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To My Physical Therapist, Thank You for Believing Me About My Chronic Pain

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When I walked in to see you, I was nervous. I was afraid you would think I was silly for going to physical therapy when I can do so much and have goals like “I want to lift weights again” and “I want to be able to do all the things I do now, except without pain or at least with less pain.” I was afraid you would see my strong, healthy body and not believe I have chronic pain. 

When I told you resting caused me as much grief as overdoing it and had made a decision if I was going to hurt anyway that I was going to do it while living a full life, I thought you would think I was exaggerating my symptoms.

Instead, you listened. You smiled and nodded when I told you all those things. You looked at my scans and you looked at my body and you could see I wasn’t exaggerating or being dramatic. You took the time to discuss my scans and what they indicated to me physically and to find out exactly where I hurt.

And then you turned and said, “Keep doing what you’re doing, you’ve got this right.”

I must have looked puzzled because you expounded, “Yes, you would have pain no matter what, but when you are out in your garden or running a trail, you’re stealing it’s power over you.”

I looked at you, relieved, and said, “Yes!”

I needed that, those words, right then. I was so relieved you understood what I’m about. 

And then, when you told me you were hatching a plan to help me reach my goals and to do everything I want to without misery, I knew that, together, we would make it happen. You were my partner and would help me embrace my full and active life, now and for as many years as possible.

I don’t like what scoliosis — and the brace I wore to treat it — has done to my body, and I get upset sometimes I had to recover from Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) twice. But I will do everything possible to keep it from damaging my spirit, and I have found an ideal partner for my quest.

Thank you for partnering with me to help take back my body and my life. 

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Originally published: June 20, 2016
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