Thursday, April 2, 2009

Have you ever had a friend that made you cry.......

Chronic Pain

I haven't gone in to my pain issues yet on this blog (I have permanent nerve damage), but I have an online support group, just 17 of us who talk online and understand each others pain. When no one else in the world really does, or would even have the ability to, these 17 wonderful friends not only lift each other up, but let us vent when we are down, share a pity party with us, celebrate with us when things go great, give us ideas when we are seeking.... so many things. But most of all, sometimes they just listen. When we are tired of burdening our family and friends, when no one else would be able to handle hearing it any more. Invaluable to the lonely life of a CP'er (that stands for Chronic Pain person).

I have such a friend - his name is Steve. This is what he wrote:

"I've been quietly studying nerve pain and it's relationship to other
types of pain like musculoskeletal pain, migraine pain, abdominal type
pain, etc. I don't usually get involved in threads that discuss nerve
pain, but that doesn't man I don't read and try to understand them.
Most of the pain I've experienced has not been nerve pain. I've had
excruciating musculoskeletal and abdominal pain. During the worst
moments of my gall stone attacks and bowel obstructions I literally
wanted to pass out, or die, whichever came first. So, of course, I
would never minimize any kind of pain one suffers. However, I am
coming to the conclusion that protracted nerve pain might be the most
debilitating kind of pain one can experience.

I've read threads, like the recent one here "Drug Tested Again..."
where Cheri and Pepper are exchanging posts on nerve pain, and I am
aghast at how this pain is being described. Cheri wrote "... nerve
pain is best described as a horrible burning, searing pain. As if
someone has a hot poker and holding it in my leg. ...frequent
electric shocks/lightening strikes shoot through my hips, legs and out
my feet... ...I would catch my breath and live in fear of
more... ...But this burning nerve pain, as if a fire were
raging........just pure burning. Like that nerve was being roasted
over a fire..." This was enough. I didn't need to read any more.

I have experienced moments of nerve pain. I have experienced sharp
bone pain after operations that involved breaking or removing portions
of live bone, and in those experiences I could say the pain was almost
exactly like what Cheri explained. But this pain was passing, and I
knew that. I knew that in a relatively short time it would go away.
I most certainly did not have to fear experiencing it long term. When
I fell on my wrist last year and bent my hand backwards over my
forearm and broke it I felt that sharp bone pain again. But I knew it
wouldn't last for a long time. Never once did I have to consider this
pain as something that would continue. I didn't develop a fear of
it. And I know what it feels like to develop a fear of pain. When I
went 5 years with gall stone attacks I learned to fear the next
attack. That was terrible. The fear of it returning was even more
depressing than the actual pain. But it never felt like I was in
flames or anything else even remotely similar to Cheri's description.

Those of you that suffer with this kind of pain, I want you to know
that I am so sorry. As much as my knee and migraine and shoulder pain
cause me to suffer, these kinds of pain are on a far different level.
I won't say they are less painful, but they are of a whole different
quality. And that's something I never want to experience long term.
Over time as I've absorbed these descriptions of nerve pain I have
developed a very strong respect for those of you suffering from it
daily. To be able to come to this board and share your suffering and
trials after enduring the nerve pain for so long is a real tribute to
your strength and tenacity. But for the grace of God go I.

You are all very special to me. Those with nerve pain as well as
those of you suffering from other types of pain, maybe closer to what
I suffer from. Because of our continuing pain we share struggles and
hardships that others can't even hope to understand. Neither can they
appreciate the bond we share because of what we have in common. I
appreciate all of you and I am in awe of your ability to continue on
in spite of it all. Those of you that write about being at the end of
your rope, with little hope that life will get any better - you are so
much stronger than you know. To suffer for so long and still be
hanging in there, coming to a board like this one to get help and
support others - this is a testament to your spirit of endurance. I
can't even imagine a better group of people, a more considerate and
understanding group of people - in my humble opinion you are the best
of the best. We tend to think of ourselves as something other than
normal, people that have been robbed of the joys and pleasures of life
that goes with a "1" or a "0" on the pain scale day in and day out. I
think of you as superhuman, miraculous survivors that humanity is very
fortunate to have living in their midst.


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