Days Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, and Fourteen

The last five days felt like a strange dream.

I didn’t post because of a visit from my wife and daughter. At first, their coming brought up intense pain and panic, on top of panic I was already feeling about my psychologist, who I felt was pushing me too fast. My first night together with my family was difficult. I was in a lot of pain and stress. I thought it was going to be a rough visit.

But it wasn’t. On my two days off from the program, we went to the zoo and a nature museum. We stayed out for a half-day and then a day. Even considering these trips would have been unthinkable any time in the last year. Yet I did them. I walked, I sat for entire meals (!), I talked and laughed with my wife and daughter, balanced my daughter on my lap as she pointed and guffawed at ducks, turtles, bubbles, monkeys. I spent more time with my daughter than I ever have in her life. And I just kept going. I breezed past limits that have felt fixed and solid for years. Several times, my wife and I looked at each other in amazement.

It feels like a radical shift to use all my tools and strategies for pain not to figure out how to go off alone and feel better, but to help me continue to participate. When I had pain those two days, I kept asking, “How can I move through this?” Rather than moving away from it, as I have always done. If I leave, the pain will go away, but if I stay, and work gently with it, the pain will also go away. No matter what, the pain will pass. I don’t need to completely stop for the pain to stop. That’s huge.

So now I’m not sure where I am. Was this a fluke? How do I keep these gains? I should probably just let it pass. Tomorrow is a new day.

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