“Patience child, patience. Remember, life is a journey and if we got everything we wanted all at once there would be no point in living. Enjoy the ride, and in the end you will see these ‘setbacks’ as giant leaps forward only you couldn’t see the bigger picture in the moment. Remain calm, all is within reach; all you have to do is show up every day, stay true to your path and you will surely find the treasure you seek.”
I have been receiving many emails regarding the unbelievable challenge it is to make the choice of no longer using medication to manage chronic pain. Not only does this choice require strength but an amount of courage that I cannot even express, so the mere fact that all of you writing me are considering the “natural” route of managing chronic pain is incredible. I have been through a ton in my life but nothing compares to the strength and work it took me to first make that decision and second (and at times more difficult) follow through with this choice. How long does it take until the benefits of no longer using pain medications out way the negatives? Phew: I wish I had a magic answer for each and every one of you but I just cannot find it in myself to lie to you and say something that is untrue regarding the length of time it may or may not take for you to notice the magnificent change that can and will take place if you are patient and trust the journey of this transition. I do not have a solid answer as this is different for each and every one of us. For myself, I would say it took roughly a solid year of practicing a daily regimented routine of managing pain without medication before I truly and out of the blue noticed a huge difference in my life. I remember walking around the lake behind our house with my dad after a year of no medication/acceptance of chronic pain and all of a sudden I realized for the first time in more years than I could count that I had not once thought of pain that day: it was around three pm (anyone with chronic pain knows that to not think about pain once for an entire day is monumental!)
I have no amazing answer to the question of time when it comes to any transition in life but I do have advice. The more we focus on what result we want, the longer the process to get to the end will be. I spent (spend) a great time not focusing/talking/or thinking about chronic pain. When my mind drifts to pain, I am able to distract myself ninety percent of the time from the physical pain and onto something better: this is a long practice and I will be honest there are times that my mind just cannot get itself off the pain and I cave. However, these times are rare and they always pass. There is something in life right now my family and I are working towards and the work and patience is really difficult. Like my journey with chronic pain, I must let go and trust the process: I will not give up but I cannot allow my goal to ruin what I already have. If we were given everything we wanted in life at the exact time we wanted it, what would be the point of living? It is through the process of waiting, trusting, and going through the process that makes the outcome of our dreams that much more incredible and magical. I am at the young age of thirty-four which ten years ago seemed ancient but I still have a lot of dreams and goals to reach. If I only focus on the setbacks and the downfalls, I will be a depressed mess and the dreams I have will most likely no come true. Chronic pain has taught me that I must stay calm and true to myself and my dreams will come true if I am patient and trust the journey. I never thought I would have a little angel named Kayci who says the most magical word in the world: “Mommy.” Do not ruin what you have right now at this point in time focusing on what you do not have: the more gracious you are with what you have now, the more you will receive. Trust the process, focus on the here and now, and be patient. You are not alone: I promise.