Chronic pain is not a very easy issue to live with for the fighter or the family and friends. Chances are you know someone who deals with chronic pain. I’m not talking about some arthritis now and then that plays up with weather or a migraine that comes once in a while. I am talking about a person that lives in pain. I am one of those people. I have some level of pain every day. Every day. I have days when the pain is not as bad but I have pain every day. I’ve not known a pain-free day but 7 days of four years. I have to take narcotics just to function most days. This is the chronic pain I am talking about.
Now my pain is from several sources but I’m not going into what causes it because that is not what I am posting about today. I am wanting to help you, the non chronic pain fighter, understand just what it is like to be the fighter. Maybe it will help, this is my hope, you to understand why we fighters act the way we act at times. So, sit back, grab your drink of choice, I have my coffee and read, really read and take in what I am about to take my time posting to you.
Chronic pain from the inside view.
So I’m sitting on the sectional, in my recliner with my trusty blanket and doing everything I can to not let them see it. See what you ask? I am trying to not let them see the pain on my face. I don’t want them to know that I am biting back tears, I am fighting the pain, I am trying to win and grin. My lower back has this sharp shooting pain that is traveling down my hip to my thigh and up the center of my back to my shoulders. I can’t get comfortable so I keep shifting my body in different positions. In my head I’m counting as I breathe in and out to mask the screams I don’t let escape my lips. I’m fighting. I finally gave up and took my narcotics, dilaudid 4 mg very strong meds. After I take them my head begins to fog over. Everything sounds louder than normal and for whatever reason my voice drops in volume as well. To talk I must speak slowly so I don’t slur or mix up my words. Between the pain, yes I still feel the pain even with that medication in my body, and the effects of the dilaudid it’s self, I’m fighting to hold on. I keep shifting my body, I keep trying to relieve the pain that is now from head to toe. My breathing is a bit labored from the medications, my eyes are blurring everything I look at, and the pain is still there but I’m no longer screaming inside. This is not easy, to suffer in silence so I am not boring anyone with “I’m in pain again.” But then something happens. While I’m fighting to keep my mind as sharp as I can with the meds in my body, while I’m trying not to let on how bad it hurts. I’m asked a question I answer, in my altered voice, almost mono toned and quiet, while I am trying to concentrate on texting details to another person (yes I have to concentrate to do this on these meds) but my answer is not to the satisfaction of the person asking. They assume I am mad, or grumpy in my reply because my voice is mono toned and quiet. When really I am fighting the pain, fighting the effects of the meds and trying so hard not to mess up the text to the person getting food for everyone. I answered in the wrong tone and I get lash back from it.
Was I in a bad mood? No, not in the least. Was I being a “bitch”, no not at all. I was simply offering every thing I had left in my tank to reply via text and voice at the same time. This happens way too often these days. When it was all said and done I didn’t feel like eating, talking or even staying in the room with everyone. Listen, well read yeah read, read this loud and clear: I am in pain that you likely will never understand because you won’t experience it. I am on extremely strong medication that alters my mind, my voice, my body completely. My movements are slower, my arms are heavier, my voice is quieter, my thought process slower and my spirit is taking a beating from fighting this damn pain all day. I’m not grumpy, I’m hurting! I’m a moment away from walking in the other room to cry because I’m losing the battle with the pain and all you can do is be annoyed that I don’t plaster a smile on my face and pretend everything is perfect and answer you the way you want. I am hurting.
I wish more understood this part of my life. I know they won’t because it is not their “problem” it is mine. But I try so very hard to be positive, I try so hard to do every thing possible with you all, and I do my best to keep up. But you get pissed when I don’t do it the way you think I should. When I am reading something and I don’t reply because I’m lost in the content, I’m there for a reason. I’m there to distract my mind from what my body is feeling. When I knit and stay in my little world I am doing so to confuse my brain so it will not feel the pain that makes me want to scream, kick and cry. I get it, you’re important, and you think I should snap at your will, put a smile on my face and be happy, for you. The problem is I can’t do that because my body does not listen to me. My body does not get a break. Imagine the worst pain you have ever felt, now imagine it didn’t go away with medications, it didn’t go away after a day, a week a month but instead it stayed every day. Tell me, how happy would you remain? How positive would you be? How light and fluffy could you reply to everything when in that pain and mind altered by narcotics? Try to understand, we are different, and what happens in my body daily is not an easy thing to deal with and I’m doing what I can. So stop treating me like I am doing something wrong just because I didn’t reply with a happy voice, or because I didn’t break the meditation I had going to distract me from the pain, please try to understand this is not easy. I am doing the best I can and I am still smiling as often as I can. I’m taking care of me, and my children. I can’t be responsible for others they have to be responsible for themselves.
SO if you know someone who goes through this chronic pain, try to understand they are not being mean, or grumpy or bitchy. They are simply fighting a battle you can’t see and doing their best to keep from screaming with pain. Existing takes a lot more effort for them so give them a break. Give me a break, please. I’m tired of the pain, I’m worn out from the bullshit. I have a lot already bearing down on me so stop adding to it. The negativity, is it really not needed, in the least, I have enough going on without anyone adding to it. Give us a break because the pain will not.