My book.

My book.
"Fascinating" Stephen S. Hall. writer, N.Y.Times magazine. "Hard to put down." A.C.P.A., American Chronic Pain Association.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011


It is the holiday season. Commericals and advertisements everywhere. Give. Give a gift. Give. Make a donation. Give. Of your time.

What about us, those in chronic intractable pain? I think we have a different give agenda and history.

The first two 'gives' are almost antithetical; to give in or to give up.

I decide, for me, to read or write, even this post. The pain gets really bad. Do I give up? Stop what I am doing? Get so angry/depressed that I decide no more blog. No more books, It is not even worth the try anymore. The pain is my life.

For those with body pain - do I not get out of bed, tie my shoes, make lunch, for many who are still able to work, resign or quit? Ohhh. Resign. That is a perfect word.

Give up. The pain is stronger then I am. Resign to the fate of the pain.

I do not have to.

I could give in instead. Surrender to the needs of the pain. Take the medication(s). Accept the sensations of narcotic. Stop all activity. Rest. My body, or for me, my eye. Let it be my life. Until I have recuperated enough to start up again. That does not always feel good. It helps the pain but still feels a surrender, a capitulation. Captivity to the pain.

And then the third 'Give".

Give myself the freedom to accept the pain as a part of my life, but not my life.

Give myself permission to do what I need to to incorporate the reality of pain into my day, into my life.

Give myself the pat on the back. "I can do it."

It is funny. So many people in pain tell me stories about friends, colleagues, family, mocking their pain, disbelieving it, refusing to hear the cry of "I can't" or "Help me."

In my own life and in theirs, it is rare, sometimes never, to hear the positive "Good for you. You succeed in having a life in spite of pain. You soldier on and do what you need to to not let the pain take you down." So few, if ever, "I am proud of you, of the fight you make to get through each day, of doing what you need to do to live."

This is my give to you.

I am proud of you. You put so much effort into living with the pain and getting past it so that you have a life. You agree to try things that most people would not agree to in order to try and help or even stop the pain. Your fight, our fight, is a hard one, one that those who fall into a chair and moan when the hammer hits their thumb, could never imagine.

Give. To yourself. All of the kudos and back pats, those that have not come and those that you have not given yourself. You deserve it.


  1. I've been doing this not as long as you did it, just 11 years, but in every word you wrote, I could find myself in there...
    I have to start "give to myself" and not to try to give always to others....try make them satisfied, find an excuse for me why I can not be a such good friend....well I'm in pain 24/7 ...the world is still spinning....I wish you all the best!

  2. I have a lot of physical problems. I also am bipolar. Today I was told by a specialist that I have R.A. (Rheumatoid Arthritis). I know about pain. But when he confirmed that I had this dread disease, I just broke down and cried. How can I face the pain to come? Haven't I had enough pain already? Haven't I received more than my share? Thank you for reminding me that I can choose to live my life DESPITE the pain, that I can live my life AROUND the pain, accepting when I have to slow down or even stop and celebrating what I can accomplish THROUGH the pain. I have come a long way, and I have a long way still to go, but I know I will make it.

  3. Becky,
    Good for you. I know how hard the fight is but your attitude will definitely make it easier.

  4. Thank you. I really needed to stumble across this. I am new (about 2years) to ra and fibromyalsia. I am still learning to navigate through all of this. Nobody can prepare you for all the changes ra can bring about. I know this comes with all diseases/cancers/illnesses. I have been labeled an overachiever, at times as well as a people pleaser (I want everyone to be happy, if I can help it) and perfectionist. I never sat still. My refusal to slow down has been catching up with me. When, in reality, I was much slower and frustrated because I can't do it all. My feeling has always been that if they ask me too, they must expect that I can. I didn't want to fail, so I would/will deliver. After a 2 day crash following Christmas, I understand I need to modify, not give in, but modify.

    I hope your gift to your readers is not one you would mind being re-gifted. I would like to wrap it and give it back to you as a reminder for you to give the same to yourself.

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.


  5. Rachel, I am glad you found it.
    It does come with all diseases but chronic pain is also different in that it is truly invisible. Makes it harder for folks who dont want to believe to believe.
    I am sorry you had the Xmas crash but as someone who is/was also a people pleaser I know the state of they ask me to do ( ) even though I can't, I will. I am working on changing that.
    Thank you for the regifting. ((*_*))
    And Happy holidays to you too.