My PsA Is Always On My Mind
It’s hard to imagine, but there was a time when I would wake up without physical pain. Before psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, and fibromyalgia began presenting themselves, I never had to think about how I physically felt or wonder if I would be able to make it through a day unless I was sick. I think about my pain levels all day; however, thinking about them is not enough.
A full-time job
Living with multiple painful chronic illnesses requires full-time attention. Before I open my eyes in the morning I begin my daily assessment. Where do I hurt? How intense is the pain? Once I identify the areas that are in distress I attempt to calm them with stretches, massages, or figuring out which pain fighting tool I need to whip out. I’ve gotten so good at this process that I now have a 98% success rate of predicting my body’s ability for the day. However, the assessment doesn’t stop there, I continue to assess, address, and predict throughout my day. It is a non-stop process that ends only after I have fallen asleep, because I also have to assess and address my pain in order to go to bed. Assessing, addressing, and doing whatever I can to keep my pain levels as low as possible, is a full-time job.
Even now that my pain is well managed, I always have to think about what I am doing and whether or not it will increase or decrease my pain. There isn’t one moment of the day that I am not thinking about my muscles, joints, nerves, etc. Some have suggested that I just don’t worry about it and do what I want anyways; however, that is the worst advice anyone could ever give someone who suffers from chronic pain. Thinking about my body, my chronic illnesses, and what I am doing or not doing is what has made it possible for me to live life as fully as I am today. If I were to stop my pain would increase and I would be back to spending my life alone, miserable, and in bed. While it may seem time consuming or mentally exhausting to someone who isn’t chronically ill, it has become a normal practice for me. All the work I put into listening and caring for my body is worth the payment it rewards me with like spending time at the beach or Disneyland. It’s a tough job, but I am tougher!