No… Not Today

“Please let me sleep,” I mumbled as I tried to roll over to the other side of the bed. I couldn’t. I felt an electric shock through my back down to my feet. I couldn’t move my body. The pain was excruciating. It ate through me so bad I could feel tears rolling down my cheeks. I felt so guilty.

I was only in my early twenties but honestly, I felt like an old lady. I was miserable in all fronts. It was Mid-way through a bout of trying to get chores done. I had been ignoring the on and off ache at the base of my spine and kept passing it off as just PMS – pre-menstrual syndrome. But then suddenly, out of the blues – Pouf : a feeling that something deep inside was going amiss ; not a click, not a snap, just a-hard-to explain signal that something’s gone quite wrong. It was bad. I couldn’t stand up and trying to kneel or sit would be ten times more painful. I was scared. Scared of paralysis. I thought I was going to die.

Stubbornly, I attempted to fight the pain as soon as I got back from the hospital. I was desperate to get back to my feet and do my own chores. Sadly, the more I tried, the worse my situation got. The pain seemed to worsen by day. Now I couldn’t even walk around. Just climbing the stairs up to the rooftop became a task I didn’t look forward to. Jim, the guy I was dating in campus was however kind enough to help me with basic chores. Thank you Jim.

I spent the next week in bed unable to do a thing for myself. I had no choice but to budge. This would be the beginning of inability to perform normally, my work would be affected, my studies hit even harder and the hardest hit were my relationships. I withdrew from dating and even social gatherings. I have for a loooong time I forgot what it felt like to actually be loved. The biggest cause of disability around the world is surprisingly lower back pain. It’s hardly an unusual story – backache affects a startling 540million people globally at any one time. Wow! Who the hell comes up with such statistics anyway? What is their criteria? Can someone count the number of people committing suicide and come up with a permanent solution? Those dying from depression, or just chronic pain? Or better still find us a cure for chronic pain?

Whatever _ but my concern is that no one told me that years later, my life would never go back to the perfection it had always been despite everything I had tried. In fact, it kind of gave rise to more ‘fake’ illnessess along the way. And the multiple misdiagnosis didn’t help either. It didn’t even occur to me that I would never see my former flexibility or despite only being in my early 20s, I would begin to clutch at my back and make an awful “ouch” when I bent over, like an old lady. 

Much like chronic Pain, People are always making wild generalisations about backache. They come up with different theories as to what’s causing the pain, but there’s rarely any scientific evidence to prove it. It’s a difficult subject to research: it is a very complex part of the body.

So after several months of visiting various doctors : Orthopedic doctors, neurologists and even gynecologists, that placed me on endless bottles of medication and therapy (some of which messed me up more) I concluded without a doubt everyone was in business. But, I still attended to my doctor’s appointments like it’s my religion anyway. Oof! You say, it’s because, despite having found no permanent solution to my problems, they had temporary solutions that I held onto until my next appointment. I slid into depression for a while as I couldn’t get stuff done and relied so much on family members to get even the simplest tasks done. (I’ll talk about how I managed to beat depression – if I did, in my future posts).

According to Wikipedia and Mayo clinic, Chronic pain is pain that lasts a long time. In medicine, the distinction between acute and chronic pain is sometimes determined by an arbitrary interval of time since onset; the two most commonly used markers being 3 months and 6 months since onset. However, At the end of the page, Mayo clinic gives an interesting Disclaimer;” Buyer bewareBecause back pain is so common, numerous products promise prevention or relief. But there’s no definitive evidence that special shoes, shoe inserts, back supports, specially designed furniture or stress management programs can help.In addition, there doesn’t appear to be one type of mattress that’s best for people with back pain. It’s probably a matter of what feels most comfortable to you.”Well, now you have it folks, there is NO CURE for Chronic Pain. We have to suffer Forever. The good thing is however, we can learn to manage it and just” pretend ” to be normal like everyone else. We just need to learn to say No to everyone else and get some rest like now. Say No.

Why am I writing all these, you ask? Well I’m currently on my tenth nap and I don’t want to be disturbed. I’m shutting the world out because my body needs to rest. It always does. But again, I think I should just go back to college and study epidemiology or something then go find myself a cure. If you’re like the rest of us that are living with chronic pain – that we don’t even understand Yet, this piece is for you. You need to know that you’re not alone. We are warriors. Keep fighting sweetheart. Love

MK

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