Embracing life with chronic pain and illnesses.

Posts tagged ‘Neuralgia’

Morning Majesty

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Viewing the awesome landscape of the early morning with the chorus of “Amazing Grace” playing in my mind…

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.”

The gift of a new day with just a hint of God’s power and majesty on display.

A Sense of Humor

Struck by the irony

I couldn’t help smile

Another lesson learned

With laughter from my mouth…

I knew this flare would hit

That it was going to overwhelm

No matter the preparations

No amount of rest would change it…

This morning I was given a gift

Unexpected and of great impact

Providing a brief window

To step outside of the intolerable pain…

I had done my part

Resting as much as possible

In anticipation of riding in the rig

To enjoy some time with my hubby and son…

There is truly no way to prepare

My body is its own prison

Yet it will not prevent me

From holding tight to opportunities with repercussion…

This path of chronic conditions/illnesses and pain

Is fraught with boulders, sheer cliffs, downed trees and more

Obstacles unimagined from the mind of health

It becomes the ultimate learning tool…

With overwhelming pain

Stabbing, searing, burning and tearing

Stomach cramping, blurry vision and headache

Lying down and praying for relief…

This flare will ease in time

Symptoms will once again manifest

In a more “orderly” fashion

Depending upon the combination of conditions…

I had gone to bed early

Anything touching my skin

Exacerbating my pain level

Simple prayer to beg for rest…

I knew I would be home bound

Legs heavy with slow methodical gait

Symptoms scream at the top of their lungs

A brief thought of riding in the rig…

Images immediately flash in my mind

Like viewing a video

I see myself saying a simple prayer

I am reminded of my promise to rest…

Caught and called out

I laugh and nod my head

Again amazed by an awesome God

Who shared some humor with me…

 

Laser Focus

Beware of the steady focus on pain alone

For pain is not the only symptom we battle

Yet pain’s voice can be the loudest

Blaring over all others…

Or worse yet, swallowing them into itself

The headache, the abdominal cramps, the stabbing in the feet

Forced to feed into the great voice called Pain…

Those with softer voices yet carrying horrifying weapons of their own

Like bloating, muscle spasms, brain fog, blurry vision, burning sensations

Are carried away on pain’s current, and its need to be in the forefront…

We must remember each one of our conditions

For each one carries its own set of symptoms

Oftentimes overlapping thus covering up the condition responsible…

This masking and blurring, often made worse by our medications

Further weakens the voices the need to be heard and understood

To better assist us in dealing with what condition is truly at the front…

While remembering that each day, each moment

We have no control…none whatsoever…except how we deal with the voices

Attempting to listen harder so that we might better strike at the source…

Completely Unprepared

No matter our chronic condition/illness, our lives and the lives of those around us are forever altered.  We are stressed to our breaking point. The emotional toll overwhelms. We are in the midst of the most intense storm of our life.

We are tested at what feels to be beyond our limits as we battle our way through the health care system, working with our doctors to find some sort of relief to allow us to have a life of some kind…our loved ones and those close to us witness this first hand.

We embark on a new journey that is dictated by our bodies…grieving who we were and had hoped to be. We struggle to adapt…to accept the fact that we might be home bound, unable to drive, barely able to maintain good hygiene…yet we do.

Like me, you might have to fight for SS Disability.  Even with the assistance of an advocate/lawyer, this can be an arduous task.  My route went through denials…to a hearing…taking 26 months to finally have the Judge rule in my favor.  All the while, watching our resources dwindle to nothing.

I am thankful to be at this last step…awaiting the formal notification that will verify the monthly payment and solidify medical coverage.  Yet I am bereft of emotion…feeling hollow, raw…an empty shell…praying for this wave to settle quickly…knowing that this journey is far from over.

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!

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!

Week One — Cymbalta Free

What a whirlwind this past week has been! I have experienced electric shocks and electric zaps (a slow-motion form of the fast shocks), intense nausea, insomnia followed by sleeping all day –unable to wake, thick brain fog, inability to use the correct words when attempting to speak…not to mention the symptoms of my conditions thrown into the mix!!

Yesterday was the worst for pain that I have ever experienced. Yes…you read that right!  Mere words cannot relay the reality, yet I must try.  It is SO important that we know and absolutely believe that we are not alone in dealing with our hidden illnesses/conditions.

Yesterday brought tears to me eyes, truly crying because the pain was so extensive, so overbearing, so excruciating. Every single inch of my body was screaming at the top of its lungs: exaggerated pain from touch (clothing, slight breeze from the ceiling fan), Tinnitus volume turned up on high, stabbing and throbbing sensations coursing up and down my legs.  It was hard to differentiate from the symptoms of my Fibromyalgia/Polyarthralgia/Chronic Pain Disorder/Neuralgia/IBS-D/etc. and those produced by the absence of the Cymbalta.

This morning brought a huge sigh of relief!  There is a true difference in my body today.  I am experiencing the symptoms of my conditions…albeit they are still higher than my “normal”, would be categorized as a “Fibro Flare”…yet I feel that they will slowly settle…settle enough for my Pain Specialist to make further adjustments as needed to my pain pump.

What a rough ride! I am sure that I will still have some issues arise, however, it is uplifting to know that the first week following the last dosage is the most difficult. One step at a time…one day at a time.

 

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