Wednesday, August 29, 2012

it's times like these

that you find out what you're made of.

Pain was inconsequential to me for most of my journey thus far because I could just pop a pain pill and get on with my life in a mannor of speaking.

But these small nagging questions were popping up - where did I put that thing that I need so badly right now? When did I make that appointment for again? Why didn't I write it down? Did I get that done? What the hell is going on?

I was stuck in the movie Momento - I  was losing large chunks of my life. Honestly? I felt like I was losing my mind. It was beyond frustrating and for me, enough was enough. There had to be a better way to go about this. I just needed to start thinking about things differently.

The next visit to see the pain management doctor would results in taking narcotics off of the table entirely to see what she had to offer. The amount of options were actually quite startling (and what a relief that was!)! I had to wonder why narcotic meds were often the first line of defense when there were so many other avenues to treat pain? Was it because we the consumer are pushing for instant gratification so we are in effect training our healers to just give us a quick fix? Possibly. Or are we talking about peer pressure from the big pharm companies to hand out these dangerous little pills for the almighty capitalistic gain? Let's face it - a big part of what drives Americans is greed. But I refuse to believe that every healer is spurned on  by our pill culture - there are some good doctors left in the world, right?

So, in conclusion I've been off pain pills now for almost a month and I have to tell you that it's one of the best and hardest decisions I've made for myself. But I didn't go off because I'm healed or no longer in pain - quite the opposite. I struggle with chronic pain at different levels every day. Some days are better than others. Overall I guess I'm pretty lucky in retrospect. I read about people that have been in horrible car accidents and have several painful conditions and when it comes to the kinds of hell that people live in the list just goes on and on. This is not to say that one pain is better than the other - I just know when to count my blessings.

My new methodology is anything non-narcotic. We are starting different treatments now. Lidocaine patches are effective for me as they somehow numb the nerves that cause my legs to ache. Along that same vein is lidocaine cream with lots of non narcotic non steroidal anti inflammatory goodies in it. I get that tomorrow and have a lot of hope for that one. I've heard its good stuff.

I'm also trying herbs, supplements and OTC pain relievers. Once upon a time things like aspercream and tylenol precise and biofreeze helped but Im way past those now and into a completely different world of pain that those don't touch at all.

I still use heat and ice nearly daily. Heat is a morning get me going thing and then I follow that up with ice to knock back the swelling in my spine.

By the way we are treating Degenerative Disk Disease. That's the official diagnosis these days. I have two bulging disks and severe misalignment.

I will be trying chiropractic here soon. I was astonished when she suggested even pushed that treatment. I had read that its a big no no for us with bulging disks. I have a feeling that it would be still if she didn't know someone who specialized in treating those with such a condition.

I want to say that I will always be strong and take the road less travelled but I know that's a lie. I will try my hardest to stay here and just deal with things as they come. My pain does make me very desperate at times and I think it would just be easier if I just gave in - but just as I am breaking mentally and going down that darkened road of dispair something breaks and I kinda come back again.

I do worry sometimes about the mental ramifications that pain seems to have on me - I do get into a pretty awful funk but so long as I can crawl back out I find this to be just something that comes along with dealing.

This has been in the forefront of my life and mind for some time now and I think about it a lot. I can't help it. When I am in pain all I can do is to try to figure out ways to get out. Its like something is on fire and I have to put it out - and it feels like a cycle sometimes where when it wont let up and it drags me further and further down I claw harder and harder to keep from slipping too far down - that's when the best ideas come to me in the darkest of my times.

Just last night I was having a breakthrough pain and really nothing was touching it. I was wearing a lidocaine patch, had swallowed as much OTC pain medication as I could and was sitting on a heating pad. I just couldn't get comfortable. I laid down, I sat up. I walked around and I stretched out the backs of my legs. It just wouldn't leave me be! And in the moment of my terrible crunchiness I had an epiphany of sorts - I realized that I was thinking about this in all the wrong ways - I was still holding on to the idea that someone else could fix me better than I could fix myself. When did I stop being my own healer ? When did that happen exactly?

My mind was on fire with new ideas and the thought of doing more to help myself was not only exciting but really enlightening. I was going to get more proactive and take matters into my own hands more than I'd ever done before.

Before things were different - I could spend some of my time thinking about my back stuff because it didn't need me as much and perhaps that's where I went wrong?  If I had dedicated more time to being my own healer, I might be in better shape now? There's no way of knowing for sure and honestly it doesn't matter now. I can't change what has happened - now I need to move forward.

I have no idea what my rehab will look like as I've yet to do my research but that's the direction that I'm headed. I plan to get strong again - heal myself with exercise and therapy and stay strong. I've always had an advantage in life in that I have super tenacity. Im not capable of giving up. I don't even know what it means to do so and I'm going to use every ounce that I have for this. Its a do or die situation for me at this point - Every cell, every ounce of energy is being used up to treat and care for the pain in my life - I am getting further and further away from myself everyday. I miss being an artist. I miss being creative and working too many hours. I am completely disconnected from everything that makes me feel alive and like a whole human being. That has to change. This? Can't be my life and it wont be.

Im looking forward to the day when I no longer have to focus on pain any longer.

The journey does not end here. giving up is not an option.


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