My Chronic Pain Means Some Things Take Longer for Me, and That’s OK

Sometimes I am the ultimate procrastinator, but it’s never on purpose. A lot of people put off their chores or assignments or phone calls or emails simply because they don’t want to do them. I, however, put off my sewing projects (the only thing I have to do these days) because I need to. I may take longer than normal, but I most definitely do not take longer than necessary.

Sewing machine with scissors and item being sewed

It used to be normal for me to plan out the time it would take for each step and finish a fairly intense project in its entirety in a mere one or two days. But now, it has become necessary that I take longer than what was once normal for me — and that’s OK. It has become necessary that I take breaks to let my body heal from its pain. It is necessary that I slow down to let my hands last longer. And it is necessary that I skip my work for an entire day (or multiple) when my shaky hands go numb or when my whole body gets weak (we call those episodes my “spaghetti muscles”) — and that’s OK.

The chronic pain all over my body requires me to choose which things I want to do more than others. If I didn’t hurt or even hurt just a little, I would love to sew all day, but the cutting and pinning and ironing all drive shooting pain through my arms. I would love to play video games with my husband and friends, but the wild button pressing and headset adjusting and, sometimes, even just controller lifting make my fingers and hands so sore, they sometimes start to tingle. If I did anything I wanted, I would pay for it the next day and not be able to do anything — but that’s OK.

There is one task I have to do: take care of my 2-month-old baby. So if I let myself do things I know would hurt me, I wouldn’t be able to do the single most important thing in my life. And that takes priority over any fun I would like to have — and that’s OK. My little Squishy is more beautiful and more important than any garment I could sew or any high score I could achieve. So if I have to ration out my body use to minimize the pain I feel, should I not put it into the most precious thing I could?

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