Friday, July 17, 2015

5 Things That People With Chronic Pain Hate Hearing

We all have well meaning friends/ family/ co-workers that have loads of advice to "help" us with our pain. Hear are 5 things that I want banished in the sea of forgetfulness for all time.

1. Maybe you should take more vitamins or take this special green drink blessed by this guru. 

So Before I was struck down by this illness, I worked out 5 times a week, was a vegetarian, used pure whey isolate protein, and drank green and red lightening. Not to mention, I took a multi vitamin pack, fish oil, vitamins B, C, and E and I drank gallons of water. 

 Obviously none of that worked, so "Get yo Life!"

2.Is this Contagious?

No. It's not Vampirism. Stop watching lame ass Bella and Edward. 

3. I bet you get good drugs

Well...yes and no. If by good drugs you mean drugs that cause short term memory loss, issues with motor control, cold and tingly hands and feet, cataracts, liver damage, changes in taste, personality shifts and the list goes on and on. So yes come get high with us if you want to...

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4. Don't speak the illness into existence, it will become real.

This shit makes no sense to me. None of us never heard of this God forsaken illness before we got diagnosed right? So how did we speak it into existence in the first place? I don't even get that ridiculous logic.

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5. I know how you feel. you broke a toe or skinned a knee once and you know what's it's like to have something called the "suicide disease". Oh ok. Try again.

This post really is all in good fun but there is a bit of truth to the things that we all hear. It's cool that the people who are healthy ask questions but we can always dream that the common sense fairy comes down but until then, let's laugh at their expense for once.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Having a Rare Chronic Illness: I Look Fine, But the Pain is Real

Having a rare chronic illness that people have never heard of, you have to not only deal with the debilitating pain, but the aggravation of trying to explain your disorder to people that have never heard of can make it worse. My mother still mispronounces trigeminal neuralgia and calls it “trig-mee-nal”.  Should you disclose it to your employers? That’s an agonizing decision and again you have to have a lengthy conversation over and over again with your boss, HR, and co-workers which could leave you in a vulnerable position at your job. The alternative could be suspicion that the side effects of the meds you are taking to control the pain are the effects of illegal narcotics or some type of psychological problem.
Just because you can’t see my pain, it’s real. I am a master of distraction and deception just to be able to make it through my day. I listen to music, watch TV, or troll people on Facebook.  Trigeminal Neuralgia is rare, it’s real and I wouldn’t wish this suffering on my worst enemy. All of us silent warriors want the same things, to be recognized as sane, intelligent people trying to cope.
But you look Fine.

A person with chronic illness, especially a long time sufferer has coping skills that are amazing, almost pathological. You are always in some level of pain, but at some point you start charting it on a numerical scale. Any pain level above a 3 is feeling great. Nothing is worse than having friends of family members that dismiss your illness or treat you with skepticism when you are in excruciating pain. You can provide your family or friends with research of the illness; take them with you to your doctor’s appointments, or ask them to hand you your special pain scarf or heating pad while you wince in pain and teach them all your pain triggers and medication quirks, such as tingly hands and feet or short term memory loss. Thanks Topamax!

There are good days and bad days.

My good days are days when I can walk in my 5’ stilettos and not have to concentrate to walk straight. A better day is when I can remember more than something for longer than five minutes prior. My bad days are days are when I don’t have the will to put on makeup to go to the ER to get a shot or if I contemplate wearing flats out to dinner. Other bad days are if I don’t take the effort to put on actual clothes and put on workout clothes and I don’t work out. Sweat pants are the universal sign of officially giving up.

Join a support group online or else.

Guess how many people I know face to face that have Trigeminal Neuralgia? 0. My neurologist that diagnosed me said that I was the first person he has met in 30 years that had the disorder. That gave me so much confidence. When there is no one you know, and no one has even heard of your disorder and the advice you get from family is to “pray it away”, you tend to feel alone. Who can relate to the side effects of your meds, the intensity of the pain, the depression associated with the disease, everything you lose? If it weren’t for my online groups, my TN family that I can vent to, that truly understands the agony and suffering, I would’ve given in years ago.