Could I Be Getting Better?

I’m in a good mood on this deliciously perfect summer morning, even if it is a Monday. Although I didn’t have a good night of sleep, my body is feeling pretty well by my standards, which are, admittedly, quite low because of the various chronic illnesses I contend with. Just as it’s difficult to be in a good mood or feel well mentally when I’m in bad pain, the converse is true as well: it’s easy to be happy when I don’t feel sick or have lots of inescapable, relentless pain. However, the latter situation is virtually never my reality, so it’s not anything I get much of any practical experience with. Until now? It’s too soon to make conjectures about how I will feel in the long-term, and I imagine there will still be many tough days (body-wise) in the near and distant future, but I am much more hopeful about a more comfortable physical body than I’ve been in years.

My stomach and intestines are definitely still adjusting to the new dietary changes, so I don’t feel like I can say I feel better from a digestive standpoint, but the joint pain has done a 180-degree turn in just the three days I’ve been off that food. They are still achy, especially in areas where I have known injuries or arthritis, but that’s to be expected. The generalized, systemic throbs have gone from about a 9.5 in the previous three weeks (and hovered around a 6.5-8 before that on a typical day) to more like a 4.5. Although this scale is probably more along the lines of an ordinal scale rather than an interval one (harkening back to concepts from statistics class), and thus it’s hard to attest that there’s an equal difference between each successive number, it’s fair to say that subjectively speaking, the pain is about half the magnitude that it’s been lately, if not more so. Unbelievable! What an amazing improvement. I haven’t taken any Tylenol, which is my usual MO, but has not been possible to abide by in the past three weeks given the horrendous pain. For the first time in honestly as long as I can remember, my pain has gotten slightly better. Objectively speaking, it’s been a nonstop trend in the exacerbating direction for years. Sometimes, I’ve taken giant, rapid steps toward worsening symptoms; other times, it’s been a hardly perceptible on a day-to-day basis, but gradual slide into worse health. In either case, things have always progressed in the undesirable, I-am-sicker-and-in-more-pain direction. It’s no wonder I often feel hopeless about my physical health, and actually somewhat of a mystery that I have been able to cling onto some semblance of optimism for feeling better eventually. Accordingly, this step feels like a real-life miracle, a near unbelievable reversal of this half-decade-long trend or so. I’m gives me reason to believe that I’m not forever doomed to feel progressively worse; instead, it might be possible to feel workable healthy and able to participate more in life again. I’ve marginalized myself so much to the outskirts of society, unable to join in much of anything because of the incompatible lifestyle my digestion and chronic illness (fevers, pain, joint stiffness, muscle aches) has dictated for so long. While I don’t have any grandiose plans to join every possible club (let’s be honest, I’m still me: autistic, anxious, and socially avoidant!), it’s a highly empowering feeling to perceive yourself as at least physically able to participate and do things, and not be tied to the bathroom or couch, if desired. 

I’ll keep working hard on nourishing myself with hopefully less inflammatory foods, and focus on the positive changes as a way to offset the emotional hardship of the major transition. I hope things keep going the way they have been over the past three days. 

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