Randomly generated drawing of a panda

yoko.cool / I'm ready for acceptance

It’s a screenshot of me saying in Slack: “I’m cool with the coliseum literally missing a big chunk of its original self lmao. Still iconic / I am the coliseum and the big missing irretrievable chunk is my youth”
Yes, I did use FigJam to make these

I’ve been dealing with a shoulder/neck/back thing. It’s been a relatively small, kind of annoying thing for a while—probably decades now—but last August I had a flareup that led to a string of doctor appointments, X-rays, MRIs, physical therapy, acupuncture (first time!).

It got better by the end of last year, but flared up again earlier this month, spreading to the arm too. TL;DR of what’s going on is that I have some degeneration with the discs in my spine, as well as some stenosis (narrowing of the holes where the nerves pass through). Given this, it’s not uncommon to experience the pain I’m feeling. And the conditions aren’t really reversible.

Photo collage of iconic structures that are old and worn down: The Parthenon, Nandaimon, and the Colosseo

The way that some doctors and physical therapists talk about it, it’s framed like something that has a beginning and an end. But it really doesn’t seem that way to me, given my understanding of the imaging readings (I will say it took me talking to several providers to get to this point, which is also an interesting thing to think about).

And it’s been discouraging to think I “fixed” something only to see it “broken” again. I’ve been thinking it’s more realistic (and better for my mind honestly) to frame this as a thing to live with and manage, rather than a thing to fix.

Three stickies that say: 1. Wear and tear (The phrasing my friend Kai’s doctor used to describe the state of his body); 2. But what if we all grew up knowing that our bodies can change (because all bodies change!) and we can still be ourselves? (Virginia Sole-Smith, in an interview with Anne Helen Petersen for Culture Study); 3. The body constantly seeks homeostasis because the stresses of life are always taking it out of balance. (My therapist, in the context of healing as a journey)

In some ways the “wear and tear” framing—acknowledging and accepting the age of my body—is comforting. It feels more accurate to represent this pain as something that is evergreen rather than a big stress that my body needs to recover from; a stress that my mind needs to eradicate.

But calling a condition chronic, I’ve learned, is also not a favorable framing; providers usually prefer to frame it as an acute thing to fix. So that’s probably a thing I’ll have to navigate more and more.

I remember in my late 20s I was eager to just mentally round up and adopt the mindset of someone in their 30s. I think I’m feeling something similar now, ready to accept being older.

Ok cool, here’s a screenshot of Soleil waiting for me to finish my calls for the day:

It's a screenshot of a Google Meet window, for a call that I took earlier this week. I took the screenshot before the other person dialed in. Behind me, Soleil is in the doorway. He probably wants food.

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