No pain, no pain?
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
It's not often that I'm afraid. I don't talk about it much (unlike my massive over-shares about EVERYTHING ELSE)... because I'm usually somewhat ashamed of my fear.
I don't enjoy whining. I don't feel like I have the right to complain about something if I'm not doing something to fix it (that's my rule: you get two free b!tch sessions, but after the third, you have to start working to resolve the situation). So I don't talk about pain. And it's because I'm afraid.
I don't want to be on medication from now into eternity, because I know eventually that's my fate (diabetes -- of the genetic persuasion -- runs rampantly through my family, along with glaucoma, and a host of other age-related degradations of the body). So I put it off. But medications don't scare me.
No, what scares me is the idea that they might work, but not forever.
I have chronic headaches. Migraines too, but they're not what worry me. I get a few of those a year, but not enough for me to interfere with my quality of life. My headaches? That's a different story. People who know me (even well) forget -- or even have no idea -- that most of them have never seen me completely free of pain. I have had approximately 6 pain free days since I was twelve years old -- excluding a single month of physio. Most of the time, it's low-levels: maybe a 3/10. Not even enough to bother with painkillers -- they don't really work anyway.
At the end of my second year Uni, I spent one month seeing a physio two to three times a week (very expensive), and she successfully reduced my headaches, giving me just under a month where the majority of my days were painless. But then I went away on exchange.
Two years ago I got up the courage to go back (and had benefits enough to cover visits). We dropped my pain level down to about a 2... but that one point reduction wasn't enough to warrant the interference in my life (having to avoid my favourite activities, limiting my time for anything, occasionally triggering migraines). So I started trying a massage therapist. I recently switched to one a bit closer to my new home, and we're trying to balance an unpleasant massage that reduces my pain with one that doesn't hurt, but doesn't really help either.
In September my Doc prescribed a pill that -- taken once a day -- might help my headaches. But that pill makes me nervous: it's supposedly non-habit-forming, but it works as a sleep-aid, so it might be anyway. Of course, if it works, I might take it for the rest of my life anyway...
It's not the potential side effects that scare me -- not really. Nor is it the possibility that it will cause me to gain weight (it's a very mild antidepressant). It's not even my body's tendency to react strangely to drugs.
What frightens me is that maybe, just maybe, it will work, but only for a little while. I don't know if I can handle being free, only to return to dealing with the pain day in and day out. Right now, I'm used to it. It may be omnipresent, but I can just push it to the back of my mind and go on with my daily life. Sure, I'm only 3/4 of the hyperactive, happy girl that is me, but that's more than enough personality for most of those who know me.
My dance teacher had back surgery two years ago. It helped enormously. Suddenly she could do all the things that she had done before without pain. But then, when some of the pain returned, she had a hard time coping. Suddenly, small pains which she wouldn't have even registered before, were debilitating.
That is what I'm afraid of. What if, 2 years after I free myself from the pain, it returns. Right now, I'm not depressed: I deal with the pain and move on. But depression is another thing that runs rampantly through my family, and there's another group it runs rampantly through: chronic pain sufferers.
So I am afraid. Afraid that the drug will work, but that two years from now I'll be sitting in the same place as I am now, but feeling lower and more powerless.
I tell people all the time: change is good. Change is an opportunity. Change isn't scary.
And to me, it isn't. Change isn't scary. Pain is.
I need to get over myself and head to the pharmacy. Soon.