I am in pain of some sort twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I never get a vacation or a day off, I never get to go on a holiday from the pain. It is my constant companion that lives beneath my skin.
For the past two days, I’ve been experiencing spasms that started in my right shoulder. Today, they moved laterally to encompass both shoulders and then they felt like taking a longer sojourn down my right side. My arms hurt, my legs hurt, my back hurts, my neck hurts, everything hurts. My shoulders are holding the brunt of the pain and its like a fire is running along my back.
But I don’t let any of that stop me. Yesterday, I went to work, went for two walks and did my workout and meditation. Today, I went for two walks during my work breaks and I will more than likely go for a swim and do my meditation. I have a life to live, after all.
I am a Tarot reader and one of the cards I draw a lot is the Strength card. I love its message of internal strength, of compassion for myself as well as others. I love what it symbolizes, that true strength comes from within. I had a friend tell me that I had to figure out what my fascination was with the Strength card, why I felt such a pull to it.
In the end, it’s because I am strong. How else could I get through every day? How else could I take everything day by day if I was not strong, if I did not carry a reserve of strength within me to do what needed to be done? People often tell me that I am very brave to live the way I do, to not let my disability and disease stand in the way of living.
I don’t know about bravery, but I will admit to being strong. It’s the only way I know how to be.
I have days where I can look past the pain, where it’s at a lower volume. It’s as if Max Shadow and Cedric Paulson (the MS and CP I live with) are playing music and every flash of pain is a note playing inside my body. Some days they are playing top 40 hits, songs with lots of beats and a good rhythm. Sometimes, they are playing torch songs, ballads filled with infinite sadness. Other days, they are playing rock and roll, heavy on the bass and percussion. Some days they are playing heavy metal (their music tastes are very eclectic). Those days are the worst.
They are the days when I am fighting fatigue, brain fog and a host of other symptoms because I am so focused on living past the pain.
Today is one of heavy metal days. But here I am, sitting down to write this. It is always my hope that, in writing about what I carry inside of me, I will make sense of it. I will make peace with the pain for it is the way it has always been.
I always remind myself that I have a choice: I can lay down and quit, or I can work past the pain and keep on rocking.
I always choose to keep on rocking, wouldn’t you?