So I’ve been having a really bad pain flare during this week just passed but I’ve been in very good spirits. Why? Because I’ve realised that these horrible pain flares are now relatively rare, only happening a couple of times a month and this one’s only lasted six days now. They used to happen all the time and often last a month or more. A year and a half since the first surgery and almost a year since the second surgery for my thoracic outlet syndrome and things are slowly improving with my body. Having those muscles cut and those ribs removed was one of the best decisions in my life!
I’ve been slowly becoming more and more able to produce art again. The process is still slow and I’m still painting less than I’d like – perhaps four hours per week now. But that’s a significant improvement to before surgery! Here’s just a few pieces, randomly selected from my website www.jngaio.com, that have been done since my first surgery (click on the pics to see bigger versions.) There’s more on my website and more in the process of being made/documented. Slowly, surely, I feel I am developing a stronger artistic voice, Slowly, surely, my style is maturing and catching up with the stuff going on in my mind. My disability and chronic pain no longer dominate my life the way they did and for that I am deeply grateful.
I still have a lot of healing and strengthening of my body to go and sometimes I have setbacks but to have tangible signs of improvement, to be gaining my art back… this is so deeply good for my self-esteem and morale. I am so profoundly lucky that after all the years of struggle and pain, I was finally able to find medical care that has helped me and I am determined to never forget how lucky I am, to never forget all the people who are still in pain, still lost, still feeling hopeless and helpless. I’ve been there and I’m determined to remember my suffering as a means of keeping my heart open, with compassion, to the struggles of others.
Your pain is real, your struggles are real. I see you. You are not alone.