i woke up in real agony this morning. there were bedroom tears (the worst kind) as the merman had to lift the covers off of me because i was too weak to get up without help. it was depressing and humiliating to say the least.
even though the merman had a similar surgery to mine and totally knows what i’m going through, as he too is still going through it nearly two decades later, i was so embarrassed that the man i worship had to see me like that. he was so kind to me and loving, but it was still really terrible.
then i weighed myself and even though my nutrition has been on point and i swam a mile yesterday, i back slid a couple of pounds. a horrifying blow. i’m sure it’s just water weight, although how there’s any water in me after all the tears i shed, i’ll never know. but still. i needed that like i need a hole in the head.
healthy people who don’t have chronic pain from injury or illness never can understand what it’s like to wake up like that. i’m talking about those people in the advil commercials who over did it at yoga one afternoon. or the people in the alieve commercials who need a little help getting up a flight of stairs. those people will never understand the sort of pain i feel. those people can never have a clue, because empathy means understanding someone else’s pain in a real, relatable way. they have to KNOW not assume, guess or kind of get, what that feels like. they have to know how that FEELS first hand or else it’s sympathy not empathy. they can acknowledge it, feel sorry for it, wish and pray it will get better, but the living with it all day every day, that’s something other people will never understand until it happens to them. that’s something just for me to know and understand. it’s MY pain.
just to give an example, it feels something like, while you slept, someone beat you up with a baseball bat and left you for dead with a note that says “no doctor can help you.” but that’s not the worst of it. then you have to get up, get dressed, try to figure out how to hold your tooth brush when your hand is numb and your arm is burning, feed everyone, get a squirmy toddler, who wants only to watch tv, dressed and out the door. and that’s all before 9am. there’s still a whole day to be lived to the fullest and i woke up already feeling defeated.
i always get the impression other people view it as unnecessary weakness. like i’m manufacturing drama for attention. like it can’t possibly feel as horrible as it does. and when i tell doctors about the severity of pain, they act like i’m drug seeking rather than in true agony. i have learned that no one will ever totally get what i’m going through and that’s okay. it’s not for them to get. it’s for me. it’s my pain. it’s my struggle. and how i choose to deal with it, is all on me.
i could’ve spent the day in bed resting and feeling sorry for myself and my pain. i could’ve explained to lil’ flipper, “sorry bud, we can’t go to the y today for bouncy castles because mommy doesn’t feel well.” i could’ve left my 700-pound gym bag home and not endeavored to swim at all. why not? that’s what the old 320 pound me might have done. who am i kidding? that’s absolutely what i would’ve done.
instead, i wiped my tears, and tried to turn it into a positive. too weak to make breakfast? there’s a whole foods across from the y. we’ll grab breakfast out. too much pain to stand while lil’ flipper runs around the gym during bouncy castles? lucky for me there’s a bench. next time, hopefully i’ll be able to run around with him like i usually do. but today, i’m being kind to myself and only doing as much as i can.
i had to drag my gym bag into the locker room behind me, because i couldn’t lift it up on my own. i will swim a mile today, even if it takes me two hours instead one, because i made a promise to myself that i will swim at least 5 miles a week, every week from now until i’m old and dead some time in the far, far, away future.
today is the sort of day that happens more than it should to me, and i’m guessing to a lot of you as well, and when it does, it really sucks. there’s no cute anecdotes to sum it up, no adorable bows to wrap it up with a pretty ribbon. it just plain sucks.
but the only consolation i can find is that, pain or no pain, today i’m doing right by myself and that’s the best i can do. and in that there is no humiliation, just my personal success. and for that i am profoundly grateful and blessed.0