exiting the prison, day by day

Posted: February 9, 2017 in Uncategorized

I felt like I was still in my own little prison last night when we had to leave a church event early, per usual, so that I could get home and be in bed only an hour past my bedtime.  That’s a familiar feeling to me in the past year and a half or so, as coping with my fatigue issues has meant either skipping evening events altogether or bugging out early, generally right when things are starting to get fun.  The 10-hour nights felt like heavy shackles and it was a daily struggle not to get bitter.

The 8-hour nights I’m back down to have restored to me 2 more hours of every day, and that is a value I can’t describe to you if you’ve never battled for such a thing.  Still, at this point the 8 hours is non-negotiable – I’m not yet to the point of being able to “push through” and stay up late for something fun once in awhile.  I’m still healing.  Hence leaving the church event, with my mind yelling in protest at me as I shuffled out the door:  CAN’T WE JUST TRY?!  I had to patiently remind the protester in me that it was already late and this is the hardest push I can risk at this point.  I told G over and over as we drove home (but really I think I was telling myself) that I am healing and one day I will again be able to choose to stay up later once in awhile.

This morning I slept in an extra half an hour, rising at 3:30, as my body was loudly pointing out that business of staying up the extra hour last night.  Then I got the BEST encouragement, so perfectly timed:  an accidental extra-long walk.

My neighborhood is lovely, but it’s also thus far for me some kind of unknowable maze, filled with dead ends and streets that unexpectedly get me to destinations for which I wasn’t aiming.  Yesterday I walked an extra 8 minutes over the usual 30 because I got stuck on a road with no side streets exiting toward my house.  I celebrated the fact that my body didn’t punish me for those extra minutes.  Today I very purposefully avoided that particular street; instead, I “got lost” on another, which turned me in the opposite direction of my intention.  I eventually figured out where I was and made it home at the 51:22 mark, says my “Map My Run” app.

FIFTY ONE MINUTES!  On snowy sidewalks and icy streets (I only tried to fall once, but recovered).  And:  MY FEET DON’T HURT!!  People:  I am going to run again.  THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN!  (Yes, I am crying happy tears while I type that.)  I remember how not just two months ago, but also nearly three years ago I couldn’t even walk 20 minutes without the pain becoming so intense that I was fighting tears and sometimes couldn’t continue moving forward.  It has been a long, long time since my feet have done anything like cooperating, but it’s happening.

I share this mostly to celebrate, but also as a very specific encouragement to arthritis sufferers.  My pain was so severe and so persistent over such a long period of time that I had really come to believe it was permanent and unchangeable (certainly my medical doctor had told me more than once that there is “really nothing we can do” about arthritis).

Was it the prayer or was it the supplements from my chiropractor?  My guess is:  yes to both.  My recommendation is:  don’t give up.  It seems I’M not under a life sentence in the arthritis and exhaustion prison; maybe YOU’RE not either!

Sharing because I can imagine how much hearing that from another sufferer (not some pain-free person who thinks they know) might have helped me along the way.  Blessings.  Let me know if I can be praying for you.

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