“I choose to live above and beyond the space of pain.”
Pain clinic. The doctor was kind, resigned. We have come to the end of the road. He had no alternative drugs to offer. Any opioids space me. I have to think about thinking, painstakingly. And there is no joy in me. It is a trade off I cannot make. Without fire, joy and enthusiasm I am not me as I know myself.
He then went over the injection options. Because my back flared so badly with the anesthetic injections, he is worried about its reaction to ablation. He says I am so thin that he is concerned whether he could get the nerve safely. There’s no wiggle room. He can only work on the sacral nerve as the fusion above makes it impossible to see where he is going.
I can take the risk on ablation, which on a normal back leaves the patient in pain for several days, let alone what it would do to my hypersensitive back. There can also be permanent nerve damage to adjacent nerves – and I am so small that it would be easy to touch another nerve unwittingly.
So I came home, in heartbreaking sunlight. Now, I have to decide HOW to live. I meditated and it came to me that there are still, and always, the small joys – and the sunlight bathed the budding trees. A group of women walked laughing beneath my window, and I could be glad for their light heartedness in the freshness of spring.
I meditated with my pain CD, choosing our cottage, now sold, and in my mind lay on the deck beneath the birches, walked the front beside the vines, down onto the lawn, warm beneath my feet. As I reached the affirmation part of the tape, I chose, “to live above and beyond the space of pain.”
It has to be possible that my being is unmired by pain, most particularly by my awareness of struggling with pain. I must find the sunlit meadow beyond. It’s almost as if there’s a choice. Very difficult to make, like pulling one’s foot out of sucking mud.
It is possible to live on the level above coping, where my true sprit lives, the part that is joyous and unquenched by opioids. I can see it for a few moments, and then sink down to the place where I am overwhelmed and tearful. But I will try to keep reaching the plateau above, like a mountain meadow. To see the beauty and leave behind the drudgery of coping.
It is really important not to fight, but accept. Not to “kick against the pricks.” Because when I try to be forcibly brave, I exhaust myself in the effort and end up worse off. I have to reach a place where I am at peace and the drama is not played out. Be genuinely happy for another person, not gritting my teeth, trying not to mind the contrast.
It’s no good trying not to mind; I have truly not to mind.
Today, I felt real pleasure seeing the group of women laughing together and happy emailing my cousin when she sent a picture of her newborn grand daughter. It is as if when someone is happy, then each of us is also happy. Osmosis – or perhaps the quantum effect. As John Dunne wrote, “No man is an island”. The fact that joy exists is enough.
Later this afternoon, I go to my GP, who hopefully will have the results of my thyroid biopsy. Strange to be floating in no man’s land with three possible paths ahead:
- Clear and benign – just continue watching
- to see – possible removal of thyroid or second biopsy
- Malignant cells – thyroidectomy
Always strange waiting for something that is already decided – and doing a sort of mental leapfrog to tonight when I will know which way the dice fell.