A woman sleeping off fun filled day with the remnants of her outing scattered around the room.

Pain: Are You Willing to Pay the Price?

We’ve been lucky in my house over the past 2 years – none of us have caught COVID-19. That said, we are still subject to its effects. My daughter, my husband, and I have chronic conditions that require diligence in maintaining our own safety.

During the early days of isolation, we stayed in, leaving only for a walk around the block or to spend a little time in the backyard. We eagerly stood in line for our vaccines, and then our boosters. Even as the mandates are lifted, we continue to wear masks in public.

When an opportunity presents itself...

While I have been able to spend time with family and friends, this life has still felt isolating.

A few weekends ago, my group of girlfriends of nearly 20 years made plans to ease back into the social world – by going to a Drag Brunch! Two of my favorite things in this world are my friends and a great drag show, now followed very closely by going to a bar in the morning – so much better than a late night!

I had something exciting to look forward to! But as the event drew closer, my pain level increased. My psoriatic arthritis has been very unpredictable lately and I started to have more difficulty with mobility and fatigue.

On Saturday night before our big plans, my friend Brendie sent a message out to the group. “I can’t wait for tomorrow!” But I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make it the next morning, I woke up and, as I predicted, I did not feel great.

Being willing to pay the price...

I took a long, hot shower. A hot shower is my go-to solution for just about everything. It helped me enough that I could muster the energy to get dressed and make myself join my friends for drag brunch.

I knew there would be a price to pay later if I went. My pain would increase. My fatigue would be overwhelming. I decided that I was willing to pay this price. It was worth it to make new memories with my friends!

We had so much fun together! My body was charged with adrenaline but as time went by, I could feel my energy drain. I was genuinely having fun for a while, but later I felt that it was apparent that I was forcing myself to hang in there.

When I got home, I sat down in my trusty recliner and took a nap that was more restful than the sleep I had the night before. I snored. I drooled. It was glorious! Several days later I was still in physical pain, but it was absolutely worth it.

Pain doesn't need to control our lives.

For those of us living with PsA, there is often a trade-off for any choices we make. Either I stay home and miss out on a rare opportunity to do something fun and memorable with people that I love, or I join them and suffer the consequence of pain and fatigue later.

Sometimes I make the choice to stay home, but that morning of drag brunch with my friends was a reminder that sometimes it is worth it to say yes. So often, I have to cancel plans or say no when I really want to say yes. But that Sunday morning, in spite of my pain, I put on my makeup and pretended I felt fine.

And I’m so glad I did. I needed that social recharge and return to normalcy. Every now and then, you have to ask yourself, is this a price I’m willing to pay? Is this thing I want or need to do worth the pain and fatigue that I will surely feel?

Sometimes, it’s good just to let yourself have fun and remember what it is like to participate in social circles again.

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