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Pain's grasp

Posted Jan 22 2013 6:23pm
I promised more updates and exciting news over this winter break which has come and gone. However, circumstances arose and people very close to me needed my attention and care. Now I am back in school, starting my second semester and don't have the free time I need to begin my project. What I hope to put together my next break is a small collection of poetry, entries, and thoughts I have developed over the years living with pain. It's not to be simply a motivational book, but the journey one goes through when suffering. I have found my best companion during the worst times to be quotes and poems and books and hope to generate a similar companion for others to have. Anyway, that's a small glimpse of what's to come.

Like always, a lot has happened since I last wrote. I did in fact run that half marathon I was training for and I treasured every mile. After all the surgeries and invasive treatments, I was elated to see my body perform and enjoy itself. I remember the days I hobbled around the kitchen table, where each step seemed to be a mile.

Last semester I continued to see a pelvic floor specialist at UPenn and was very impressed with my results. It is amazing how much physical therapy has lowered my pain levels. Unfortunately the therapist I was seeing moved to a different practice recently. I am currently looking for someone new, but it is difficult to balance with my most challenging semester ahead of me. I have been focusing more on maintaining pain levels myself. There are numerous stretches I do for my hip flexors and piriformis. I'm avoiding sitting for long periods of time, especially on uncomfortable surfaces. I am also spending more time doing yoga and utilizing my stim pack on my piriformis to get me through lectures. It's also a big help to have my boyfriend or good friends use their elbows to work on my trigger points.

Things have been going very well, but this past week was a bit of a setback. I think it was a mixture of starting a new semester, dealing with different stresses, and even the weather outside. I had more pain than normal and I was a bit depressed (mostly from feeling the pain in higher intensity.) I found myself retreating to my room and lying on bed, submitting to pain's grasp. Sometimes I don't feel strong enough to fight it off. Mostly I am tired that I need to actively fight it off every day. Don't get me wrong- I have been so happy the past year and things have changed significantly. It's just difficult when pain slowly creeps back in and takes hold of you. I know there's many people out there who know the feeling for many different reasons. I think it is important to know that you don't have to be strong all the time. It is okay to be upset and think it's unfair. All of us have moments we break down. What makes us strong is getting back up in the morning and tackling a new day. Sometimes we need help. But ultimately we lift our own heads back up and keep going.

"...Yet if I could instruct
myself, if we could learn to learn from pain
even as it grasps us    if the mind, the mind that lives
in this body could refuse    to let itself be crushed
in that grasp    it would loosen    Pain would have to stand
off from me and listen    its dark breath still on me
but the mind could begin to speak to pain
and pain would have to answer:

                                                 We are older now

we have met before    these are my hands before your eyes
my figure blotting out    all that is not mine
I am the pain of division    creator of divisions...
                                               And remember
I have no existence    apart from you"

from Splittings by Adrienne Rich in A Dream of a Common Language
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