I was thinking about this blog, and the fact that I need to communicate something, but how to go about it.
I arrived in my usual coffee shop, and found myself standing behind a woman with crutches. The barrista, on seeing her disability, offered to carry her coffee to the table. She declined. She wanted to get on with it.
Of course, when we’re not operating at our usual par, we all do this. We ” soldier on” as the phrase goes. “It is what it is.”
I felt like asking the guy to bring my coffee over and telling him I have invisible pain, but didn’t. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself.
We were cycling there. We love cycling and this wouldn’t usually be out of my comfort zone. I just couldn’t do it. I stopped 3 times, at one point pushing my bike. I caught up with my partner (he often waits for me; I’m not as fast on hills), and told him I was going home, I was in pain from my biopsy. My pain wasn’t worth acknowledging, “only a biopsy”. They’d only taken a tiny piece of my body away.
Still this blog is not about psychological pain but actual physical pain.
I’ve been amazed at my own ability to give up sugar. I think this came about because of a medley of lessons. I watched a programme on junk food diets, I was told I was at “high risk” of diabetes; my son disabused me of the belief that doctors were in charge of my health, when he firmly informed me (as you know he’s a med student), that doctors can only advise you, they cannot make you do anything. (It isn’t that I don’t know my health is my responsibility, it’s just that when diagnosed, I thought, at that point, they must take over, but they don’t.) They advise. And, in my ignorance, I aquiesed. I agreed to the biopsy.
I’ve been in pain on my right side (my right, your left, as you face me), on and off since 2014. The pain is dull, not sharp, and it comes and goes. I had many blood tests then, ultrasound, trans-vaginal whatever it was. They didn’t find anything significant. The pain went on and I learnt to live with it. Which was why, when I became unwell this year in January, and once again submitted myself to some tests “to rule things out” – and scrutiny, I was surprised when the gynaecologist asked me whether I had any pain on my right side (my right, her left). Of course I had. I’ve got used to it. It’s nothing.
When we deny pain, deny our right to rest, deny our feelings, deny our fragility, deny our mortality, deny our need to be heard, we diminish ourselves. We are whole only when we acknowledge every aspect of ourselves, including our pain.
Love you all immensely,