I’m having a pretty good day.
And by that, I mean, a pretty good “pain” day. That’s how my whole life is defined now.
Yesterday sucked though.
Yesterday I was in agony.
I think maybe it was because my birthday on Friday and my boyfriend came out to visit, and my whole family took me to Olive Garden for dinner, and maybe it was all too much for me and I was paying for it on Saturday. Or, maybe it was the weather. Or maybe it was because the fan in the living room was blowing at some crazy angle.
Or maybe God was just p*ssed off at me.
Whatever the reason, the pain was awful, and so, I ended up taking extra hydrocodone.
I’m supposed to take “one every six hours,” but I’ve been taking the stuff for months now, and many, many times “one every six hours” has the same effect as an M&M would.
Sometimes that means I end up taking “one every four hours.” Other times that means I end up taking “two every six hours.”
But then, every couple of days, I have to sit down and count out how many days I have left until I can get a refill, and then count out how many pills I have left and divide the two and start rationing it out.
As of right now, I have about three pills a day to get me to my next refill.
I already know that’s not going to be enough.
Here’s the thing, it’s not that I used to judge people who used excessive amounts of painkillers in the past. It’s more that, before I got sick, I just never even thought about them.
But now. Now, I sit down on Sunday mornings, open the orange prescription bottle, dump out the pile of powdery white pills, and count out each individual one, and by extension calculate how much pain I will have to endure over the next three weeks.
I already know that there is no way I can get through the next three weeks with three pills a day.
My plan right now involves one part prayer, and two parts new doctor, who I see Sept. 10.
But, my experience with medical professionals thus far though has been, “Oh well.” As in, “You better find a way, because as long as you’re not bleeding out, it’s not our problem.”
But that’s the thing, it really, really does feel like someone is stabbing me with a butcher knife.
I have endured the worst pain in my entire life over the last six months.
Pain that makes me consider suicide on a daily basis. As in, I seriously plan out how I can kill myself. As in, I was seeing a psychiatrist who specializes in helping people who deal with chronic pain because I was fantasizing about driving my car off the road or swallowing all my pills before I went to bed at night.
I am in that much pain on a regular basis. And I am not exaggerating when I tell that you that there are things in this world worse than death.
But because I am not visually bleeding out, because my blood work comes back normal, because nothing ever shows up on any MRIs, I get 120 hydrocodone a month, and no more.
If someone rushed into the ER with a gushing stab wound, they would never be denied the pain relief they need.
Or maybe they would. But that would be tragic.
Because pain eats at you. It messes with your head. And it changes you so much faster than you think it will.
And there is a pill out there that can take my pain away. And I don’t want to take it so I can get high. I don’t want to take it so I can feel like I don’t have any troubles, or like I’m floating or whatever.
I want to take it so that I can get some relief from the metal claw digging into my ribs and maybe think clearly enough to see into tomorrow and remember that I do want to keep on living.
It’s so, so easy to sit on the outside of pain and judge people though.
It’s easy to say things like,
“Well, you can’t just depend on the pain pills, because you’ll end up building a up a tolerance to them, and then where will you be?”
“You need to take the number of pills the doctor tells you to take because that’s what the doctor says and that must be right and he must know exactly how many pills it will take to take your pain away without giving you a drug addiction.”
But that’s all bullsh*t when you’re in so much pain you want to kill yourself.
When you seriously want to end your life because you cannot handle the amount of agony that has engulfed your right ribs, the very last thing you give a crap about is the possibility that “two hydrocodone every six hours” instead of “one hydrocodone every six hours” might lead you to a life of pain pill addiction.
Or maybe you are different.
Maybe you would have a clear head and think differently in that situation, and maybe you would be able to endure hours and hours of the worst pain you’ve ever experienced, while a bottle of hydrocodone pills that could give you the relief you need were sitting right there on your dresser, and maybe you wouldn’t reach for them.
But I doubt it.
I really was dreading this day.
A year ago at this time, I was all caught up in the fact that I wasn’t married yet. That I didn’t have any kids yet. That I didn’t own a home, and I still had like a bazillion dollars in student loans, and sometimes the timing of my bills would work out so that my cable would get shut off for a few days each month.
And I was feeling like I hadn’t done nearly enough in the three decades of my life to deserve the milestone that is 30.
Then I got sick.
And everything changed.
Six months ago, I woke up feeling like I had a broken rib.
As one of my friends described it, it was if a tornado came down and destroyed everything, and I was left to pick up the pieces.
Suddenly, all the things I thought I needed didn’t matter at all anymore, and I was just trying to survive.
Suddenly, I was having days where the pain was so horrible that living through a single hour was an incredible accomplishment.
And making it through the night without killing myself was a huge win.
The new pain also came with very demanding limits.
No longer could I push my self to the brink of exhaustion to get everything done. No longer could I stay up all night to finish planning for the youth group, and then work at the church for 13 hours on a Sunday, and then wake up Monday morning, drive 1.5 hours to work, do my other job all day, drive 1.5 hours home, read a week’s worth of Bible study homework in a couple hours, and then spend 2.5 hours in Disciple class, then go home and wake up and drive 1.5 hours to work again.
Nope. Not anymore.
Now, just getting through a one-hour youth group service on Sunday mornings meant that I had to go lay on a couch for 30 minutes to re-group.
And if for some crazy reason, I did try to push myself past my body’s new limits, I would end up in bed for two or three days unable to function because of insane amounts of pain.
So everything changed.
And suddenly, so did my perspective.
As recently as last Friday, I seriously thought I was going to die. But I didn’t.
I’m here. Alive. Celebrating 30 years on this planet.
I may not have a husband, or kids or a white picket fence thingy. I may have just quit one of my jobs and moved in with mom. And, I may have only done five of the 14 things on this list of things I wanted to do before I turned 30.
But I can breathe. And, thanks to the miracle that is hydrocodone, sometimes it doesn’t even hurt that much when I do it.
So yay for 30. I’m just happy to be here.
So here’s the number two most horrible thing about being in pain all day every day (number one being the horrible pain): I’m totally gaining weight and it sucks really bad and I literally don’t know how to stop it.
And before you give me some crap line about moving more and eating less, let me explain some stuff to you.
The pain killers and the nerve medications both list weight gain as a possible side effect. Because of course I didn’t get the random chronic condition that comes with medications that cause unexplained weight loss.
And by “weight gain as a possible side effect” I mean, like I’ll go to the doctor on a Thursday and weigh one thing and then I’ll eat like normal amounts of food (maybe even a little less than normal if I feel particularly crappy) and do normal amounts of things and by my next doctor’s appointment on Monday I will have gained four solid pounds.
And yes, I know that part of this is because I spend so much time with my new BFF, the couch. But that’s because when I do things, like say, shower, or walk around a grocery store, I feel like death afterward.
And so, no, I’m not really burning off any calories. But when I do burn them off, I want to cry and die and drug myself to sleep.
I also know that my eating habits haven’t been the best lately.
But I’m just going to throw it out there that I feel like I’m dying more often than I don’t, and that kind of thing screws with your head in ways you wouldn’t expect, and so yes, many times, when I eat, I’m like, “Dude, whatever, give me another taco. I’m probably going to die tomorrow anyway.”
Like, honestly, I really think I’m going to die tomorrow, pretty much everyday. That’s how much pain I’m in.
Because this is my blog and I want to be honest in this space, I’m just going to go ahead and confess that since February I have literally gained over 40 pounds.
In six months I have gained 40-freaking pounds.
What the what?
I talked with my neurologist, and he switched me from one nerve medication to another, hoping it would help, but I’m still gaining like a pound a day.
Like seriously, I gained 10 pounds while I was on a mission trip, eating sandwiches and one scoop of noodles for dinner every night and painting houses all day.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, everyone in my life has been super amazing about it. My boyfriend has not mentioned it even once, not even in passing. And, neither has any of my family members. And I know that all the kids in my (soon-to-be former) youth group love me dearly, because they are so amazing that I seriously get the impression that they don’t even notice.
But I notice. And my stupid, stupid clothes notice. And the stupid, stupid scale at the doctor’s office notices.
So yesterday, I was like, screw this, I’m going to try to do something. And so I went for a walk.
According to my cell phone, I went 3.89 miles.
I mean, ya, when I came back home and sat on my couch, it felt like my ribs were literally going to explode off of my body because I was in that much pain. But the walk itself wasn’t so bad, what with the help of a the prescription pain pills and whatnot.
Anyway, as most of you know, I’m moving in with my in a couple weeks, and I’m hoping the change will help me eat a little healthier and walk a little more. (My mom seriously loves walks).
In the meantime though, I’m just trying to find lots of reasons to wear yoga pants, because nothing else I own fits me anymore.