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Living with Chronic Pain

 
chronic-pain-is-terrible
Most people see me and don’t know the pain that I live with each day.  I do my best to mask it, as I decided several years ago, to not broadcast to people, what I am dealing with on a daily basis.  I don’t see how it benefits anybody if I let them know whether I am having a “good” day or a “bad” day, in regards to my pain levels.   You see I have one of those “hidden” diseases.   It began over 25 years ago, and it wasn’t until about 6 1/2 years ago, that I couldn’t take it anymore.  Up until that point, if I had a bad day, I would call out of work and stay on a heating pad for a day or so.   I have hereditary degenerative  disk disease, that I didn’t do anything about until there was so much damage, that there were very few options left for me.

I know people don’t “see” my pain and I am thankful that they can’t feel it!! I am used to the “looks” at the grocery store when I have to ride the scooter, and when I park in a handicap spot. All people see is what they think is a healthy woman taking somebody’s handicap spot. They don’t understand that every step I take in a grocery store is painful. They don’t get that for me to go to a department store, like Kohl’s or JC Penney’s, it hurts to even carry my purse.    I can remember over the summer , I had to go shopping to find my granddaughter a bathing suit, and she is at that tough age where she no longer wears a child’s size and yet the Junior size bathing suits are not appropriate for a 10 year old. As a result, trying to find her a bathing suit has been a challenge. I didn’t find what we needed in the 1st store I went to, and by the time I was halfway though the 2nd store, I had to find a spot to sit down and rest.  That is what a normal trip to a department store looks like for me.   If I go to do any grocery shopping, even though I use a scooter, I usually have to break it up into 2 days.   I am not the type of person that goes to one store for all my groceries, so it generally takes me 2 days to get my shopping done.  I can manage a trip to Krogers, and then maybe Sam’s Club.  However, by the time I am at Sam’s  I am riding the scooter.   You would think that riding that, it would be an easier trip, but it isn’t.   I can’t go by myself, because I can’t reach above my head, due to Frozen shoulders.  (frozen shoulders are due to multiple neck surgeries and no movement of my arms for months on end)  I have to admit though, when I do feel “froggy” , and go to the store by myself, I have become very resourceful.   I rely on the kindness of strangers, to do things like, put a gallon of milk in my grocery cart, or get something from the higher shelf on the store.   On days like that, I am very thankful I live in the South, where people are sweet and happy to help, most of the time.

 

To give you an idea of how I got in this position, 6 years ago I was told I needed to have 3 vertebrae in my neck fused together. I was told at the time , that the surgery was about a 50/50 chance of improving my pain levels and my abilities to be more active. I had no choice but to do the surgery, as I was told if I didn’t do it, I would eventually lose use of my hands and may not be able to walk.  I was working full time at a job that I absolutely LOVED , and when I was told about the surgery, I was supposed to be able to return to work in 2-3 months.   However, that isn’t how things worked out.   Three months after my 1st surgery, my neurosurgeon told me I needed another more extensive surgery.   The 2nd surgery , they fused more vertebrae in my neck and put in some hardware.   They put in a titanium plate, 2 titanium rods and 6 screws.   I always joke when I have to have any x-rays done, that I have  a ton of hardware in there and I feel like the Tin Man in Wizard of Oz.   Just oil me up and I will be good to go.  I was in a hard collar brace for 6 months after that surgery, and was told at my follow up appointments, that  I would never work again.  I was devastated to say the least, as I was only 45 years old , and had no plans of retiring or being labeled as “disabled” for the rest of my life.   I ended up with one more surgery, 6 months after the 2nd surgery.   By the time they did that one, and I had gone in for all my after surgery appointments, I was told that basically they had done all they could do.  I deal with nerve damage from the disks being fused together as well.   My thoughts on that day was really?    You have to be kidding….Now what?   I was put under pain management, so that I could have some semblance of a life.     I fought for about a year or more with depression, but eventually pulled out of it.  I am thankful that I can walk, as a lot of people that have had the extent of work done that I have had done, are in a wheelchair.

I do want to mention, that I believe that God can work all things out for good.   The good that has came out of this, was I was able to be home for my teenage daughter when she needed a mom at home.   She was just hitting her horrible teen years, when all this happened, and I was no longer working all the time.   I am thankful that I have been able to be at home, so that I could not only be there for her, but for my son and my oldest daughter.  I have been able to help take care of my oldest daughters’ children, as she went through some really tough times the past several years.  If I had still been working, I wouldn’t have been able to do that.    I am able to go to my granddaughter’s school functions or softball games, or my son’s performances.   Granted, I  end up in bed for a day or so in extra pain when I do those things, but it is all worth it!!!

 

I know this has been a really long post, but I wanted to give some insight as to what it is like to live with Chronic Pain on a daily basis.  The next time you see somebody get out of their car , and they have parked in a handicap spot, just remember there are diseases that affect people , that aren’t visible to you.   I am not saying that there aren’t those out there who abuse that situation and take advantage of a handicap spot they shouldn’t have or don’t need, because I know there are!!  I just want to point out that there are a ton of “invisible” diseases.   Over the past several years I have made some good friends, that also suffer from Chronic pain and I believe it is one of the most misunderstood diseases out there.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read my post today!   I would love to hear from you below in comments if you suffer from any number of reasons there are for  Chronic Pain or have a loved one who does.   There are more than I can list here, so I will just leave that up to you.   Let’s share with each other, learn from each other and lift one another up!!

 

 


8 Responses so far.

  1. BOBBIE HARDY says:

    Very well written. So sorry you have to deal with this day to day! Prayers for ya honey!

  2. curleytop54 says:

    I deal with similar issues, I also have degenerate disk diseases in my neck and lower back. Have had 2 neck surgerys.broken pelvis in 4 places hardware in both and fight back pain everyday. I totally understand where you are coming from. I am heading to see neuro surgeon in next couple weeks to see about back surgery. I hate pain today is bad can hardly walk. I have no one who understands except hubby. God is good and I rely on Him in all things.
    Get in touch anytime to talk. Thanks for the great post.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I live with Chronic Pain daily too .. .as does my nine year old. It is something no one should have to do. I so wish there were cures! HUGS!

  4. Sandy says:

    Thank you for taking the time to read. I will keep you in prayer with the Neuro visit, and any potential surgeries.

  5. Sandy says:

    Thank you Bobbie!! Big hugs back at you!

  6. Sandy says:

    Oh no!! No baby should have to deal with Chronic Pain…so sorry to hear! Thank you for taking the time to read, and I couldn’t agree more, I wish there was a cure! Hugs back!

  7. Sandy says:

    Thank you Bobbie!! Big hugs back and of course, thank you for taking the time to read!!

  8. Living with chronic pain is a nightmare. Luckily I don’t experience it, but my sister who lives with me does. I see her struggle every day just to be mobile. Most people that see you have no idea what you are going through because you learn to mask it so well. I really hope there is an answer for you Sandy and you can become pain free again.

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