Remission, a word that can mean so much to so many but yet can be so far away for others. What exactly is remission?
According to the American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary:
remission re·mis·sion (rĭ-mĭsh’ən) n.
- Abatement or subsiding of the symptoms of a disease.
- The period during which the symptoms of a disease abate or subside.
Having an opportunity to actually get into remission when you’ve been dealing with chronic pain, a debilitating illness or for me it was: Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS); is an incredibly surreal experience. To start with, it conflicts with everything you’ve learned throughout the duration of your illness and everything that you’ve taught yourself. It can be very unsettling, in a way, because it calls for a total readjustment of your routine and it raises a lot of questions about the way you live your life, about what you do, how you do it, and about how you should move forward from that point forward.
The adjustment in your behavior can also meet with a fear of misunderstanding from your friends, family and peers — if they have known you as house-bound or limited in your capacity to get around, how are they going to react upon seeing you in this different capacity? On top of dealing with your newfound and unfamiliar sense of health, you have to struggle with how others perceive you, or how you imagine they perceive you. I think one thing a lot of people don’t realize about the experience of dealing with chronic pain, debilitating illness or being chronically unwell is that it’s accompanied by a constant guilt over the effect it has on the people around you and a constant fear of judgment. There is a reason why chronic pain, CRPS, Fibromyalgia and many other debilitating illnesses are called, ‘Invisible Illness’ or ‘Invisible Pain’. Too often you have to choose to present yourself as either ‘the sick person’ or ‘the healthy person’ because it feels as though people can’t comprehend the idea that you really have been dealing with a real health condition.
So, what do you do when your finally hit that elusive thing called remission? For some they may choose to continue to present themselves as ‘the sick person’, but then you denying yourself the opportunity to relish in your sudden improved quality of life which seems ludicrous. I chose to live! I had to re-learn how to be a ‘healthy person’. My body knew what it was like to live with chronic pain day in and day out, and now it was time to learn what it was like to live a wonderful, healthy, active life again. The life I had lived prior to my diagnosis, prior to the accident and prior to the surgeries.
I had to discover what my new limits were, explain to people that I was no longer the ‘china-doll that would break’; I had to learn how to give my life new meaning and how to gain a sense of purpose. I had to stay focused on staying clear of the ‘sick person’ label and being me – healthy, happy and excited for life!
The thing about getting into remission is this, you have two choices: you can move forward with your life and continue down the road to wellness, or you can choose to move backwards and lose all the momentum that got you into remission. For me this was a no brainer. I never wanted to go back. Even one step back was not an option for me. I could not fathom living with chronic pain, with CRPS, for the rest of my life once I had a taste of remission.
I am going on a full year in remission from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and I have a deeper appreciation for family, friends and life!
I truly believe that every day we get up to a brand new day, a day that has never been lived before by you or by anyone else, so we have an opportunity to paint our own master piece each day because we start with a blank canvas. What’s on your canvas?
If you would like to know more about the author, Traci Patterson, and her journey with CRPS contact her at:
Traci@AdvancedPathways.com | 714.717.6633