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Charlie's Strange and Happy World
...one page at a time
April 12th, 2019 
many waterfalls
Okay, so first off, I'm bugged by all this 'new normal' stuff. You hear it way too much. I hardly want to consider applying it to my own life.

I think I've managed to remain very positive this past year, considering I'm now officially one year into dealing with constant, unrelenting pain (chronic pain). I never forget that I'm lucky to be alive (thanks to Marilyn).

I love my sister and her companionship, I love my family and friends, I love my cats, I love my home and I love my work. I'm grateful my brain damage was so minimal. I'm happy I have skills that are useful and that I'm continuing to learn new things, like playing the ukulele. I have a good life. I know that.

I know it's wrong of me to dwell on my chronic pain. There are so many others suffering so much worse than I do. And I'm so blessed. Plus I have so many things I enjoy and spend time on every day: The Beatles, music, reading, walking (and other exercise), watching TV, using my iPad, napping, calling and chatting with people, texting with people, writing, editing and on and on.

I guess I was really hopeful my postherpetic neuralgia would finally go away. I don't ask to be pain free. I've had pains of one kind or another most of my life. But no pain has been like this. I hardly ever try describing it. Bottom line: it's bad.

I'm not looking for sympathy, honestly. I don't expect others to understand, either. I really hope that most of my circle of friends will either never know this pain, or if currently in pain will have their pain go away. I guess I wish that none of us would have to deal with pain each and every day.

I don't want a new normal.

But I suppose I accept it, regardless. Today I accept that this pain may be with me forever. I am not going to cry. I refuse to feel sorry for myself. This is hard.

I just read a very enlightening article about chronic pain that said our medicines aren't working -- and they don't have a solution for chronic pain. They think that four out of ten women have chronic pain. (Yeah, it's mainly women who deal with it.) I'm certainly not alone. So why do I feel so abnormal compared to others? Anyway, that article basically suggests ways to cope with your new normal.

Me? I want to throw my head back and howl and then scream 'no' as loud as I can.

I'm supposed to let go of my old goals and discover new ones. In other words, give up, because you're never going to be physically capable of the things you used to do. Or the dreams you used to have.

I'm warned not to 'overdo.' So naturally I want to run up and down the stairs (and actually have recently at the office). I want to lift and carry heavy things -- I used to be so strong! If nothing else, I want to give myself the illusion that I'm BETTER. That I'll continue getting even better still. I know it's a lie, but I guess I want to keep pretending.

The fantasy is more appealing than reality.

I guess I'm getting pretty good at acting. But I wonder if my main audience is me! What I know for sure is that the pain is not at all better. I started to say I'll try anything to get rid of the pain, but that's not true. I take the pain cocktail I've been given -- the exact dose. I don't add any other pills. I do add some alcohol and cannabis from time to time. But really not that often.

The world doesn't revolve around me. I know that. Actually I'm trying hard to be kinder to others. I call my sister Sue nearly every day. Sometimes more than once. I try to text with my friend Shari daily. And call or see my friend June. Okay, I'd do that anyway, of course. But I want to be nice when I do it. And not forget it. Plus I try to be kind to strangers, too. And I even feel a responsibility to be kind to those I work with. I guess I have ended up like some kind of 'mother' at work, even though I used to fight that so hard.

Whatever else I've learned this past year, it has nothing to do with my age! Yeah, it's more common 'at my age.' However, it's starting to happen to 30-somethings, too. And chronic pain is rampant at all ages. So we can't blame my inclining years. Ugh. You can't stop aging (unless you die), so you just have to decide how you will age. I want to age a gracefully. Sounds good, right.

Nice! I'm having a psychedelic moment. Behind my gray and white keyboard, I'm seeing psychedelic colors. Very faint, but it's there. I've been having more moments like this again lately -- definitely one of the better things related to this experience. I'll hold on to it if I can. Sometime I'll try and explain what it's really like, aside from these colors. I wonder if I can? My mind feels expanded!

Finally (God, I'm sorry this is so long), I hope to try acupuncture before I give up on a solution to my pain. I think I have too much HOPE for acupuncture, really. I'm almost holding back, afraid for it to fail. What else is there? Well, I've tried everything else, really.

My new normal is waving at me from that hill over there. The Fool is standing beside it. I'll join them soon, I suppose.

I do want to create a blog. Not sure if it should be about shingles, postherpetic neuralgia, or chronic pain. But I feel like I have information to share.

Time to think about lying down. I'm really tripping now...