Diary of a Chronic Pain

I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in November, 2003 at age 43. This is a diary of my thoughts on living with daily chronic pain: its effects on my relationships, activities, outlook and faith life.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Doing a 180

You know what it's like, we all do. You have a sore toe/finger/whatever... and suddenly that's all you can think about. You bump it on everything and it hurts! You're surprised by the pain every time you hurt yourself. It's not normal. You can't wait until it's healed and you don't have to be so careful with it. When you don't hurt you take the absence of pain for granted as the way life is. Pain is an anomaly - something that shouldn't be there, something we forget about until it happens. And when it happens we're surprised.

That's what life used to be like for me too.

Now that pain is a way of life for me - it's become the normal daily experience. What's become surprising for me is feeling good. Every morning I wake up and wonder which part of me will hurt most today. Not feeling sorry for myself, just a morning routine, part of my daily reality check. If I get out of bed and my feet don't hurt I'm surprised! What a gift! I can walk to the bathroom without wincing and shuffling! If I can lift the milk gallon out of the fridge without my shoulders hurting, yahoo! Another gift! I have so much more to be thankful for these days than I did when I took life for granted. It's become an opportunity for giving God praise and for deeper personal reflection and prayer.

Funny how much we take for granted until we have some kind of wake-up call in life. Good health is a gift, but we take it for granted until we get sick. Life itself is a gift! We take it for granted that we'll wake up every morning. But some morning in the future we won't wake up. And we'll have been given a greater gift - eternal life. No more taking good things for granted. No more pain. And all the time in the universe to praise and thank God for all the gifts, large and small, we've been given. But don't wait until then, and don't wait until you lose the gifts to thank Him for them! There's no time like the present to do a 180. Just turn around and look deeply into the eyes of the people you love the most - and tell them you love them - every day.