For the past couple of weeks now, my pain levels have been setting records for new highs.  The worse was last Monday when I should have gone to the emergency room due to the headache I was having that wasn’t going away no matter what I did. Despite this headache though, lyrics of Gary Allen’s song Life Ain’t Always Beautiful ( kept playing in my head which got me to thinking.

The opening lyrics of the song are;

Life ain’t always beautiful
Sometimes it’s just plain hard
Life can knock you down, it can break your heart

This song isn’t about the type of pain we experience with arthritis, but pain is pain regardless of where it comes from I believe. We all know that pain is pretty much a bastard that does not play fair. It definitely was knocking me down on Monday which meant my return to work on Tuesday was going to suck, not a great way to start a day or work week!

The headache did calm down some on Tuesday so I decided to try the gym, mainly I just wanted to move around some. I did my workout pretty much at 3/4 speed, but that seemed to do more harm than good. Luckily between the pain, the work out, and pretty much being sucked dry of energy, I had finally wore myself down enough that I slept a solid six hours that night and woke up feeling a lot better.

It is amazing what sleep can do, especially good sleep. I woke up still physically drained but mentally refreshed. For reasons I can’t explain, I decided I wanted to take the fight to “it” instead of having to battle “it” on its terms.

The trick for me was deciding what battlefield I wanted to start my offensive on. I was pretty sure going back to the gym wasn’t a great idea because of how physically drained I still was, chances were good I would probably hurt myself I thought. So I started to look for “mental” type of battlefields to go after “it”.

But the struggles makes you stronger
And the changes make you wise
And happiness has its own way of takin’ it sweet time

One of the first struggles I dealt with after my rock climbing accident is dealing with people that are “givers” versus “takers” Givers are people like Joanne Wurm ( who despite living in pain herself gives energy and inspiration to the rest of us!

Joanne had an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon last week that could have lead to serious surgery. I decided that a great way to fight “it” would be to use my facebook status on Wednesday to promote her advocacy page. Now, I like to believe the whole world lives and dies based on my status updates but I know thats just my ego talking. My thought process was if I could get one or two people to see her video or click on her advocacy page she could take “the night” off from directly helping others. She gives so much I wanted to make sure I gave something back to her! Pain makes it easy for us to be takers, working hard to be “givers” is a great way to fight the bastard.

My next battlefield would be to look for the tell tell signs in others of pain. This could be a limp, tired/drained eyes, favoring a particular hand, or just standing in a corner by themselves. I think being in pain has made me better at recognizing this in others, so I’ve decided to use this new knowledge in the hopes of helping others.

My hope is to find this people and offer a “temporary” shoulder for them. More than likely these people just need a moment to take a breathe from life before they get back to work. It is easy to go through our everyday routines without noticing the people around us, this can be magnified when we are in our own heads because of pain. Not only does this help others, it can be a great mental reward for us while helping us to become better humans. “It” can make us incredibly selfish at times, lets make sure that doesn’t happen to often!

Finally, I’m going to work harder at experiencing new things. I’m not going to let pain make me not try a new eatery, coffee shop, or cookie store for example 🙂 I’m going to work harder too at meeting new people and learning about them as individuals, not just giving a polite “hi” as I go about my day. Pain makes it easy to get into a routine or develop a comfort zone, thats ok on bad days but we need to make sure to experience new things on good days. Life is a collection a experiences, lets make sure “it” doesn’t take that away from us.

There is a down side of trying to attack “it”. Chances are good that by fighting “it” on our terms we will end up in pain. I don’t consider this a loss though, in fact, I think this is a sign of a huge win. The second we quit going to the gym, trying the new restaurant in a different part of town, or miss out on meeting people like Joanne is the day “it” wins. I don’t think pain is always a loss as long as I continue to show up and compete in this thing called life.

Gary Allen’s song ends with;

No, life ain’t always beautiful
But I know I’ll be fine
Hey, life ain’t always beautiful
But its a beautiful ride
What a beautiful ride

As I sit here now, my back is hurting pretty bad and getting stiffer as the day goes on. It is going to be one of those days where I need to check my ego in order to not let “it” win the battle today. I’m hoping that by trying to attack “it” as often and as much as I can, I will get the opportunity to enjoy life as a beautiful ride a lot more!!!





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