I would like to explain what has been happening to me but it is kind of blurry. Between the pain, the emotional toll the pain presents, and the pain pills my brain is mush. To be honest, it is also in my nature to forget painful emotional things and to move on. I wouldn’t say that it is the healthiest reaction on this planet but it is the way I cope. However, I will try to explain what my life has been like the past two weeks.
An example day would be waking up with cramps that steadily get worse until I am gripping my ovaries so hard it looks like I am going to finally rip them out with my bare hands. (I asked my husband — if he had known, when he married me, that I would one day have my hand or ice pack on my crotch almost every day would he have gone through it. He said yes, thankfully, but it was me asking so…) The next day I would wake up and my hands, feet, arms, and back would be sore, so much that my husband had to rub my hands in order for me to be able to stretch them fully. It took me almost a week to realize it was the endometriosis pain, the tensing from the cramping, that was causing me to wake up with my limbs in pain.
After a couple of days, I broke down and took two pain pills. I really did try to go through it without it, but I was an emotional wreck. So I took the pain pills and then it is as if I am drunk but also stupid. I can’t think of words. Really the only thing I am able to accomplish is cleaning. Not one of my favorite pastimes but at least I am useful. I aspire to write, read, and teach so basically I am worthless in these areas when I take a pain pill, but I guess no more so than when I am in pain. When I am in pain I am able to converse and think although distractedly, so I have decisions I have to make on the fly. In the morning I ask myself is the pain bad enough for a pain pill or will two Aleve fix it? Will the Aleve dull it enough that I can still meet my commitments to the library, and the ESL students? Should I take a pain pill and go anyway? That one is a scary one for anyone who has seen me on them. I fall, do things without paying attention, speak loudly, and slur. I also ask myself, is the pain bad enough that I have to take a pain pill and forfeit getting to write at all? Sometimes, on the good days where I don’t have commitments I can read and listen to music and that distracts me enough through the pain. There are many more options but I am already getting bored and so are you. Let me lay it out.
Basically there is a battle in my mind every morning between two streams of thought: push through the pain, or be kind to the body. Inevitably, unless I push through the pain I feel useless and guilty, but if I push through the pain, not only do I have to deal with the pain, but eventually I will have no choice but to not leave the house for maybe up to a week because of what the pain has done to my body. I am always exhausted lately it seems. It makes me irritable and sometimes I just cry for an hour.
So my days are spent making these decisions over and over. There is a chronic pain scale that goes from be kind to my body to push through it. I try and hit in the middle somewhere because I want both. I don’t want to feel useless and I have goals. Just like everyone I have goals. After about a week of this pain I just had it though. I lost my nerve and just exploded.
Okay so a little truth here: I had to step away from the computer because I was getting sick of my whining. I don’t like whining at all. I hate it even more coming from myself. I was on the phone with a trusted friend and he said that I am an inspiration because I always try to be positive. I do. I try so hard to be positive. I try to leave myself feeling better than I started. I have gumption for days. I am really trying.
If you have chronic pain, I think this probably sounds familiar. How do you get through? How do you feel useful? How are you positive? And where do you put these feelings? Sometimes this pain feels personal as if this is being done to me somehow. How do you not take it personally?