Miss Understood: Smile Through It All

Miss Understood: Smile Through It All

I met a lab technician a few weeks ago and developed a relationship with her almost immediately. We connected right away. She’s always offering positive words of wisdom and encouragement for me when it’s not her job to do so.

Arlene Grau

Arlene Grau

But today was different from most days. She saw the pain I was hiding behind my smile and asked what happened at my doctor’s appointment. I told her I was going through a very difficult flare and needed to get several trigger point injections in my back.

I did something different during my procedure: I started to laugh after every shot.

My doctor asked what was going on and I told him I would rather laugh off my pain than give in to it.

The lab technician told me I reminded her of her mother. Her mother had bone cancer — something I didn’t know — and her mom use to say she would rather die smiling than crying.

I walked away deeply moved by her mother’s words.

We as pain sufferers are at war with our own body and emotions. We must choose to take a stand, and take our life and happiness back. Granted, it may never be the same and the quality may never be the way it was, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This beholder sees a beautiful life ahead of her, full of happiness, laughter and joy.

Just as the woman’s mother is remembered for her positivity, I want to be remembered for making others laugh and always having a smile on my face. I may have a few bad days where I’m stuck in bed and can’t force a smile, but those will be the days when visitors are limited.

I’m choosing to live my life just as God wanted me to; to enjoy my daughters, watch them grow up, become women, and maybe even mothers someday. To grow old with my husband, learn new things about each other, and maybe even new ways to drive him crazy.

Call me stubborn, but I will not allow my chronic pain to take every last piece of happiness that I hold dear to my heart. I don’t think any of us should.

Although we may feel or may be counting down the days until God calls us to his side and ends our misery, we still have a life here on earth, and family and friends who love us.

Why not let the memories they have of us be amazing, just like the lab technician has of her mother?

A person carrying so much pain, the weight of the world on their shoulders; family, kids, being misunderstood, maybe even judged, but still he or she smiles and laughs. And that laugh becoming contagious.

What would the world become if those of us who were suffering were accepted and loved easily? If getting medical attention and medication didn’t require a two week waiting list? If getting social security benefits didn’t require lawyers and courts because you’re being denied over and over again?

If those of us who truly need the medical benefits received them, our way of living would be so much better.

No matter what, smile through it all. It will confuse people, but half of them already think we’re crazy anyway! Find your happiness and don’t let your pain take it away.

Arlene and girlscropped1Arlene Grau lives in Lakewood, California. She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, migraine, vasculitis, and Sjogren’s disease.

The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Only your doctor can do that!  It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.

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Judi Sandidge

Arlene, you are so courageous! Keep on smiling. I understand where you are coming from. I have battled chronic pain since the late 70s. I always remind myself God knows what He’s doing and there are so many other people that are much worse off than I am. Smiling and counting your blessings is good for the soul!

I had several car accidents one was bad that I had back surgery and had to go back to work and was put on light duty then I couldn’t even sweep the floor at work and messed my neck up. Then started getting migraines and getting sick everytime and sometimes I just wanted someone to shoot me in the head that’s how bad it got. Then started noticing I couldn’t hardly do as much anymore and let me remind you. This was when I was in my 20″s. And then I woke up one day and couldn’t hardly move I was freaking out because this was a different pain. Went to see rheumatology and they said I had APS lupus and took like 18 tubes of blood out of me and almost passed out and the Lady AND founder of Lupus at IU. She said the way my skin looked and the rash and my purplish color she said it was antiphosphilipid antiobiody syndrome she said my blood looked OK there were some numbers a little off but it was shown to her my symptoms and migraines and 3 miscarriages that’s what it was so after that got put on plaqunil and prednisone and pain meds for inflammation. Then lost my baby again he was full term and 22days old st.Francis hospital that did my ultrasound everytime. Didn’t detect that his stomach grew in his chest but gave me hope at IU when I have him they will fix his diaphragm and they did as well as being on the ecmo machine. An the worst was when the doctor came in after checking him out. The worst words ever. His lungs didn’t develope and I have never fully grieved I lost it at the showing but I don’t want to feel that again he had the most beautiful blue eyes and he was awake then they said there was nothing they could do and it was my worst nightmare that came true. So after that I went into deep depression and on top of that had found out I had thyroid disease along with fibromialga and then my brother got me a black baby kitten and I honesty thought he was his angel and his name was spooky and then I was low sugar and then I got pregnant again and had to get 3shots a day with her bcse of the aps and this was 2yrs after and no it wasn’t planned but that didn’t matter because she is a beautiful 13yr old young lady then had a heart attack December of 2012 and had lung surgery because there were stuff on my lungs and didn’t know what it was but lung surgery was in 2008 and i have lost so many people in the past 2yrs my grandma and grandpa my second cousin and my second aunt and my uncle from cancer my cousin Patricia from cancer and so many more then I went to my daughters concert… Read more »