Saturday, June 03, 2006

What's Your Pain Threshold?

Let me state up front that I can't take any outpourings of sympathy, so just tie a knot in it now, all you sentimental, sympathetic mush-heads (who I love).

Let's have a chat, shall we? What have been your experiences with pain? I'm honestly interested, because I'm wondering JUST HOW WHINEY AND WIMPY I AM. On your own personal pain chart, what, up to this point in your life, has constituted your "worst pain ever?" Injury? Surgery? A chronic condition? Childbirth? Kidney stones?

I've been down since Thursday, and down hard. Endometriosis is a weird, cruel passenger on the vessel of your body. My symptoms have been escalating rapidly for the last few weeks, and just recently the pain has become my all-consuming, ever-present companion. It hurts, and it hurts bad. I throw up, and have other digestive upsets because of it. I cry...a LOT. I can't concentrate. Blah, blah, blah. It's not just painful, this process, it's BORING. I get tired of talking about it, and I feel like everyone I know is REALLY tired of hearing about it. I've come to dread the question, "How are you doing?" Seriously dread it. I hate lying, but I hate never being able to honestly say that things are all peaches and cream, too.

Long/short of my story at present, is that I'm freshly stocked with a supply of Demerol, and have appointments pending with three different doctors (including a pain management specialist, whee), to try and assess just what condition my condition is in.

So, back to you...how has physical pain affected your life? Have you lost work? Been otherwise ill due to pain? Has it affected your parenting or your marriage? Would you prefer acute pain to chronic pain, or vice-versa? I have had my share of bone-smashing injuries, and I always say I'd rather do that than to have this constant, live-in, there-when-I-wake-up, there-when-I-go-to-sleep hurt. Seriously. Hit me with a baseball bat, break my arm, whatever--just get it OVER with, already.

We took Bella to be fitted for her flowergirl dress, and sitting in that dressing room surrounded by mirrors was a horrifying experience for me. I'm prepared for seeing myself as too heavy, having a bad-hair day, etc., but looking all around and seeing a sick person looking back...well, that was horrifying. I look like I'm in the mid-stage of some life-draining illness. Which I suppose I could be--I was before. And that's scary, so we'll stop talking about it, fiddle-dee-dee.

Other people in my life have accomplished things. Alex has got the Giant Dumpster just about filled up,and also, with the assistance of my Super-Handyman Uncle Jesse, removed the old countertops and sink in the kitchen at the other house, so that we can get going with the new countertops, paint, and get the thing listed.
Even Bella got her warpaint on, using Mommy's mascara. Lovely. How do humorless people have preschoolers? These and more at our flickr pages.

37 comments:

  1. I happen to know 2 young men who one day decided that it would be a good idea to paint my parents master bath in my mothers favourite shade of violent pink lipstick. Try and get that out of your grouting.

    I also happen to know a young woman who decided that she would try on a little of her mothers very expensive Chanel no. 5 and ended up spilling the whole thing down her front. She was sweating perfume for days, it was not pretty.

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  2. Oh Darlin' I'm so sorry you're feeling so crappy. To answer your questions, I have to say that I've never really felt any really horrible pain except for childbirth, (and I know my childbirth experience was a *little* rougher than yours), but overall, I've been pretty lucky with the whole pain thing. I broke my thumb about two years ago, and it hurt. And when I bump it, it hurts a lot... But, no, nothing like what you're going through. It always seems to be the good people who suffer the most. I hope you're able to get through it. I was worried about you, seeing that you hadn't written in so long.

    Anyway, know that my thoughts are with you, and I hope you get better! Hugs!! I love y'all!

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  3. PS, your kid is WAY too adorable! She's going to be some sort of heart breaker!

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  4. Pain? I can guarantee my pain is nowhere near as bad as yours, but it still gets me down and keeps me there some days.

    Bella's going to LOVE those pictures when she's oh, about 16.

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  5. Pain is a funny thing, in a "strange" funny way - not a haha funny way. I've given birth 5 times with no meds. MAN it hurts, but you forget it a day later, so I don't think it even counts. Then there's chronic tooth pain. I think that's probably the worst I've ever dealt with, mostly cuz it's chronic (weeks of my face being swollen like a blowfish on panic mode, contemplating pulling it out myself with the pliers..) And that's why I feel for you, not because I understand which face you'd indicate on the bad-monkey-pain-chart, but because it's chronic. Yeah, I'll take mind-searing acute pain over even mild chronic pain any day.

    And yes, Bella is going to grow up to be one of those women, like Angelina Jolie, heartstopping beauty first thing in the morning no make up, in a sloppy tshirt and holey jeans, slopped in mud... she's adorable no matter what - even painted in mascara.

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  6. Ok. I have migraines. And while they come and go, the worst of it hit about 10 years ago when I was down for over a month and no one knew what was going on. I was sick as a dog (I don't just get the headache...I get the "Help me I'm confused, deranged, can't see and must vomit on you" type) and couldn't even say my name.

    3 ER trips, 3 doctors, an eastern medicine doctor, an eye appointment, and neurologist, and one really annoyed boyfriend (now hubby) later and I was finally given migraine meds.

    So to answer your question. Temporary, blinding pain is one thing. Like getting my ahem waxed.

    Living with pain and illness for weeks on end is the worse hell ever. You feel useless, like a burdon, and not even capable of lifting your head. So...yeah..the chronic stuff. That sucks the worst.

    And my theory is whatever gets you through, do it. If that means rest, meds like crazy, and a lot of whining. Go for it.

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  7. What a darling, all grown up with mascara now! heh
    Pain, eh? How about my first post on my blog right now! Eeekk! BELINDA, I NEED YOUR HELP. Well, it's a contained problem for the moment, but it would be good to have your knowledge on the subject.

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  8. I understand to some degree what you are experiencing- I have lived through Lyme Disease with daily pain for 6 months and am now dealing with arthritis pain which is sporadic but debilitating. I find that the daily pain is draining of all energy; spiritual, emotional and physical. It is the cumulative effects that wear you down. No words of wisdom; I remember wanting to scream and slap people when they asked how I felt. "THE SAME: HORRIBLE!" or crying when people were kind to me about it. Just be as good to yourself as you can be and take help when you need it.

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  9. I love that first picture of Bella.

    I've had a broken jaw, some teeth knocked out, surgeries, a ruptured ovarian cyst [too personal?]. And duh, childbirth, but I had drugs.

    With each of those, though, it was understood that the pain could be controlled by drugs and that it would go away soon. I think that makes a difference, at least to my mental state. I would have a much harder time with that chronic pain shit.

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  11. I have grown up with injuries, getting stomped on by horses, bit by dogs, regularly spraining my ankle. I have always worked through the pain and eventually it went away. I have never been one to stay in bed, but keep on going, until 3 years ago.

    I herniated 2 discs in my back and could not stand up straight, and even had a hard time getting up. It scared the you know what out of me and I have learned that I don't have to carry that heavy object ot pick up that big dog. It got to the point that the pain going down my leg was so intense I couldn't stand and to walk a few steps was agonizing. I went to work, but sat down most of the time. I had never been debilitated like that before. My mom finally made me go to the doctor after dealing with it for 4 weeks and not showing any improvement. It finally scared me enough when my foot was going numb. It still haunts me and the pain will shoot down my leg. I have learned not to lift heavy ojects, ask for help. It bugs me to ask for help as we grew up being able to do everything. If I carry something I shouldn't people say, let me do that it's too heavy for you. I can't stand being helpless.

    I don't know what your pain is like, but to be worried about your life is not a fun thing. I hope the DR's can help with the pain and someone has a solution for your.

    On a lighter note, Bella is just too cute:o)

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  12. Bella has the most amazingly distinctive looks. As a tiny baby she already had that look.

    As for you, my dear, what about a hysterectomy? Too drastic?

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  13. Just kidney stones. Until that, I had never had the need to scream out in pain. I could barely even think until I was taken to the emergency room and given drugs to make it stop.

    Thinking of you... :-)

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  14. I definitely prefer chronic pain to acute pain, and I say that as someone who will be "celebrating" her 12th anniversary of constant pain this August. I'm so sorry you are in such pain. It is exhausting to be processing that kind of stimuli for so long.

    With chronic pain, I think you do eventually adjust to some extent--when I learned it would never go away, I had to have a serious re-think about my life.

    I've gotten to where I can tune it out most of the time, though some days are worse than others, of course. There have been a couple of times where I had to shut down and let my husband take over all parenting duties for the day, because i just.couldn't.do.anything.

    Last summer I had a raging case of sciatica overlaying my usual pain, and it was incapactatingly horrid. It was acute nerve pain, but it lasted for 3 months, and there was no escape except unconsciousness--but of course it was very hard to sleep.

    Now, the bane of my existence, though I have chronic pain throughout my body (degenerative disks in my spine, fibromyalgia, and myofascial pain syndrome), is acute pain in my right big toe! (Apparently, I've gone and gotten good ol' osteoarthritis in it.) The pain in my toe is much more distracting than my regular pain. Perhaps, it is because it is new, and I have yet to work it into my pain repertoire.;)

    I have great doctors and effective pain management for the most part now, but some of that management, if I'm being honest, has involved adjusting what I'm willing to put up with, which really sucks.

    Also, I have to say that going through back surgery was worth it if only because now doctors believe me when I say I have pain. There is concrete evidence for them to latch on to. (Subsequent films show that the problem has recurred, so I'm still believed. Yay, I guess.) It is so much better than the days when I would be afraid to mention my fibromyalgia to a new doc, because I'd worry that they'd think it was all in my head.

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  15. Oh acute pain over chronic pain any day.

    *My* worst pain was after the pulmonary embolisms and part of my lung died and sloughed off for a few days.

    When I went back to the hospital for that, they gave me 12 injections of morphine that didn't even begin to touch the pain so in order to give more, they had to hospitalize me again. That was fine, the pain was off the charts.

    But again, that is now over and I don't have to deal with it on daily basis. I think most would take the acute pain over chronic anyday.

    I think the only spot Bella missed with the mascara was her eyes!

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  16. I find that my pain threshold is far higher when I'm the one causing myself the pain. When it's someone else and I have to wait and wait for it to happen (i.e. needles in a doctor's office) it hurts way more.

    I've stuck pins in my fingers and it hurt far less than getting my reflexes tested at a doctor's office.

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  17. Lord, how cute can any one child be? It's almost mezmerizing.

    As for your pain question, I get the occasional headaches that last a day or two and I generally wish I could amputate my head. But I don't (thankfully) know chronic pain. Not physically, anyway. All my real pain is in my grey matter.

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  18. well you have my sympathy, but I won't tell you about it ;)

    I can't work (for last 7 yrs) due to ill-health, but that's not so much pain... there's no good form of illness or pain, let's face it.
    I know people who've experienced all kinds of pain- for me the worst is emotional, but chronic physical pain is a close second, and far more wearying and hard to get through than the short abrupt kind.

    ps: Bella even looks gorgeous with a face of gunk!

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  19. Belinda, I hate that you are going through all that. I don't think you are being whiny at all.

    Personally, I don't think I have a very high tolerance for pain. That is why my heart goes out to folks like you who experience chronic pain.

    I'm a little rusty on my praying skills, but I'll send you what I can...

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  20. Oh honeypie, I'm so sorry that damn endo is kicking your ass again. That so sucks lemons.

    I've got so many pain stories I don't even know if I can whittle them down to just one or two. Childbirth was a piece of cake, honestly. No pain at all, thanks to Mr Epidural. So that's not even in the running.

    My knee replacement surgery in 1980 probably tops the list, followed by my sinus surgery in 1994. Both were excruciating, but ended after a while. The kidney infection I had several months ago really was terribly painful, but again, antibiotics made short shrift of it.

    I guess the worst chronic pain I have had was after a car accident, when I had one foot in a walking cast, which put my back out and a rib that had broken as a kid kept popping out for years at the most inopportune times. It would just go POP like when I coughed or sneezed, and then I would see white and get nauseated because I was in so much pain.

    But nothing compared to endo. Even my heart troubles don't seem so horrible, although they're very limiting. But endo, it just is the worst.

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  21. Bella KILLS me! Too freakn' adorable!

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  22. My worst pain was having a saline sonogram done at the gyno. They shoved a saline catheder into my uterus (ouch, as it was) then INJECTED saline solution through the tube into my never-been-used uterus. I came out of the chair and screamed and fought back the tears. I've never felt more violated in my whole life. Their response? "Wow, you've got the tiniest little uterus." as if that should console me.

    Proof that childbirthin' is NOT for me! :)

    I'm sure your pain is MUCH worse. I've just been lucky.

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  23. Aw, honey, I'm so sorry the pain is back. After reading your story, and the comments, I am NEVER EVER going to complain about minor pain again. The things you all go through on a daily basis...I don't know if I could handle it at all. I've never broken a bone, never torn a muscle, the worst pain I ever had was when I slipped going down the porch steps and landed on my tailbone hard. But bone-crushing, constant pain? Never. I really am thinking of you and hoping you get some relief SOON.

    My first thought seeing Bella was that she was trying to turn herself into a Dalmation!

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  24. I hear you sister, when one is in pain, you just want it to be over! A few weekends ago I couldn't keep anything in my stomach, it was coming out both ends (sorry for the unpleasant mental pic), and by like 4am Sunday morning, I was so annoyed and mad at my system, I just wanted it to be done - I couldn't even rest in bed because I was forced to the bathroom every 15 minutes, it was awful!
    Hmm...so as for my level of pain, I'm a total wimp, I don't do pain well at all. You sound much stronger than me, I would have killed someone by now with the kind of pain you are experiencing.
    I am going to pray that your doctors find some drug that finally takes all this pain away...otherwise a pox on their homes (just kidding).

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  25. (HUGS), I really hope you can get some help soon.

    I bet Bella looked adorable in the flower girl dress - did she get so excited again at the bridal shop?

    I'm afraid I have little to share on pain. I must be made of tough stuff - the 2 worst pains I can think of are when I woke up from having my thyroid removed (after medicine it was fine) and (don't laugh) having a piece of glass removed from my foot.

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  26. I hate that you are having to endure this again. I pray that the doctors find a realistic (okay, any) solution to the endo soon. I must say that new pain of any sort has to be the worst, but I'd take horrid acute pain over chronic pain any day. My disc issues are my source of chronic pain. They've gotten worse again, but I'm re-processing them and adjusting. Its seems new pain takes a while to adjust to for me. I can handle back and ankle pain and my migraines, but stick a new pain somewhere and I'm not nearly as tolerant.

    Those white hot acute pains of an injury are short lived enough to be able to endure for me so far. Take the chronic stuff away though - I wish!

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  27. I've given birth at home with no pain meds of any kind and my dealing with endo kicked it's ass. I've never felt anything like that.

    For me, the LUNA procedure did the trick and I was one of the lucky ones who had a decrease after childbirth. BUT I KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE and it's fucking hell.

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  28. Childbirth is the most painful thing in my memory, but now I feel like a wimp for saying so.

    I would definitely take acute over chronic, because the pain is bad enough without also having to feel like you're not able to take care of yourself and your responsibilities.

    I hope you're feeling better, what a pretty girl you have, even with the warpaint!

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  29. I too had endometriosis, probably from the time I started having a period. I always had awful *times of the month* but my mother and sisters always said I was over-dramatic and it couldn't be THAT bad. When I got married and had to hold down a job (and show up for work even when I felt like crawling into a hole!), I tried every drug and every doctor I could find...I literally thought I was losing my mind. It was mental as well as physical because I thought maybe I wasn't in as much pain as I thought...you know, how can everyone ELSE function and I am a complete wreck?? I finally found a doctor who would listen (I had one tell me, "Just have a baby!"...ya right). We put together a plan of attack and, over several years, tried everything available, including a couple of surgeries and some experimental stuff that was going on at the time. He was wonderful and put up with tears and phone calls and meetings with my husband and questions and even more tears when nothing worked and I finally asked if he would just take everything out and put me out of the misery. I was only 32 with no kids. My husband, doctor, and I discussed how a hystorectomy would impact our marriage, lives, etc. It has been 9 years and honestly, despite some difficulties of dealing with not having a family, it was the best thing for me. It meant finally being able to have a life...and not schedule things around whether I would feel ok or have to be high on some painkiller! NOW I know how other people function...they don't HURT! Anyway Belinda, your pain is very real and you are in no way a wimp. Unfortunately, some of us have a tougher time than others with all things female. It is just not fair! I have had pain...broken bones, kidney stones, you name it!...but Endo is a horrible disease that wears you down not only physically but mentally, as you well know. Sorry to blab on...but do hang in there. It sounds as if you and you have a doctor who will listen and work with you. Know that you are in my thoughts as well!

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  30. I need to go see if I can get to the BlogHer thing. So many things in so many directions. For one,I want to know if blogrolling is better than putting up on your site a blogroll that shows who one likes to read. Just curious so anyone who wants to let me know their opinion, I'd like it. On dealing with pain, I think one can get a sense of maturity and appreciation for other things in life. It can provide a REAL perspective and teaches endurance and patience. Other than saying that, it is rotten and I'm so sorry you feel so bad and are really struggling with this. Wish I could send a magic wand...
    Sympathetic Cheers.

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  31. Belinda - One hates to be a part of the pain club, but Endo doesn't negotiate when you try and bow out, does it? I've been there; am still there. You are in my prayers. I'm sending a hug.

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  32. I am a huge wuss, so not a good person to ask!!

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  33. I had a bad tooth that would get the most excruciating tooth aches before I finally got a root canal. "Ache" doesn't even begin to describe the pain.

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  34. I just had a feeling....she's an artist!!

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  35. I am a total pain wuss. The worst I've ever had was childbirth which is definitely for a limited amount of time and your brain can check out from your body for awhile (at least mine did) I have no real concept of what you're going through. I won't get all gushy, but know that we are sending you lots of ((((HUGS)))) and (((((((FEEL BETTER VIBES)))))))
    Love, Jen and Claire

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  36. I too have that same all too present, more loyal than any spouse or dog...PAIN. I got my first symptoms at about 14/15 years old. Monthly trips to the ER,...and hearing...it's all in your head...blah blah blah. As a teenager I remember a nurse telling me "Endometriosis....the pain...it's like being in labor"...at that time I was in for some grapefruit sized cysts on both ovaries (nice things those cysts), shortly after one ruptured and the IV of anti-biotics started...I think they sent me home with some naproxin. naproxin. HA. why don't they just give me a slap in the face. When I went in for my first laparoscopy I remember screaming myself unconscious (after wetting my bed of course(cause you can't even walk to the bathroom), being humiliated, pleading for medication, and the fear of it ...the doctor who was a (female) OBGYN (what a bitch...)refused to medicate my pain, my fiancee fired her right after the surgery...nothing like getting cut up on top of the already there pain and the pain and the pain, pain pain pain just leave me here with my pain I'll be fine if I don't shoot myself first. And, its all in your head, coincidently I've been given the full gamut of psychiatric drugs, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, anti-soul sucking bullshit. The only thing that has worked for my pain, sharp, ripping, tearing, aching, nails through my belly, stick a fork in me and stir it all around type pain, has been opiates, and then again they don't relieve it fully. And of course that makes me an addict, a dope-fiending, pill-popping...Well I know you know anything else that I would say about this. So I just wanted to say "hi" to my fellow curs-ed. I like your blog, I think I'll start one too. (this is my first post)
    -nicole

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