As is so often the case, the biggest hurdle is fear. I am going to have to live with a degree of pain. Not all the time, thank God, and not always excruciating, but flare-ups happen regularly. The usual contributory factors, stress, tiredness and so on and sometimes the sacroiliac joints just inflame and stiffen for no reason. But pain per se I can manage.
What scares me is the prospect of the recurrence of the sacroiliac instability that dogged me for months, in spite of treatment, at the outset of all this. The fear of the instability that the pain conjures up is the stuff of nightmares. According to the doctors, because of the strengthening effects of the course of prolotherapy that I underwent, a reasonably active life within limits should be possible. I'm trying to believe them but I'm dubious; in my experience doctors definitely don't have all the answers when it comes to backs, particularly my back. Nonetheless I am reclaiming - slowly - my beloved walking and I might learn to at least tolerate swimming because it's such good therapy. But the body will need kindness and attention. It has to be the priority. No exceptions.
Now to learn this, digest it, face it. Live it. Learn when to take the painkillers and apply icepacks and rest. Learn how to take care. When and how to exercise. How to try and desensitise myself to the uncertainty, because it's a given. Learn not to panic and sink into despair with every ache and twinge. And the incentive is there because I want my damn life back. There's so much I want to do.
Today I'm in a no-man's-land in the recovery process. Can't remember what it felt like to be fully fit. Body and mind are taking their own time to heal. Energy levels can and do plummet frighteningly at the drop of a hat and muscles are still too weak, but I'm not as prostrate nor as debilitated as I was. I do some basic pilates exercises daily. A, the cranial osteopath, has helped more than I can say. I'm thinner, so I'm told, and also my hair is greyer. Things will be very different going forward, I know that, and not just because of physical stuff. In the isolation of the past two years I've changed, become tougher, but in a good way. The boundaries are firmer. Integrity now matters more than anything. So life and my relationships will change.
Right now the craving is for human company, human warmth - not all day every day, that would be too tiring, but for short spells. There's a way to go but I'll get there. I will.
Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions. Hafiz - trans. Daniel Ladinsky