When Chronic Pain is Acute

It almost feels like a miracle in itself that I got through yesterday without needing any major medical intervention, let alone found the strength to have some fun and put on a happy face. My stomach pain was so brutal that I was doubled over for most of the morning and struggled to find expansive enough clothes accommodate the freakish amount of abdominal bloating. The stabbing pains and the grotesque bloating was truly terrifying and I don’t care to recall in much detail how absolutely horrible I felt. It was torturous enough to live through it each second of yesterday; why waste less brutal time today languishing in those bad memories.

Today, although I don’t feel great, I feel much better. It’s definitely tolerable and while I still want to lie on the couch with the heating pad pressed up against my abdomen with all my might to try and relax the clenching muscles and ease the bloat, I’m able to move about more freely and maintain calm and normal breathing. (Yesterday, there was a lot of grunting, rapid gasps, and slow sighs to try and dissipate the pain.)

In contrast to the gorgeous weather yesterday, today is relatively gross, with cool temperatures and lots of morning rain. I’m hoping it’ll clear for the afternoon so we can do some yard work. I was unable to get much done outside yesterday because of how sick I felt. This is where the self-compassion stuff I’m trying to cultivate in myself has utility. Instead of feeling like a lazy failure for not achieving my goals yesterday, I need to find success in attending to my physical needs and resting yesterday. Plus, it’s not like I accomplished zero tasks on my to-do list; I worked on my project for my job, sorted a few storage boxes, mowed the front yard, and cleaned a bit inside the house. And, I’d be remiss if I didn’t confess that I found time to finish my puzzle. I say “confess” because I feel guilty when I “play” before finishing all of my responsibilities. However, I felt so awfully yesterday that the remainder of unchecked items on my task list were simply not feasible, as they required far more energy, alacrity, and mobility than I could muster with my debilitating bloat and pain (like mowing the big back yard and cleaning furniture in storage for resale). That’s actually one of the primary pros of enjoying jigsaw puzzles as a hobby; they can be worked on when I’m feeling really poorly. Maybe I “earned” recreation time despite not finishing all my chores solely for my perseverance and good attitude in the face of such significant stomach distress. After all, I’ve honestly jumped leaps and bounds in my ability to put on my brave face, gut through serious sickness or previously-life-stopping symptoms, and stay pleasant and agreeable rather than irritable and morose when I’m not only chronically ill, but suffering a severe acute flare-up.

I’m glad we have the second weekend day today, albeit rainy, since yesterday was a true struggle. There’s still a full day to spend with my love. Although I certainly feel poorly, if I could get through yesterday as well as I did, I know today will be easier and better because of that. I think it’s slated to be a busy week, so I’ll do my best to lay low today, stockpile some energy, and gear up to handle the various activities and appointments scheduled this week.

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