A (chronically) fabulous weekend

I had *such* a good weekend-hosting another ace LB party, followed by a 36hr mates movie weekend of late nights & being up early enough for McDonalds breakfast (with 2hrs to spare-such is our dedication to fitting in an extra movie!).

The cost of this fabulous exertion for me, however, is increased aches, pain & more tiredness than my non chronic-pain-enduring friends. So instead of doing the few things on the To Do list I diligently wrote up before bed yesterday, to do when my mates had left, I crashed on the sofa & napped instead of going to church this eve (very disappointing as it’s a great talk topic at the mo!); dinner was brought to me on the sofa by my kind husband who knew enough to rouse me to eat tonight when I’d have rather slept but actually needed the energy & enjoyment of the eating more (he’s a keeper!). The weekend’s activities were absoluteeely worth it (!!!) but in hindsight, having the movie weekend off the back of the party was over zealous social planning (I can hear other chronic-pain endurers going ‘duh!’).

OK, I know that describing two days of mooching on the sofa watching (brilliant) films & eating guest-made treats as ‘exerting’ sounds ironic but it’s not. I also know I am FORTUNATE! Yes I wake in pain every day & sometimes cry in pain or, moreso, from the physical & emotional tiredness from it but, hello, I danced, chatted, served, laughed & ate & drank from Friday to Sunday, & had more fabulous fun & conversation than many healthier peeps this weekend! Amidst the hosting, I let my friends/guests wash up each morning while I got my pilates groove-on cos hey, I’ve learned how to receive love & help (well, am learning), & also because I believe that it’s kind to let others show love & appreciation through service if they want to.

The time with mates has been so wonderfully nourishing for me mentally & emotionally as we watched great stories, had fun & scintillating conversation, deepened new friendships & ate & drank heartily. But it’s also been two eves in a row of 5-6hrs sleep for a body that needs-& rarely gets-9+hrs to be rested, but which will still wake in aches & pain every single morning regardless of how many hours sleep it gets, cos, y’know, chronic pain life. Nonetheless, now I’m more & more aware, & ACCEPTING, of the need for chronic pain *self-care* planning, I’m learning to plan better in future. So I’ve written off the To Do list: I’ll just have to suck in choir practice tomorrow as I haven’t the energy to rehearse tonight, & I am cashing in on the on the best perk of my job (well second best after the free coffee!) & am going to work from home tomorrow-a luxury for which I am immeasurably grateful!! So this is me being open. As I write that my face is saying ‘ugh’ as I hate vulnerability & showing any weakness! But, I’ve realised that is colluding with internalised ignorant societal norms which dictate that physical & mental health = strength when, in fact, it takes *real strength* to recognise, accept & acknowledge one’s needs & limitations. So here are some of mine laid bare. And they don’t make me any less (chronically) fabulous!

Whyyyy Meeee?

How often a lifetime, a week, or even a day, do we impulsively decry ‘Why Me?’-be it to God or just LIFE itself? I’d venture the answer is, for many of us mortals: A Bloody Lot.

The question is bizarre, & largely rhetorical, but it seems innate to our human psyche; an internal groaning against the injustice & un-goodness which permeates life. But, perhaps it’s not innate, maybe it’s a result of our North-world, (economically) developed culture? We have, thankfully, been largely inured against so many day-to-day-life-and-death hardships, so perhaps we’re more easily struck by a sense of deprivation, attack and confusion when adversities come do along?

Personally, I hate the question! Because my deep & frustrated response is almost always ‘WHY THE HELL NOT ME? If I ask ‘Why Me?’ because of accidents, losses big & small, and deep tragedies surely I’m required to cry ‘Why Me?’ when I sleep in my warm bed having passed a homeless person? ‘Why Me?’ when I hug my absolutely amazing husband while other people far more worthy & qualified for spousehood than me grieve their lost dream of a lover & children to come home to? ‘Why Me’ when my intense pain passes & I can get up & walk, dance & crack on independently when other chronic pain sufferers frequent hospitals while I frequent bars? So basically, why the fuck not me? We all hear tales of people who smoke 500 cigarettes a day & live to 90, and yet know healthy people who get cancer. It is unfair! But, it’s equally unfair that I am happy and healthy when others are not-hence fighting to help others’ lives be better while remembering that regardless of how ‘good’ any of us (think we) are , shit. just. happens (see my blog post aptly titled ‘Shit Happens’).
Because of this view, ‘Why me?’ is a question I rarely ask…but I confess I did ask it a few weeks ago, when my pain was worse than usual and I was emotionally low & physically draaaiiined. At the time I was laying down with needles stuck in me, seeking relief through Acupuncture (God bless the NHS!), but instead I was overwhelmed by a needle literally stabbing my knee, & was near tears in pain. So, I confess, I had a little pity party in my head & cried to God ‘Why do I have to deal with this pain all the time-why me?’. The answer from God/my sub-conscious (delete as you choose) was unexpected. I expected Him/me to agree with what I’ve said above (i.e. Natalia, whyever not you, are you Miss Oh So Special?!). Instead, I felt a sense of how sorry & sad God was that I had to go through this & a simple, comforting reminder that He was with me through it. That’s all. And, in that moment, it was enough.