Dear Friends and Family,
For more years than I would like to recount, I have been battling chronic pain. Since this adversity entered my life, my world as I once knew it, has drastically changed. Every day I struggle with pain; it never leaves. But, I still have a life to lead, a job to fulfill, and dreams to follow.
Yet, some days, it has taken sheer willpower to drag my happy butt out of bed. The constant pain often has zapped my energy and made it difficult to maneuver through this life. For a time, I took pain meds, but some made me feel as if I were living in a fog. Others just created more issues. One day after taking a pain pill, I felt like a volcano had erupted in the pit of my stomach! Ouch and no thanks!
Depression followed in those days, and for a time, I started taking a generic form of Zoloft to numb myself from the anguish I felt, for I missed my former self. I missed the days of moving and living. My life before the pain was quite spectacular. I was active. Year round I lifted weights four days a week. In the summers, I added daily swimming to the mix. In the fall and in the spring, I would ride my mountain bike, and in the winter, I included the treadmill. I was outgoing, and constantly on the move while spending time with family and friends.
Post pain days, I missed the exercise and my hobbies. Gardening was difficult, and so was photography since I often took nature shots. My social life deteriorated as well. Although I still liked dancing, going to the movies, and hanging out with the girls, some days I was simply in too much pain, or just simply too exhausted from everyday living. I would accept invitations and then would have to cancel. Soon, the invitations slowed, and I would have to tell my friends that I wasn’t sure if I could make it. They became frustrated, and I couldn’t blame them because I was also irritated with myself.
Even members of my family began to make me feel like I was a failure since I could no longer live the life I once enjoyed. Unkind words cut to the core.
“Well, if you would just lose weight.”
“You can’t be eating healthy; you don’t even cook anymore.”
“I’m not inviting you over again until you have us over for dinner.”
“You always just stay at home.”
And my favorite, “If I am ever in that much pain, just shoot me.”
And yes, this once outgoing social butterfly became a recluse. But that was not necessarily a bad thing. It has given me a chance to pause and reflect. My life may not be perfect, but I have discovered family and friends who have stayed by my side and offered unconditional love, and acceptance, for which I am so very thankful. Their tenderness and support have kept me moving even on my most difficult days when I just wanted to give up. They wouldn’t let go even when I lied to myself and pretended to be okay. They have given me hope. Through this awkward journey, I have found “my tribe,” and a new family. What a joyous blessing they are to me!
So as this New Year begins, I look forward to spending time with you! I want to thank you for your love and kindness. My tribe, I wish you a year of peace, love and unimaginable joy!