So You Like Pain?

I was thinking of pain this morning as I opened my eyes to wake up from a longer night’s sleep than usual. I’m happy that I have been able to fall asleep earlier than I have become accustomed to.  I don’t like insomnia. I enjoy sleeping, I enjoy dreams, no matter what type. They’re my entertainment. I could feel it in my lower back again, radiating around to the front. It could just be my back even though it feels like I have been crushed between metal. I don’t even want to think that it could be my kidneys. It’s probably my back.

Wood Roses in bloom

Wood Roses in bloom

I thought about how there are different types of pain. The title for this blog came from a “Zine” that we had to create in groups of about four students in one of my college English classes. We all liked tattoos and body piercings so we worked on a zine which was about “pain,” which we all knew was really no pain at all. Just a little “pinch” or reminder that we are still alive but unrepresentative of what real pain is, with a “present” of a tattoo or piercing at the end. If I only knew to not take anything in life for granted. Every single sensation, no matter how “ordinary.”

I also never knew that there are a wide array of different types of pain. Inflammation of any and all joints, various back pain, gallstones, nerve damage in the feet, excruciating headaches, neck & shoulder pain, a spinal tap gone bad, and I’m sure there are more that I’ve missed. Pain where we never knew there could be pain. Sometimes if someone I’m close to asks how I’m doing while I suffer in silence with my pain, I’ll say something like, “If you cut me right above the waist and cut my head off, then I’ll be fine.” The only place I didn’t have pain that day was my mid body. They laugh, we don’t have to talk about it anymore, and we go on to our silences or whatever else we may have been doing. It works for both of us. 🙂 Today we can keep my legs, just get rid of anything above my belly button. 🙂 What intrigued me was that not all pain medicine works for the same thing. I did not know this. I think it’s a gift not to know this. Ignorance truly is bliss.

You would think that the stronger the pain medication, it should be able to help with everything up to that pain level, right? Wrong. Pain medicine that I usually use for my back doesn’t work for inflammation of joints, nerve damage, or headaches. It’s also a hit or miss, like everything else. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. If it at least alleviates the pain and hopefully knocks it under that pain threshold that makes it “tolerable” is preferred over the suffering. Ibuprofen, while I was taking it (before this “Lupus Hissy Fit” happened), actually worked for my pain due to inflammation; while Tylenol & pain medicine didn’t work).

The bad headaches, forget it, the only thing that I found that works 80% of the time (don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely and eternally grateful that my Neurologist gave this to me) is Relpax; however Sumatriptan helps 60% of the time. But boy are those expensive and my insurance will cover it once per month and I can’t afford to pay over $200 out of pocket for 6 pills. So I have to pick and choose which headaches I will take a pill for or I will run out and have nothing, or Sumatriptan until I run out of that. Sometimes I’ll get these headaches everyday. If they’re “tolerable” headaches, I just take a Tylenol if I must.

There is nothing for the nerve damage in my feet (Morton Neuromas). Boy do they suck big time. At least I’m not dealing with that right now, I think I mentioned it before, but it was strange, since December’s flare and medical issues, my pain from the nerve damage has gone away for the first time in about seven years. I had to actually count to guesstimate as I don’t remember how long it has been. My Podiatrist tried Cortisone shots in my nerves. He said my options were: Cortisone shot, surgery, Orthopedic shoes. I knew better shoes weren’t going to work because I was in tremendous pain as a lie down in bed wanting to sleep but too much pain to be able to think about anything else. And there was nothing wrong with my shoes. I never wore heals. I loved my boots, Dc Martens, Diesel, Converse, and other shoes. I eventually bought inserts but that didn’t work either. I finally found some really good inserts (I should’ve written down the name and all of the product information so I could find another one now that I need a replacement) as they are very comfortable. The Cortisone shots were hell. I don’t mind needles at all, but those shots scared me because they were the most painful shots I have ever had, seemed like it took forever to administer, and sometimes were more sore than the nerve damage. Or at least that’s what I would be thinking at the moment of injection. The first shot was a miracle (after about an hour and the pain from the shot started to subside). I lived “pain free” in my foot again (at this time I only had it in my left foot) and I was quite happy about that. At that time in my life it took me a long time to report anything new to my doctors, especially if I didn’t have an appointment. I had become so accustomed to doctors shrugging and either saying that they didn’t know or “it’s just the Lupus” that it was a waste of my time to ask. I already knew the answer. “It’s just the Lupus.” And an answer wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I wanted the doctor to fix it and make it go away. So I had been walking with the pain in my foot for about two years before talking to my PCP who gave me a referral to see a Podiatrist. Unfortunately for me, the shot wore off in a month. It’s apparently different for each individual but he had said it would last some people up to 6 months. I was hoping I would be amongst those people. I wanted to avoid surgery so the shots seemed like my only viable option (other than just suffer, which wasn’t acceptable anymore). My Podiatrist gave me the second Cortisone shot and I was devastated when it did not work at all. When I called him to report this he said that if I wanted to try again I would have to wait a month. A month! When I actually thought about how long I had to suffer before we could reattempt getting rid of the pain (which was not guaranteed), it seemed like eternity! I was so frustrated! I eventually got the third shot but was advised that if this didn’t work, he would not suggest doing it again but would suggest surgery. I didn’t go back to him for a few years and just learned to adapt to a new pain, one that I liked least of all and was constant. I finally went back after developing what I felt was another Morton Neuroma in my other foot and after years of that pain as well, couldn’t stand it anymore and made an appointment for him to officially diagnose it and then figure out a surgery date for that foot which was way worse than the first. It was reported that the surgery had a 95% rate. I was hopeful even though “exchanging numbness for pain” wasn’t reassuring or even a “fair deal,” but I just wanted to get rid of the pain and if that meant being numb, then that was fine to me. It sucked when I fell into the 5% group and now had pain, numbness, tingling, and shooting nerve sensations which didn’t “hurt” but felt like I was being shocked. So nothing worked for alleviating the pain in my feet (except getting “sicker” and having to deal with new diagnoses and health issues).

So ask me if I like pain. Absolutely not!

Two Wood Roses

Wood Rose

Wood roses are very interesting to me because they’re just… “different.” I never even knew that they bloomed like a flower (the first photo of the yellow flower). I always thought that they looked like “wood” until a few years ago when I wanted to photograph one so my stepfather took me to a place he knew that they grew and I took several photos.

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