You know you have chronic pain when.....

How many times have you been asked by a doctor or specialist to circle on a piece of paper where it hurts? I honestly cannot even count how many times I have seen this picture but just looking at this brings back some of my worst memories and I am so happy I do not have to “circle where it hurts” again!
I remember when I first saw this picture, I was maybe seventeen or so. I was excited. I was so meticulous at drawing little dots on the stick figures to show exactly where I felt my pain. I was even happy there was a front side of the body and a back side because it hurt all over my head, face, and upper back. I thought this was the greatest thing ever. After, many more doctors and specialists and being asked to draw where it hurts I gave up on the diagram. I became so familiar with this drawing that “circling where it hurt” became as familiar to me as my own signature. Fill out my insurance info (or lack there of), write down my past surgeries: brain surgery, and circle where it hurts: done, done, and done. Turns out the only information that ever changed was my insurance and the date. I

Someone emailed me recently and wrote: “I just want a diagnosis!” I have come to care about this person quite a bit as I have with many of my readers because when someone writes me something like that I can relate on so many levels and I literally can feel her pain. For so many years, even after I gave up on a cure I wanted a diagnosis. I wanted to be able to say: I have fibromyalgia or something to that affect. I wanted to be able to say to my friends and family: this is my diagnosis, google it for answers. I just wanted a freaking name to call what I was feeling. The only name there is for what I have is chronic pain. Yes, I can go into my history and explain my bike accident and brain surgery and all the minor surgeries I had following brain surgery but who the hell cares? I used to! Until I came to a point of acceptance and learned how to manage my pain I would tell anyone who asked my life long story with chronic pain. It truly was all I knew. Now the only way people know I have chronic pain is from reading or hearing about my blog.

When I first entered the Mayo Clinic Pain Rehab Center, I was astonished that people were not talking about their pain. I was so confused because I was totally excited for a three week bitch session. I wanted to ask everyone in the room where their pain was located or see this picture so I could circle exactly where I felt pain. The biggest lesson I learned was that it truly did not matter where the pain was located or if any of us have a clear diagnoses. Chronic pain is chronic pain and if you have it and are intrigued by the direction my journey has taken me then you never have to circle where it hurts again. The journey of a life with chronic pain is not an easy one and it took me many years to get to a place of acceptance and happiness. It is okay if you are not where I am today and think that I am nuts for ending my search for a cure. We are all on different paths. There may not be a way out of chronic pain but there is definitely a way through and that way through is a promise that you will never have to see this diagram again.


You know you have chronic pain when…..


11 thoughts on “You know you have chronic pain when…..

  1. I hate thoe drawings.. The best are the sheets that want you to use the 100 billion different shapes to differentiate between all the pain types…

    “use //// if you feel tingling.. use xxx when you feel the stabbing.. use …. when you feel ect.”

    I always felt I needed a Harry Potter kind of picture that could move around, to acurately describ mine lol. “Well on Mondays this little part over here doesn’t do well, she loosens up round Wednesday though but then the neck is toast, so we get some of this..”

  2. valdagarner says:

    Hi! I had to laugh out loud when I saw that drawing!! Ha! The last one I did I marked up the whole diagram with x’s and circles with arrows all over the place. The doctor really got the message too. I want to caution you about no longer looking for a cure, because the symptoms of fibromyalgia are symptoms of other diseases. My shortness of breath was attributed to fibromyalgia, but I was recently diagnosed with asthma — a deadly disease if not treated appropriately. I believe that many fibromyalgia patients have undiagnosed illness that is also untreated. My 20 years of unrestorative sleep was just diagnosed as sleep apnea, another illness that can be deadly if not treated. Don’t neglect yourself just because some doctors do. Meanwhile, thanks for making me laugh!! Warmly, Valda

    • Myra Maines says:

      Me too Valda. I had told numerous doctors about sometimes having shortness of breath but since I have COPD, they never said anything. I now find out I need and have needed oxygen!! My unrestorative sleep, I bet might resolve after oxygen!

      Also, I had five sleep studies and a different diagnosis each time! LOL

      Thanks for your info!


  3. Reblogged this on The Pursuit of Joy Neverending and commented:
    I am so here on this post! I used to bring multiple colors to the doc so that I could color code all the different types of pain bc if i tried to do it all with one it looked like I was a child trying to color within the lines LOL! I too have, still am to some degree, gotten fixated on a diagnosis. There was a time I would have kissed a doc if they had said I had cancer I was so desperate being ping ponged to specialist after specialist. Now I just want to feel better and I care not what’s wrong or what I have to do to reach my goal. I’m despondent with guilt over how much my illness impacts my husband and children. It just is not fair that they are suffering too. I am, however learning a lot from the journey’s of others who have come before me and am so comforted to know that there are others in this insufferable position. much love to you all ooo

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