Bodily Function

Those of you who read this blog (and I sincerely thank all three of you) may have noticed that I haven’t been posting much lately. There’s a reason for this. I began this blog as an outlet for my struggles with weight, chronic pain, and my grief surrounding the death of my parents. At times, I have written about other, unrelated things that occur in my life. I mean, sometimes I’ll just get crazy and write a post about Key lime pie or fried chicken (see last year’s posts from February 21st and April 24th if you’re interested). What’s not to love about that? But now I find myself struggling. Really struggling. Struggling to get out of bed each morning. Struggling to write. Struggling to function on a day-to-day basis. Just plain struggling. You get the picture.

It seems that my body has betrayed me. Again. Although this has been a recurring theme in my life, I am still filled with despair whenever it happens. For eleven years now, I have had chronic, relentless neck pain and severe headaches. I have been attempting to live with it, but eleven years? Really??? Then in November I began becoming nauseated every day. This lasted for three weeks immediately before and after Thanksgiving (completely ruining what was supposed to be a wonderful time with dear friends) and now it has returned. In addition to this, my neck pain is back with a vengeance, its apparent goal being to ruin my life with its ferocity, and my headaches are worse than ever.

Last week I had an appointment with a seasoned medical professional who is, obviously, aware of my pain issues. We made some small talk and then he looked at me and said, “So just now, while we were talking, were you in pain then?” Huh? I wanted to smack him. I wanted to scream, “Of course, you idiot! Do you think I have a switch with which to turn this pain on and off? Or do you just think I’m making it up???” What he was really asking, I think, was whether my pain is indeed real and if I am capable of ignoring it to the point of not being in pain at all. And the answers to those questions are yes, my pain is real and no, I cannot selectively ignore it so I don’t feel it. But I still find it difficult to believe he actually said this to me. I’m still miffed.

What annoys me is that I have never abused the thing. (Yes, I am referring to my body as “the thing.” I am that annoyed at it.) Many of us—too many—continually punish our bodies. Whether it’s with food or alcohol or drugs, we load ourselves up with substances and our bodies obligingly sift through all of the junk and leave only the good stuff. But I have never taken an illegal drug. I don’t drink. I have never even taken a puff of a cigarette. Okay, I have been a bit of a yo-yo when it comes to my weight, but I seem to have gotten that monkey off my back. I take any and all prescription drugs exactly as directed by my doctors. I am a compliant and obedient patient.

Yet I am besieged by pain and no one can seem to figure out why or, worse still, help to alleviate it. Pain meds make me extremely nauseous. All of the other meds I’ve tried haven’t worked. Physical therapy didn’t work. Acupuncture had no effect. What gives?

They’re interesting vessels, these bodies of ours. They transport our sentient selves as we zip around on this tiny blue sphere while being hurled around the sun. Our hearts beat without us having to push a start button every morning. We breathe without conscious thought of the in and out of air filling our lungs. If we scrape our skin or have surgery involving massive slices to our exteriors, we heal. Yet these bodies are so incredibly fragile and worrisome. Just one cell gone rogue can alter the course of our entire lives.

I know I’m fortunate that I don’t have cancer or a disease that will significantly alter the length of my life. But, sadly, that knowledge does not help my pain. I can still go about my life, albeit with difficulty, but I can do it. Always in pain but pretending I’m not. But I am oh, so tired of it.

That’s where I am in my journey. Until I find an answer, I will continue doing all I can to find the strength to move forward. Ever onward, struggling or not. One step. Then another. Then another. It’s all I can do right now.


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