I Miss that Crazy Strong Chick

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

April 10th, 2008 • Living with Chronic PainPrint Print

Unbelievable: I fell asleep just after 11:30 p.m. Unfortunately, I woke up at 4 a.m., my brain full of anxiety about physical limitations and financial uncertainty: Will I ever fully heal? What if my condition deteriorates? Will I have enough money to take care of my mom?

My anxiety was partly triggered by the fact that yesterday, I sold some furniture, to clear out space in the room I’m turning into a dance studio. Dillon, the guy who came to pick up the furniture, needed help schlepping it to his truck. I was barely able to scoot the futon over a few inches on the frame, much less help pick up the whole damn thing and carry it outside.

Fortunately, Doug — who rents the unit below me — is a total sweetie and offered to assist in the hauling process.

I watched with longing and jealousy, as Dillon jumped on top of the truck and maneuvered furniture around, to stabilize everything. I had forgotten that people can move like that — that once upon a time, not so long ago, I could move like that.

I’ve been so excited about the fact that I’m mobile again, and that my pain levels have been low for activities like walking and sitting, that the world of movement beyond that has escaped me.

It’s been an intentional act of focusing on what I can do, rather than on what I can’t.

In the early days of my pain, when I kept my normal-level physical standards in mind, I was constantly depressed and frustrated. Since accepting my limitations and living at their edge, however, I’ve been quite happy and content — looking at my line of progress and celebrating each of my accomplishments.

And I do think that’s the way to go. Still, however, I miss being that crazy strong chick who in effect regularly challenged everyone’s gender expectations. (“What, are you a guy?” men used to laugh, as I schlepped heavy things with ease.)

Anyhow, at 5:30 a.m., still tossing and turning, I consider popping a sleeping pill, but decided to see my wakefulness as an opportunity to enforce my early-to-bed, early-to-rise objective.

I ended up eating breakfast on the front porch, while watching the sun rise and the birds fly across the horizon — chirping their joyful songs. And I noticed something: In the blink of an eye, darkness can turn to light.



Comments

Greg Katz April 11th, 2008

I must say it sounds like your ability to move is going in the right direction. Even when progress isn’t complete if it moves forward we’re making progress. The twelve-step programs talk about progress not perfection. That’s a concept that those of us working toward restoring to pre-illness status have a hard time tackling…at least I had for a long time.

Your eloquent sharing about watching Dillon move on the truck and how that was you at one point. It punctuates the fact that when facing an illness we all have to develop a “new normal”. It doesn’t diminish, in fact, I think saying this is what I can do today and actually doing it is empowering.

Keep moving!

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