The Pain of It All
Macmillan Cancer Support Organization says that there are several different types of pain: acute pain (starts suddenly and is short-term), chronic pain (lasts for a longer period of time), breakthrough pain (often happens in between regularly scheduled painkillers), bone pain (occurs when cancer is affecting a bone), soft tissue pain (due to damaged or inflamed organs, muscles or tissues), nerve pain (from a damaged nerve), referred pain (when pain from one part of your body is felt in another part of the body), and phantom pain (when pain is perceived as emanating from the previous site of an excised body part).
Pain from metastatic breast cancer on a daily basis
What happens if you experience every type of pain mentioned above at the same time on a daily basis? I’ll let you in on a little secret, I experience this daily. More often than not, it feels as if my body is in a continual state of menstrual cramps, labor pains, a severe toothache, and third-degree burns topped with a heavy migraine. I even experience breakthrough pain in my sleep.
I try to endure the pain throughout the day without pain pills, and I only take them at night. The whole walking dead thing isn’t very appealing to me; however, there are times when I can’t endure the pain, so I’m forced to take a pill during the day.
High tolerance for pain?
At the beginning of my illness journey, I took pride in the fact that I had a high tolerance for pain. Over time the high tolerance became a myth, a mere figment of my imagination. As health issues increased, so did my pain level. I would feel my entire body twitch like a horrible knee jerk reaction from stabbing, burning pain.
In addition to the severe pain, nausea, vertigo, and blurred vision, restless leg syndrome have become the daily bane of my existence. However, I try extremely hard to keep a positive mindset.
Pain can change the sweetest person into the most vicious monster. The unfortunate thing about pain is it doesn’t have a preferred face or a body type. It’s not discriminatory: It doesn’t care whom it attacks.
There are people who can mask their pain very well, while there are others who wear their pain like a walking billboard. It amazes me when people look at me and say, "You look fine. It looks like you’re in no pain at all." Those ignorant statements drive me out of my mind.
Stress levels and metastatic breast cancer pain
When you’re in severe pain, it’s very important to reduce your stress levels. The higher the stress level, the greater the pain. Also, it’s very important for you to tell your doctor how severe your pain is.
You and your doctor must be on the same page in reducing your pain level. You may have to try various pain medicines until one works well enough to reduce your pain levels. Studies show that chronic pain can often negate or neutralize addiction to many pain medications. Nonetheless, entrust a loved one with monitoring your dosages.
It’s important to have a pain medicine that doesn’t take away your quality of life. No one enjoys being medicated all the time to the point that they can only take care of the bare necessities in life. That’s not living; that’s barely existing.
So take off your cape, and stop trying to be a pain superhero. You don’t get more points for how much pain you can endure. Be honest with your doctor, and find the best pain medication that works for your life.
Some pain must be endured, but eradication is better. Let's get honest. Let’s get pain-free.
How old were you when you were diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer?