I've kept my pain comments to a minimum this year (if you don't think so, you aren't living in my body). Until this morning. This morning I received permission (in an odd way) from a Friend I identify as the most long-suffering of the chronic pain sufferers among my Friends (although I doubt I know how many such Friends I have).
She started a conversation about how pain is different for everyone and there's no point comparing pains. It had an Apostle Paul quality to it. I haven't posted this year because of all those Friends who hurt far more and far more often and far longer than I have (according to FB, this is Year 3). It feels insulting to them to gripe about my pain when theirs is likely worse.
However, there is no comparison. Pain is pain. The same way I would never mock someone grieving the loss of hamster because it isn't a person (my inclination with such mockers is to punch them in the throat). The grief is the salient point, not the supposed worthiness of the cause of the grief. Besides, I would grieve a hamster more than most people.
So I'm going to write about my pain this year this once, and then fall quiet again.
Here's something I also grabbed from my Friend:
Four years ago, I fell on my left knee on my driveway in early Spring. It began bothering me at the first Realm Makers conference in St. Louis. I believe that was four years ago. I remember clearly because the 4 hour drive there set it off, and I prayed I had enough ibuprofen to get me home. The drive home was torture, even with ibuprofen.
The knee has flared ever since, but two years ago, my left jaw began to hurt in a way my tooth splint didn't correct. Although not debilitating, I was desperate enough to seek physical therapy, which cost over $800 and failed to help in any significant way other than to confirm I'm too rigid and need to relax.
I began Classical Stretch last autumn, which did help me relax, but has not lessened my pain. It taught me to keep moving through the pain, and that was valuable because the pain increases. In addition to my knee and jaw, my back has joined in. Nearly all the time. I cannot lie down for any reasonable length of time. I've found myself considering the purchase of a recliner, which I hate, because it might hurt less than my bed, which is adjustable. I'm grateful for insomnia because it means I don't wake up in more pain than I laid down with.
January was the last time I wasn't in pain every single day, and I suspect that was because January had no weather fronts to speak of.
Have I exhausted every medical recourse? No. I haven't even sought an official diagnosis of arthritis because I don't know where to start or how much money I want to spend to get one. Do I take meds every day? No. Some days I'm willing to power through because the pain is only a 3 or 4, and I don't want to ruin my liver or become victim to the law of diminishing returns over that. Some days, I have to take drugs to keep the pain at a 3 or 4.
I find myself wondering if OxyRub or OmegaXcel really work like the infomercials say, or whether there'll be a lawyer commercial in 5 years telling me to call for the payout because of some horrific side-effect the FDA didn't know about. Then I wonder if the side-effect is worth it for 5 years of no pain. I wonder if my insomnia is really night pain I've almost gotten used to.
Have I become a chronic pain sufferer? I guess I have. Grandma Turtle lived the last decade of her life with debilitating rheumatoid arthritis, and never once did I hear her complain or snap at anyone. I hope I can live up to her example.
Mom heard about a stem cell pain treatment center in Manhattan, and I've requested an application for consideration. I have plenty of fat cells for them to harvest. We'll see how it goes.
That's all I have to say about that. For now. For all of you who hurt, too, I'm sorry. I'm praying for us.
Push button. Receive bacon.