Monday, January 31, 2011

Pain sucks – yes that’s right. I said it – it sucks...

Oh sure I can hear you now... but where’s the light?  She always writes to inspire... Pretty words, stories of incredible people who survive against all odds... be good to your fellow man – and above all don’t forget to be grateful...
Confused aren’t you... you know I’m laughing right. 
Ask me a week ago if I was feeling blessed and I would have told you to go suck on a lemon and feel blessed about that.  Ask me now and well I say absolutely but before I get into what I feeling blessed about let me explain one little thing... I do not think that no matter how sweet and caring – no matter how compassionate – empathetic – loving a person is that if they are subjected to long term ongoing intense pain they will maintain a sweet candy coated disposition.  That’s why I’m wiring.  I might be getting better (and we will get into my illness later as well) but there are countless people out there struggling with the same thing every hour of every day and how can others possibly understand their agony and anger if nobody will talk openly and honestly about the effects of it. 
Now I am not talking about (oh my belly hurts kind of pain) nor am I talking about a irritating headache that goes away in a few hours – or the aches that come with having the flu – no I am talking about the mind numbing, wish I could curl up in a corner and die, can’t walk – talk – sit – lie down – breathe – wish I was back in labour kind of pain.  As a side note that is saying allot (ladies with babies I did 60 hrs of hard labour with no drugs for the first two days – last week I really wished I could suffer through that again instead).  As to the why of the pain – well not that it matters but apparently I have some serious issues with my muscles and my spine – enough that the doctor has decided that at the age of 35 that I can no longer work due to a  few little problems that have come up.  Though I thought that my herniated disks between my shoulder blades were gone – according to the doctor – no such luck – sorry lady those you are stuck with for life.  He had more good news too, the muscles not liking the fact that I have been working a very physically demanding job with a damaged spine thought they would help me out by over compensating for my weak back by tightening up – barring that fact that tight muscles hurt like hell – they had an odd affect on my spine and the natural curve that used to be there – that is supposed to be there - is gone – bones are touching bones and pinching things they should not pinch and oh by the way – sorry lady we can’t fix that either...
Humph...
Well then what the hell are the doctors for...?
Oh they can give you drugs – yup that they can do – and they can sign papers that you can then bring to the government and they cut you a small check every month – give you a drug card and do their part at trying to keep you semi  fed and clothed while the doctors keep you stoned.
Does not seem to be the prettiest of pictures so far does it...
Where is the light?
Well the light comes in when your friend gives you enough money to buy a laptop self so that you can lie in bed and write...
The light comes in when your family and friends don’t get mad at your moods swings, when they forgive you for not responding to emails, and for generally forgetting that anything other than the pain exists in your world.
The light comes when our roommate works all day then comes home and cooks you dinner – or leaves extra already prepared food in the fridge so that you have food to eat while she is away.
The light comes when you are surrounded by healers and energy workers who can assist the doctors in their efforts to heal your troubles by healing your spirit.
The light comes when people from every race color creed and belief are praying for you because for a long time you have prayed and cared about them – that my friends is the light...
The light comes when you the reader pass this on – in every way you can to everybody you can because the light also comes in me being able to put my thoughts about this little experience on paper so that the family and friends of others out there who suffer from chronic pain may come to understand how it affects the individual.
First off – it scares the hell out of you – because you know there is something wrong – terribly wrong with your body and you usually do not have an answer as to what it is.  Not right away anyways – there will be tests and medications – it is a trial and error process and that is only if you are lucky enough to get the right doctor.  If not you get pills shoved at you and you are expected not to push for a diagnosis – just take the pills and feel the false euphoria they give you.  Don’t give into that – not for one little second – if you hurt – you push – and when they finally tell you they have figured out what is wrong you keep pushing – you need it fixed – not in a year – not in a month – now – right now and you are not going to take no for an answer....
So you are scared and it hurts – now what?  I am guessing after a few weeks if not days of hurting you are going to get tired – very very tired – you see if you hurt your body can’t rest and the less rest you get the more it hurts.   It’s a vicious cycle – one that needs to be broken because the more sleep you lose the less will you have to fight this.  You will get cranky, than angry – sometimes you will cry and you won’t know why except to say that you are perhaps really tired of being in pain.  Really tired of nobody understanding... the long and the short of it is you are really tired...
Exhaustion sets in and whatever small ounce of hope you held in your heart for ever getting better begins to fade... Now you are at the point where the drugs are looking really good – and anything else you can find that will make the pain seem less.  Alcohol works but trust me after watching my mother drink and pill herself to death I do not recommend mixing the two – it is a deadly combo...
Now the good news is – take the meds – they will help for now and it’s ok to get help.  Once you are feeling better, a little lighter – once you have had some sleep your little ounce of hope will begin to grow and suddenly there will be options available for you.  In fact they were always there you just were so wrapped up in the pain – lost in it in fact that you forgot that there are always options.  Our physical wellbeing is often a direct result of our spiritual wellbeing, so while the doctors are working their miracles with pills and therapy you will be researching ways to heal yourself on a spiritual level.  In fact it really is as easy as asking the heavens for help – because once you ask it is given and there will be people come into  your life that will offer their time and their energy – offer themselves to help your cause – all you need do is believe.  Problem is that while you are locked into a prison of pain it is a little hard to believe, that I understand. Others though – they may not imderstamd – so I offer this advice as well – be honest with them – tell them you are scared – tell them you feel alone – cut off – helpless – tell them what you are going through and DO NOT think you have to do this ALONE...
If you have a family member who is in chronic pain – let them know – they are NOT ALONE – tell them you are there – that though you may not understand you will try if they will let you... Be there and I know that as you watch them suffer you too may feel helpless – I watched my mom for years with no clue how to help – she suffered from fibromyalgia – osteoporosis – osteoarthritis and that was 20 years ago when the only way they knew how to help was to give the patient narcotics.  Narcotics do not solve the problem – nor do they take the pain away completely and over time you need more and more because you build up immunity to them.  They are addictive and they kill your liver, your kidneys your heart and your lungs... so where does one go from there?  I could not help her – nor did I understand why she was so angry – I had never felt what she was feeling – not until now and so I could not possibly understand.  Still though you may not be able to take your loved ones pain away you can find ways to help them.  Being there for one, listening and offering a shoulder to cry on when it becomes too much to bare.  That is just a start, help them explore alternative answers, help them understand that if they really truly wish to get better they have to help heal themselves.  They have to not give up and you have to not give up on them.  That is vitally important because you see they will want to give up – they will want to give in – they will want to hide and cut themselves off from the world because the world they once knew no longer makes sense.  They can’t do the things they love to do, they can’t find joy in the things that used to make them smile and laughter, our most important gift will be illusive for a time... Be patient – and if you are the patient be patient – with yourself – go easy on yourself – understand that yes for now you have limits – yes for now there are things you cannot do but there are other things that you can do – figure out what they are and do them – if you want to take a break – take it – don’t push yourself and don’t feel guilty for not being able to do the things you used to do – that will not help you – guilt kills.  Life might be different for you now – and things may look a little scary but there are things you can do to help yourself... 
Gratitude they say heals – so make a list of the things in your life that you are grateful for.   Make a list of the people in your life you are thankful for and keep that list with you.  Cherish it – love it because it is your reminder that there is a reason for you to survive this.  It is a reminder that you are cared for and loved and that you are important to others and for that reason you will find a way to pull through this.
It s sounds simple – it is not simple – not one little bit...
Chronic pain does not allow it to be simple – it is a struggle – every minute – every hour of every day – it is a struggle ... Just please, please do not give up.  
I hurt – every day – I wake up and it hurts – I go through my day no matter what that day holds and it hurts – I go to bed and it hurts.  I live on a couch, with a heating pad, and my computer and a TV – my books – and that for the moment is life... But I am determined that it will not always be that way...
I figure the powers that be gave me a pen for a reason, so that as I work through this I can write about it and pass on what I learn as I go to others so they may work through it too.  That makes it not hurt so much.
Yes as I said pain sucks – but what would suck more is giving into it – giving up...
Do I feel blessed – yes I do because as much as it sucks at least I can let it go by writing about it and sharing my story to help others.  Suddenly my pain has a purpose and it starts not to suck so much but maybe instead is something else to be thankful for...
Jean Victoria Norloch

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