A strong emphasis that seems to surround pain management and long-term conditions is acceptance.
It took me years to get to a certain level of understanding about what was happening to me. In the early years I spent literally thousands of pounds visiting all kinds of complementary therapists, buying supplements and trying the new fads. I was searching for a cure.
This probably lasted until I was diagnosed with a condition that’s incurable and so I had to adjust my thinking from ‘a cure’ to ‘management’ and also empowerment. I had to learn that my pain wasn’t going to vanish as soon as I found the some right type of massage, or the right acupuncturist. I had to try and take control of my own condition by trying to make the world fit my condition as best as possible. I had to say no to things I knew would impact on me, I had to find the right type of work, get the right kind of car, get a stick to help me walk, etc. I still continued the couple of treatments that gave me form of benefit, and stopped the others.
However, I still continued to hold on to some kind of hope. This was in the form of a particular issue with my lower back – which out of all the pain I deal with, and all the symptoms – the pain is my back is probably what impacts my life the most. It stops me sitting comfortable, and walking properly, and the pain is constant and severe. I begged for years for an MRI, or just for someone to find out why my back was so bad. It was different to the other general muscular pain, or joint flare ups, and finally I was given an MRI this year. This led to a referral to a spine surgeon who I saw last week.
The surgeon explained to be the damage in my spine is in the wrong place, and any surgery would just cause more damage.
I knew in my heart of hearts that would be the case from the research I’d done, and I smiled and nodded at him.
Yet, it hurts. I think I was holding on to a lot of hope that I would still get some kind of magical cure for my back. I realised when I was driving to work yesterday and my eyes suddenly filled with tears, because in many ways this is it. I really do have to come to grips with the acceptance milarky – with no ‘yes I understand this is it, but hopefully they’ll be able to help my back.’ There will be no cure. No treatment that will make it go away. No surgery.
It is simply about management now because that’s all I have, and trying to fight to right regime of medication, life-style choices and on-going pain management.
But it’s the fight, and the hope that keeps me going. I guess I just need to find the right balance.