As I moved through my day with Duke at the Homeless Emergency Project yesterday, I was paying careful attention to the burning torso. Not in the focus-on-the-symptoms make-it-worse way, but in trying to better understand it.
I need to better understand something to know just how I can work with it or work through it.
You probably know that already if you have read my blog very long.
I am gathering data like any good little scientist would. I am lending an ear to my body like any good therapist would to a human. I am seeking first to understand this nerve pain. I am doing it differently than I have done it in the past two and ½ years.
My strategies revolved around controlling or managing the nerve pain. The strategies were mostly distraction-based and sensory trickery. Distraction avoids focusing on it, and that is the best strategy I have found to deal with chronic pain of any kind. The sensory trickery is when I apply ice anywhere to my torso area trying to fool my brain into thinking I am cold instead of on fire.
These have been pretty effective strategies. I wouldn’t have a book in the editing stages had I not used writing as a distraction. Nor would I be back into the practice of writing daily.
While I did try to cooperate with the pain and give my body what it needed, I never sought to fully understand the pain. I am not sure I could have realized this had I not had the break from the pain intermittently since the surgery.
What benefit could better understanding it have? The first and most important to me is that if I am seeking to understand it better, then it is not in control of my life. It isn’t my focus even though I am noting things I am learning about it as I feel the pain return.
In addition, the anger and fear that I have about this pain is lessened. I am less frustrated and worried about it because I am focusing on trying to better figure it out.
Feeling afraid and frustrated doesn’t serve me and seems to make matters worse. At least that has been my experience in the past with this pain and my pump fears. I am pretending to have tea time with my burning torso. And I am attempting to love it instead.
I have tried to do this for a week now. I find myself lying in bed feeling like my middle is on fire and reminding myself to send my torso some cooling love. I send it just like a ray gun with beams of light from the movies.
Sounds kind of crazy, huh? From the research I have read in recent years about cells and healing, it is probably not as crazy as it might sound. So far, it is probably far easier to be angry and scared at it, than to choose to love it.