Okay, embracing life is a complicated thing when compromised by a boatload of pain. However, it is very true that time will pass and with it our lives. We have to figure out ways to increase our quality of life such that we can win these glorious moments from the pain. Or just win moments. I like moments.
I can’t myself recall too many glorious moments I have won. Mostly I think of vacations that I went on despite the pain. As we all know chronic illness and chronic pain make vacations difficult. It is not just the planning involved in just going it is the very fact you are taking your illness With you. So you have to pace yourself. You cannot do all the things you Want to, just a little bit each day with a lot of rest in there. And there will be pain. Nevertheless, you get time with family, you get a change of scenery and you get joy. You get glorious moments.
I vividly recall the trip I took to Scotland with my family when I was 18 for example. That was a glorious collection of moments I will always remember. My great-great-grandmother was turning 100.
We returned to Scotland several years ago and it was also a glorious collection of moments I got to spend with my spouse. My cousin was getting married.
Then there are the trips that are short into the mountains. Like the one my spouse and I took into the mountains to a cabin (I cannot handle a tent, too painful). I find it very peaceful in the mountains. And though we took in the scenery, mostly by driving, and short little walks… I really enjoyed myself. I had some wicked migraines but that is Life. I treated them aggressively as I could and did what I could to enjoy the peace the environment brought with it.
And I would have missed those had I been afraid to travel with the pain. Knowing traveling tends to increase the FM pain and the migraines as well usually. Knowing that you feel like why would you even want to go? What would be the gain? There is a lot of gain, just of a different sort.
It is that way with the little moments in life. We know there will be more pain to earn those moments but we gain mood improvements, mental improvements, memories, life, glorious moments.
We have to remember however for every moment we want to earn:
- Pacing: we always have to pace ourselves. Even on those low pain days. Especially those low pain days when we feel like we can do more, but then push too hard and it leads to much more pain. That cycle is what pacing is designed to avoid. No push, and crash, cycling.
- Taking rests when it is needed. Even with people it is important to know when you need a break and take it. Tell people that you need one and suggest going for a coffee or lunch or to have a sit down for a bit.
- Leave when you have had enough. If you have reached your limit no matter where you are, understand it is fine to leave early. You do not have to stay. You are under no obligation to push your limits.
- Remember for things like FM especially that changing positions is important. Do not sit for too long. Do not stand for too long. If you go to an event that requires a lot of sitting time, go for a walk or get an aisle seat and stand beside it for a bit. For any event that requires a lot of standing or walking, ensure you are positioned by somewhere where you have the capacity to take a break when needed.
It can be difficult with pain and fatigue to have the motivation and energy to want to do anything. And I do not mean that we should jump in and go run amok. Just try to fit some moments in there. Fit some life in amongst the pain.