Why I Continue to Be a Runner With Chronic Pain Conditions

I am a person with several chronic conditions that affect my daily life. I am also an avid runner, the chronic pain runner. I have scoliosis, where my spine is twisted in two places, and fibromyalgia. It’s a nerve condition which I can best describe it as having the flu but your entire body hurts without the runny nose and coughing and fever and such. Imagine everything that touches your skin hurts, plus headaches, insomnia, brainfog, bruising, weakness… just to list a few. I cannot describe the pain it all causes.

I also have brain conditions that cause seizures, chronic migraine blackouts, chronic headaches, and I have a few masses in my brain. I never know what is going to happen from one second to the next. I live my life on the edge. I’ve had seizures at random moments in public places and at home. Luckily I have my medical alert dog with me. She is a Doberman we rescued, and she’s always by my side. We didn’t know she had the gift, we slowly started realizing it.

Running is tough in general, but running with all my health conditions makes it even tougher. But what some are unable to understand and process is the mental battle. I already believe running is more of a mental sport than a physical one. You have to be able to conquer the mind before you can conquer the body. I’ve done that. I have to if I am going to be strong enough to be up against all the diseases trying to break me down. There are days where I can’t even breathe because my scoliosis won’t let me. Days my migraine is so bad that I throw up and go blind. But the odd thing is… I don’t lay in bed crying over it. I live my life as best I can. Yes, there are days, sometimes weeks, I must rest, but the days I can withstand the pain, I am running, biking, swimming, I am doing something to beat these diseases because they won’t define me. I define me. I am in control of me, and I won’t let them win.

I might not be one of the physically strongest people out there, but I am definitely one of the mentally strongest people. I like a challenge, and I will take one when it’s thrown my way. My life has been a challenge since I was a kid, and it’s only getting worse. I push myself to prove it to myself that I am capable of doing it. I get up in pain every morning and never know what the day will bring, but I do know I am determined to make the best of it and reach my goals and dreams for life. I choose to be unstoppable and try to be an example to others that incredible things can happen.

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Thinkstock photo by John Howard

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