Hi, I’m Pamela, and I’m a chronic pain sufferer. Why do you need to know this? Because it’s part of who I am and how I have to live my life.
You see, just a mere 10 years ago, I didn’t give pain a thought, unless I had a stomach or head ache, or maybe some cramps. They didn’t last long, after all, so it wasn’t that big a deal. I had always been healthy, independent, strong, vibrant and never knew chronic pain even existed, to tell you the truth.
Then, in November of 2001, I got a migraine. I’ve had them before, so again, I really didn’t pay it much attention. I went to bed that night, with the migraine, and woke the next morning—WITH the migraine. I thought it was strange, because THAT had never happened before, however, I managed to get my kids and myself ready –each to our appropriate destination, mine was work.
I lasted the entire day with pounding in my head, aching in my eyes and dullness in my jaw, none the likes I had ever felt before. I went to sleep yet again with that migraine and woke yet another day with the same damn migraine. This process lasted for TWENTY-ONE days and would become (s0 far) a 9 ½ year, month after month, nightmare, only I have to endure this shear hell during my waking hours as well.
BUT, in March of 2003 I learned that my nightmare would get MUCH worse. I got an eight week virus and took Tetracycline. I had horrible side effects. My body ached all over and I felt like I was on fire from the inside out. I had to stop taking it and vowed I would never take it again. It was too late, though, because even after I stopped the medication, the pain NEVER did.
I am now in pain 24/7, 365 days from the back of my neck to my feet and just about everywhere in between. My hands and fingers ache, my wrists, elbows, knees, hips, even my face, HURT. There are times when I feel like a metal rod has been rammed down into my spine and I just wish someone would pull it out—no, not the rod, my spine! There are days I have to roll out of bed and onto the floor because my legs can NOT support my weight, and I only weigh 118 lbs. My hands are so weak in the morning that I can barely hold a coffee mug, and when I get ready to go somewhere, I have to rest on the toilet seat because I'm too weak to hold the hair dryer over my head.
At first when people asked me HOW I was doing or HOW I FELT, I would tell them. But after months of complaining I began to feel as if no one truly understood, didn’t really care, and were tired of hearing about it. So, I stopped telling people the truth. Now I just say “fine”, even though it’s an out and out lie. I’m not at all fine. Since I don’t talk about it, I believe people think I’m better, because I don’t LOOK or SOUND sick. As a matter of fact, I look and sound like the epitome of good health, but I’m not.
I have chronic migraines,Fibromyalgia, Myofascial Pain Disorder and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and I had to adjust my entire life around those disorders. I feel alone, scared, sad and terribly misunderstood. There are days that I cry. I cry because I’m hurting. And I cry for my old life. The life I had when I could do everything and not give energy and pain a thought. I could go and go and if I was tired I could take a nap to rejuvenate myself, but not anymore. Naps don’t fix me. I’m never rejuvenated. I haven’t slept straight through ONE night in over 19 years.
So, again, why am I telling you this? Well, there’s an article called The Spoon Theory, which brought me to tears because it explains my life and what I’m going through so explicitly. It’s written by a woman suffering from Lupus. I happened upon this from Lynn who authors the blog Fooked Up.
I believe everything happens for a reason, and this, this was meant to be. You see, I just recently found Lynn’s blog about a week ago. A coincidence? Maybe. But to me, it was a blessing, because I’ve been looking for a way to explain my condition, if you will, without sounding like a complainer, or as if I’m looking for pity. Because I’m not. It is what it is. I would just like for people to understand that I’m different now, as is my life, and I have to approach it in an unique way in order to get through my days. Plus, there are millions of people out there who suffer from disorders which debilitate their lives and healthy people don’t understand. Like I said, I didn’t when I was healthy.
So, when you see someone who LOOKS healthy, don’t assume they are. They could have cluster headaches, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus…or any number of the other debilitating disorders that rob people of precious time, energy and sometimes their very lives. Don’t pity them, just please, please understand we are doing the best we can and a smile or an understanding gesture can make our day.