As a teen, basketball was my jam. I played three years at our private high school, at community college spring training, and multiple times per week at the local rec center.
But I was never able to play without nagging fear after I turned 19, due to repeated injuries to both ankles.
One of my biggest regrets in life is not heeding the doctor’s warning when he put the boot on my foot. Honestly, the whole testing and treatment phase was a blur — it barely registered. So when I took the protective boot off two weeks early and chose to play basketball in the apartment parking lot, I knew I was ignoring advice. But I didn’t grasp how important that advice was.
Fast forward 20 years, and chronic pain is still the hardest part of facing each new day. If it weren’t for my two year old son demanding more water in his bottle every morning, I would avoid stepping out of bed and walking on painful feet, knees, and ankles for as long as humanly possible. As you can imagine, this makes life a challenge, especially considering I live with my wife and three children on a 40 acre homestead with a garden, goats, chickens, guineas, cats, and a dog. There’s lots of work and movement required, which is all part of my dream. But constant, chronic pain stands in my way.
The Daniel version of “chronic pain” is constant pain that is more serious than a bruise, but isn’t debilitating in and of itself. If it were, you’d get far more empathy from your friends and family. Not being able to walk or function communicates pretty clearly that you’re dealing with a serious problem.
Chronic pain makes everyday function a painful, undesirable process.That’s the rub. It’s constant, ongoing pain that hasn’t been resolved over weeks and months, possibly years. It changes the way every single day feels. It changes the way you feel about simple tasks and chores. Washing the dishes becomes a slow agony. Getting up to help your kids is an act of love and sacrifice that costs you dearly… every single time.
If you’ve not experienced chronic pain for a long time, you may not identify. And when you encounter someone experiencing chronic pain, you usually don’t know it. Why? Because we are technically able to function and the pain doesn’t stop us from moving, we don’t talk about our pain every day. In fact, we often grow to consider the constant pain “normal”. And that’s where our quality of life changes dramatically for the worse.
Once you’ve tried a dozen different methods to reduce your pain and nothing really works, most people give up trying. And pain becomes the new normal. And once pain is considered normal, Life isn’t such a great and wondrous thing. It’s a pain to endure. It’s agony, slowly killing you.
I have seen time and time again that there is more power in choice than we ever really understand. If we choose to not accept the new normal, then possibilities open to us, because we have remained open and eager for new opportunities. That pain in my foot may have been the sum of bad life choices and poor reconstructive surgery, but I don’t have to accept chronic pain as the new normal.
Chronic pain is something to overcome. It’s something to surpass and leave behind.
With that belief in mind, I’ve made some powerful choices to eradicate chronic pain from my life:
There are more steps to take, of course, but each one of these steps takes me closer to my goal of a life free from chronic pain.
What are YOU doing to eliminate chronic pain from your life? If you want to chat or keep in touch, hit me up on Twitter or in the comment section below.