Monday, August 14, 2017

Chronic pain sucks

Chronic pain sucks. This is a venting blog post. You are warned.

Sometimes the treatments for pain/disease/etc make things worse or have weird side effects. I have a lower back problem. Well, several of them. One or two vertebrae slip (called spondylolisthesis). Same ones have osteoarthritis, which is actually protective in my case. One disc is torn (annular tear), which causes really terrible nerve pain (radiculopathy) that goes down my spine, into my buttocks, across my groin, and down my legs. All in all, a tough break. I have done just about everything short of surgery. Last week I had the 2nd radiofrequency ablation from L3 to S1 done. Saturday a new pain, on the outside of my left foot, started and has gotten worse.

Sometimes I feel like a fraud. This is why: I went to Boston Comic Con yesterday with my hubby and friends and had a great time. We met Stan Lee after waiting in line for an hour, It was wonderful nonetheless. I probably should have agreed to get a scooter, wheelchair, or at least go forward when the folks who asked us to queue for Stan Lee asked about ADA and people who can't stand in line for long periods of time. I should have done that. I didn't. I did wear comfortable boots though. I did take lots of Tylenol and sat down as often as I could. We had an excellent time, did lots of walking (limping in my case) and bought some cool stuff. I suffered, not in silence (my poor friends). I did pay for having fun though, and that's the catch.

I woke up early this morning, as planned, for school and got ready despite the pain. I limped around the house, got a shower, got dressed, made coffee and breakfast and etc. Went out to the car, got sprayed by the damn sprinkler, which meant I had to go back inside and change because I was SOAKED, of course. Changed, went back out to the car, all ready to go, pushed in the clutch while starting the car (I drive a stick shift) and bam, the searing pain got worse and brought me to tears. Nope, can't drive my car. This lead me to a mini breakdown and back inside the house where TJ listened and comforted me. Thankfully, I can take his car (automatic) to school, which is 2 hours away in Boston (that's another story). I called my spine and pain doc's office and left an urgent message for them to call me and/or get me in ASAP. I won't go to the E.R. because I know there isn't anything they can do for me.

Going back a paragraph, paying for having fun is a sad part of having chronic pain. On one hand, I want to be pain-free, and on the other, I want to have fun with my loved ones. It's a delicate balance that anyone with chronic pain/disease deals with every day. As I said, sometimes I feel like a fraud because I can have many good days or many bad days, and they aren't even, fair, or even correlated with each other. It's miserable and it sucks but it's a part of life I have accepted and just deal with. It's hard for people on the outside who don't have a chronic illness to understand how I can go from being great, full of energy, relatively pain-free, and having a grand time, to being crippled the next day and unable to drive, for example. I consider myself lucky though. I could have it SO much worse. I count my blessings every day and try not to get down about it, which can be challenging too because depression is a part of the territory.

What's the point of this post? Mostly to vent and complain. Partly to make people understand that this is how it is with chronic illness. I am a pretty healthy person with chronic illness/pain too! I have mostly good days, but many setbacks also. One of my daily goals is to get through the day because the next day will be better. I try to be positive, to look forward, to keep going. I have so much more life in me, years to come, adventures to find, experiences to live, etc etc. But some days...some days are shit.
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