I find myself continuing to learn about what it means to live with chronic pain. As I recover from my third spinal surgery (a cervical fusion) in three years, I’m just now opening to the impact of the chronic pain I’ve felt for over four years and, probably, will have for the rest of my life. Rather than ‘combating’ the pain, I’m trying to learn to befriend it, to see it as ‘my teacher’.
This isn’t easy to do! The pain and all the medications I’m on affect so many areas of my life that sometimes it’s hard to know whether I’m coming or going.
I’m grateful for a great ‘team’ of people who are providing my care and helping me learn to be okay with all that is going on. I’ve come to think of the pain as an uninvited guest that resides within me. The shift to appreciating the pain as a teacher of wisdom is not easy to make. Yet I trust, as in all things, there is an invitation to a deeper truth, a life-giving presence, even in the midst of chronic pain. And I think, I might finally be ready to embrace the invitation of pain even as it embraces me.