Today I was reading a few Facebook posts, which, quite honestly, is something I rarely do, and I came across one that stated the person was “having an emotional day…mourning the things I used to have, the things I used to be able to do….” It was posted to a chronic pain group of which I am a member.
I do not know this person. This person and I will probably never meet. If we did, I think I would want to just put my arms around him/her and say “You have this all wrong. Don’t regret what you cannot change. Don’t wallow in pity.”
Easy for me to say, right? I have no idea what this person is going through, right? Wrong. I know exactly. I know all too well what chronic pain can do to a person. Trust me.
On Monday, December 22 I had radial frequency ablation to the entire lumbar region of my back. What the heck is that, you may ask. My doctor inserted needles (that are really more like tubes) into my lower back area, then inserted conductor wires in and sent a current of electricity through the wire to cauterize (burn) nerve endings in my lower back.
Trust me. I know pain. I subjected myself to this willingly. Knowingly. This is not my first rodeo with RFA. The 50 minute procedure, for which I did not have anything to settle my nerves or to make me even a little loopy, is just shy of unbearable. (Note to self: Do not refuse the loopy drugs next time!)
When I could almost take no more of the pain, the Doc would put his hand on my upper back and count down the timer.
The next 3 days are far from bliss. There is no comfortable position in which to sit. To lay in bed takes a plethora of pillows. My ever-needed heating pad is a no-no: Ice only for 48 hours. Trust me, ice on sore muscles is not my favorite thing.
Walking hurts. Standing hurts. Sitting hurts. And all of this for the hope of a few months with less low back pain. There is no guarantee. It may work. It may not. The pain I am feeling may be from a problem in my lumbar region, or it could be an issue with my syringomyelia. I won’t know for a couple of weeks.
If it doesn’t work, there will be an MRI that happen in January, instead of in June. I have lost count of the number of MRIs I have had. Far too many to count.
The issues that brought on this latest round of RFA are that my left leg has begun to drag a little. My reflexes on that leg are not normal. I have severe pain in my lumbar region. Welcome to my world.
This is the constant life of chronic pain. This is the constant life of syringomyelia. This is my life.
My post, Syringo my what?!?, will explain my life with SM (syringomyelia).
However, I don’t complain. To anyone. Well, my pain Doc knows, but other than that, I keep it to myself.
I don’t want pity. I don’t want sorrow. I don’t want sympathy. I want a life.
I want a life and if I spend my time worrying about the things I cannot do, I will miss out on the things that I can do.
If I spend my time worrying about what the pain takes from me, I will miss out on the life I can manage through the pain.
I used to love to ride roller coasters. I never will. Guess what? There is more to an amusement park than roller coasters. I love photography. There are amazing images to be taken at amusement parks. Another perk? I can eat what I want there without worrying about losing my lunch after a ride.
I love water parks. I hated having to trudge to the top of them. Don’t have to do that anymore. I no longer have to make excuses to hang out in the lazy river again. I can float all day long.
As I write this, I am trying to think of things I can no longer do, and to be honest, those are the only 2 things that come to mind. I am certain that if I thought long enough, I would be able to come up with more. But why?
Why would I want to sit around and think of all the things I cannot do, when there are so many things that I can do.
Why would I want to think about the things I used to have, instead of taking pleasure and seeing the beauty in the things that I still have.
Life is what you make of it. Make it happy. Make it positive. And in the words of Tim Gunn “Make it work. “
I know this post will bring some negative reactions. Please comment. However, I DO understand about depression. Please do not chide me on that fact. If, in fact, you or someone you love cannot wrap the brain around the idea of changing the way you look at things, PLEASE go for professional help. I am NOT a proponent of suffering through depression without help.
However, if you can change your mindset from negative to positive one thought at a time, please do so. For every negative thought, think 2 positives. If it helps, you are on your way. If not, please do consider professional counseling.