Embracing life with chronic pain and illnesses.

Posts tagged ‘chronic pain’

Another Tangent

As if our body’s aren’t under enough stress with our hidden illnesses and conditions, there always seems that more gets added to our plate!

I have been absent in dealing with “new” pain affecting my lower back and both legs. Results of the MRI showed Herniated discs (L4 and L5, S1 and S2) and arthritis in same area. So yes, definitely Sciatica.

I will go in for steroid injections next Wednesday. I do hope they provide relief. It would be SO nice to go back to my “usual” pain!


A Glimpse of the Unseen

Chronic illness and pain often leaves us feeling like we are driving a hazardous road in the blackest of nights in blinding snow.

I hear the tumultuous waves crashing nearby. My knuckles are white as I clinch the steering wheel ever tighter.

My body is overwhelmed, yet again, with increased stabbing pain and extremely overly sensitive skin…I am counting hours to my appointment tomorrow. A much needed refill to my pain pump and discussion of my latest MRI.

In the early morning hours, as I laid in bed feeling the pain ramping up, I prayed for a touch of relief…tears could not help but fall. I was granted a little more than an hour’s fitful sleep during which I was given an awesome dream.

I dreamt that I was clinging as tightly as I could to a rock as a storm raged around me…pounding pain, large hail stones striking exposed skin, winds whipping and tearing around me…every pore seemed to be screaming as the pain within was rising to the symphony around me. Then I opened my eyes to see that I was clinging to Jesus, his back taking the brunt of the forces.

I awoke with a renewed sense of hope…looking forward to tomorrow’s appointment…knowing that I am truly not alone…that my prayers are being heard.

A Flare Like No Other

Unrelenting pain

Coursing through every cell

The slightest touch exacerbates

Pressure from the softest cloth

Becomes a knife with serrated blade…

Skin crawling

Interrupted by nausea

Hunched over by the cramping

Right arm and shoulder on fire

My body a living pin cushion…

The light is overwhelming

Yet the darkest room offers no relief

No comfort to be found

A headache begins to form

Sensations are racing to and fro…

The intensity of symptoms

Raging and fighting…vying for attention

My brain is on overload

Waves of pain bombard me

My body sinks into the depths…

I take pause

To breathe deeply

Soft spoken words

Pleading for the slightest of relief

Peace comes to my mind…

My symptoms still enraged

As I am enveloped

By a sense of calm

Like a thick blanket

Renewing strength and focus…



Tummy Trouble

It is amazing how far I have traveled on this path of chronic pain and illness.  The pain pump has been a major milestone!  It has given me the ability to determine where my pain and discomfort is coming from…rather than the symptoms just shouting over each other to be heard.

Almost two weeks ago, I was able to explain to my GI Specialist my abdominal issues with specific symptoms! With my complicated history which includes Pelvic Floor Syndrome, rectal prolapse, spastic colon, permanent colostomy (sigmoid colon and rectum removed), and IBS, it provided the glimpse that he needed to best determine the next step.  I will be undergoing a Gastric Emptying Scan next week to determine if my stomach is working properly…must determine just how much of my GI tract is involved.

I am anxious to find out if the malfunctions of my lower GI tract are “isolated” or if my upper GI tract is also involved.  Another crucial piece of my medical conditions will be better understood!

As so many of us with chronic conditions know, it takes time to put all pieces together.  It takes so much effort and energy to get diagnoses due to whatever symptoms are screaming the loudest!  Living with Fibromyalgia, Polyarthralgia, Chronic Pain Disorder, Somatic Symptom Disorder, Neuralgia, Postherpetic Neuralgia, Paresthesia along with the above referenced GI disorders make determining the origin of symptoms extremely difficult.

So many years…so many doctors…so many appointments…not to mention the tests and imaging/scans!  This path of chronic illnesses and conditions is not easy…there are no easy fixes…it forces us to rediscover ourselves while it strips us of the lives we had.

The War Within

Just as the thick cloak of nightIMG_7978

Hides the shadow

My body belies the reality

Of the war raging within…

It is bejeweled by the glistening stars

Twinkling like diamonds

Forming well known constellations

Whose paths were set to motion eons ago…

The path of chronic pain is arduous

It tests us in ways unimaginable

It attacks physically, mentally, and emotionally

Showing no mercy and no predictability…

It taunts with images of yesterday

It teases with thoughts of “normalcy”

Reality check…pain is real…symptoms are real

Yesterday is our distant past…

The challenge now is to create

To embrace our limitations

This is our new reality

To embark upon a unique journey…


Conversation with Self on Fibro Brain

“Deodorant in second drawer…”

Absently looking into the mirror…


I slowly turn to leave the bathroom.

“Deodorant in second drawer…”

“Oh yes! I must brush my teeth!”

I turn back around

The early morning light

Cascading through the window.

I shuffle out the door…

“Oh yes! Must brush my teeth!”

I find myself in the bathroom again

My eyes happen upon the toothbrush

Hanging quietly, waiting…

“Oh man!”

Chills hit my body

Drawn to my reflection, again,

I forgot to put on my sweater!

I carefully navigate to the closet.

A glance around the bedroom

I smile as I move toward the bed

Reaching down to collect my soft fleece.

My mind is screaming,

“What did I need to do?”

A long, heavy sigh

I carefully put on the fleece

And begin my slow methodic walk

To my comfy recliner.

I stop part way down the hall,

Slowly shake my head

Another heavy sigh

As I continue to my recliner.

My body falls into the chair,

Feet up with body stabbing and throbbing

I pull the blanket over me;

Waiting for the worst of the pain

To ease enough to rest my aching body.

I find myself as if frozen in time,

“Oh man!! I forgot to put on deodorant!”

The Fallacy of the Pain Scale

I am sure you recognize this graphic. We see this image in one of its various formats eachPain scale chart vertical time we visit the doctor.  For those of us “blessed” with chronic pain, it is a mute point.

I was ridiculed by the ALJ during my hearing yesterday because I have consistently been using the number 10 to describe my pain WITH medications.

Now let me attempt to describe this Pain Scale through the eyes of someone who is homebound and in constant pain.

Many years ago, a wise nurse tried to help me interpret my pain to be placed on this scale.  She simply said that in my situation, if I am noticing pain/discomfort that I am to respond with a 6.  If my day-to-day life is completely off kilter, I should respond with a 10.

Fast forward to the present. The ALJ’s understanding is that a “10” means you must be in the hospital.  I can hear the smirking of those with chronic pain. Our medical team is all ready doing everything possible to try to improve our quality of life…oftentimes, that means to bring pain within a tolerable range…like a 7-8! Reality check!  All they could do is attempt to overwhelm my system with medications that I cannot tolerate!  My combination of diagnoses do not have a definitive origin which has caused much frustration to my doctors and specialists.

I could hear the condescending tone when the ALJ responded to my description of Polyarthralgia.  He asked about Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc.  All have been ruled out.  My set of diagnoses: Fibromyalgia, Polyarthralgia, Chronic Pain Disorder, Somatic Symptom Disorder, Pelvic Floor Syndrome, Neuralgia, Postherpetic Neuralgia, Paresthesia, PTSD, IBS-D, Colostomy; do not fit the norm.  My issues have been “unique” making my “special” (terms that I have heard so many times).  These are diagnoses that you are assigned when you do not test positive for something!

Why have I been answering “10” “Unimaginable/Unspeakable?  Let’s see…just a few thoughts come to mind…I am homebound, can barely move from the bed to my recliner, find no position to help relieve symptoms, have thick Fibro Fog (brain fog), have difficulty completing a sentence, experience Flares on a regular basis (riding in car to doctor appointment will set me back for days), cannot concentrate…these diagnoses have completely robbed me of a “normal” life.  How do you describe to an outsider the reality of being a prisoner within your own body that is complete with its own torture chamber?

The other important point, is that I am in the process of weaning off of the medications as we continue to fine tune my pain pump.  Here again, the ALJ just wanted to focus on the ONE visit where my pain level was actually down to a 9! The reality of that number was the result of the pain pump being implanted and still taking ALL medication!  The entire reason we fought SO hard for the pain pump was to offer me the hope of true improvement…NOT masking it by overwhelming my system with drugs!

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