My pain is part of my life. It something I wake up to in the morning, it is something that bids me goodnight. It tells me that I can’t succeed because too much will flare me up, badly. It stops me from having normal relationships because I spend time having to take painkillers and rest. My pain never has a day off. It just has better days, worse days and days that destroy me.
It is 5 to Midnight on the 13th of March. I have a huge flare up.
I consider myself to have had a fairly normal day. I have been to uni, I have sat through classes, I have walked a bit. I feel the niggling in my knees when I wake in the morning, but I ignore it. That is normal. I felt the cramping in my knees as I sat in classes, but I moved in my seat more times than I can count. I crossed my legs one way, crossed them the other way, uncrossed them. Straightened them. Tried to ignore the cramping building in my knees.
It is 5pm on the 13th of March. I have left uni. I am walking down the road and my knee feels unusual. It feels a bit swollen, but I’m used to my body doing fairly strange things. I ignore it and keep on going. I sit on the train and feel the cramp increasing. It has spread to my lower back. I am feeling tired. I am hoping it is not a flare up.
It is 5 to 8 on the 13th of March. I have spent the last hour lying on my bed because moving would cause the cramping in my knees to get worse. I consider putting my pyjamas on but I fear the cold touching my legs will make it worse. I hope it will pass. I pray that it is just a little bit of pain.
It is 5 to 11 on the 13th of March. My body feels like it is slowly burning. I can feel a flare up happening. I wonder what I did wrong. I wonder why this has happened. What did I do today? I guess I sat a lot today, my joints hate me for that. I can’t even do normal things without my body hating me for it. I can feel the pain getting much worse. I decide I have to take painkillers tonight. I know that I will find it difficult to sleep.
It is past Midnight, I have been writing this post contemplating how your day can be turned upside down by a flare. My first port of call was Deep Heat. Even the gentle spray on my knees cause a backlash of pain. I lay my laptop on my duvet, and the reverberations of the keyboard can be felt on my legs. Every single word can be felt in my body. I can’t decide if writing this post distracts from the pain or just makes it worse. My legs want to curl up into themselves. The pain I feel in a flare up is indescribable, but it makes me want to cry. It is the worst pain I ever feel. The duvet on my knees is causing the skin to feel delicate and ready to break.
I finally take painkillers, and I wait for them to kick in. I know that they will never take the pain away, fully, but always give me a little chance of sleep. They always subside the pain, even if just a little. I know that when they work my muscles will relax, my legs will uncurl themselves and my kneecaps will gently rest, rather than crunch again my bones.
I don’t have a flare up every day. I am not in ‘pain’ (what I consider) every day. It is aches to me, every day, and it is what I am used to. I am tired most days because my joints work hard to keep me upright. Chronic pain is unseen, unheard and half the time it is never known about. My flare ups come absolutely out of the blue, most of the time, and they are sometimes the worst pain I have ever felt. They can last for hours, they can get worse and they can be extremely tiring.
My chronic pain does not stop me from achieving because I tell it where to shove itself. My chronic pain will never hold me back because I will not let it be my enemy, but more a part of myself.
My chronic pain will not be the end of me.