Putting Out The Welcome Mat For My Pain

Late last night, at around two in the morning, I finally finished reading Stephen King’s “11/22/63″. (It’s an excellent novel, which I would highly recommend.) As soon as I turned off the lamp on my nightstand, and rolled under the covers into my bed, I sensed a flare coming on.

My 1st reaction: Oh no, here we go again…

My 2nd reaction: Hold on a second…I know *exactly* what’s going to happen during the next 30-60 minuntes, second by second. Why not use this as a test, in order to see if I can get through this flare with a new-found sense of awareness?

My 3rd reaction: Cool! Flare, I actually *invite* your arrival, and welcome you with open arms!

And, even though I never thought I’d ever say these words, [insert Carrie Bradshaw's narrator voice from "Sex and the City" here] last night was the night that I got stood up by a flare.

Okay, I know that recently, I’ve written a lot about accepting the pain, and about getting used to the pain. Maybe welcoming the pain is the next logical step…even so, the last thing that I’d ever imagine myself doing, during those initial minutes when I feel a flare taking hold, was to actually welcome the flare ( and all of the pain that it brings along.) But having done so, and having seen the flare just as quickly disappear–as it did last night–I’m beginning to wonder if I might have actually tapped into something really useful, and into something even more powerful.

Which is the notion that, as soon as I–honestly and genuinely–welcome the pain into my life, whatever remaining stranglehold it’s had on me for so many years just suddenly goes away. Now, I know that I may still encounter many challenges in the future when it comes to pain…but having experienced what I describe above, even if only for one time, was a very empowering experience.

Somehow, though, I sense that this is not going to be the only time that I experience what happened last night. And while I would never egg on a flare, I actually find myself anxiously awaiting the arrival of my next flare, so that I can once again put into practice this new strategy, and see if it works again.

Welcome a flare? Previously, I would have told myself that such a thought was just outright crazy…but now, I’m beginning to think otherwise.

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

7 Comments
7 comments
  1. Jamie says:

    Accepting this disease for what it is, and accepting it into my life allows me to keep a positive mind set. It is how I have remained sane all these years. I fully believe in the mind body connection. No I don’t believe you can just imagine your pain away. If that were true I would not be in any pain right now. But I do believe it helps the level of pain and our ability to deal with it.

  2. Wren says:

    Perhaps “welcoming” the flare allowed your body and mind to relax and de-stress enough that it just never quite caught hold, Guy. I think that’s just fabulous. And while it probably won’t be something that will work every time (I believe there are many factors that trigger RA flares), it’s certainly comforting knowing that maybe, just maybe, you’ll soar through the next one, too.

    Wishing you the best, Guy. You continue to amaze and inspire me. ;D

  3. Sharon says:

    I strongly believe that my acceptance of RA a few years ago was like a light-bulb moment! Hand in hand with acceptance comes being able to positively change personal expectations too… Why make our lives even more of battle than it needs to be… We play with the cards we’re dealt with, changing some on the way…. Congratulations RA Guy! Xxxx

  4. abcsofra says:

    Well we all know the great mind you have, we are reading it on a day to day basis. Of course the next logical step would be that this powerful mind overpowers the pain of ra. OK, maybe not exactly but heck, I sure hope you have this right and I am counting on you letting us in on your next battle with ra. Go get em ra guy…our super hero! And if this works, may I clone your mind to let it loose on my ra pain :-)

  5. Mombeenthere says:

    Do you ever have that moderate nagging aches and pains have had if for so long days on end that you have finally reached the end of your rope? Thats when I requested the narcotics. I have been on them for years so I am tolerant of them but they stillwork. What bothers me is even though the meds don’t effect me as far as I or anyone around me can tell the police still say I cannot drive and gave me a DUI because I couldn’t do their sobriety tests which require intense balance…I have RA,peripheral neuropathy, 7 non healed metatarsal fractures, great toe amputation, general body degeneration from chronic illness). What do I do? I still have a 14 year old and right now I can’t drive her anywhere due to the medication (48 hour elimination period). The thought of dealing with my pain for that amount of time + withdraw is almost too much to bear…I want to cry I am on disability but I want some of my freedoms…life back. this seems so unfair.

  6. Robin Km says:

    I understand. When I feel the pain building and I can give it my full attention, then that is what I do. Like a personal challenge, breathe deep, relax, notice and try to vanquish it with my mind. Don’t laugh, it has served me well. Using this method I was able to quit a heavy 35 yr smoking habit by taking the attitude “Come on you s.o.b., come see who is your MASTER. I kicked those cravings butts and will keep trying with the pain. I still use my pain meds, mtx, cimzia but I see an opportunity to grow. Of course, I have great docs, nutrition people etc

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