Wednesday 25 August 2021

Knowing pain is personal

Pain consumes you

Pain is a feeling that goes deep into your core that could be such a distraction from everything else keeping you in the discomfort that seeks to become the normal of your current existence.

Pain is the moment, it has no past or future, it is now, calling out to every nerve that has any element of response, you cannot be unaware of it being there, a dominating sadistic force of otherworldly provenance.

I once knew what pain was, the pain of cancer and yet in knowing that I am always reticent to associate my experience with that of anyone else, because we all feel pain so differently, it is individual and unique, it is personal for which the prescription, if it can be eased, is particular to that situation.

Pain refusing to go

I was on morphine but after two nights I could no longer tolerate it, I was overcome with emesis they had to try something else. Then, it was oxycontin which worked for a few hours and late at night, I would call the nurse for another pill because the pain was interfering with my sleep.

Before I left hospital, I was given a Fentanyl patch, which was supposed to last a week affixed to my skin, but the pain still seemed to announce itself in my consciousness and this was apart from the three other types of pain medication I was on addressing neuralgia, headaches, inflammation, and fevers.

When I told my oncologist, I was still feeling some pain, he doubled the dose of the Fentanyl patch having first thought the original dosage should have dealt with the pain. I did have a high pain threshold, but if you had fungating tumours in the sole of your foot it was just on another level. Then as the tumour dissipated and necrotised skin came off with fresh skin replacing the once blackened flesh, the pain from cancer remained for months afterwards.

What becomes of the pain afflicted?

At the full healing of my sole, the pain subsided but I had to wean myself off the patch by halving it and leaving it on for longer, a process that took another 3 months. It was a revelation of how opioid pain relief can become addictive.

Just over a week ago, on my Twitter timeline, a physician undergoing chemotherapy for aggressive cancer wrote of the pain she was feeling. I could relate, yet I could not find the form of words to offer comfort, I just knew that somewhere you needed some alleviation and hopefully without the incapacitation that you cannot function at all.

Pain can be arresting, what becomes those for whom nothing can ease their pain? It is of them that I hope beyond hope that relief comes that they might find comfort, peace, and rest. In my case, the consultant also had some confidence that we could see the end of it if I responded well to the treatment and that is how I find myself writing about it 12 years after.

Pain in my blogs

Blog - In hospital to kill the pain

Blog - Getting off the pain train

Blog - Generally responsive and dealing with pain

Blog - Stronger medicine and another course of chemo

Blog - Boldly tell your doctor everything

Blog - Off and back on the pain patch

Blog - Opinion: Where addiction and tragedy can confuse issues

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