I’ve got a secret. #3

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.

• • • • •

[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…]

©2017 what sandra thinks

About what sandra thinks

Sandra is a writer, sometimes blogger, poet, artist, emotional disaster. She thinks far too much and sleeps far too little. Sandra lives in the Northeastern U.S. but dreams of an oceanfront home in Italy, but she would settle for a non-oceanfront home in Italy. She loves books, brutal honesty, coffee, and the color black. She hates insincerity, beer, whipped cream, and facebook. And she is uncomfortable talking about herself in the third person.
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74 Responses to I’ve got a secret. #3

  1. I’m so sorry you are in pain. It’s very frustrating to keep trying things without results. My friend had a curvature and found that keeping her “core” muscles Strong helped.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Twenty years? You poor thing. That’s crazy, but I absolutely get it. I’ve had back pain for about ten years and I’m still in my twenties. My own mother didn’t really believe me until she unfortunately experienced some issues and she realised that you don’t have to see someone in pain for them to be in pain.

    I think society teaches us that our pain is secondary to everything else. I soldier on with my pain with the notion that someone has it worse and everyone else does it but…I know the difference I feel when it isn’t as bad.

    I’m really pleased that you finally told someone, though. Hopefully you’re on the road to recovery! **big hugs**


    • First of all… I am SO sorry I never replied to this comment. I just found it in my spam folder. I have no idea why that would have happened! You are not spam!

      You’re so right about not appearing that you are in pain even when you are… and people not believing your pain is real because of that. It’s like people need to see you struggling to move or something before they believe you’re really in pain. One of my sisters had (very temporary) back pain and she told me she finally understands how I feel… and that she can’t believe I have to deal with it all the time. Yeah… it sucks.

      Part of me actually regrets saying anything because now I have to deal with all of this… physical therapy didn’t really help… now I have an MRI… after that, who the fuck knows. And surgery scares the hell out of me.

      I’m so sorry you have to deal with this, too. It is truly awful… and it definitely affects my mood… a lot. Like you said… I notice a difference when it’s not as bad… and when it’s really bad…

      Thanks so much… ♥


  3. Pain is terrible. I hate it

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t blame you for not wanting back surgery. I think letting your PT play out is best for now. If nothing else, you’ll be stronger and more flexible after the PT. The injections may actually be the answer, but ask lots of questions, and ask for options. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • I already did ask questions and ask for options. This seems to be it. I can continue PT… and go broke (more broke than I already am)… but she didn’t sound hopeful at all since I’ve had no improvement so far. So it’s a waste of money. She says the next step would be the spine specialist and injections. I asked if there was anything else and she really had nothing to offer me. Is there a reason you don’t think I should just move on to the injections? I mean, I can continue the exercises and I plan to… but they’re not doing anything.

      Just to add to the misery, after I left PT today, I started having pain on the other side of my back… which I don’t usually have. It’s usually all on the left. But now, the right hurts, too. I don’t know why. Maybe when she was checking my range of motion I fucked something up? I have no idea… but I’ve been in tears for hours… because of the pain… but also because now I’m not sure if the problem is as clear as it was before… maybe something more is going on. And I’m scared. 😦

      Liked by 2 people

      • cwhiteweb says:

        Aaw!! That sounds scary, yes, I’m so sorry! 😦😦😦

        Liked by 1 person

      • Breathe. Don’t make it more than it is. Did you move differently than usual today? Any new exercises? I’d guess it’s muscular.

        As for the injections, I have no issue with them, no. They can be effective. I just prefer to exhaust non-invasive options first. If you’re getting no relief, then maybe your at that point. They’re worth a try. Ice it, or if you prefer, use heat, take a hot soak in a tub. Whatever gives you any level of relief. But breathe. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        • Other than her having me bend in all directions to check my range of motion, nothing new. It started almost immediately after I left the appointment. I noticed it in the car on my way home.

          Nothing seems to help. And now it’s worse. Can’t I have one good day ever? Fuck, I’d settle for a day when nothing gets worse… even if it’s not a good day. I’ve given up on having any of those. Why does everything always go wrong? From bad to worse. I’m cursed.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I know it likely feels that way. Believe it or not, there have been times I’ve wondered if I weren’t cursed as well. But you’re not. This is a tough patch, but don’t give in to it. Fight those feelings, try to find the positives, even the tiniest, and keep on keepin on. Do not give up. 😊

            Liked by 1 person

            • It’s pretty much impossible not to think that. I can’t remember the last time I had a good day. There’s always something. Actually, there are always a lot of somethings so even when one thing gets slightly better, the other bad things step up. Everything in my life goes wrong. Who the hell wants that life? Not me.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Man. I so wish I knew what to say, or do, or suggest. I feel kinda helpless when it comes to you, and it pisses me off, frankly. If I were there, you’d get a hug and drink. 😔

                Liked by 1 person

                • I’m sorry. I don’t mean to make you feel bad. I just feel like things keep getting worse instead of better… like the harder I try, the worse things get. Am I actually making things worse?? I start to question everything.

                  I know you can’t help… no one can. It seems not even I can help! But I appreciate that you care and that you try… and that you gave me medical advice! So thank you…

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • You don’t have to thank me. Nothing I’ve suggested seemed to help at all. It’s not your fault, and I’m not mad at you at all. It’s just my nature to try and fix shit, and I know can’t fix everything. Hard to accept that. Especially when it’s someone I really like and care about. 😕

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • You know how you helped me? You told me that my foot pain was most likely related to my back pain. I was really worried that I had a whole separate problem. Even though it still hurts, I felt better knowing that. I do want to try the TENS unit again. I’ve determined that that probably has nothing to do with the pain I had the next day. I think it was the awkward position I was in. And I figured that out after you told me that the TENS unit was unlikely to be the cause. Hell, the PT told me yesterday that I could wear it as long as I want…

                      Of course, I’m extra worried now about the back pain I’m having on the opposite side. Would an injection just treat the constant left side pain? I don’t know enough about it but I’m sure I’m going to end up doing it.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • It depends. If they do a nerve block in the correct spot, it should give you some relief of it all. It’s worth a consult. Even if you get some relief it’s better than none. And, depending on what they’d find, surgery may not be a bad option. There are some minimally evasive procedures now that really are effective.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I’m scared as hell to even think about surgery. I can only imagine coming out of it and ending up in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. I have kids… and a small house. I wouldn’t be able to live here anymore. I have no idea what would happen to me.

                      You know what? I don’t even know what the injection is. My doctor and the physical therapist just referred to it as getting “injections.” And both times it was brought up, it freaked me out and I didn’t ask much of anything.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I’m assuming it’s either cortisone if there’s arthritis or similar to an epidural if it’s nerve related. The latter is what I was talking about when I said a nerve block. Can’t hurt to go for a consult with a spine specialist. Just see what they think. May be easier than you think to get some relief. 😊

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I assumed cortisone… but who knows. And I have both of those issues, I think. The doctor mentioned “a little” or “some” arthiritis… I forget her exact words… and then the physical therapist thinks I have a pinched nerve. Sigh. I just don’t want to deal with any of this. I realize I sound like a fucking whiny child but… why does everything always have to happen to me?? I can’t get a break…

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I don’t know, my dear. I do know it doesn’t do any good to wallow in it. Call your therapist, get a referral to a spine doc, and go see what they say. The fear of the unknown is always worse than the reality. Just see what they say. 😊

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • At my appointment yesterday, I told her I would wait until my next appointment and see how I am then. I guess I mostly said that because I couldn’t think clearly on the spot. I don’t know if I should call or if I should actually wait… next appointment is on the 18th…

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • The sooner you call, the sooner you’ll get in. You know how it is nowadays. A specialist of any kind is hard to get into in a timely manner. May wanna get that ball rolling.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I guess… I just hate trying to call… you can never talk to the actual person… it’s always an administrative person… and I never know if they’re going to get the message right.

                      Also, do I really want to do anything major before the holidays? I don’t want to end up hospitalized or paralyzed right before Christmas.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • That’s a good point. But, I doubt you’d be able to get before then anyway. If you can tolerate waiting, then that’s cool. I’d do the same. Non-invasive is better than invasive, any time. 😊

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I’m just scared. As you can tell…

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I know you are. I don’t blame you. You got at least some support here though. You won’t have to go through any of it alone , ya’ know? 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Yes… thank god for that. I am losing my mind though — I truly could not remember if I did my stretches today so I just finished doing them. I kinda think I may have done them this morning. The days are all running together… 😲


  5. cwhiteweb says:

    Hehe it’s a secret, 13 years is a long time!
    I’m so sorry though, and glad you just braved it out and told your doctor after so long. Maybe try the physical therapy and see how far that goes. And if it doesn’t improve anything, you can then move into the other options. One option at a time should be kinder to your budget, no?
    Huuuugggggggssssss!! 🤗

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I understand how you feel, to an extent. My portion is always in my head.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. If you’ve had pain for a long time I would bet you’ll have to give therapy a much longer chance to work than a month or so. My hubby did have some sort of injection in his upper back/neck recently after PT didn’t help enough. He had relief within a day and has been happy with the result. And they said it could be repeated if necessary. Hope you get some relief soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love it. Not the fact that you are in pain, but the fact that, at last, you are sharing it and seeking help to alleviate it. BUT……you are overthinking it again, giving up when you have only just started. Give the PT a chance, don’t expect instant relief, you are not going to get it. You need Doctor Meg, and Beach to come and help out!
    Hope things improve in time. It is going to take time!
    Hugs, as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not giving up. If I had, I wouldn’t even bother trying anything. But when the physical therapist doesn’t sound hopeful anymore, it may be time to move on to something else. I think more is needed. I’ve seen a chiropractor for years, too, but the pain is ongoing…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Marquessa says:

    It’s awful how we are embarrassed by things we shouldn’t be embarrassed about, esp pain. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve suffered for so long. The thought of back surgery is very scary I agree.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Marquessa says:

    By the way, I like this theme. People could join in…I’ve got plenty of weird ones. 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hunida says:

    I understand why you were scared to admit the pain but so happy that you did and are trying to feel better now. Hope the injections help you if you end up getting them!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Meg says:

    Late to the conversation…. Everything Beach has told you is pretty much what I would have said too! I will add this, if you have had a spinal curvature for years, one month of exercise isn’t going to fix it. It may take months. BUT it really can help. However, in the meantime, pain relief may be the more immediate goal. At least get the evaluation from the specialist. And don’t let ‘arthritis’ scare you – everyone gets it to a certain degree. I have arthritis in some parts of my spine as well and the resulting pain is what drove me to the chiropractor all those years ago (yes I had the start of it in my early 20’s) but it can be managed. Don’t give up, Sandra! 🙏 🤗 😘

    Liked by 1 person

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