I bet the first thing you thought was, ‘she’s having a flare’. But you know what? I’m using the word ‘fire’ in the way that people living with chronic pain only dream [...]
I'm so hopeful for 2022 because I can now so confidently say, 'I can't make it IRL, can we zoom?' without apology or explanation. And, this year it also got a whole lot easier to slap down my cushion in the middle of a full restaurant... and sit on it. It's also become easier for others to understand why I couldn't be somewhere and it became hilarious listening to people rave about online shopping (hello, we've been doing it for years, even before it was all setup online officially). I bet you can rattle off many examples of feelings of inclusiveness – even the word inclusiveness managed to pop up on this website for the first time, where until now, all we could talk about were our exclusions and how foreign we felt within the world.
I’ve been wanting to give a personal account on intimacy and chronic pain but never quite knew how to approach it properly. I was so grateful when [...]
Lockdown time appears to be crucial for pacing back to whole life. Every lockdown has given me a leap of some kind. I genuinely think lockdown together with my spinal cord stimulation has armed me like never before in this 14-year journey. There are moments I'm so comfortable. Of course, it's seconds and minutes, but it's soooooo freeeeeeeing. I 'just' walk over to get something – nothing is restricting me. No fog, no warning signal; it's just me moving in the space. So I can totally focus on what's in front of me, I can hear the quiet, notice the dust and envisage all the things I plan to do.. to the end! It's an uninterrupted dreamy sequence! If memory serves me correctly, this is a typical experience and a sequence that should be totally taken for granted instead of awed. I haven't experienced this before lockdown. EVER. CHECKPOINT: 14 years, 4 months and 21 days (or 5257 or 172 months, 21 days), I have experienced a short uninterrupted sequence of normality.
Or my nervous system's fault either. Have you ever let your mind wander beyond the boundaries of chronic pain research? I can't help it, my mind flies around all over the place! Today, it's in Maroni, a village in Larnaca Cyprus. That's where my mum was born. I've been wondering alot about village life lately. And more specifically about my grandmother (Giagia) and her lifestyle in Maroni. I've visited Cyprus four times – each time without pain! I really love mum's village Maroni, it's beautiful. I always make a point of walking around the whole village when I visit so am very familiar with its nostalgic, stony, dry characteristics. I love the feeling of my feet on the ground in Maroni – not sure what that is. Perhaps a memory...
Everything that chronic pain had undone in the first nine years of this 14-year nightmare, Theo and I have managed to finally mend. Stitch by stitch, we made a new house, founded a new livelihood, purchased a more comfy car, made new friends, welcomed a different breed of fur child and all of this in a new (unfamiliar) town. It's a rebirth! All of this, driven by the hunt for pain management after a ball pop, drop and a bang. Or was it...?
I've gotten up on my feet only to find myself back down again a few thousand times in the past 13 years. I use my personal chronic health issue to try and understand the management of COVID-19. As mentioned in a few COVID-19 related blogs, there are similarities with chronic illness in the way the virus attacks a human. Qualities like its invisibility, the way it can affect life, the way it has affected livelihoods and the ongoing power over humans are all mountains I've had to get over. And over... and over. And will have to continue to get over.
Not knowing what's ahead is a familiar nightmare for people living with chronic illness and injured workers and their families. This lived experience has been misunderstood. This lack of empathy could not have been understood without the personal experience of something like COVID-19 – something impacting the world. Even Governments may just get a glimpse of looking down at their feet and feeling the ground below them is trembling. Being unable to make plans and left dangling, waiting to hear about a way forward – whether you can resume work or even have a job (or business) is excruciating. Add a long-term health issue to that equation and the world begins to fall in on you. You can't help but ask, 'will I get through this?'