The good news of the Christmas season is that my head no longer hurts all the time.  Or even most of the time.  In fact, for several days now I’ve been pain free.  And there was much rejoicing.  

And a small bit of fear that this isn’t actually over, that the pain might come back.  Afterall it showed up without any obvious trigger and left without the assistance of any known treatment.  

But right now I’m ignoring that voice of caution and enjoying my pain (and pain medication) free time.  Which will hopefully last for a long time.

So one of my acquaintances responded to my news about the lack of pain thing with the statement “You have the patience of Job.” Aside from the fact that I’m not quite sure what she meant, other than it was meant as a compliment, I’m not really sure that it’s relevant.

Surviving the last few months hasn’t been about patience. It’s been about coping skills, pain medication, and stubbornness. Two of which I’m quite good at and for the pain medication–well, that’s why I have so many specialists in my cell phone.  

I know how to listen to my body and to take seriously when I’ve got nothing left to give.  I know to pay attention to the pain and when to accept that, for this day, nothing will get done.  And I know what pushing for a longer day or more activity will cost and when I make the decision to do those things anyway, it’s because I’ve accepted that for this reason, it’s worth it.  I know how to work with a new baseline for normal–ie that waking up in a small amount of pain is normal.  I’ve learned to tell the difference between people who ask how I’m doing as a social nicety and those who really want to know.  I’ve learned how and who I’m willing to talk about health related stuff with.  And I’ve learned when I’m not going to talk about it for my own sanity.  (Suppression/repression/denial is a coping skill–just not always the most healthy one.)  I’ve learned to compartmentalize.  I’ve learned that sometimes the options are laugh or cry.  And that it’s not which one you pick but when you pick each one.  I’ve learned how to prioritize the differents aspects of my life and how to balance that list with what I’m capable of doing.  And I’ve learned when I need to take medication and how to communicate that to my doctors.  I can cope.  I’ve learned a lot in the past six years.  

I’ve learned a lot in the past six years because I’m stubborn.  I’m too stubborn to let all of the medical crap I’ve dealt with stop my life.  It’s been tempting at times.  It would have been easier at times.  I’ve crammed a lot of major stuff into the last six years.  I learned those coping skills because I wanted to live my life.  Because I’m stubborn.  

And because I’ve learned how to ask for the good pain medication.

It was never about patience.