Yes, yes I do. “But you look so fine and healthy!” Yes, yes I do. I used to wish I looked as bad as I felt on the outside as I did on the inside. I no longer wish that but for most of my life I did. It did not occur to me until a recent email I received that I never really explained my chronic pain. I have programmed my brain so much to not talk about the pain that I never wrote about it to my readers. This is not something I ever do but I feel it has to be written so that my readers can understand me better and more importantly understand my chronic pain.
My bike accident happened right before my second year of middle school. Who knew just riding my pink cruiser home from a video store could completely turn my life completely upside down. After the brain surgery, I was just happy to be alive. I think I was probably too young to even realize how serious the accident and surgery were. I was thirteen, more frightened about starting a new school with half a shaved head and marks covering my body then the fact that my life had been saved. Ignorance can be bliss I guess. A couple years later is when the pain (which is in my head, face, neck and back) began bothering me. I was sitting in class rubbing my face (my worst pain behavior) when a student behind me asked what was wrong with my face. It was from that day forward that I started seeing specialists for my chronic pain. I had no clue it was chronic pain at the time as I honestly thought it would be a quick fix. I mean I fell off my bike, landing on my head and having brain surgery and lived so anything was possible, right? NOPE. Some doctors were confused as to why my pain got so much worse years after my surgery instead of right after, some doctors thought it had nothing to do with my brain surgery, some doctors thought it was “all in my head” and some doctors thought it was definitely directed to my bike accident. After many years of trying to figure out how to get rid of the pain I really did not give a crap why I had the chronic pain, I just wanted it gone. Ten years later I still did not know the exact reason why I had chronic pain but I was tired of searching for a cure. Every specialist has different theories but the bottom line is I have chronic pain and it is not going anywhere.
This will probably be the only post I write about where I feel the pain the worst as I truly practice not thinking about the pain. The pain is in my head, neck, upper back, and face. The place that bothers me the worst is my face. I have to remind myself constantly not to rub my face. It feels good as I rub it but just brings attention to the pain. When I find myself rubbing my face I find a distraction. I will be honest, last night was rough. After my daughter fell asleep I laid in bed with a book and found myself continuing to rub my face. I am not always perfect when it comes to pain management but I know I am doing the best I can. People ask me if they think the surgeries in which the surgeon cut nerve endings off in my face hurt me more than helped me and I believe they did. However, what does it matter. I cannot look back. I try hard enough to not look forward much less spending time looking back. I no longer do look back and do not see the point. I’m here today with chronic pain and do I wish there was a cure to my pain: yes, however I am in a good place and for the most part happy. I would not wish chronic pain on anyone. It can be a living hell. Or, overtime you can learn to accept it and find strategies to manage it and live the best life you can. As I am writing this, my two year old is dancing around to Pink and tearing up her playroom. I am a mother, something I never thought I could be because of chronic pain and a good one at that. I am living a life I am proud of. I am at this moment living the best life I can despite chronic pain.