I haven’t blogged in what feels like a very long time. It’s been a weird month and sharing it here as it was unfolding felt too difficult, so I waited for things to calm down and now – here I am.
March began with a killer flare. If I didn’t know any better, I’d have thought I was dying. Pain was high, energy was low and I wanted to curl up and sleep for a really long time. I wrote multiple blog posts in my head sharing details of the burning pain in my fingers and knees, waking from sharp pain in my back and trying but failing to cope with migraine after migraine. I worked all day and I pushed through the pain, but my face was pale and my eyes were dark. My clothes hurt, my skin tingled and everything felt like too much effort.
A couple of weeks later my dad had a quadruple heart bypass. I watch a lot of hospital dramas (shoutout to Greys, obvs) but I don’t know much about actual surgery. I soon learnt about breaking chest bones, four blocked arteries, and surgeons who were surprised my dad was still walking and breathing. I learnt about taking veins from legs and putting them in his heart (how amazing is that, by the way) and I learnt about the months of physical and emptional recovery. He’s a trooper and is doing incredibly well, and, as I sat by his hospital bed and tried to relieve the emotional pain my mum was experiencing, my flare was far from my mind. The pain didn’t stop but, hell, my dad just had heart surgery so I had to buck up.
But the pain just kept on coming. I went back to the doctors and – with the help of a motivating speech from my osteopath – asked for a series of blood tests with the purpose of re-checking for rheumatoid arthritis. The results came back abormal so they sent them away for further tests and, in the four days that went by whilst I waited for conclusive results, I found myself hoping the results would come back positive. If I got diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis I would have a condition people have heard of, I would have medication that treated the cause, I would have a treatment plan and a doctor that gives a shit. I was on the train when my GP called me. She said, “Just to let you know the results are negative. I know in some ways that might be disappointing but it’s a good thing. Okay, bye.” I’m not paraphrasing; that was it.
I made peace with the undiagnosis (okay, I didn’t, but I’m trying) and carried on looking after my mum and dad. I decided the best way to distract my mum from all the stress was to recommend Greys Anatomy – genius right?! No. Not my smartest move. Someone dies of a heart bypass in the first episode.
Then, at the end of March, I got a virus. A virus that meant I couldn’t talk for four days. FOUR DAYS. Who’s got time for that?! I took four days off sick which I almost never do and watched TV whilst my body slowly recovered from… everything.
So that’s why I haven’t blogged in a month. Because when life happens and things are busy, it’s hard to blog. It’s hard to do yoga or eat healthily or do all the things I know I need to do to manage my pain. Instead I put all my effort in to managing my life, and my pain gets pushed to one side.
Managing chronic pain is a full time job, and I don’t always have time to do it properly. I know I should, I know that it needs prioritising but sometimes there are other things that feel even more important. When my pain isn’t my top priority I know it will get worse, but I also know it won’t kill me. Sometimes it just has to wait.