I read a post from one of the members of the women in pain awareness group (https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/111961795481256/ )and she reminded me of something very important; something I think many of us tend to overlook, even those not in pain. For me, it is a constant that I forget rather then remember.
I have lost a lot. My dreams, my hopes, my life as I once thought it would be.
I sometimes look in the mirror and am surprised. Who is that older women? I am supposed to be 26 still; my hair long and dark, face smooth, eyes sparkling -'bedroom eyes' Bill, my castmate from "HELLO DOLLY" called them; a mouth with the tiny smile that reads expectation and options.
I awaken in the morning and think. What is there to do today? Usually nothing, or maybe an errand or two. Is it a good morning and the eye is not swollen yet, the pain quiescent? Or am I already behind, the pain having the upper hand?
I go to the computer and start reading email. It is too much for my eye. I want to stop but what else is there to do? Who else is there, the writers often unknownst to me but still people with whom I am having a 'conversation'. It is someone, a way out of the alone, and when it is from another person in pain, someone who 'gets' it.
But even that is fraught with the loss. I don't want to have a medical issue in common, much less pain, I want to talk politics and cooking, and theater, and, well, almost anything else.
I am working on my greeting card line to get them ready for an Etsy store. That makes me happy, when I think of a joke or an illustration I can do. I get scared and upset when I take the thought further. What if I can't succeed at this? What if it is too much for my eye - to get items ready to mail out, to address the envelopes or boxes?
My fantasy is that when this is over, because it will be, because the pain will be gone, (I know it is only a fantasy but then you never know.) I will be 26 and have the life still before me I had envisioned when I moved to NYC. I will act, I will sing, I will continue with the friends I made, going out for lunch, watching parades, eating at each other's homes, just 'hangin'.
When I look at it that way there is nothing to celebrate, it is all loss and fear and can'ts.
But I can write the jokes and words for the cards. I can draw the pictures (not good but cartoony enough that they fit). Because of the Miracle I can go outside anytime I want, letting the breeze and leaves, and snow fall on my face, turn my face right into the wind, and not be in pain.
One surgery left so much damage in my neck that I have the 2 clamps and 12 pins holding it up. But, as the orthopedic surgeon told me, "You could have become paralyzed just walking down the street."
But I can walk, and breathe, and my body can do almost everything I want it to do and it can do all it needs to do. I am not as completely alone as it feels - because there is no one to touch and feel right here, right in front of me, but I do have my friend in New York and we talk almost every day, I do have my nephew, we email almost every day. It is more than many have.
I have a roof over my head, I am not destitute. One day I may be living on the edge, because of my financial situation but that is not today. Today it is okay.
So. I have a choice. Is my thinking going to be a broken record and keep repeating: the pain, the pain, the can't, the don't, the fear? Or will it play a new song - yes the pain will be there, it will get worse. I will have to stop; but right now, for this moment, for this few moments, this half hour, this hour, I am okay and it is a good feeling. Hold onto it and maybe even through the pain the celebration of the have will play on.