When you have a chronic pain disorder, new troubles often arise that you must adjust to. Adaptation is key, as mobility can differ greatly from week to week. But although adaptation is key, it’s often challenging–even after years of practice. Sometimes, the disappointment and self-pitying sets in and all you can do is ride it out.
In the months between March and May, I was going out for daily walks with the kids and the dog. I loved it! Our little town is full of adventurous trails. But then I got really sick, with week long bouts of vomiting and nausea. When I recovered enough from that to continue with daily walks, I realized that I no longer could. A new growth on my pubic bone had made its presence painfully apparent, and now even walking three houses down our street causes me pain.
I’m noticing tasks that I used to be able to perform with some difficultly–like carrying a basket of laundry up or down the stairs, for example–are a lot harder. Laundry was always a fleet before the new issues, what with my wrists, but now it hurts even worse than before. I’m not just feeling it in my wrists, I’m feeling it in my shoulder from holding the weight of it and my hip from bending to pick it up, and then managing the stairs with its added weight.
This means I have to ask for even more help, and I hate doing that. I really do. It sucks to have to rely on other people for things I can normally do. My husband already works so hard for our family, I hate asking him to do even more once he’s home.
No matter how much I remind myself it isn’t true, I feel like a burden more often than not these days. I’m adapting slower than I’d like to these new realities. Mainly because I’m frustrated; there’s enough to deal with without my added issues. I don’t have time to wallow, and I try not to–but it catches up easily when I’m inactive and immobile, as I’ve had to be lately.
I haven’t been able to work at my desk. I’m still writing (I don’t think I’ll ever stop), but I can’t sit at the computer for longer than ten or fifteen minutes at a time. I’m not very productive during those spurts, either. Between my shot wrists and now my shoulder, my typing speed is way down. Those issues paired with the difficulty I have staying seated for any longer than fifteen minute intervals has made for a slow progress on my Grey’s Harbor novella and other projects. I’ve been writing scenes on my phone and emailing them to myself to add in later, when I have a better day and can actually sit down long at my computer chair enough to do it.
The lack of time I’m able to spend at my desk results in a serious lapse in marketing and promoting, too. It’s hard for me to keep up with that stuff on a good day, but when my days look as they have the last several weeks, it’s even harder to give that my focus. A part of me feels like a bit of a failure for it, for being unable to stay on top of all of my games, but I know it is what it is. Health is more important, it has to be.
So, here I am–doing my best to adjust to these new realities and not allow self-pitying feelings to rule me, whilst still acknowledging that they are there. They exist, of course, but they are just a small fraction and do not need to be given the room to grow.
The frustrating reality is that this could be my new normal, and I’ll have to accept that. What else can I do? If the surgeries I’m to have in the future don’t fix these issues, I’ll be no better off than I am now, and if I’m being honest…now is still pretty good. I’m still able to push myself to do things, even if the trade off is days of recuperating. The experience is usually worth it. Even if I need to use my cane more, I’m still able to walk.
And who knows? Maybe these eventual surgeries will fix those things for me. Maybe this won’t be my new norm, maybe it will be just a temporary norm. Maybe after the surgery, I’ll be able to put in five hour days at my desk again.