Thursday, December 9, 2010

Normal

What’s normal when it comes to pain? Is there such a thing as hurt that is acceptable with this disease? I am trying to figure out if it is ok for my body to feel this amount of pain.

It’s hard for me to compare how I feel many days with how I felt in the past when my body was strong. I used to run and bike for miles, pushing beyond the line of comfortable. I was okay with pain then because it was of a different nature. It was muscle soreness and pain born from competition.

But this pain in my body that I write about is not like the soreness from working out. It feels like I have a large amount of weight pressing down on my core. The stings are still in my tummy, but not nearly as strong. The sharp pains are more sporadic and random then before surgery when it was constant. The aching in my ribs, hips, and legs is new.

I’m taking Bone Up and other supplements to help with bone density loss and other side effects of the Lupron. I’m doing my best to give my body all the nutrition it needs to get stronger. Obviously, I could do better.

I feel like the pain is better right now than before surgery. It is just a different kind of pain. So, I wonder, is this normal? Am I supposed to feel like this two months after surgery on the Lupron?

I know there really isn’t an answer to that question because everyone is different. I know that many women hate Lupron and all the hell it puts the body through. But isn’t it worth it if it slows the disease and more damage?

What is normal pain? How do I know what to complain about to my doctor and what to push through? Because right now, I’m not complaining to Dr. G about much of anything. I just tell him that I’m ok. That I can get through the 6 months on this drug. That I’m doing better than before.

And that’s the truth.

Sort of.

We all have pain. We all have afflictions. Some have physical pain. Some have emotional pain. Some have both. But we all hurt at some point in our lives. It does not matter who you are or where you live, pain touches all of us. 

So, what’s normal when it comes to pain caused by disease and drugs?

Just because millions of women with endometriosis feel this way doesn’t mean it is normal, right? Which leaves me wondering why I don’t tell Dr. G about all the pain I feel instead of rehearsing my answer of how good I am doing. 

I do that with a lot of other people as well. I lie about how my body feels because I don’t want them to think I am weak and abnormal. I dread the question of, “How are you doing?” from friends and family that expect more than the casual, generic response of “good". At night, I think about how I can answer in such a way so that I’m not lying, but still appear ok. There are a couple of people that I can tell the truth to, but I try to tone down my pain as much as possible. 

I’m a hypocrite.

Here I am, hoping and praying for a cure for this wrenched disease, and telling my doctor that I am “okay” when the truth is I am not. I want others to be able to get help. I want young women to know that the pain of endo is not normal. I want there to be more awareness, but I’m afraid to speak up to most people. I have gotten a lot better with sharing about this disease since my first surgery, but I still struggle with the most important part - telling my doctor and those close to me. 

The truth is I’m in pain almost every day. I could not get out of my car yesterday when I attempted to get out of the house. I drove to the bookstore to study, but the pain prevented me from walking. Instead, I drove all over Northwest Arkansas. I wanted to be out of my room, but I didn’t feel well enough to move. I wonder if Dr. G has ever felt like that. 

Today was better. It has been a great day actually. I had trouble sleeping, but I was able to get a couple more hours in after my cheerios at 4 a.m. and talking on the phone with Jane. She is training for the Great Wall of China marathon in May to raise awareness and funds for the Endometriosis Association. Her testimony and words of encouragement give me so much hope. After my conversation with Jane, I wanted to run for miles. I wanted to get up and dance because of how excited I was. But I knew that I couldn’t. I knew that I had to try to rest. 

So I slept for a little bit....and then I got out my bike. 

After my little bit of heaven!

In my excitement from all that Jane shared, I got up and went for a little bike ride. Her words of overcoming difficulties gave me hope. I wanted to do 10 miles but my body couldn’t go that far. So I did 1/3 of the distance that I used to do for a warm up on my bike. 

I cycled for 6 miles on hills. And it was heaven. I could barely feel the pain when my body was numb from the cold. I didn’t even notice the fatigue that weighs me down daily because my heart was finally beating again. 

Today, on my little bike ride, I remembered what it really feels like to be normal. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Lady, you nailed it. I'm always telling people, "I don't know what 'normal' feels like," or, "I don't remember what it feels like to not be in pain."

    It's a sad thing when you come to that realization.

    There will be relief... someday.

    Praying for you, friend.

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