Fear is making me cautious lately, I am not venturing out as often as I would like or have done during the past year when my pain was less.
Fear of pain is a difficult emotion to overcome. Fear is a powerful force, it creates anxiety, and often continuous anxiety as we worry about when the next severe pain flare will hit us. When the pain hits, fear often accompanies it in full force, for me it feels as if I have gone into battle, this of course ramps up the sympathetic nervous system even more which then fuels more /or more severe pain. I like to believe I am on top of fear but my gut often tells me otherwise, this is the cue to do some deep breathing, mediation, or anything that calms my mind, this is the time to remind myself I have survived this pain before and it does eventually settle down, sometimes for days, it is the good days in the future I try to focus on.
However my recent pain flare last December really rocked my confidence because it was one the worst I had experienced since my CRPS began. My Ketamine infusion in early January helped to lower my pain and I was able to start doing a little weight bearing again without crutches, a few steps at a time is better than nothing but I am still tired and emotionally weakened from December’s flare so I have been laying low, working in my studio and getting through each day with low pain, I feel a bit like I am in limbo, heading towards the half way mark between my last Ketamine and my next one in April. The closer I am towards knowing help is close the stronger I get.
I am now in my 10th year of CRPS and my changed life, I enjoy spending many hours in my studio painting or printmaking, the hours go quickly but I do get ‘cabin fever’ when I don’t go out for weeks on end, I need to connect with the outside world physically instead of online. So last week I ventured out for my first outing since my infusion, the weather was perfect and we drove to a nearby town and ate a cut lunch overlooking the town and the Grampians ranges from the lookout, I did a couple of quick sketches, I then did a little bit of shopping on my portable scooter. On the way home we stopped for coffee and cake in a beautiful little cafe in the wine region. We spent time chatting like ‘normal’ people', I felt like I had joined the human race again and validated that the world was still there and not a lot had changed.
So I continue to spend most days in my studio, I survive each day and am grateful for when my pain is low. My artwork and the beautiful things in my garden help sustain me. As time progresses and I am closer to my next infusion I will become bolder and perhaps attempt a bigger outing and try to pace it so I don’t end up with a massive flare. It takes a lot of courage to do this, something I feel lacking in at present. It takes courage to keep living with CRPS, courage to participate in life and risk pain payback but if I give up trying my world will keep shrinking so I like to think this period of being so cautious is only temporary and that there will be better months ahead.