So here's the thing- I want my life to be about more than my pain. I don't want to just be known as that sick woman. I don't want to be consumed day in and day out with pills, pain, doctors and trigger management. I feel like it's important to have goals that I'm working towards. After all, I'm still the same layered person I was before chronic pain. I still have a variety of interests and issues that I'm passionate about and even dreams for the future.
So here's the problem - I AM living with chronic pain. In fact I'm living with 3 chronic pain conditions. There is no pause button I can push while I pursue other things. No way to get a vacation from dealing with the daily chores of managing them. I have to take my pills and manage the prescriptions. I have to manage my activity level, being careful not to overdo it on a day when my pain is low and pushing myself to still do things even when my pain is high. Everything I want to do, outside of my normal routine, has to be carefully planned to limit my exposure to triggers and the extent of pain I experience after.
So often it just feels like my whole life revolves around my pain. I know this is how it has to be but I do wish I could find a way to let more things in. Turns out chronic pain is a very time consuming business. Actually, it's also a very exhausting business. Making matters worse, often it can look a lot like nothing at all.
As I sit here thinking about the path I'm on right now I can't help but think there is something universal about what I'm feeling. I can imagine healthy women my age struggling with the same thing - a life that seems to be defined by a circumstance to the exclusion of a more complex and whole self. Maybe some women my age have focused on their careers and feel like they may have missed out on family stuff or other interests. Maybe some women my age find themselves feeling like they have started to lose their identity to motherhood.
Maybe all I, or any of us, can do is to try to live as balanced a life as we can given the parameters of our reality.
I guess, in some way, I've been able to still set goals and work toward them. I always have projects that I'm working on. I crochet, I sew, I bake, I attempt to grow stuff in containers during the summer... These are all great distraction from the pain but these are not the things I imagined I would be doing at my age.