By Guest Blogger Audrey Johns
I came across this meme on Facebook this morning and some emotions (both good and bad) came flooding back from yesterday. I have a disease called CRPS, a painful nerve disease that makes everyday a new struggle… heck I’m writing this to you from my bed, atop my 4 inch memory foam mattress pad, the only place I can be when in extreme pain.
Yesterday I was working with a new pilates instructor, I was exclaiming how wonderful it was to feel pain from exercising, not CRPS pain but pain that was positive and that I knew was making me stronger. She did not understand, I had given her some guidelines before we started like not to touch my left leg (the pain from someone touching my leg can result in being laid up in bed for a few days) but she still had questions after my telling her how much I enjoyed having positive pain for the first time that week.
As I laid on my back on the reformer machine feeling the pull of the straps I felt a tear roll down my face… I pulled it off as sweat but I also went on to explain what CRPS was and how it has affected my life.
I am a very positive person (some may call Pollyanna optimism) but I told her briefly about the disease and then immediately (and even a little involuntarily) went into how it has changed my life for the better. I explained that I used to be in property management and now I am an author because of my CRPS, I explained to her that in my boredom after being diagnosed I started my blog, at first just typing one handed, eventually getting hired by newspapers to write columns and now publishing a cookbook with a NYC publishing house (check out my new cookbook here). I told her that I would never have the wonderful and fulfilling life I have now without the extreme burden of my disease.
Now I know what you’re thinking, that I started talking about the positives to ease her uncomfortableness, people hate hearing you are in pain and if you can give them a positive, it makes them less uncomfortable… but this was also for me, I can’t dwell on just the negative. For me, dwelling on all the pain and hell I go through everyday makes me depressed and only makes my CRPS worse, but if I can find something positive to focus on I can get through.
To be very clear, I wish I was free of this disease, but I am grateful to be the person it has turned me into. Defiant and strong spirited even on my worst days, the defiance is growing everyday, and especially today as the glorious soreness of exercise spreads over my body. It feels amazing to be in pain because I kicked ass yesterday, not because my body is kicking me down.
So, back to the meme I found that prompted this article, something went very wrong in my life, I have CRPS in over half of my body, but I can choose how to react to it. I can use this “plot change” to better my character and even parts of my life. I can choose to make my life better, to find things I CAN do (like Pilates!) and I can be a warrior everyday, even if that means I am Sargent Pollyanna!
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