Pain Management

“The best way out is always through.” -Robert Frost


I’m talking about the arthritis kind and the heart broken kind. Both have their way of knocking you on your butt at the most unexpected of times.

Last weekend I was in my car driving down to Orange County to visit my brother, with plenty of time on my hands to think. I thought about how, even if it was possible, I wouldn’t want anything to take my break-up pain away. The pain represents how invested I was in the relationship and how much I loved that guy. The pain is proof that something significant occurred over a lengthy period of time. It represents wonderful memories and a period of personal growth. Sure, it also symbolizes a broken relationship that no longer exists in its previous form… But I can deal with a little bit of pain, knowing how much I got out of the relationship.

And if I could have someone take away my arthritis pain? I’d pass on that, too. I know some of you must be thinking that I’ve gone completely bonkers. Perhaps that’s a little bit true, but let’s break it down.

Because of my arthritis, so many amazing things have entered into my life that I would not have experienced otherwise. I’ve met friends through a young adult support group that I can’t imagine not having in my life. I’ve gone to Washington DC to advocate for funding for arthritis research and experienced the satisfaction of participating, at a national level, in efforts to make the health care world a better place. I’ve met kids who have JA, Lupus and various other arthritis diseases and have been inspired by their ability to cope with the hardships that go along with having those challenges as a child. Just like in my relationship, I’ve seen and connected with people who have made a great impact on m life.

I choose to manage my pain by walking right through it. Sometimes I step on a piece of glass, often I narrowly avoid crushing a little flower that’s blooming in the middle nowhere, and sometimes I trip and fall, but I always get up. Of course, given my RA, the getting up takes a bit of effort, both literally and metaphorically.