WHERE ARE YOU FELLOW SUFFERERS?

Ugh, so ugly.

To say nothing of my couple of knuckles that have also joined in the revolt. They are none-to-lovely either.

My thumbs have gone to the devil, on both hands.

Luckily I never learned how to type properly, so I don’t use them much for that.

I went to an OS last summer in a lot of pain and frustration, and he gave me the lovely accouterments you see above. And he told me my thumbs will basically work until they don’t.

This spring, in a bit more pain, and unhappy with the other doc’s pronouncement, I went to the top local OS, and he told me all about the disgusting and horrible thumb surgery they can do, and its good results after a long recovery period.

He also told me this thumb thing is a bit of a mystery because, more often than not, the pain just resolves one day. The thumbs never really stop working (which was a relief to hear). He said it is up to the individual: either the pain gets to where you cannot last any longer, and you have the surgery, or the pain will resolve, and you almost forget you ever had it. He said it is an individual choice, based on pain tolerance and lifestyle I guess, and said it was 100% patient’s choice.

I’m going to try and make it to the “resolve” stage.

My pain isn’t constant. It comes and goes. I learned to kayak recently, and doing things like kayaking in the braces hurts for other reasons, so I left them home, and the next day I learned the thumbs did not like the kayaking. And I plan to do it again anyway.

The thing is, chronic pain is wearing (I also have it in my hips, from the piriformis muscle, that total bastard, all wound tight like a Republican and refusing to relax). It makes one tired. I venture to say it makes one grumpy from time-to-time, and sleep deprived. It, in my case, also comes with anxiety sometimes as I worry that my thumbs will fall off one day, even though I know that is impossible.

And for chronic pain you will often suffer in silence, as others don’t see anything wrong with you, and it can be tough to imagine it if you don’t have it. There are times when the pain in my thumbs or my hips could be a solid 10 out of 10 for days in a row. No one who is not me can grasp that, though, right?

And then there is the bonus of the fashionable braces. I try not to wear them out of the house not because they’re ugly though, but because I don’t wanna get Covid all over them. Good lord! How we must think now.

I also don’t hate my chronic pain.

Last summer I began running again, after a long time not running, and after never being even very good at it when I did run. Anywho, that hurt, running. It hurt my lungs, my legs, my pride, it was a struggle to make myself do it each day. It was a lot of varying kinds of pain. It takes some inner fortitude, and, I’m going to use a dreaded sports term, mental toughness, to do that when neither you or your body want to.

And I think I posted in an earlier post about running for the shuttle in Williamsburg and how I could not have done that last summer, but I did it easily this summer.

I’m damn glad I started running.

So, this is where the chronic pain part comes in, chronic pain doesn’t give you a choice, It’s just, “Hello, you’re going to feel a lot of pain over a long period of time, and there is not much you can do about it. You cool with that? No? Okay. Well you’re just going to have it anyway. And here we go….”

I remember a scene in the incredible film Shirley Valentine where Shirley asks a waiter how he is doing, and he says, “I have a little pain in the back, but I say to myself, at least if I have a little pain in the back, means I’m not dead.”

Chronic pain forces you to survive, it forces you to find a way to ignore it or distract yourself from it or in some other way deal with the grind of the ongoing pain.

I think it has given me a higher pain tolerance in general, and a higher tolerance for all things painful and uncomfortable. And for that I am grateful. Chronic pain, you’re like that old friend who we love because we’ve known him forever, but who is reliably a total pain in the ass, and it’s not funny anymore because we’re all over 25 and not drunk. Still, I’m glad you came to the party, because you help me be strong and cope with all manner of challenges in life.

Fellow suffers… I feel you. Hang in there. You can do it. xo~

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