My Story: I am a Chronic Pain Warrior


A Chronic Pain Warrior

Over a month ago, I was using a walker for balance when walking any long distances and to sit on when I got winded while walking which usually meant around five to seven steps due to the pain. I still use I whenever I need it, because of my balance issues and walking long distances. I took a handful of different medications and generally got lightheaded or dizzy when I took them.

As some of my friends and family already know that I had aggressive cervical cancer treatment sixteen years ago and it was considered experimental. Since the beginning of the treatment, I began having severe chronic pain in my back and down my hips to my legs.

My legs begin to throb or ache when I walk to much. However, I always suffered from balance issues that caused me to fall or lose my balance several times a day. I took pain medicine for over sixteen years from high doses of Fentynal patches to a lower doses of hydrocodone pills. However, no matter what narcotic I took. I grew tolerant to the medication and needed more to stop the pain. Soon, my life revolved around needing a pill to control the pain and withdrawls when I ran out.

Slow Changes

With my doctor’s constant encouragement, I began making small changes to my daily routine and began taking her advice on many things we had talked about in the past during my visits. I started by changing the way I eat, which now I think of food as fuel not comfort food. Everyday, I eat very small portions of food in small bowls.

My blood sugar has been in normal range lately, since I stopped drinking regular sodas, instead I drink Coke Zero. Luckily, I felt overmedicated and began stepping down on my medications as needed. I made some personal, yet life changing decisions in my life in the last five months.

As of today, I no longer take any narcotic medicine for pain and I am learning new ways to cope with the pain. However, my medications still make my dizzy and lightheaded sometimes but it is not as bad as it used to be.

Learning New Therapies

Unfortunately, I get grouchy as hell and I cuss when it hurts real bad. However, I still try to be active unless the pain becomes unbearable and it does some days. Thankfully, I learned that I can make my lower back and legs go completely numb, by sitting in the Indian style position and lay down a certain way on my bed. I sit on my bed most days, because of its softness and chairs seem to be too hard after awhile of sitting.

However, I am still learning what works for me and what doesn’t. Honestly, I have gotten overwhelmed and hurt by well meaning people, who think they are helping me with their unwanted opinion or advice. Some people have actually called me lazy, because I stay sitting in my bedroom to long during the day.

But, I work on my phone or computer, which means I tend to stay in one spot and work on building my freelance career. Especially, when my pain becomes unbearable to stand or is a 10 on the pain scale. I usually rock myself and listen to music, while writing or just working on my phone as I generally do each day.

Fighting to be Understood

Everyone in my life says, “If you move around it will hurt less.” or “You are just being lazy!”. Right then, I seriously just want to throat punch them or just scream at them to shut up! I look fine because you don’t see the damage or the part of my body that’s always throbbing in pain. I AM NOT LAZY! I am a Chronic Pain Warrior who has chosen to no longer take a narcotic pill to kill the pain. So, I am slow walking and I do things different to avoid agitating the parts of my body that scream in pain.

No matter who is in my life, I will not tolerate hurtful comments or mean opinions about how I feel. Honestly, I may not do things they way that someone believes that I should do. But, just because I do things differently, does not mean I am wrong Nevertheless, my chosen way of coping with my pain is working and I am learning more by talking about this issue that all Chronic Pain Warriors face.

Honestly, your comments actually hurt the progress that I have made in my individual pain journey. You are not feeling what I feel, so don’t judge me for being slow or sitting to long. Everyone will have to choose their own journey, especially when learning to live with chronic pain. Therefore, don’t make me feel like I am lazy or wrong for choosing to cope with my chronic pain in my own way.

Written by, Crystal S. Kauffman
Copyright, 2018

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