Monday, 5 November 2012

Life's lessons.

Four weeks ago I went for an MRI scan, The Central Pain Syndrome has been getting worse and then came a new pain that has caused cramp and red hot pins and needles in my left shoulder and arm, The diagnosis came back that I have stenosis in my cervical spine and unless I want surgery I will have to endure. I was upset with the diagnosis, but relieved that something had actually shown up. I will never know whether the pain in my arm has actually always been spinal stenosis because I have had two MRI scans of that area and have never been given a  result. The reports went "missing" once and the image was blurred on the second.

I knew that something had shown up because the woman in the Xray room was very kind when I got out of the awful machine - I nearly had a panic attack and a few times had to remind myself to keep breathing! My head was actually clamped and I think it was the feeling of being totally trapped that added to the panic!

One of my friends now has a diagnosis of a tear in one of her lumbar discs so now she is starting on the long road to recovery and I know from bitter experience how it is going to be. Perhaps I should write a book about THAT! All the books about bad backs concentrate on excercises and physio etc. but there isn;t a book that explains how to deal with back pain in a domestic setting - how to sit, how to lie, how to get walking, what to do around the house, what to avoid (lifting!!), what to do about shopping and so on.  I remember all too clearly having to walk with crutches as my back injury slowly healed. I can't remember now what I did to hurt myself so badly and at one point I never thought I would be able to walk without a stick again.

I wonder about living in pain and whether it has taught me anything at all. Sometimes I think it has stolen the life I should have lived, and sometimes the 20 years seem the only life I could have lived. I wish I could stop worrying about small things and just concentrate on enjoying the life I do have. Most of the time I am happy. I like to get out into the countryside - that makes the biggest difference, and I love to go and watch the sea come in especially when the weather is rough.

What I don't need is to listen to my mother in law saying "How the other half live...."  when we tell her that we have made holiday plans.
What I don't need is unnecessary stress.
What I hate is dark rainy weather.

What I do need is warmth, laughter, music, a good book, a wonderful day out, and the love of my husband above all.
What I need is space and time and the feeling of being cherished.

What I need is to be allowed to laugh and be free of sadness. The grief never goes away but like the pain I am in - it is absorbed into one's life so that this is now the only life I can envisage. Pain and grief follow some of the same patterns - the shock, the disbelief, the long slow road to some sort of recovery of self. I had never thought of the two that way and it is something that I ought to explore.

Perhaps this post is incoherent and I should delete it, but I will let it stand for now.

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