Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Light from Within

We fight on (I say we meaning friends, family, God and myself) in the battle I face with pain. Find my first post about it here. I'm so thankful to have so many wonderful people supporting me and encouraging me and of course, my amazingly tireless husband. Nick has taken on most (if not all) of our household chores and does them without missing a beat or complaining. Of course, we both want me to get back to normal, but he is so wonderfully supportive with what I've got going on.

In my last post about it, I shared I had just been prescribed Cymbalta. After the side effects died down, I did have a few good days for a few weeks, but since then I cannot tell a difference in my pain at all taking Cymbalta. Some of you may have seen commercials for Cymbalta treating depression, "Depression hurts, Cymbalta can help", and I do think it has helped my mood and overall outlook. It is easy (in my experience at least) to become very down when you're in constant pain and treatments aren't taking the pain away. I started becoming discouraged wondering if I would have to suffer for the rest of my life with pain. I do think Cymbalta has helped me remain hopeful that I will find something that works or find ways to manage the pain and I'm less sad about it. I don't think I've been depressed before, but I do think I've struggled with it the past 6 months or so with my new reality of constant pain.

The past few weeks, I realized I'm still having to take ibuprofin too often in addition to Cymbalta to control bad headaches and pain all over my body, I called my doctor a few weeks before my next checkup to see if there is a specialist I could see or what else she wanted to do (I had already tried the two prescrips she thought should help). She referred me to a pain clinic with an established doctor in the pain industry (industry? I don't know, you know what I mean) so I was anxious to see how it would go. My first appt at the pain center was Thursday and it went well. I had an hour long interview with a chronic pain counselor asking many questions relating to depression, anxiety (not sure if I have that...), and how this pain is affecting my life and even my marriage. After that session, I met with the doctor's nurse for a half hour and she did a quick neurological exam (reflexes and making sure I had feeling in all of my limbs), asked a few questions, went out to speak with the doctor, and came back with a prescription for Neurontin. It's commonly used for seizures, but can also treat neuropathy/nerve pain. I was surprised when she said I'll be taking this in addition to Cymbalta, but I do see some positive effects from Cymbalta, so maybe that's why they'd like me to stay on it for now. I started Neurontin last night and will take it at bedtime for 1 week, then morning and bedtime for 1 week, then I'll take it 3x per day beginning on week 3. 

As always, I'm hoping this will relieve some pain (all would be nice!) and I'm thankful I have a good doctor's office more familiar with these issues now too. The pain center does many procedures (i.e. trigger point injections), educational sessions about pain management, counseling about the effects of pain on life, physical therapy, etc. I go back in 3 weeks to meet with the doctor and by then, the team I saw would have met and make some sort of a plan to help me. 

At the end of the chronic pain session, the woman asked me for a goal I have to work towards with the treatment. My response? To be pain free! That would be amazing and I feel that it's possible. It may not be easy as it may require life adjustments (exercise, diet, stress mgmt, etc.), but I just want to have my young life back. Too many of my evenings and weekends are spend in bed (and if not in bed, just in pain) and I just want to live the life I've been given. 

I sure don't want to bring anyone down who's reading this. I have hope in Christ and support of wonderful friends and family and I am so so so thankful for everyone's thoughts and prayers (please don't stop). I am confident that a solution is out there and I'm determined - some days more than others - to find it. It is still a daily battle, even an hourly battle with pain that I have to work through, but this will not take my light from within. 

Here's a quote I've always loved that I hold to be true:
People are like stained-glass windows.  They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.  ~Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross [a psychiatrist and pioneer for much research on death and dying]. May our lights from within shine brilliantly, even on the darkest of days.


Rachel said...

I really like your post M. You are not bringing anyone down, if anything, it's a breath of fresh air to see someone being so honest.

Things are tough and we want to be here for you. We've talked for hours and you know what I'd say if I were there. Just know I love you.

I'm also very inspired by your positivity right now and your trust that it will all work out. I believe that too.

Marissa said...

Thank you, Rach. I'm so thankful and encouraged to have such great friends (and family) to help me through it. As you know, there are strong days and weak days so I appreciate your encouragement to help push me through to see pain free days ahead :)

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