Sunday, April 21, 2013

Managing Chronic Pain

For the chronic pain that comes from chronic illness, one of the most difficult things about it is this: everyone that should help you with the many other aspects of your disease... can't do a darn thing for it. Meaning, that your main specialist is poorly equipped for managing pain if he/she can not stop the source. They are used to treating a problem and seeing it resolve. When it does not... they feel lost. I was lucky enough to have specialists humble enough to admit I was beyond their help. When the pain was beyond any control, I was referred to a chronic pain clinic.

At first I was skeptical. So many doctors have dismissed my misery and pain because they could not understand. I was being sent to clinic that took care of injuries and back problems--what would my doctor know about endometriosis pain?

Still, I drove the twenty miles to the clinic and waited to meet my new physician.  I could not expect him to give me a chance if I was unwilling to give him one. The wait in the office was long. I was given a lot of time to wring my hands and question my reasoning for finding hope in this option. When I finally shook his hand, I felt I was sitting on the edge of a precipice: between a semblance of normalcy or a fall from my last hope into despair.

As we spoke, I began to relax. He did not question the reality of my pain in the least. He criticized the doctors who led me to relying on emergency care for pain management.  He praised my specialists for recognizing that more surgery and/or a hysterectomy was not the solution for me. And he immediately asked me what sort of pain management plan I desired. He treated me as an equal and asked for my input on every option we explored.

The first few months are filled with trial and error. Frustrations too. For example, one primary issue with my pain is due to neural damage and inappropriate neural firing. So I was put on cymbalta to help mitigate this neural dysfunction. Unfortunately,  this pill has made me really sleepy. This almost made me more discouraged than the pain, because I am always quite envious of the energy levels of other women my age. I hated requiring naps throughout the day and I was criticized as lazy. However, rather than quit, I tried taking it at different times in the day. Because I wish to persevere through this trial and error.

I'm not going to pretend to be some invincible or happy go lucky patient. I've had some very discouraging and depressing nights. But I've chosen to find hope in this new option, because it is easy to see. If I cannot stop my disease, I can at least fight against one of the most awful symptoms of it.

The primary reason for this post is that, prior to my doctor's recommendations, I had never really considered a pain clinic as a valid option for me. Usually, when I was presented the idea, it was presented under poorly veiled criticism of my use of pain killers. As if I was an addict that needed proper rearing. I had a bias against pain clinics as if they were the end of the line for hopeless cases.

But they are not the end of the line--they can be a start of a new life for some individuals. A proper clinic with a dedicated physician can really brighten some dark spots in a suffering soul's body. So if you are hurting, constantly, and have not looked into it, give it a try. I wish I had investigated it sooner. Talk to your doctor and see if a pain clinic could help you live a normal life.

Best wishes to everyone, thank you for your continued reading, support, and kind words. I apologize for my time off, but it was needed.

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About The BedRiddenHead

I want to be happy. And this site is about that chance. How to strive to thrive in the body I've got and maybe turn my experiences into something worthwhile.

This site aims to help educate and reach out to people all over that struggle with pain or illness. To try and make something helpful. I work as a medical research writer, my background is in neuropsychology and biology, and I want to share what I learn in a way that is easy to understand. I am not a doctor. I'm definitely not your doctor. I am just some lady who wants to make someone's (anyone's) life a little bit better. Whether you have endometriosis, a chronic injury, a struggling friend, or just want to learn something new, I hope to make a place that has what you are looking for.

Thank you for stopping by, I wish you strength in your health and happiness.