Life with Chronic Pain

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Hello lovelies,

I’ve been asked by some of my lovely readers to do some posts about my health situation. Grab a cuppa and get comfy, this is a long one!

As you may not know I have suffered with chronic pain for many years now, I developed a trapped nerve in my hip and after that experienced a slipped disc in my back. 4 years ago I had to leave my job as I was just too ill to work, I was making mistakes, in constant agony and drugged up to the eyeballs (most of which medication I am still taking to this day) and I was very depressed.

I was devastated and completely embarrassed that I had lost my job, in fact if I am honest I don’t think that shame has ever left me and my confidence is very low. I had nerve decompression surgery that did make a great difference but as I had my hip pain was so debilitating that was dealt with first and the source of my back pain wasn’t investigated. After many scans and tests it was found that I had a slipped disc and that the small joints in the lumbar region of my spine were rubbing together and was causing the pain. At my last appointment at the pain clinic my consultant told me that the pain was permanent and I would most likely have it for the rest of my life.

I do struggle to walk for more than about 15 minutes without a rest, I am lucky in that I live in the centre of town so if I have to pop put for something I can. On bad days my other half has to help me to get out of bed, in and out of the shower and getting dressed. As mentioned before I have to take a lot of medication and all but one have side effects of fatigue. After lunch I need to have a nap because I get so tired. I also have pain killing patches that I can wear for 12 hours, I find they are better used during the day and if I need help at night I have a heat pad I can use.

It’s had a huge impact on my life, I am most comfortable at home so I don’t go out that much so I do miss out on a lot of social things with friends and family. When I do go out it often affects me for a few days afterwards because of increased pain and tiredness. It can be extremely isolating at times and when I do have my bad days I tend to want to hide away and not see people. This doesn’t help me, I don’t want people to see me in so much pain but it can be hard for them to understand and appreciate how it affects me. It’s difficult when I have to cancel plans at the last minute and let people down, it always makes me feel very guilty. My bed is the most comfortable place for me so I spend pretty much all my time in my bedroom. I live in a flat so I don’t have to go up and down stairs if I need anything which does make life easier.

People ask me how I cope with the pain and more often that not my answer is: You get used to it. You have to, you don’t have any other choice. I don’t really remember what it is like not to have pain on a daily basis so you just have to suck it up and get on with it. I am not a person who wallows in self pity, although that’s not to say I don’t have days where I am worn down and fed up and sick of being sick. I am only 36 years old, this should be the best time of my life. But personally I don’t think it does me any good to feel sorry for myself all the time, I try and have a positive attitude and think it could be worse. And it could, I was a hell of a lot worse before surgery.

I have asked to be re-referred back up to the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford to see if more can be done for my back, I am concerned that the joints are just going to degenerate further as I get older. My GP has said that I need to lose weight and she is completely right, being obese does not help any joints in your body. I have been referred to my local gym and have started exercising which I am hoping will help me lose weight alongside Slimming World and also gain some strength back. I have woefully weak core muscles! So far I am really enjoying the gym, I feel I am doing something positive to help improve my situation and yes I do have to be careful so it’s a fine balance, but each time I do a workout and come home dripping in sweat and aching like hell it actually feels good!!

Sorry this has been so long! If you like I will do some updates over the next few months and let you know how I am getting on, I hope it’s the start of a brighter future.

Till next time and thank you for reading,

Lucy xxx

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22 thoughts on “Life with Chronic Pain

  1. Beautifully written hun. Good on you for sharing this. People just assume that because you don’t complain all the time that you are ok, living with painful conditions such as ours is a daily struggle xxx

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  2. I understand living with pain, I have a few medical conditions that cause me a lot of pain, I won’t bore you with them but I am on a lot of medication, the strongest pain killer they can administer and I am still in pain 😦 I don’t get out much and the side effects of my conditions are hard and some very embarrassing too, I need constant care and cannot be left alone, I’m only 43 and was a nurse so caring for others and never thought I wouldn’t be able to care for myself, it’s so hard and I completely understand, unfortunately there is no cure for me and one of my conditions will possibly end my life prematurely, people don’t see invisible illness and it’s very hard, if we had a bandage on we’d get sympathy and understanding but we don’t. If ever you need a chat please just shout, I hope going to the gym and the slimming world helps you and you can find a light at the end of a very dark tunnel, thinking of you and sending big hugs, sorry for the essay! Lots of love xxx

    Zoe ♥ MammafulZo

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    1. Thank you so much for your message Zoe, I really appreciate it. It’s hard to deal with at our age isn’t it? You never think this kind of thing would happen and it being invisible illness can be so hard for others to understand. I’m glad I posted this now, I have had such good feedback already so it’s worth sharing. Lots of love and hugs to you and the same applies, if you are having a bad day and want to chat please get in touch xxx

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  3. I found myself in a similar situation two years ago. Twisted pelvis, trapped hip nerve and sacral compression. Things got so bad I lost my job which though sucked at the time just felt a huge relief.
    Definitely try to stick with going to the gym I have found physio a huge help. My pain is actually worse now if I miss the gym for a week.
    I’m feeling you on the naps, they are what actually gets me through the day. Damn sleepy medication.

    I’m now managing to work one day a week, not a lot but it means I’m maintaining some sense of normality.

    I share your worry about living with chronic pain for live, I’m 34.

    Keep going with the gym it’s a huge achievement xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am surprised at how much exercise does make a difference, I need to do something about it now while I still can. I love my naps! Some days are longer than others but definitely needed. It’s great you have got back to work, that is my aim. I hope I will be able to get there xx

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  4. I found the gym far too depressing and painful in the long run, I much prefer swimming and my orthopaedic surgeon thinks that’s the best for back problem. I was in a car crash and fractured my lower spine (among other things) and had to get spinal fusion surgery and other surgery too. I’m in constant pain but one thing that did help was doing a pain management course which included mindfulness, do try and get referred or try it yourself, it just makes things a bit easier to cope with. lots of love xxx

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    1. I don’t think it is for everyone, I think I am lucky in that I am able to use some of the machines there, I use a reclining bike which supports my back, I can’t use a traditional one. I did a pain rehab course a few years which had mindfulness and it was there that I found exercise to help. Mindfulness is definitely something worth learning, I was sceptical at first but it does help and I do find it calming. Lots of love to you too xxx

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  5. Just having a bad back is a dreadful thing – Mike has two slipped discs and he is a carpenter. I have pulled mine in the past and it has been very painful – and trying to sleep impossible. I can identify with all your concerns and the weight. It is hard when you are at home and having had four foot operations myself – pretty major – I know not being able to get around really piles on the pounds. Take the weight loss and exercise one day at a time. I know feeling socially cut off is hard when you are not working or find it hard to get about. Having said that you have a successful blog and IG and I do feel that this helps me with a social connection. What a great write up Lucy xxxx

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    1. Thank you Janet, I hope that I’m doing the right thing in trying to lose the weight and exercise. Like you say I can only do a day at a time and I usually have a day off in between so I don’t go too mad. IG and the blog definitely help me connect with people on a daily basis so I feel more included and I have met some fabulous people of which you of course are one xxxx

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  6. I am in a similar boat also….42, bad back, problem with spine and discs and im a nurse. I just manage to do my job altho often i am in soo much pain that the painkillers dont help. Im stubborn but the day will come when i cannot do my job anymore…

    Your not alone…many of us with invisible illnesses but you have been very brave to speak out as Nicola says “Therapy for the soul”

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    1. Thank you Sharon, I’m sorry to hear about your pain situation. I know what you mean about being stubborn, I held on right till the end and I’m glad I did. Things may not have worked out as I’d hoped but at least I tried, I think that is all we can do xxx

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  7. Hi Lucy!
    Thanks for sharing this private part of your life with us. I can’t imagine how you must be feeling because I’m not in this situation but I’m sure it must have been very hard and it’s so good that you have this positive attitude and don’t let yourself down. i don’t know if I’d have the same strength! Keep going to the gym and make it a habit, I really hope that you’ll achieve your goals and never lose hope 🙂 I also hope that your family/friends are with you and help you feeling less alone when you’re at home…but I know you also have many internet friends and you feel lucky about having them.

    Silvia

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    1. Hi Silvia, thank you for your message. I am very humbled with all the messages of support I’ve received since I posted this piece. Bad days can be very difficult but I am hoping I am heading in the right direction and that I can be referred back to the orthopaedic hospital. I will be posting some updates over the next few months xx

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  8. Reading this, felt like I was almost reading about myself. I completely understand and sympathise. Although my chronic pain is from a different source the impact is all too familiar. After going to university when my children started school and getting a degree I got a job as an assistant psychologist, the 1St rung on the ladder to qualifying as a chartered psychologist. When I got I’ll I went off sick and after 12 months got dismissed on medical grounds – I was already depressed and this just exacerbated it. I was so upset and felt so embarrassed. I was having no success with various specialists in finding a treatment that would manage the condition and was taking many more tramodol than the daily maximum on my worse days and was in bed all the time to. I’m now on BuTrans patches which are helping but recently been diagnosed with another life long illness – Addisons disease – and keep having days where I am throwing up all day/having the runs. Sometimes it feels never ending and I feel I have missed out on so much over the past 7 years of my life. Fortunately I have a very supportive partner and my older children help look after my youngest. I try to make the best of the better days and accept that there’s not a lot a can do about the bad days. I feel as though the time and effort I put into getting my degree was wasted as I won’t be able to return to that field even if I am ever well enough to work (I’m too old now – at 45 – and the time and energy needed to qualify I just don’t have anymore). I get angry sometimes but it’s just the way it is. I hope you get your referral to have your back looked at and that the gym and weight loss help. Good luck xxx

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    1. Andrea, thank you so much for your comment and I’m so sorry to hear of your situation. Health can become so complicated when you have more than one issue and also time consuming going to hospital appointments that you can feel you don’t get a lot back from. One thing I will say to you though is please don’t feel like you’ve wasted your time getting your degree. Education is a huge achievement, it’s because of my illness that I’m starting a degree in October. I want to do something else positive with my time and if I ever do get back to work I hope it will prove useful. If not then I will still have achieved more than I thought I ever would. I think with further education you don’t just learn your subject matter, you learn a lot more about life and yourself. That’s always a good thing. You sound like you have a wonderful family and that makes all the difference, my relationship with mine can be quite strained so I thank myself extremely lucky my partner is so amazing and I have some great friends. Thank you very much for your good wishes 😘❤ xxx

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