The Gift of Pain

i suppose pain is what grounds me, and for that i am always grateful. nevertheless, i do find myself resenting this gift of pain sometimes (if i can even call it a gift). perhaps i’m mad, but chronic pain is especially humbling. i can’t speak for anyone else though.

pain, although silent and insidious, screams at me with each day that i experience it. it demands for attention, insists that something is to be done, argues for more, and then stubbornly sits in my joints despite kicking up a storm. i used to be do what it wants me to do in a bid to quell the pain, and even though it gives me relief only at times (it has a mood of its own), i’ve grown weary. isn’t it tiring to be at the mercy of pain 24/7?

in all honesty, it actually is. the pain that RA gives makes me feel like i’m being held hostage in my own body. like i’m stuck in this body that isn’t age-appropriate, yet having absolutely no way out of it. i’ve tried buying my way out of it, but it is futile, i tell you. all that prednisolone screwed up my metabolism and made me gain weight. all the NSAIDs and analgesia don’t work, adds to my polypharmacy, and are expensive. this game that i have inadvertently started to play with drugs has made me very disillusioned, and it is also for this practical reason why i’ve halted my tracks in my chase for pain-free days.

this gift of pain has taught me many things- a life with chronic illness/pain, coping and tolerance, knowing and pushing my limits, understanding and empathy, patience and giving things time, and of course a better appreciation for all that i have. all of these would never be possible had i not have RA. it has shaped me as a nurse, and continues to contribute to my identity as a nurse. however, if there must be one thing that i do not like, it is the conditioning through the years not to talk about my pain because it is a sign of ‘weakness’. i find myself having difficulty talking about pain, or even about RA to people like my doctors, colleagues and friends. and i wish it never had to be like that.

as mentioned, i’ve decided to stop chasing after a remission simply because it gets too energy-sapping. i know that the pain feeds into my depression, and that the inflammation will eat away at my joint cartilage. it’s not good, but after some 6-7 years of treatment with nary a remission, i am resigned. i’ve decided that i’ll take each day as it comes, and that makes life more manageable. don’t be mistaken though; i’ve not given up. it’s more like managing expectations. if i have flares, then so be it. if i don’t, then good for me.

well, whenever i am about to float into the sky like a balloon (and become disillusioned), pain comes along so very timely to ground me. and for that i am grateful. that is the gift of pain for me, and i think i wouldn’t give it up for anything else.

and He said:

“For I am with you to save you and deliver you”, says the Lord. -Jeremiah 15:20

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,”This is the way, walk in it.” -Isaiah 30:21

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