Thursday, 10 May 2018

It's my pity-party, so I'll cry if I want to

I'm not going to reflect on anything that I've said in the past. Whatever I've said, I said it because I experienced it. 

Today, I'm just going to say what's on my mind because it's what I'm experiencing NOW. Physical pain is a terrible thing. It's a terrible, terrible thing. When it nears 10 on the pain scale (the worst pain possible), the brain will refuse to cope with it; there are no words to describe it. No one can feel it for you. No one can imagine or understand what you're going through.

On Tuesday, I woke up perfectly fine. Around nine the pain I usually have 24/7 started to intensify. I kept telling myself that it's okay; I can deal with it. I think I almost started crying on three different occasions during class, each time with another group of matriculants in front of me. With one group, I actually said it out loud, "I can't do this!" I immediately corrected the negativity, drank some water, and said, "No, I CAN do this." School closes at 13:30. I left at 13:00. Jana, my daughter, came to fetch me and I couldn't even get into the car. I didn't sleep much that night.

Yesterday, late afternoon, I went to the doctor. The previous day's strain of trying to teach and cope with intense pain left me with an upper back muscle spasm. The injection and pills have managed to leave me feeling more comfortable today. I have no muscle spasms, but the intense pain lingers.

The doctors I'm seeing here in town have no idea what's wrong with me. Stress seems to be the "go-to" word for most of them. One doctor wants me in hospital for tests. Uhm ... no! Been there! Done all that! Another doctor wants me to see a specialist! How many more should I see? It's been two long years. I went for many tests last year from CT scans to the worst imaginable, the colonoscopy. Even my gynecologist is satisfied with my health.  

Today, my husband convinced me to go and see another specialist. So, I'll see what I can do in the next few weeks. In the meantime, I'm trying to convince my brain to continue living with the pain for just a little while longer... even though it has intensified.

Because I'm a teacher, let me share some information with you. If you already know it, good for you. If you don't, well then, here's the opportunity to learn:

Psychogenic Pain: 
This is also called psychalgia or somatoform pain. It's physical pain that is caused, increased, or prolonged by mental, emotional, or behavioural factors. Headache, back pain, or stomach pain are some of the most common types of psychogenic pain.

Phantom Pain:
This is also known as neuropathic pain. When a limb or organ has been lost, you will experience a sensation of pain from a limb or organ that has been lost. Amputees and quadriplegics experience phantom limb pain.

Acute Pain:
This type of pain comes on quickly and can be severe. It doesn't last very long. Acute pain serves as a warning of disease or a threat to the body.

Chronic Pain
This type of pain demands attention. It persists for a long, long time, much longer than is normal after the temporal course of the natural healing process. When you suffer high-intensity chronic pain, it impairs your ability to focus and to perform attention-demanding tasks. With chronic pain, no one knows what you’re experiencing or how bad it really is. There are no tests that reveal how much you’re suffering. There are also no outward signs to show how much pain you have. 

I'm suffering from chronic pain. With this hindrance to living a quality life, I do what I have to do (and want to do) as a daughter, wife, mother, friend, colleague, and teacher every day, and I honestly try to live my life “normally”. Not many people know I suffer pain. Even though I've often admired my strength to endure and thought of myself as a role model for others who suffer pain, I know that it's wrong to live like this. Being stubborn to find help doesn't make me the perfect martyr of pain. While pain is still a basic part of my life, suffering remains the key; but, I don't have to live like this for the rest of my life. 

If perhaps you think that I express my pain issues a lot to seek attention, you’re quite right! Let me assure you that I am seeking attention. I'm also emptying my heart this way. I see absolutely nothing wrong with having a pity party and crying if I want to ... (winky face).

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Not knowing

My daughter became ill at the start of the year. She’s 25 (turning 26 on the 28th of May). Jana is one of the most radiant, positive people I know. She takes stress and anxiety in her stride.

In February, she had a heart rate around 140 beats per minute even when she was at rest. She also suffered from fatigue, headaches, dizzy spells, weak muscles, pinching pains in various places from her head down to her feet, diarrhea, high blood pressure, back ache, and I can’t remember what else. She’d wake up in the middle of the night with her pulse beating wildly. It was really a hectic time in our life.

We went to see the cardiologist and
Jana was hospitalized. She was diagnosed with tachycardia (a heart condition where the heart is more than 100 beats per minute when at rest). She was also anemic and her iron levels were low. The medication wasn’t really making her feel better.

Of course, for me, it wasn’t about the diagnosis. It was about finding out what was triggering the symptoms. We continued doing so many tests (mostly blood tests) to find out what was wrong with her. 

Nothing can be more stressful than not knowing. Today, four months later, we went to see a specialist and he decided to do a CT (CAT) scan. Of all the tests that have been done in the past three months, not one was done to test her kidneys. The results that came back today have found kidney stones in both kidneys. Of course, I don’t know if taking iron pills whilst having kidney stones is a good thing. We’ll have to find out.

Now, at least, we can make an appointment to see a urologist and hopefully get to the bottom of the problem. I can only hope that this is the reason for all her problems and that she’ll feel better really soon.

I’m not very clever when it comes to anatomy, but my mind runs in many directions and I can’t link kidney stones, heart palpitations, and iron deficiency anemia. So I’m hesitant but hopeful.

When I look at myself ...

  The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that yo...