Sarah Blake LaRose (3kitties) wrote,
Sarah Blake LaRose

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reflections on discipline and living with pain

Life returns to "how to live with pain." In some ways, this is much easier than "how to live when you can't breathe or think straight."

Because I can't remember whether I posted this in a public post, I have been on Sulfasalazine for some nine months. It was a last resort anti-inflammatory because I am not able to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. The final result is that as I suspected I would, I reacted badly to it. It caused a recurrence of polyps in my sinuses. This time they are in the upper sinuses near my brain, and I am scheduled for surgery on May 9. My head has been hurting since September... At first it was off and on, but it has been constant since February. No wonder Topamax did not control it...

I missed numerous classes this semester, and I regret this. It cannot be changed now. I stopped Sulfasalazine several days ago, and I haven't felt this well in months. I went to all of my classes this week and was alert through them and even participated normally. It was like old times: I thoroughly enjoyed being there, even while the theological disputes were going on. I learned from them, and I am richer for the experience.

What does all of this have to do with living with pain? I must avoid denial. I am, as my rheumatologist expected would happen, experiencing a flare of the arthritis. It is not terrible. However, pouring from a mostly-full jug of milk is an effort. This means that playing the piano would be an effort. I have not taken Vicodin today. I don't know how I'll feel when the weather is warmer--we did have a freeze this week. (Yes, I know it's nearly May.)

Living with pain means that I make choices I would rather not make. I choose whether or not to take another medication (Methotrexate) that may have side effects that are significant to me. I choose to do things in spite of the pain. I choose to get up and take my meds when I'm in the middle of something I'd rather be doing. I choose to build a rather rigid routine into my life because it is necessary... And feeling unwell makes this very thing difficult. because I just want a bit of rest and enjoyment from time to time.

But really, these things are all parallels to spiritual life. All of this becomes an issue of spiritual discipline. Do I care about how I feel right this moment, or do I care about the big picture, how I will feel tomorrow or a month from now? It's possible to get too carried away in either direction... I can get so lost in the big picture that I forget to experience the joy of a moment. I can get so caught up in the moment that I forget to care for myself... Moderation in all things...


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