The Black Dog Crossing
My etching of the Black Dog Crossing was done in 2013. What looks whimsical on the surface masks a darker meaning and the picture is open to interpretation; for me it is about a difficult journey, the ladder running up the side of the tall building, the dog on the tightrope-all seemingly impossible obstacles.
In order to pick up where I left off with my psychologist 15 months ago, she read out her notes from that time. Some anxieties still remained but I was reminded of how much better off I was now; I still have severe pain but the spinal cord stimulator helps reduce the quantity and duration of this pain, I am being supported by a fantastic pain management clinic, I have Ketamine infusions every 3 -4 months if I need them and the physiotherapists and occupational therapists at the hospital have given me the tools to take charge of my pacing and manage my pain better. However the freedom of movement to travel, to go out more, to visit friends and galleries was still very limited; I wanted more, more of the way life had once been.
“Maybe this is as good as it gets’ my psychologist suggested. This got me thinking and I eventually concluded that it was time for a renewal of acceptance of my CRPS and limitations at this point in time. I maintain hope that as medical research and technology advances better treatments might be discovered, so I will continue to live with hope as well as acceptance. I accept that sometimes I will crash and feel wretched but I also know myself well enough to know these feelings do not have to last, I have a choice to process them and work through them, sometimes with help if I get stuck.
The analytical/problem solving part of my brain decided to focus more of what choices I would make if I did go out e.g. if I made a list of 10 outings I would like to do and allowed myself to choose 2 it might be possible to set realistic goals. Outings have to be something really valuable or important to me for me to undertake them because they carry the risk of a bad pain flare as a consequence. So I’m working on my list.