Pain – An Invasive Species and It’s Trying to Ruin Us!

Pain – An Invasive Species and It’s Trying to Ruin Us!

by Kerry Smith

Kerry Smith

Kerry Smith

The article talked about how runners (shoots from the main vine) could run underground into the very foundation that supported our home. It would be invasive, to say the least, and had been shown to do extensive damage. So much so, that it would rot and weaken support structures that gave its own self the purpose to stand and survive. And with every swing of the pick ax, and snip of extended cutters, and the push of a shovel, I was destroying it, damn it!

It was a beautiful trumpet vine that; on the one hand, attracted hummingbirds; and on the other, created a danger to the very foundation of our house. It had grown so big that runners from the main vine were growing 15 and 20 feet from the main vine, pushing right up against the foundation of our house. I had planted a little twig of it some 5 years ago and it had grown to completely cover an arbor that I had built while grieving the loss of my dad. Little did I know that the runners would damage the foundation of our house while the vine itself was rotting the arbor I had built.

So against the advice of my doctor, yesterday, I cut that trumpet vine down – with the one good hand and arm that had not been surgically repaired three weeks ago – and dug up the roots and the runners that spread next to our house and into our yard. Friends, this marked my 25th surgery and or neurological procedure. For the sake of children reading this article, I will not tell you what my wife said when she came home. And yes, today I am sore beyond all measure, barely able to move, but I accomplished it! I cut and dug that humongous vine up and one-armed that demon right out of the ground. By the way, I did break a shovel in the process, sprawling out on the ground – but I had to do it, right?

I mean look at it from my perspective; this is our battle with chronic pain, right?  It has runners that have touched every, and I do mean every, part of the foundation that makes Kerry Smith…Kerry Smith! I have asked doctors to dig it out, I have tried almost everything there is, and they cannot get the runners.  It has endangered my very foundation and rotted the beautiful arbor of my personhood and stalled the making of bird carvings that I create with my surgically repaired hands, all the while suffering more deeply than I can even write. So I dug and I cut and I dug and I cut and I bent over and pulled the runners out of the ground – and then I drug the sucker down to the street to get picked up by the city garbage trucks. Today there are these holes around our yard that reminds me of Bill Murray’s movie “Caddyshack” and while attempting to get rid of a gopher, made the golf course into the Swiss cheese of holes that he created in his efforts. Did I say that I can hardly move today?

I will also have to replace wood on the arbor, but that is for another day, right? I mean, I have gotten rid of the invasive species that was threatening the foundation of our home and rotting the arbor I had so lovingly created. If it was just this easy, this, this battle with chronic pain, right? I have dug some holes in it over the last 6 months or so, and pulled some runners. I am taking more vitamin D and vitamin B and it seems to be helping my lower back. I am taking Marinol in place of some of the opioids, which is relieving pain with less side effects. I am taking 500 mgs of Tumeric. I am taking Cymbalta and Lymbrel. I am taking Methylfolate, which seems to be helping my antidepressant work better, and I am taking fish oil as well as the lowest dosage of opioids that I have been on in years.

I am still digging and pulling; sore and exhausted. But this is my life…and it is your life, isn’t it? I mean this is what we do, right?

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Authored by: Kerry Smith

There are 10 comments for this article
  1. SandraG at 2:42 pm

    I was rude in writing my post, SandraG, about getting off our butts. I sorry for speaking like that. Some days we can’t get up. Please forgive me.
    The main article ready hit it on the nose. So very true.

    A extra word anyone on the west coast stay away from Palliative Care. It’s a nothing. I’m still trying to understand what they do for you nothing. You can google everything they put in front of you. It’s the craziest thing I have seen yet. They take all that money for what you already have going for yourself.. Are we stupid or what..lol

  2. Jean Price at 1:41 am

    Barb…YES, and that’s a comment thrown around a lot by people who seem like they don’t want to take the effort or the time to truly LOOK at us…or maybe in all fairness, they just aren’t gifted with good observation skills! Definitely an important skill set to be without for those in the medical field….but obviously some do slip through devoid of ANY discernment capabilities!! I’m guessing we all have had experiences with those! Yet, why? Pain ALWAYS shows…always…around the edges, creeping over the sides, flashing through the eyes or the set of the mouth, even in the ways we hold varous parts of our bodies!! When people tell me I look good, it’s usually comes across as “WELL, you LOOK good!” sounding vaguely accusatory as if THEY WERE REALLY QUESTIONING MY IDEA OF WHAT PAIN IS….as in “How could you be in pain…since you look good?!” I’m fortunate to now have a truly compassionate doctor and we just had this discussion a few weeks ago…talking about how he never sees the real me! I use the appointment as an incentive to shower, dress, comb my hair out of my eyes, and look ….presentable, at best! If he came to the house, he would see: two day old…or older…pajamas on a less than tidy person; someone who had to eat or drink coffee setting sideways in a recliner, spilling everything down her front; maybe I could boast of a full body shower five days ago or so; and hopefully I would have brushed my teeth!! (Unless I had to go right back to bed before I could even start the day!!). And it might be noonish when I FIRST woke…because I had been up several times with pain and didn’t get to bed until after 5am (like tonight!) in the first place!! Sounds like a lot of us, I’m thinking! But we look good at the doctors office…in pain, sleep deprived, off balance, voice weakened by the effort it takes to talk AND hurt, frown lines firmly etched…but “blessed” with “looking good”! It would be funny if it wasn’t so abysmal!!

    I now have an answer for that statement. It came to me after many years of not knowing quite how to truthfully respond. I now say the truth…”Oh, Thanks—it was SUCH an effort, I appreciate you noticing!” For times when you feel the need to say more, try adding in…”I’m at least clean and my hair is brushed, even though it hurt and always leaves me just wiped out!! Most of the time, that gets the point across. And also is the truth. It may even prompt a closer inspection of where your pain shows!! I give you and anyone else this answer… anytime you want to use it!! A tiny victory in advocating for ourselves, yet every little bit helps!!

  3. tbeckys at 7:09 pm

    I’m in the same predicament all of you are. My Dr.,has dropped my meds way down also. Before the dosage I was taking …… at least once in a while I could do things with them and have a halfway normal life. Now with the reduction all I feel like doing is sitting in my recliner and if we do get out I have to take my wheelchair as I’ve not been able to walk for very far! Also, I’ve not slept in a bed in over 6 years…. do Dr’s., really think I prefer to sleep in a chair. I’ve had this pain due to multiple causes for 25+ years and never one minute of one hour of everyday I haven’t had severe pain!!!
    I have written representatives,congressmen and whomever else and to no avail!

  4. Mary from Oz at 6:31 pm

    I’m so sorry for all of your pain & suffering Kerry, Christine, Cindy, Barb, Maureen & Sandra.
    I’m afraid I’m a “sookie la la”… I manage better (drug free) when I don’t push through the pain. I have found a lass to clean my house once a month. A young woman tidies and trims & weeds my garden every 4-6 weeks. I’m on a pension – but I don’t get to go out much – so these are small expenses once a month. But I feel more comfortable in my clean house or sitting in my garden. I can barely move today. Pain is shooting through me from head to toe (fibro), my eyes are sore & light sensitive, I’ve been back n forth to the bathroom all day – my head feels so heavy like it’s going to topple off my shoulders…& pins & needles & numbness in legs & feet – make me too scared to leave the house. So I take the easy way out – I don’t. I can’t lift my arms – do no shower, hair is a mess & I absolutely exhausted myself getting dressed. It’s taken me 20 mins to write this so far – the words are jumping all over the place & my hands are burning – holding my iPhone.
    Time for another lie down. I almost envy your honeysuckle Kerry – but I’d never be able to pull it out & I’d have to pay my gardener to do it!
    I hope you find comfort and some low pain time some time today. You are all very brave & very strong. Bless you all. 🌺

  5. Christine jacoby at 2:47 pm

    Me too Sandra I say from bed.
    Suks that few yrs ago My pain was so tolerable I would never be stuck in bed.
    Gonna fight to get that back cuz hatred of Pain makes me mad as hell.

  6. cindy deim at 1:27 pm

    I had back surgery about 2 weeks ago. I haven’t been able to do anything. I HATE IT! I want to clean my house so bad. I want to get out of the house. I have been stuck in my house for 7 weeks, once in a while going to the doctor. It seems more and more I’m stuck in my house.
    I would love to pull something out of the ground like that!! Just don’t make things worse :).
    The visualization and connection between our bodies and the vine was lovely. So true, I feel like not only the structure of my body but my life in general is falling a part. One thing after another. Yet, here I am.

  7. Barb at 12:01 pm

    Don’t you just hate it when you go to your Dr and he says “you look so good”!!! If he only knew. If he could only live your life for one day and night, maybe he wouldn’t say that the next time he saw me to do the “random” drug test” and refill my medication that he keeps lowering every 3 months, ugh!
    Thanks for listening…

  8. Maureen at 8:12 am

    Kerry, It’s great to receive one of your writings again! Welcome back.
    Once again, it always amazes me how much we can all relate to each other!
    Sorry to hear you had yet another surgery but…I get it. Been there, done that and I’m up against yet another spine surgery (have had 4 already plus 2 shoulder surgeries).

    I have said for several years…no more surgeries!… I, 120%, DO NOT want to go through it again but…I’m always driven by the HOPE of feeling even just a little better. Am I foolish?! Or am I sooooo desperate to have some life in my life?!

    I love how you put it all into those words and painted a picture. Even my neighbors yell at me when they see me working in my yards. I suffer so much afterwards and they know it when I then retreat for several days,trying to heal.
    But, I have no help and I too, despite the pain it brings, love/thrive on the ‘feeling of accomplishment’!
    Yes, it is our way of living our lives. Unfortunately so, but how do we just lie in bed and wither away?!
    I just went through Hurricane Matthew in Fla. which brought great damage all around my home, trees, plants and fences all destroyed.
    I’m still recovering from the clean up I had to do alone.
    As you wrote ‘I had to do it, right?’. It always amazes me though that people will reprimand me for doing those things BUT NOT OFFER TO HELP ME!
    Is it because I look just fine?! Even when in my large post op back brace while doing it all?! Mind blowing.
    I have a friend in town. I haven’t seen her in a year. So, I pushed myself yesterday to go pick her up and go to lunch and do a little shopping. That’s what she wanted to do.
    I thought I was going to die all day long! I suffered so bad because…
    I don’t do lunch and shopping EVER! It was a true sacrifice for our friendship.
    I could not wait to drop her off and get home to bed and not move a single muscle! My meds do not even touch that kind of pain.
    I was getting very tired of grinning and bearing it, for sure! It was becoming torture for me and the 18 mile drive back home after dropping her off was incredibly difficult for me! I was screaming in the car, sitting was not easy at all.
    But, once in bed I cheered myself on ‘you did it, you did it!’
    Another feeling of accomplishment! Suffering-ly so!
    So, I like you today, can barely move. It is our life. Although it’s a vicious cycle, let’s keep trying to make the best of it. We have just one life to live….live and learn.

  9. SandraG at 5:47 am

    No I don’t believe this is what we do. I believe what we do is get up off our butts and try to fight back. If it doesn’t work change the the things you do an keep on fighting until you get it right.
    I don’t like where I’m at I hurt so bad some days I don’t think I’m going to make it.
    If I have to fight alone then I will . I will not stop.

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