I have been a chronic pain sufferer for over 20 years. It started with a botched knee surgery when I was 15, followed by a triple fracture to my lumbar in my early 30’s and these have resulted in osteoarthritis in all of my joints, fibromyalgia and a few other pesky conditions.
At the moment I am experiencing excruciating pain in my lower back and sides. I have built up a high tolerance as well as many coping mechanisms; however there comes a point when it just all becomes too much. I am there today. There is no comfortable position for more than 5 minutes and even the strongest of medications is not making a dent.
I am so glad my hubby is at work and I am alone because the dog and cat don’t mind me crying like a baby and praying (almost begging) to the Lord for mercy and relief. Because I am able to handle a lot of pain, I am not proud of these moments, but sometimes you just need to let it all out.
I mentioned I attended a chronic pain management clinic. The people who run this program are angels. They haven’t been through what any of us have, but they use their areas of expertise to guide the group to a better understanding of what is wrong and what to do about it.
I think the best thing about this group however, is that you are in a room with 8 other people who DO KNOW exactly how you feel. They GET IT. While each one’s pain story is different, the fact that it is pain is a bond that is very strong. You feel safe sharing your weakness because they feel the same way at times. There were times when the leaders would just let us talk because we were able to help each other.
Rarely were we asked “what is your pain level on a scale of 1 – 10” or told “there is nothing we can do for you”. They couldn’t take away the pain but they armed us with enough ammunition to keep it under control.
Besides pacing, I learned how controlling my breathing helps control the pain. Exhaling as you get up or down gives strength and also takes focus off the pain – you are concentrating on your breathing. Relaxation exercises, exercise (mild of course), rest, and meditation are all ways of coping with even the worst attack.
So what am I doing about my pain today? After allowing to feel sorry for myself for just a brief moment, I am writing this post, and planning to curl up in my special lift recliner with a heated blanket on my back, my wonderful mutt and kitty near by, and my crochet or a good book. Later, I will do some gentle exercise and call a friend.
Having a history of depression and bipolar does not bode well with the pain monster. However I do what I can to keep moods in check…which is why I allow myself a good cry once in awhile.
I would really love to hear from others who deal with pain on a regular basis. How do you cope?