It's that time of year again.
We had temperatures in the 80's and 90's (27-33C) last weekend.
I heated up the pool to shake the winter chill out of it, and instantly my mood soared.
I love to swim.
My arm feels a little more normal in the water. The water lifts my arm for me, something I can't do on my own. I can't swim like a "normal" person can, but I've learned to swim in a modified fashion.
It makes me so happy.
I only allowed myself to swim a few laps this first weekend. I have to begin each swim season very, very, slowly. Otherwise, I pay the price with crippling pain. I don't want to spend a couple weeks recovering from every attempt I make.
And to be honest, even though I only swam a few laps, my pain is gut wrenching right now.
But it's okay …
It really is.
I know I can do it.
I just have to be patient and force myself to go slowly.
By the end of the summer I'll be able to do so much more.
For today, I'll pop a couple pain pills.
I'll turn the electrodes up in my bionic arm.
I'm seeing Dr. Painless in about a week to update my medications and review The.State.Of.My.Arm. I might need to switch to a stronger pain med. Which is better? Taking more of what I've got (which is damn strong to start with) … or less of a stronger drug? These are the type of questions I need Dr. Painless to answer.
The type of pain I experience (whenever I actually attempt to use my arm) … is such an intense, breathtaking, horrible, sickening pain.
Really, there are no words to describe it.
We all experience physical pain sometime in our life. Many people even experience severe pain.
But this type of pain?
It's reserved for just a few of us.
Breathing takes effort.
Breathe in very slowly.
Breathe out very slowly.
It's something The Torturer used to work on with me. Because the natural instinct with pain like this is to hold your breath. It sounds crazy, doesn't it? But breathing … just the slight movement of breathing … hurts.
And so I find myself forgetting to breathe. And then gasping.
Gasping for air, and gasping in pain.
I just have to forge on …
Because it's worth it.
Swimming is worth it. I love swimming.
Swimming makes me so happy.
Photography is worth it. I love photography.
Photography makes me so happy.
Living my life means making it as normal of a life as I can.
Being truly alive means fighting to do the things I love – despite the pain they cause.
Remind me to re-read these words the next time I curl up in a ball whimpering, having a pity party.
© Twenty Four At Heart