Today is Friday…the end of the week and a spring board into the weekend; a chance to relax and recharge before Monday and the next week begins. At least that is what we all hope for…and what we all need. For me, the weekend offers a bit of a reprieve from the struggle I face to get through each day trying to stay focused and productive.
I suffer from chronic pain, brought on by the trauma both physically and mentally of undergoing a double mastectomy and six further surgeries. There is no cure for my condition, only the hopes of being able to manage the pain in order to function. Some days are worse than others, but every day is bad. I have tried every kind of drug that my various physicians have prescribed but have not found anything that works; at least nothing has been able to give me enough relief to not be in constant battle mode.
I can or at least “do” manage to get through each day, trying to focus on things to keep me busy. By busying my mind and trying to stay as physically active as I can, I am able to push through the pain in order to function. It’s not easy! You know how crummy you feel if you haven’t been able to get a good night’s sleep and you wake the next day low on energy and feeling a bit foggy? Well I experience that every day and night. Not only do I not get a “good” night’s sleep…I struggle to get anything more than an hour at a time. The nerve pain that has overtaken my body won’t allow me to sleep longer than that as I wake up from its intensity. Day after day, week after week, month after month I have been fighting against my own body. First the enemy was breast cancer which I battled and won…but now the enemy is the ramifications of the disease and what my body has been put through. The amount of nerve damage I have experienced due to my seven surgeries has left an indelible mark on me.
I am on a waiting list for an experimental treatment that very few doctor’s or hospitals perform. It involves an IV infusion of a drug called Ketamine which causes severe hallucinations. Ketamine is primarily used starting and maintaining anesthesia. It produces a trance-like state providing pain relief, sedation and amnesia. It is also a commonly abused “recreational” drug due to its hallucinogenic, tranquilizing and dissociative effects. I had to undergo a physical and psychological exam in order to be approved for the treatment. It will be administered in an operating room while I am awake and monitored. I am very nervous about trying this as the side effects are many but I am desperate to find some relief from this merry-go-round of misery I am on. I just want the ride to stop so I can move on with my life. Fighting pain all day, every day, wears you out. I have to think about and plan my schedule accordingly, ensuring I don’t put too much on my plate each day or I won’t be able to get through it. Being sleep deprived doesn’t help the situation. It’s hard to fight when most days you feel like a walking zombie. Hey, I won’t have to dress up for Halloween…I am already looking the part!
Since being diagnosed with cancer, I have endured a lot but I have also learned a lot. I have learned that I have an inner strength that I never knew I had. I have learned to always look for the joy and positivity in life and not to dwell on the sadness and negativity in the world. I have learned not to take anything for granted as your life can change in an instant. I have learned that even on my darkest of days I have the resolve and desire to push on and make the most of the life I have. Battling chronic pain is just that….a BIG pain in the ass, but it will not defeat me. I am a warrior. I am a survivor. I am a cancer thriver!
#breastcancer #chronicpain #mentalhealth #mastectomy #painmanagement #positivementalattitude #cancerawareness
President of As You Like It Marketing & Communications Inc. Award winning speaker and author. Breast cancer fighter and blogger. I’m sharing my journey…the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoping to help anyone else that has been touched by breast cancer be it you or someone you know or love.