Posts tagged with: Pain management

10 post-surgery realizations

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As I write this I am 10 days post-surgery. I have all sorts of holes in my body that I did not opt to have put there (technically) and wish that at least one of them had a ring or a bar in it. My nose, soon enough, will have something. Can’t wait to be one-hundred-percent healed!

Realizations about the last ten days include:

1. I have watched more movies than should be legally allowed. Unless you’ve had surgery of course.
2. I missed four full days of work but don’t feel guilty about it.
3. I also have had to leave work early twice this week during healing and don’t feel guilty about that anymore either.
4. Guilt gets me no where.
5. On Wednesday and Thursday I’ve had some “breakthrough” pain that was bad enough to make me gasp and at one point I was in tears. My doc wants me to take my pain meds like I was told. He thinks this could be the problem.
6. I am not Wonder Woman.
7. I am not Super Woman either.
8. I wish I were one or the other. That’d be fun.
9. Asking for help is hard, but worth it. Without it I would probably have torn stitches, still be miserable, and my friends would hate me for not admitting I needed help.
10. I am ready to feel normal again. I am tired of not feeling well, tired of being tired, tired of not being able to exercise and tired of not being me!

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Here we go again …

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I live with chronic pain.

My pain has had a flare up and I’ve been going to bed early and being so tired in the morning I hardly drag myself out of bed. In the rollercoaster of life with chronic pain, I am at the bottom. That means I can only go up, right?

More soon! I promise! I have GOOD entries on paper that I just don’t have the energy to get onto the laptop!

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Painful realizations

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Six weeks ago I received my rheumatology “first visit questionnaire” and filled it out. Three pages of pretty detailed questions “Considering all the ways in which illnesses and health conditions may affect you at this time, please indicate how you are doing:” (on a scale of 0, very well to 10, very poorly) and shading in “usual pain” areas on a pretty buff male figure (maybe they used Hugh Jackson). Tonight I pulled the paperwork out, as I’ll see the rheumatologist tomorrow and I wanted to double-check the answers. I am concerned.

Tonight I am in a very different place regarding my pain than I was six weeks ago. This week has been particularly hard on me (I hope it’s due to stress and the changes in weather) and so I amended the questionnaire in a different pen than what I used before. I am concerned that there has been such a steep decrease in my functioning in six weeks. I’ve even talked with a friend about allowing the rheumatologist to suggest antidepressants. I know the pain isn’t in my head, but if I can change my head space about the pain, I think that it would lessen. Aleve, Advil and Tylenol do nothing for me. I have prescriptions for Vicodin and for Oxycontin which I’m not comfortable using more than once or twice a week right now, but I might have to change my mindset about that as well.

For those who don’t know, I am a true believer in prayer, and so I have been praying fervently for relief. I am beginning to feel lead to pray for a different mindset about the pain I’m currently in, though. A close friend told me that this pain may be the thorn in my side, it may be the reminder I need to lean on my Maker, my Abba, the One who will heal me the day I meet Him. I think she may be more right than she knows.

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10 Myths of Chronic Pain

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Dawn Ashley

continued from yesterday

Chronic pain myth #6: Patients with chronic pain don’t want to get better because they benefit from their pain.

Chronic pain fact #6: Most people don’t like to hurt. Research shows that very rarely do people exaggerate their pain levels. The benefits (financial compensation or assistance) are often small and not “worth” it.

Chronic pain myth #7: You can ignore chronic pain; it will go away.

Chronic pain fact #7: Ignoring pain does not make it go away and can cause it to increase.

Chronic pain myth #8: Pushing yourself to do things will help you overcome your pain.

Chronic pain fact #8: Chronic pain patients need to know their limits, pace themselves and not push themselves too far. I know that when I push myself, I end up hurting worse than before.

Chronic pain myth #9: If you look young and well, you are.

Chronic pain fact #9: Patients with chronic pain often do as much as they can. Chronic pain is an invisible illness and there are sometimes no outward signs of pain. Just because I look like I’m feeling fine doesn’t mean that; I’m good at hiding my aches.

Chronic pain myth #10: You just “have to live with it” when it comes to chronic pain.

Chronic pain fact #10: There is no need for anyone to live with unbearable pain. There may not be cures available, but there are treatments for most patients. Pain management specialists exist for patients in need. Patients should seek these specialists and find a physician they are comfortable being completely honest with for all of their symptoms.

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10 Myths of Chronic Pain

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After yesterday’s post about the late Carla Anna, I felt the need to continue sharing about chronic pain.

Chronic pain is diagnosed over time and is normally considered chronic after a patient experiences the discomfort for more than six months. Pain can be diagnosed by neurological exams, nerve tests and diagnostic testing.

Chronic pain myth #1: If the doctor doesn’t find a medical diagnosis it’s all “in their head.”

Chronic pain fact #1: Chronic pain is not “in your head” (you can however have chronic head pain). Chronic pain is a legitimate and treatable medical condition that can be “maintained” by a combo of neurological, psychological and physical patterns.

Chronic pain myth #2: Only weak people seek treatment or complain about their pain.

Chronic pain fact #2: Seeking treatment has nothing to do with being weak or needy. For me, personally, I don’t want to be a burden to my physicians so seeking care for me is an act of strength.

Chronic pain myth #3: Medications for chronic pain (narcotics are often used) lead patients to become addicts.

Chronic pain fact #3: Narcotics aren’t the treatment option for patients with chronic pain. Physical dependence does occur but the majority of patients do not become addicted.

Chronic pain myth #4: Medications used for chronic pain turn people into “zombies.”

Chronic pain fact #4: The side effects of many narcotic pain killers are tolerable, treatable and can fade with time.

Chronic pain myth #5: Medications used for chronic pain need to be continually increased to treat pain due to tolerance.

Chronic pain fact #5: Increases in doses normally occur because of increases in physical (or psychological) pain status.

… to be continued …

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Never say never

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Creative Commons License photo credit: WirosI’ve had people remind me “no one ever died from pain” before after I’ve complained that I hurt, and I’ve learned to take it with a few grains of salt (normally one isn’t enough). Earlier this week while at my “other job,” I came across a Health Central post that shocked me. I don’t know what to do from here. I just know I am miserable frightend me because in it, I saw myself. “I am a 29 year old woman trapped inside of the body of a 100 year old woman,” are the type of words I use on a day-to-day basis. This woman took words from my heart when she wrote “the real condition I have is chronic pain. It is chronic, but unfortunately, it is not terminal. People look at me and see a healthy girl. They say, ‘You are so young, you have your whole life ahead of you.’ Those words are the most depressing thing I have ever heard in my whole life. Telling me that I have another 40 to 50 years of this? Please, please just stab me in the chest. Over and over.”Chronic pain is hard to understand, sometimes it’s simply impossible to figure out. Oftentimes the source of the pain is hard to pin down, and sometimes patients are treated as though it’s just in their head. Even when the medical community knows where the pain is coming from, it’s not always curable, and the treatments aren’t always ideal. While medicines can numb the pain, it can also numb your brain. I work with numbers and my job requires absolute accuracy; if my brain is numb, a mistake could cost me my job.Ellen from WEGOHealth brings up some good points for those who know someone with chronic pain.

  • Listen to them.
  • Seek to understand them, but consider them innocent until proven guilty.
  • Assist them in finding the relief they need.
  • Stand up for them if they cannot for themselves! You can be their voice when they cannot speak for themselves, or if in speaking they are ignored. If they’re not finding relief, it’s not what they need.
  • Don’t give up on them. They need your strenth, your friendship, your love. If you think you’re sick of it, consider how tired of it they are.

It is tragic that it takes a death to bring chronic pain into the news, but it offers me a chance to remind readers of the other 1 million people who live with chronic pain and what they can do to help out.

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