It happened again last night, I was sat there enjoying the TV and my nightly gin and tonic, then suddenly the pain grabbed my side just as it did the night before and just like then it lasted only a few minutes and it was gone. I had had some smaller spasms during the day but they weren’t anything like the evenings, they were smaller like most of my spasms but they ended and my day moved on. It’s strange how quick you become used to pain, to just letting it happen and pass by, then continuing with life as though nothing has happened. In some ways that is how it feels, as though nothing has happened. If I stopped doing everything and became all cut up and tearful at each pain, ever spasm or any nerve that wants to pass on a message I’d rather not have, well I would spend my entire day not just feeling sorry for myself, but working on all the tricks I have learned over the years. Life would be impossible, I would be doing little of anything and the result would undoubtedly be depression. I don’t know when I learned to put pain to one side, to go with it when it is there and then to let go and get on with the rest of my day. I know it was many years ago, probably back to when my daughter was a baby, your life is so dominated by having a baby that you don’t have time to be anything other than being mum, especially when your husband isn’t around due to work. I had no medication other than paracetamol, which I had to buy as the doctor wasn’t convinced it was anything but my adjusting to being a mum. I had very little money in those days, and at times found me trying to live off Teressa’s child benefit, which meant no money for anything other than her food. I had no choice but to learn to get on with it, to have a baby in one arm and another hand gripping or massaging where ever the pain was, it taught me to just get on with it and cope, just as I had to with the rest of my life. The longer you live with something the easier it get to deal with it, that doesn’t mean the pain is any less, in fact it is worse, but having learned you don’t forget and you apply it in the same way with the same systems of coping, I just don’t have a screaming baby on my shoulder to distract me any longer.
Age brings a lot of disadvantages but it also brings experience and that is what makes the difference to everything. If I was sat now beside an 20 year old who had exactly the same pain that I have, I know without doubt, I would be the one who would hardly show it, other than closing my eyes and controlling my breathing. I don’t think you can train someone to cope, you can give them the tips of what works for you, but each of us has to find what works for us and that takes trial and error. When the pain hit me last night, I closed my eyes for a few minutes and I breathed slowly letting the worst of the pain pass and wash over me, not fighting it, not trying to remove it, just letting it happen. I know the drugs hold the worst of the pain from me and I just have to let it flow, until I can reach a point where I can once again get on with life. The pain won’t have gone, it isn’t as easy as that, but once the level is liveable then that is what I do, I just get on and live. I don’t know if it works for others but I find staying totally still, not moving at all, lets the pain pass quicker. I used to fight it, to do anything I could think of to try and ease it but it never worked, in fact I think it may actually have often made it worse. Spasms usually peak and last five or ten minutes at it’s strongest point, once that passes then is the point to work on it and free it up.
There are so many different pains, spasms are just the ones you find written about all over the place and I have just supplied another, but having a combination of illnesses means I have a combination of pains and all of them has been a personal learning curve. Years ago I thought I would eventually be given a medication that would take it all away and that then my life would become normal, I guess all of us dream of that happening, but it is a dream. Medication will help to control and to reduce, the rest is up to you. Life for me is never pain free, I actually can’t remember now ever being pain free, but I am sure it once was. If I stop for a second, removing all distraction, I can’t find a pain free area at all, there is always at the very least a dull ache the covers all of me. Then there are the painful areas, smaller areas, that burn, have pins and needles, muscles that twitch and nerves that spark, nothing is silent or peaceful. Then of course in the last six months my diaphragm has increased in it’s own personal vendetta to make my life hell, now never silent, never pain free and never just working totally as it should. Each and every one of those pains has it’s own relief patterns but most, well most of them I now just live with, it takes too much energy to work on them all.
The strangest thing that someone who doesn’t have any illness will find to understand, is that you just live with it, you don’t spend your life doubled up in tears or demanding medical attention, you just live. Most are now just the back ground sound to my life, there all the time but like lift music, you tune it out and get on with it. If you want to live then that is what you do, you live, you ignore what can be ignored and pick up on what makes life good, something I have written a lot about. How we all survive our own lives is down to how we decide to deal with all it’s problems, not just illness and I have loads of them, but I don’t moan, I don’t ask for anything that I don’t 100% need and I find different ways to make my days good. No one can make pain go away, not me, not doctors, no ones, accept that and you are 50% on the way to being able to get your life back, regardless what is happening to your body. The other 50% is down to you, you have to work and learn how to be happy the way you are, strangely happiness really is the biggest healer I have found, it gets you through a lot.