This past weekend has been a myriad of ups and downs. Starting with Saturday, I woke up and we had our weekly soccer game for our 8 year old to be at. It was about 32 degrees and I was worried about the cold messing with my joints. Thankfully it went okay and I didn’t have any additional pain from the elements. I was okay so I had the crazy idea to go to a local festival. It was a Native American festival that involved dancing and drum competitions, tipi’s, vendors, food, pottery, etc. I also figured I would use my cane for the first time. It had arrived in the mail on Friday and I thought this would be a great opportunity to try it out and see if a mobility aid would be something I could benefit from.
We get to the festival and I get out of the car with my cane, who btw has been named Ilene. I was nervous and self conscious. Which hindsight is incredibly stupid because I highly doubt anyone would flat out tell me I didn’t need to have a cane or question my using it but nevertheless I was anxious about it. I also was really worried it would not work for me. I am always so anxious to find relief for my pain that I am willing to try anything. Lately it seems as though I shy away from going out and doing things as a family or with the kids because I KNOW it will cause pain.
Anyways back to Ilene, I started using her on my left side, as my larger curve in my spine causes my body to lean left. After about 5 minutes it felt natural, I didn’t even think about it, I just used it. We stood in line for about 15 minutes for tickets and I used it to put my weight on instead of my knees and feet. I used it when we stood to watch some of the presentations and of course used it when I was walking around. We were there for about 3.5 hours. As we were leaving I could have literally danced, but probably would have injured myself. I had minimal pain, no throbbing pain in my hips, no sharp pain every time my knees bent as I walked, no constant achenes in my ankles or back. It was mind blowing.
Ilene had literally made it possible for me to walk around with my boyfriend and kids and leave in minimal pain. I was able to enjoy my time. Normally the pain causes me to become grumpy and snappy. It lowers my patience with the kids and with the world around me. I find myself snapping and speaking angrily towards everyone and everything. I end up with resting pain face. Having a mobility aid is literally life changing. I saw a quote last night that really hit home…
“If you are questioning if you need a mobility aid, you should probably already have one”
I know that this is just one experience and may have days that it just doesn’t work but I have hope. Hope that I can experience life as a more able bodied person. Hope that I won’t always feel as though I am letting my kids and boyfriend down. Hope that I can have good, pain minimal days. I also realized that many people in the chronic pain community are not nice to themselves. We expect so much from ourselves and think that we don’t need help. We push until we break. We need to stop doing this. We should listen to our bodies and our symptoms. We need to give ourselves allowances and be gentle with our bodies. It is the only body we have.
Ohhh Sunday. Sunday has really been the definition of “You win some, you lose some”. I woke up energized from my very big win on pain yesterday. I am not sure if I overestimated my ability to do things, or if yesterday caught up with my body, or it just was always going to be a bad pain day.
I started the morning making waffles for the kids, it is basically a Sunday morning tradition in our house. Usually Mark, my boyfriend, makes them but I gave it a go this morning. While standing there cooking them I got a chair to sit in to keep weight off the lower half of my body. I could feel the aches setting in at that point. After breakfast we did our normal clean up and had the kids doing chores and I cleaned up my room, it was at a snails pace but I did it. I really started to feel the sharpness in my knees and acheness in my hips. I pushed myself more though. I had such a good day yesterday I wasn’t ready to give up on today.
I eventually realized I needed to sit and rest. After sitting for about 10 minutes I knew I needed more than just a sitting rest. I headed up to bed, where my heating pad was and proceeded to sleep for about 2 hours after crying about my frustration with the pain. I woke up still in a good bit of pain. I used Penetrex on my knees in a feeble attempt to rid me of pain, which is comical. We had to head to the grocery store and I walked around there, half laying on the buggy as I pushed it. Grocery shopping or really shopping of any kind is like my kryptonite. I hate it. The walking, the standing, the long hours some people can spend “just looking”, none of this is for me. Then throw 3 kids into the mix and it is enough to drive anyone batty.
We made it home, groceries were put away and here I am. Mark is cooking dinner, as me doing it would result in cereal for the masses. I was so confident yesterday, I was soo happy. Today was a complete 180. Some days I can accomplish everything, much to my surprise, and other days I have just enough energy to move from my bed to the couch. I really hope that my upcoming week allows more good days than bad. I really, really hate the bad days and get frustrated with myself on these days. Which brings me back to what I mentioned earlier about needing to be more gentle with myself and giving myself more leeway when it comes to my abilities. I need to practice what I preach.