I’ve written before about having chronic pain. Today I want to talk about the uncertainty of chronic pain because that’s the bit that you don’t usually hear about.
Everybody knows that chronic pain sucks. Even if you’ve never experienced it you know that pain is bad and that having it around all the time must be really bad. But a phrase like “chronic pain” also sort of suggests that the pain is not only constantly present but of constant intensity and location and, sadly, that is not how things are. At least not for me.
I’m now 3 days into a major pain flair up in my left leg. It might be the Fibromyalgia or it might be Osteoarthritis. I’ve got no way of knowing and it’s not like there’s a treatment for either of them. But there is a difference. If it’s Fibromyalgia then the pain will probably reduce or move at some point. If it’s Osteoarthritis then it’s not going anywhere. Ever.
If it’s Osteoarthritis then it’s just the new reality of my life. That would really suck because this is bad. This is extreme pain even by my standards and I have a list of the things I’ve been through that hurt worse than childbirth. This one has the potential to confine me to the house. This is me too sore to load the dishwasher or stand at the cooker even long enough to make an omelette. About the only thing going for it is that it’s not going to stop me from writing.
But maybe it’s not Osteoarthritis? Maybe it’s just the Fibromyalgia? Maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that and it will have faded or shifted and I’ll be able to do my chores again. That’s the uncertainty. I never know until I move which parts of me are going to hurt. When they start hurting I don’t know how long they’re going to hurt for. When they’re working fine I don’t know how long that’s going to be for either.
I’m also dealing with a deep sense of betrayal. Because it’s usually the other leg that pulls this shit. Dammit, Leftie, I thought I could trust you. I thought I could rely on you.