Pain and fatigue are two of my biggest symptoms and hardships with my MS. Fatigue is number one, but pain is a close second. I have suffered with back pain for years, and occasionally the MS hug comes raging on, like the worst bear hug I’ve ever experienced. Recently though, I’ve had some incredibly intense hip pain in my left side. It’s the kind of pain that sneaks up on me out of nowhere. One minute, I feel fine, and the next, I get up to do something and it hurts to put weight on my entire leg. It becomes painful to walk, and sometimes the pain is so bad I feel like I need to drag my leg until the pain subsides. This hip pain is new and unfamiliar. I’ve been told since I was younger that my pain tolerance is off the charts, but when pain like this hits it leaves me feeling weak and sometimes even, unable. No one likes to be in pain, especially when so much of the pain we with MS experience is often unexplained. However weird this may sound though, at times I have come to find comfort in the pain.
Let me explain. Have you ever heard the popular quote, “Pain is weakness leaving the body.”? This quote is ironic to me on so many levels, because most of the time when I am in pain I cannot help but feel like I AM weak. The pain leads to weakness my body can’t explain. BUT, when I say I find comfort in the pain, it is because me feeling the pain in my hip means I can still feel my legs. Crazy, right? While pain is most of the time uncomfortable, it is comforting to me to know that through the pain I am still able to go on. The pain proves that while some with this horrible disease cannot feel movement, I still can…and, for that I am thankful. As we all know, MS is not only a frustrating disease, but it’s also forever unpredictable. While one moment you may feel your arms, legs, and toes, that feeling can be gone within an instant. I live in a lot of fear of the day I wake up and do not have feeling in my limbs. While I know that the numbness is not an indefinite life sentence, it is a scary truth that could one day be my reality. For now, though, I can walk, I can write, dress myself, chew, and I can determine when things are hot or cold. You never realize that those everyday things you do so naturally and unknowingly can be taken for granted, until those same things become every day blessings when facing a monster like Multiple Sclerosis.
So, for now, I have come to find comfort in the pain and even embrace it. I never in my life thought I would be thankful for something that can be so terrible and often times even excruciating. I do want to clarify that while I may be thankful I can feel it, I am in no way thankful for it-pain is pain and that is never enjoyable. I also never in my young life thought I would be someone with multiple sclerosis. Life is fleeting, and life with MS is like a never ending poker game. You never know, if you’re going to win some or lose some. One thing I do know though is that no matter what MS throws at me, I am going to be grateful for what I do have! That is why right now, as crazy as it is, I’m thankful for the pain.