Yesterday the decision to be on pain medication as maintenance was finalized. I have never been one to take medications lightly. Unless in the hospital, I have never taken anything for a fever, and rarely take anything for pain even though I have an arsenal of drugs. After surgery I always comply with pain medications, but on a daily basis, it was rare for me to take anything because I knew the pain would pass eventually and I would get through it.
I have been taking ibuprofen fairly regularly for the last three or four months, the dosage slowly increasing. Yesterday I took none; I usually do not take any until the afternoon so that I can get through hockey practice and the evening. Last night after school we finished homework and then ran around for the next four hours with the boys in their various activities plus me coaching.
By the time I got home last night I would have rated my pain at an eight on a scale of one to ten. As I got the youngest boy through the shower, bedtime snacks for both of them shuttled them to bed, I was in near tears through it all. I took something for the pain as soon as I walked in the door
Thankfully my older son is great about helping out…but that sure should not be his job.
The holdup I have taking pain medications is that once I start, it is a life long commitment. My pain is never going away. It is only going to increase over time. So, as many cancer survivors who are so tired of their bodies being bombarded with drugs, we put it off and we suffer as long as we can.
Until the pain is so bad that medications are the only avenue we have left. I even tried essential oils (and use a rub Melora found for me) on my knees when I had my Baker’s cyst. It has been a God send.
When the joints in my fingers are so painful I cannot pull up my covers at night or grip my toothbrush in the morning…it is time to give in.
Cancer wins this round…and my heart will need to grieve this reality. I cannot live in pain as that steals away from my quality of life for me and the kids. So, pain medications it is.
The struggle is that the dose will go higher over time until such a time it will require narcotics…and even before that, I am at risk for gastrointestinal issues (ulcers), heart attack, and strokes.
YAY…more things to add to the list of possibilities. My heart is already at risk due to the chemo to start with. Then, being my cancer was on the left side, my heart was blasted with 25 doses of radiation. I am only guessing, but if my interior chest wall is scarred from burns, my guess is that the burns did not magically skip over my heart.
When I had radiation I had a sunburn on my back…and no radiation directly at my back…I was literally burned through, from front to back.
So the next chapter of survivorship is here…and I do not like it.
Pain…I am not good with pain. The fact that people can actually see my physical pain is very unsettling to me. I do not want my children, my family, or my friends to have to see this pain because there is nothing they can do to help it. That is where I get stuck. I know I have to deal with it, I wish I could shield those around me from also having to deal with it.
The next time you see me get up from a chair and take my first few steps, please do not cringe…it only makes it worse for me. Feel free to offer to help me up though, because I will be honest, the pain of getting to a standing position is excruciating.
I trust God is working on something unfathomable for this army I belong to…we just have to see it through, one hurdle, one day at a time.