I do apologize for the language in my title, but there really is no other way to describe what living with chronic nerve pain is like. Honest to Pete, just when I think I am coming out the other side of it all or it’s settling (I think I jinxed it in my last post, as has happened to me before), it savagely reminds me of its very existence. As if I need reminding?!?! I’ve been living with the most shrill of shrill ankle pain for years now and quite frankly, I’m so very sick of and from it, literally and figuratively. It is wearing me down and COVID-19 is not helping matters. I’d love nothing more than to be done and over with it, but it is not done and over with me which is resoundingly apparent. I’ve come to understand all too well where the expression, “It’s so unnerving!” is rooted. Its meaning is very real to those of us who suffer the wrath that our nerve synapses seem so willing to dish out. Too bad, I can’t dish a little something back! Talking to it doesn’t appear to help, be it encouraging words, pleas of help or sometimes, some very choice words that I will not repeat for fear of losing some of my readers.
Confession time. When my pain hit a second all-time high post-surgery, as in a pain level of 14/10, my husband gave me a stuffed animal to hold onto for comfort… to this day, I sleep with it. While I’m very embarrassed to admit that out loud to others as a middle-age woman, it is a part of my story and it may help to lend some insight to those who don’t know, the lengths or things that those of us who suffer will turn to when the tough get going, so to speak. That little stuffed lamb that came with a laundry detergent called, Nellie’s, of all things, has endured many, many tears and a lot of very tight squeezes. So much so, that it is looking a little worse for the wear compared to when we first got it. I dare say that I match its appearance these days, so I guess we make a good pairing.
The super disappointing part to all of this for me is that one year ago, nearly to the exact day, I stopped taking my nerve pain medication which was helping to manage it. I had done so because *I* wanted to be in control of what was and is happening to my body, so that I could work to ‘fix’ whatever was needed to get the pain to stop. Something has to be causing it, right?! Determined to get to the bottom of it, I didn’t want the drugs to mask what was going on, provided that I could learn to tolerate the pain (for the most part). Ironically, it appears that my own bottom may well be responsible, as in my gluteus maximus muscles wherein the sciatic nerve lies. The million dollar question is, how do I get it to QUIT firing at the slightest little changes, or sometimes for no good reason whatsoever? That answer is my daily pursuit to peace and overall happiness. I mean, try pasting on a genuine smile inside and out when your ankle is on fire from a cattle prod and the sharpest knife-like pain possible. I try, but some days I just can’t even fake it. I just don’t have it in me.
Yesterday morning was the breaking point for me. Tears which have been building for months began flowing and I could not stop them for love nor money. I sobbed uncontrollably like a baby in the car, at my morning physio session and at work. The day prior I had pain, be it relatively minor, ALL day long while managing twenty-seven little ones during a pandemic in the month of June, nonetheless, whilst being on my feet for upward of ten hours. By nighttime, the intensity of the pain climbed from a three to a seven/eight/nine and the worst part was that it was firing every few minutes, leaving me no time to sleep/rest in between. Immediately, it brought back all of my fears and anxiety post-surgery. I felt as though I was right back in the middle of my own personal wartime, which SHOULD now be a distant memory. But, it’s not. It’s very present! Too present for my liking and it left me no choice but to begin taking my medication again. I felt defeated, exhausted and beaten. It was the end of the line. I think I’ve reached the end of my one-threaded rope.
After letting one of my admin team members at work know that I was suffering from pain, I was able to pull myself together enough such that my little ones were hopefully none the wiser. Not true, actually. They were peculiarly quiet and well-behaved, so I think they sensed (children are amazing at picking up on energy) that I needed their help, and being the little troopers that they’ve been through this past year, they pulled through for me in allowing me to have a bit of break in amongst all of the chaos that this past year has brought. It also didn’t hurt that my meds seemed to be helping to settle the pain right away… thank God! That, too, is unusual, so something must have been on my side by the day’s end.
Last night, I went to bed at 8:30PM, praying for and desperately needing a good sleep. My prayer was answered even though I still feel completely exhausted this morning. As a result, I’m giving myself permission to take it easy today. With mounds of year-end work left to do, that is probably not the wisest decision, but it is a necessary one. I simply need time. Time to recover from what has been and what is, so that I can have time for what will be. I am learning to extend more grace to myself, but it does not come naturally. All that I know is that I am doing the best I can given the circumstances and that is all that I can offer. If it’s not good enough, then too darn bad! I’m fighting a nasty bug here that has nothing to do with COVID-19. Any nerve synapse exterminators out there?! 😂. In truth, I know they do exist by the way, all kidding aside. A good friend of mine’s dad has had a few nerve ‘burns’ done to his neck to try to stop his longtime pain and suffering. The trouble is that that procedure is risky and its results only last for so long with limited repeats. Let’s just say that nerve burns are a last resort. I don’t want to be at a last resorts stage, though I am beyond happy and grateful that it has given him a breath of new life for the time being, hopefully longer! Now, if you were talking about Hawaiian resorts, instead of last resorts, I’d be all in! Last resorts, I’m not ready for quite yet. From somewhere within, I will muster up some ‘Suenergy’ to help tame this awful beast. Somehow, some way, I will beat this thing! I have to.
So today, as I leave you with this post, I will tell you that I am going to leave it in its raw and real stage. I am not going to edit, or read and re-read like I usually do, nor re-think my wording… I’m just going leave it as it meant to be. Far from perfect, a work in progress—-a rough copy, just like me. Have a blessed day, friends. 🥰. May your day and mine be pain-free!