I am in pain.
I have been in pain for so long that I can’t remember what it feels like to have no pain.
And I’m not talking about the emotional stuff. (Although this pain definitely brings me down… and I’m already low enough, thankyouverymuch.)
For years, I’ve had back pain. I never wanted to ‘admit’ to having it… not here, not to a doctor, not to myself. I’m not sure how to explain why… I guess the best way to describe it is that I’m embarrassed by it. And I know that doesn’t make any sense. But that’s how I’ve always felt. Like I can’t admit to this weakness or something…? I really don’t understand myself sometimes. Or most of the time.
There is nothing I don’t do because of the pain. I worked (though not at the moment)… I clean, cook, cart kids around, shop, visit family, sit, stand, walk, swim, sleep, have sex (not enough), play mini-golf (weather permitting), and anything else I need or want to do. Most people don’t know I’m in pain.
I’ve always assumed the pain was just something I had to live with. I never thought there was any hope of relief… and certainly no way it would ever disappear. This is why I never bothered mentioning it to my doctor. Well, that and I was afraid she would immediately give me all sorts of pain meds and send me off to have spinal surgery which scares the fuck out of me. One wrong move and I never walk again.
At my yearly physical this year, however, I finally told my doctor. I think the pain was getting so bad at times that I finally thought I should say something. And I was embarrassed… when she asked me how long I’ve had the pain. Forever. No, not really. I can’t remember exactly… but it definitely started before my son was born. He is almost 13.
My doctor didn’t send me to a surgeon as I feared. She didn’t try to fill me with pain meds either. She sent me for an x-ray. There is a curve that I never knew was there… and it’s the cause. She sent me to physical therapy.
I have now been to PT three times… every two weeks… so it’s been a month. I do every stretch and exercise she has given me every single day… just as I’m supposed to. But when I saw her today and she asked me how I was doing, I had to tell her the truth. No improvement. I’ve even had a couple of days when it felt worse.
She gave me a few more suggestions. Two of them were massage and acupuncture. I’d gladly do both if I could afford to… but that’s a lot of ‘extra’ cash I don’t have. She recommended getting a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) unit (the word ‘unit’ always sounds dirty to me). I already have one… but in the last few months, I’ve only tried it once. I guess I should revisit.
She also told me that I can stop seeing her and go to a spine specialist for injections. That freaked me out. I’m not afraid of needles or anything like that. I think it’s that I feel completely defeated and broken for needing that. Like if I don’t do that, I’m not that bad… I must be okay.
But I’m not.
I couldn’t make a decision about anything today. I just sort of fell apart. (Also embarrassing.) I am such a disaster! So for now, I’m keeping my next appointment with her. I’ll do the stretches and try the TENS unit… and see how I am in two weeks.
It was probably the wrong decision as 90% of my decisions are. I already know how I’m going to be in two weeks. I’m going to be the same… and I’m going to end up going to the specialist for the injection anyway. I probably should have just made that decision when I was with her today. But I kind of panicked.
So that’s my secret… I’ve been in pain for probably 20 years.
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[Disclaimer #1… Yes, I really did start at #3 as I mentioned last night…]
[Disclaimer #2… I’m sure you were hoping for something juicy but not this time. Some of these ‘secrets’ will not be super exciting. But they will be things I’ve never shared here…]
[Disclaimer #3… I know this isn’t a secret to all of you… sorry T, L, M… you kind of got short-changed on the ‘secret’ part…]
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