Life’s been whizzing by the past couple of years since my daughter started grade school. I thought I would have more time, but I haven’t. The good news it has become easier to manage my pain on a daily basis. The bad news is it’s still around lingering like an irritating neighbor that just won’t leave you alone. Still, I learn new lessons about life with pelvic pain.
Here are some things I’ve been thinking about lately:
- Living with chronic pain is often more about appeasing other people than caring for yourself – most people don’t want to hear about it, so you have to hide your pain to make them comfortable, or learn to deal with their discomfort.
- Every day is full of choices: choosing between sitting at dinner with my daughter or attending an event that is important to me, choosing between taking a walk or resting at home. Life is full of choices anyway, but pain makes these choices much more difficult and everything is a risk assessment.
- Only people with similar injuries or who live with people in pain or suffering from chronic illness can truly understand what it takes away from you physically, emotionally and mentally. It is very difficult to articulate the ways you can lose touch with family and friends, the way people look at you differently, the way you have to say no so many times when you so often want to say yes.
The pain itself is of course the biggest challenge – overcoming it, treating it, managing it – that’s first priority. After that, you enter a zone of managing the mental tasks – the daily activities. Then the top layer and the most sensitive is the emotional. Dealing with other peoples’ disappointments because of your pain – that hurts. My daughter’s face when I have to decline her invitation to swim with her that day or take her to gymnastics.
But I can’t do it all. No one can, really. It just means I say no more often than I’d like, and that’s hard for both of us. Eight years of this is enough. Truly. I wish the pain were gone. I fear it’s here to stay. It gets better every year, but not enough. Never enough.