It is quite amazing the difference a day makes. Two weeks ago I had been wondering if the time to bow out of life was going to come sooner than I had anticipated. My pain had been severe for months and I was getting very disturbed sleep because of it and consequently the pain grew worse and so did the fatigue.This despite taking morphine on top of the tramadol and paracetamol and amitriptyline. I was very low and I couldn’t see how I was going to be able to show my dogs.
Then one evening in Tesco I was talking to somebody I knew who mentioned that they were on gabapentin and how much that had helped them with their pain. It did not really register until five days later on a Wednesday morning when I was at the swimming pool and I had to get out after only a few laps because I was so weak and hurting too much. When I got out of the pool I was very unsteady on my legs and I felt as if I would collapse. The lifeguards there are very good to me and she immediately called for help and one of the male lifeguards me as we walked slowly back to the changing room.
I called the doctor’s surgery on the drive home (don’t worry, the phone is connected to the car. All I have to do is press a button on the steering wheel and I speak from my seat and I hear through the hi-fi system.) Luck was on my side and Elizabeth had a free appointment. I saw her and as soon as I walked into her room she knew straight away that I was not in good condition. I asked her about this drug called gabapentin and without any further ado she wrote a prescription for it because she said she thought it was a very good idea and knew that the time would come that I would need it.
Well, I am astonished at the difference it has made. Any chronic pain sufferers reading this do not get over excited as I am sure you realise by now that no drug gets rid of pain and fatigue entirely. However, the relief this drug has given me is truly amazing to me. The best thing about it is that it is controlling the pain enough that I can get some sleep instead of waking up every hour or so. The first night I took it I slept for six hours straight!
I am only on 600 mg a day and on bad days I can take more and drop down again on better days.
All the all I am very pleased with this new development and I have had no side effects that I am aware of. The first drug I have taken with out any side-effects!
I am back to my usual positive self. Pain is a very strange thing. It can take me quite a while to realise that I am in a lot of pain and it can increase over a period of weeks before the moment comes when I would just rather go to sleep and not wake up again because my quality of life is such that it is intolerable. It is just so exhausting dealing with it.
Now if any of you have broken a leg or arm or have had food poisoning then you will know what that pain feels like. I am not talking about being in that sort of pain 24 seven. Yes, the pain can make me yell but generally it is a persistent pain that varies in intensity and the area of the body that is most affected also varies although there is not a part of the body that does not hurt. During this recent really bad time the pain has been most intense in my hips.
I was thinking in terms of music that when the pain is dialled down enough by the drugs you just hear a continuous background drum but when the pain is bad it is like rap music being played full blast 24 seven! If I am really lucky it is just a continuous hum.
When my doctor asks me how I have been and I say I have been good she knows that what I mean is that today is better than yesterday. There is no such thing as a no pain day!
This is still the type of condition that is very hard to describe and it is one thing you have to experience to understand. If you have ever put your back, imagine that pain being day in day out for years. On top of that imagine every joint in your body also hurting. Imagine the effort of getting dressed and you might understand why I spend most of my time in pyjamas!
Yet, amazingly I am content and happy with my life. I have John whom I love and who loves me very much. I have my dogs who I must care no matter what. They rely on me so I cannot just lay in bed and feel sorry for myself. I have my knitting, my yarn dyeing, my book reading, my music, and my DVDs to watch. I am fortunate that I am not completely unable to walk and I can also use power chairs which enables me to go shopping and sightseeing etc. I can drive and have a car. Without the car and the power chairs my life would be very much the poorer.
On top of these good fortunes I also have my computers and access to the Internet which provides me with so much learning and companionship. I have learned so much from other people and have experience very moving sharing with other people. I have communicated with people from all over the world. It is truly remarkable. With out the Internet we just would never have had any contact whatsoever.
Life is good.