands immediate attention. it feels not only helpless, but occasionally scary.

some years ago i remember my dad lamenting his newfound discomfort in simply taking walks, since he knew that he no longer had any chance at defending himself if it should become necessary. having for so long been the first to notice possible danger, the most aware, perhaps most capable even, among my friends and family, i now have a most serious understanding of his fears.

recently, sitting and enjoying an evening outside in the yard of a nearby neighbor, i saw her suddenly leap up with that “uh oh” look on her face and look up the way toward my house. “help me up!,” i said, my voice barely containing the near-panic i felt at not being right there beside her, able to see whatever had grabbed her attention. “wait a minute…” was her answer. it took more strength to just sit there and wait than i have ever needed to face down some perceived or real danger.

there are times i cry through the pain and fear and the loss of so many dreams. especially lately, since i am between doctors and for weeks have been out of the medication i take for depression caused by fybromyalgia and my other disabilities. and, there are times when i am able to view my situation in a much better light.

sincerely believing that our difficulties are some of our many teachers, true opportunities to learn about the world, ourselves, and how we might help others, gives me hope for my future. a 19th century argentine poet wrote:

“To the weak, difficulty is a closed door. To the strong, however, it is a door waiting to be opened.” – Almafuerte

June 2015

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