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10 Most Common Questions I'm Asked about Chronic Pain

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1.  WHY ME AND NOT SOMEONE ELSE?
Not that we want anyone else to have to experience the life of daily pain, but we do often wonder, in our heart of hearts. When we’re alone in the dark we speculate, why us? Each of us must reach our own answers. Run, do not walk, from anyone who intimates it’s from “sin”, “evil” or some payback for something you did. That is ignorance pure and simple.

2.  HOW AM I GOING TO FACE A LIFE LIKE THIS EACH AND EVERY DAY?
I know, that’s a rough one. I have often wondered how I was going to live with pain each day, just like you. First of all, you might not have a choice. It’s a good thing to face it and not have false hope about life “turning around.” That said, it doesn’t mean you give up. You just have to find a different road and a new way to travel that road.

3.  WHY CAN OTHER PEOPLE BE SO CRUEL AND UNSYMPATHETIC?
That’s always heartache and at times a shocker. People we know and love, sometimes long time friends and relatives, don’t understand what our life experience is. They are basically going along living their own lives when you have the simple audacity to “rain on their parade.” You don’t mean to do it. It’s not your fault they don’t want anything unpleasant in their lives. Quite frankly, they don’t know what to say to you. Many people just don’t want to think about your pain. If they love you, it’s painful for them to see you like that; however, they still don’t know the whole story. They don’t know what you’ve been through. They don’t know how many doctors you’ve seen and it’s not possible for you to educate them completely. You and I simply don’t have that much energy, time or heart. It hurts when someone doesn’t accept on faith what you are going through. If you’ve had an accident they often understand more than if you have a disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, but if your recovery doesn’t come quickly, they grow tired of your behavior. You can no longer go to lunch. You can no longer jog with them. Essentially, you frighten them. This medical change that has happened to you might happen to them, also.

4.  HOW DO I GET HELP, ESPECIALLY WHEN I FEEL DISCOURAGED AND STILL FEEL LOUSY?
Most of us who live with chronic disease and chronic pain have seen and been seen by many doctors. YOU CAN’T GIVE UP. That’s the most important thing I can share with you. Doctors come in all degrees of competency. I wish they were all great, but they aren’t. In all fairness to them, this is the age of specialization and finding the one you need, can take some time. If you’re seeing a physician on a regular basis and not getting relief, think about going to another one. Different eyes, new thoughts and new opinions can bring answers you need. Look for them.

5.  DO YOU EVER HAVE DARK MOMENTS?
Are you kidding? I have lived with pain for 23 years. It has been my constant companion, changed my life and disrupted my family and career. I still have times of deep sorrow but have learned what to do and don’t stay “down” or wallow as much as I used to. It took me years to accept the changes to my life and body. I am stubborn and kept thinking it would go away. I know, unbelievable isn’t it? I talked until I was hoarse; I drove my poor, dear husband to distraction and I’m certain I lost many friends in the process; however those who were “true friends” stayed with me. My husband, well, he’s amazing, as is my daughter.  Both of them are my “constant.”

6.  DO YOU EVER GET USED TO HAVING PAIN EVERY DAY?
No.

7.  HOW DO YOU LEARN TO LOOK FORWARD TO TOMORROW?
By pursuing intelligent doctors with answers and solutions. Years ago I was introduced to physical therapy by a British rheumatologist in Beverly Hills. It has helped enormously. It’s one thing I can do each day, although I don’t always have the energy to do it. I’ve worked with my primary care doctor, rheumatologist and cardiologist to find an acceptable level of medications to help. I also have learned to stay away from negative people who bring me down. I have trouble with those who don’t understand what my life is like and have grown to have little patience for them.

8.  HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO PRIORITIZE?
That is extremely important. If you only have a half-cup of sugar, you can’t bake a recipe that calls for 2 cups. I have a lot less sugar than I used to have. You learn how much energy you have and learn to parcel it out to the causes, chores, people who matter the most to you.

9.  HOW IMPORTANT IS DIET IN A LIFE OF CHRONIC DISEASE?
Oh my, but that is a big and very important subject. Many of us have learned the importance of learning what kinds of food help and which categories of food hurt. For instance, when you’re on NSAID’s it’s important for you to keep your stomach full or at least to take those and many other meds with food. Many of us have learned the importance of eating organic foods because we don’t want the pesticides and chemicals in our already compromised bodies. We have learned the importance of going to the trouble and planning to eat a well-balanced diet. For instance, vegetables come in all colors and all are important. The role of fish, lean meats and poultry has surpassed the role of beef for many of us. Sure, I still love a hamburger, but eat one far less often. Fried foods are out and if I must sauté I use olive oil. I would recommend as a rule that you eat frozen or fresh foods and avoid processed foods. Steamed veggies or microwaved are better for you than overcooked veggies. There’s not enough space here for this subject so read, read, read. It really can be fun to discover new foods and ways of preparing them.

10.  HOW IMPORTANT IS SPIRITUALITY IN A LIFE OF CHRONIC PAIN?
It’s extremely important for you and me to have a place to go where we can find peace and comfort. It may be your church or your religion. It can be nature for many who gain comfort from growing things and finding beauty in the process of participating with Mother Nature. For others, they find spirituality in the love of family, children and grandchildren. “A little child shall lead them.” Watch the children. They enjoy life and remind us to do just that. I personally, find comfort in speaking my mind through prayer and having time to myself. I read uplifting books and journals. I try to keep up with the news but sometimes it’s too much and I take a day off. An important aspect of my spirituality is the importance of joy and laughter in my life. I can’t function with anger, fear or malice. I try very hard, and at times it is difficult, to put them aside. There’s nothing wrong with putting yourself first. You’ll have more to give to those you love if you take care of yourself: spiritually and physically.

Last Updated:8/13/2009
Important:The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not Everyday Health.
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Date: 04.12.2018, 23:24 / Views: 81362