Chronic pain patients are faced with challenges on a daily basis. One person’s suffering is no more important than others and everyone’s pain is different. How it affects us varies from back pain, to muscle spasms, to migraines, etc. So what one person is able to do may not be the same as what others are capable of doing.
Lately, I’ve been experiencing pain on a level that I can’t ignore. I’m afraid of taking opioid prescriptions because they knock me out for the entire day, but I’ve needed to take them around the clock and even that isn’t helping.
I went from Norco to oxycodone (15 mg) because the slightest touch would send me into tears and it was becoming harder for me to hide my pain from others. My daughters couldn’t hug me because — even though I said it was okay — they would see me crying afterwards and they felt terrible, which in turn made me feel like a horrible mom.
My oxycodone has been working in the sense that it puts me to sleep and I don’t feel anything, but when I wake up I feel ten times worse. And I can’t take it all day long because of the addictive nature of the drug.
I’ve been struggling with my hands and fingers lately, they’re so swollen that any movement sends shooting pain up my arms. Even if I wrap them, it’s impossible for me not to move them because I have to brush my teeth and do everyday things for myself. When I need to open a door it takes me twice as long, and if I need to get dressed I’m in tears the whole time because it feels like I’m using two broken wrists and ten broken fingers.
I told my doctor I’ve reached my breaking point. How can I function without the use of my hands? Anytime I try using them they cause me so much agony. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have them at all, at least then the pain would stop. I know that’s extreme and I don’t really mean it, but the pain is just that bad. I’m beyond frustrated at this point.
Not only that, but the deformation has begun and my fingers have nodules on them. I’ve talked to other patients, much older than me, and they’ve informed me that those nodules are also painful and surgery is not an option.
I feel like a selfish child when I think about all these things, but I can’t help it. The way my pain is now and the amount of suffering I’m in is a 10 out of 10 in my eyes. I know it’s only going to get worse and that terrifies me.
How does anyone continue to live this way and what kind of quality of life am I going to have? I try to remain positive and hopeful for the sake of my children and the thought of watching them grow up. They continue to be my motivation. Every morning I put my happy mask on before I greet them because I want their life to be as normal as possible.
If there’s one good thing that’s come of this, it’s knowing that my health issues have affected them in a positive way. They’re kind to the elderly and do things for others without me having to ask.
The next time you walk through a door and someone is behind you, hold the door for them. If a child can do it, so can you. You never know, you may have just saved them a world of hurt.
Arlene Grau lives in southern California. She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, migraine, vasculitis, and Sjogren’s disease.
The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or tr toeatment. Only your doctor can do that! It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.