Pain Changes Everything – 31/07/14 16:40

I’ve been meaning to make this post for a couple of days now, but haven’t really known how to put it into words, plus I’ve been a tad distracted and a bit busy with other things. I thought I’d give it a go and try to explain how pain can realistically change the nicest person you’ve ever met, to someone who you hardly even recognise (Think; Subdued, aggressive, pessimistic)

Ever since having my injections done, I’ve had the surprising pleasure of experiencing what life is like with, and without pain. This has given me a chance to actually compare myself to both instances. I can compare my personality to when I’m in pain and when I’m not, then compare how I see the world for both cases too.

Not surprisingly… Being pain-free, or at least experiencing a much lesser pain, is a more enjoyable experience than being at the level of pain that I am used to. Yet I’ve noticed that within myself, I feel a lot better, a lot healthier really. I feel like I can breathe a bit better and don’t have to necessarily worry about what I can and can’t do. It’s almost like the pain is constantly reminding me that I “can’t” do something, when I know that I actually can, pain or no pain, but this feeling is actually always making me think and almost, second guess everything that I do.

I’ve also noticed that over the past few days, going up to nearly a week now, I have slept much MUCH better. I used to have an alarm that would wake me up at roughly 4:30 every morning (give or take half a hour) so that I could take some painkillers, before I got up properly so that it’d be a bit easier when waking up. For nearly a week now, I have had no need for that alarm, as I have woken up naturally and wide awake at that time. I still take my tablets, have a drink and perhaps just bore myself for 10 minutes on my phone, before I fall back to sleep easily. Then, once I have to wake up properly… Again, the same thing happens. I wake up naturally, usually just before the alarm, and I’m wide awake as soon as I open my eyes.

This is a HUGE difference to what it used to be like when I’d be in agony. I’d struggle to wake up to take my tablets, and when I woke up properly, I’d sometimes switch off the alarm and fall back to sleep, or I’d sit up in bed, and still be falling asleep. Eventually, I’d have to force myself awake and even then, I’d sit in bed until roughly 45 minutes before I’d go and see the other half on her dinner. Now… I’m up nearly straight away, brush my teeth, make a brew, make breakfast and yes, I will go and sit back in bed… But it’s usually on top of a made bed, so it’s not as if I’m actually “in” bed. That’s purely because I wont go and sit on the sofa’s downstairs, because they’re unbelievably uncomfortable.

On a side note, from the other halves perspective, this is perfect as usually she’d be the one that’s up first and even then, she’d spend a good 40 minutes trying to wake me up and when she eventually did, I’d be groggy and probably in a horrible mood until I woke up properly.

Slightly repeating my Staying Active, Keeping Busy & Pain-Free?! post, I’m also a lot more active ever since I’ve experienced a reduction in pain. It’s almost not the fact I am a bit more active… I WANT to be a bit more active. I do actually want to walk around, even if it’s just a bit, I do want to do it, because it feels good when I’m active and it feels good when I’m walking around because I’m actually doing something, or I have a reason to be walking and keeping active.

When I was in pain.. I used to cringe at even the thought of walking around, because I knew how much pain not only that I was in, but also how much pain it would cause me that the time, and in the long run. In the long run though, it’s difficult, because I still get stiff and in slight pain now, if I’ve been active all day, but it almost seems justified, like I’ve “earned” it. The same thing goes for feeling tired too. When I was in pain, and I’d not do anything… I’d be incredibly tired. This is because of the amount of pain I was in, and because I was constantly having a mental battle in my head to do things, or to somehow deal with the pain. I was tired physically and mentally. Now… My mind is still somewhat clearer, and as you read above, I wasn’t and still am not, tired when I wake up so at the end of the “active” day, when I say I’m tired, I actually feel a bit better because there is a reason behind why I’m tired.

It is one of the most embarrassing things saying to someone “I’m tired” and them saying “Yeah, but you haven’t done anything all day” or saying “well it’s because you haven’t done anything all day”… I understand that… But it’s difficult for me to do things, and that’s not the exact reason why I’m tired. I’m tired because I’ve been in agony all day, my spines been on fire, and my mind has been racing at 1,000,000 miles per hour trying to get myself motivated to do the simple things that you can do without any problems.

It’s nice to actually have a reason to why I’m tired now. Also, on the other hand, I don’t feel so tired if I spend the day doing nothing, which is actually a really good bonus! Sure I’ll yawn, but that’s not actually because I’m tired, that’s because I’m just yawning uncontrollably for no at all reason!

My personality also changes when I’m in pain too. The other half has also spotted that I seem a lot happier over the past week or so, that I’ve been in a long time. This is only half true. I’m not so much happier “now”, I’m still experiencing the same amount of happiness, it’s just that now, I feel like I can express it more because it’s not being suppressed by my pain. It’s a horrible feeling knowing that you’re happy, but knowing that the smile you’re putting on is just that… A put on smile. Not because you’re unhappy, but purely because you have no energy to actually let all of your inner happiness out.

Pain is probably one of the biggest suppressors the human body experiences. When pain is set in the body for a long time, it starts to act like a parasite. Slowly but surely, it takes over you and feeds from you. It casts an incredibly large shadow over all of your positive emotions, making it nigh-on impossible to try and express or even show them, without aggravating the pain. Optimistic people can turn into pessimists, because they feel that the pain will never stop, so why bother? Happy people will turn into sad people, because the pain is something that is stopping them from expressing their happiness. Extrovert (outgoing) people will become very introvert (subdued) people because in order to be an extrovert, you need a lot of energy and to be stimulated constantly… The pain takes away near enough all of your energy, and makes any form of stimulation towards you or your body, futile.

I changed completely. The person I am now, is completely different to the person I was a few months ago. Granted, I’m still in pain… But I’m not in much pain at all. I changed to all of those negative emotions above, and it is all because of the pain. The thing is… Like a parasite… It worms its way in so slowly, that you don’t even know that your emotions are changing from positive, to negative, until you actually gain access to those positive emotions again and you think “Wow… Was I really like that?”

The answer of course, is yes. Yes, you were like that. Yes… I was like that.

Pain changes everything. The way you think. The way you see the world. The emotions that you feel, show and express. The relationships you have with other people because they don’t understand. It aggravates you. It annoys you. It winds you up, then instead of taking the blame for it, makes you blame someone else, and that someone else maybe the closest person to you.

It’s not their fault you’re in pain, so why are you blaming them? Why are you treating them badly? Just because your own body is treating you badly, doesn’t mean you can treat others badly.

It’s the pain. Honestly. It seriously is the pain.

So if you’re reading this and you understand every word on this page, I want you to know that it can get better. It is mind over matter in some cases, but if pain can be relieved, you can get access to these positive emotions again. Yet, if you’re reading this and you know of someone in pain, that is expressing the exact negative emotions I described… It’s not their fault. Inside them is an aggressive parasite, that is stopping everything from functioning properly. Pain stops people from behaving the way they want to.

Pain changes everything… Yet people who have never experienced such pain, some don’t necessarily understand. Be patient. Be a listener. Console and guide people.

I’m so grateful that I can say that my pain relief is at least having some effect. I’m over the moon by it. Yet one day, I know it’ll stop. Will I have the injections again? Maybe. For now though, I’m just enjoying the moments that life brings me, and truly living one day at a time at a level of pain that I have, never experienced before.

Pain rating: 2

url

Staying Active, Keeping Busy & Pain-Free?! – 26/07/14 19:23

I think this is one of the subjects which is something that someone who suffers with a condition such as mine, kind of struggles to talk about. Not because it’s any type of negative topic, or they’re just afraid and closed off from talking about it, it could just be down to complete embarrassment.

In my last post, I explained how I’d gone to the gym, and in a sense, how much of a struggle it was in order to actually go through with it. It’s because of this that some people may find the subject of keeping active, actually quite embarrassing, purely because they know that they ‘should’ be keeping active, but no matter how many times a professional has said it to them… They just seem to brush the idea off and have the “I’ll do it another day” mindset, and from personal experience, it is certainly easy to fall into that negative mindset, and it’s even harder to overcome and get out of it.

The thing is.. It actually works. Keeping active throughout the day not only increases your mood and enlightens it, but it helps with the pain.

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been trying to keep a bit more active than I have been doing, and in all honesty, something is working. I actually do feel better about myself, and feel better where the pain is concerned, but more on that later on!

It’s strange to think about it though, I mean, moving actually hurts and for a professional to say that I need to keep moving, it’s a bizarre thought. Yet, I actually had a conversation with somebody the other day, I’ve completely forgotten who, but I was explaining how my condition is going to gradually become worse and worse and sooner or later more bones in my spine will be fused. It is up to me, right now, to decided HOW I want my bones to fuse and that’s just odd, but it makes sense.

If I sit around all day, lie in bed, or generally don’t do anything, my bones will slowly seize up and I’ll begin to develop somewhat of a hunch and mobility will become increasingly difficult. However, if I just grit my teeth and bare the thought of me moving, and actually keep active, my bones constantly move so the fusion process is significantly delayed, and because of the memory foam mattress topper and pillows, especially at night when I’m asleep, my spine is near enough straight (Apart from when I’m in pain) so even when my bones eventually seize up, they should seize up in somewhat of a straight position. Winner-Winner when I think about it.

But there’s staying active with nothing to do, then there’s staying active and keeping busy. Keeping busy is the most important thing for me, because I am actually, a very active and very optimistic person, so I enjoy keeping busy and running around like a blue-arse fly, purely because I stay active and keep busy. It’s perfect! My body is delaying my fusion process, and my mind is being distracted from the pain I may be feeling at that time.

This is the perfect combination of things that I can do in order to manage my pain, and to be honest, manage my life.

Speaking of managing my pain… Something amazing happened today.

So as I said before, I’ve been trying to stay a bit more active over the past couple of days and keep myself busy, and personally I think it’s helped dramatically alongside the procedure I had, because I woke up this morning after a rather good and relaxing sleep to actually find that I wasn’t in pain.

Yes you read that right. I was not in pain.

None what so ever. I was a bit stiff at first, but I think that was just bedtime stiffness, because as soon as I made some breakfast, I was completely fine again. I couldn’t believe it! I sat back in bed and enjoyed my breakfast before the other half rang and asked if I wanted to see her. I said that I’d have a shower, then be round shortly. You don’t understand… A shower is a difficult thing for me. Bending down to pick up the shampoo bottle, or conditioner bottle or whatever (Yeah, I tried to avoid ‘Bend down to pick up soap’ line) is a constant battle. It hurts a lot to bend my spine forwards, and it hurts even more if I slightly slip because the floor of the shower is slippery due to the conditioner. Yet this morning, fucking hell, it was great! I think it was the best shower I’ve had in a long time!

I actually experienced what it was like for ‘normal’ people! You guys have got it good.. You seriously have. My god, it was fantastic, and I was extremely happy this morning!

So anyway, I went to go and see the missus for an hour or so, and I did feel a bit of pain whilst sat in the car, so took a painkiller and had done with it. It did actually fade away, and by the time I was home again, I was out of pain. This is surreal for me to even type, this is how good it was!

Keeping with my decision to stay a bit more active and keep busy, I decided to actually do the hoovering. I actually WANTED to, because I could! I hoovered my own damn house from top to bottom, and when I say I enjoyed it, I was almost dancing around this damn house. It was blissfully amazing.

Being pain-free is an absolute amazing feeling for me, but the difference with today is that I wasn’t doped up on a stupid amount of drugs, I didn’t feel spaced out, and in fact… I felt clear, relaxed and you know what… The one thing that mentally means the most to me… I felt motivated. My motivation was back in my head, and I used it to my advantage. I was motivated to clean the house, I certainly did. I cleaned the kitchen, sorted out one of the shelves in my room, tidied my room, and put things out in the respected bins.

People are probably reading this and thinking that this is all trivial stuff. “Oh well I can do that” or “Yeah but.. I do that on a daily basis” – Well, I understand that, and I can understand why you don’t really understand where I’m coming from. But these things are HUGE for me.

Firstly, I actually WANTED to do a lot more today. I did all those things not because I had to, not because I was asked to, but because I wanted to, and I enjoyed every minute of doing them.

Secondly, I enjoyed the fact that my head felt clear. Alongside the fact that today was a beautiful day, and I got to see the other half, my head just felt like there was air going through it, or that… It was just empty. Like I could think of anything so clearly, and in so much detail, without becoming distracted or without the thought becoming distorted. Having a clear head is something that I have been wishing for, for so long it’s untrue. Having a clear head allows me to organise things a lot more, plan my time easier, and just be me again.

Thirdly, my motivation was back. Motivation is the key to everything. You have to be motivated in order to do something, whether it’s go to the shops, or keep fit, or write stupidly long blog post. The more effort that is required to do the action, the more motivation is needed in order to complete, said action. Today, I could have done anything, and actually, you know what… I basically did everything that I wanted to. I had a lie in, had a shower, saw the missus, ordered some parts for my computer, completed the plans for my new build, tinkered with my laptop, and now I’m here writing this blog post, one of the final things that I wanted to do today.

Finally… I was out of pain. I seriously felt like crying when I realised that I could walk without a white hot poker being in my back, or the grinding of my hips causing me to move slowly. I could actually walk normally, have a shower normally, and just do basic things, normally.

It has been, a fantastic day. Everything has just been amazing to do with me.

I’d like to say that the procedure worked, and this is the steroids kicking in and finally, after long last, I’m finally going to get some relief from a condition, or should I say two conditions, that have crippled me and basically controlled my life. Or then again, it could be due to the fact I’ve got something to focus on now, because I’m re-building my computer, and because of that, I’m staying active some more, moving around, driving around, talking to people, etc.

I have no idea. But something is working. Something inside me is working it’s magic, and I am eternally grateful just to have this one day. Of course, I could complain and say something like “Yeah well, it could have been better if I’d have seen the missus more” – Well yes, I agree, that would have been lovely… But who am I to grumble at this? This is the most important thing that I’ve been wanting, for the past few years, and today, I’ve finally been able to experience what it’s like to live a ‘normal’ life. I’m sure the other half understand this, more than anybody, and she understands exactly what this means to me.

Yes, I don’t want to go back. Yes, I want to stay pain-free for longer. Yes, I am incredibly happy today, and I would love nothing more than for this mood, this clear head, this motivation, and this beautiful lack of pain to be consistent.

But I’m not greedy like that. I’d love all that to happen, and I hope that it does, but if it all fades away tomorrow, I’ll still be happier than I was, because today… The 16th of July 2014… I was pain-free.

I can say that now, after being active, busy and doing more things than I’d normally do, especially when it comes to thinking about things in my mind, purely because I could, and the speed in which I could gather and organise my thoughts was incredible, however I can say that now, I’m quite tired. My mind has slowed, yet it is still clear, it’s just very tired, and my back is now slightly twinging and aching/hurting, but it’s one of those pains where you’ve been doing things all day, and now you’ve stopped, so your body reacts by aching and hurting. I don’t even think it’s anything like anything I’ve ever felt.

As far as I can remember.. I’ve never felt euphoria like this. Morphine couldn’t even make me feel like this. I was out of pain… But high as a kite and blazed up to my eyeballs. Today… I wasn’t like that at all. Today… Was probably one of the best days I’ve ever had when it comes to pain, cognitive functions, and the fuzziness of my head. All of it, gone. Fixed.

It was fantastic, and for once, I can safely say that I was out of pain, and I was me again. The old me. The active, crazy, spontaneous, alpha-dog.

I will continues to try and be active as much as I can, and try to keep myself busy, which wont exactly be difficult as tomorrow is both an active, and a busy day for me tomorrow, and then perhaps on Monday, I may have a go at the gym. If I’m still like this by Monday, my gym session will be like nothing I’ve ever done before. I will push myself to my limit, and I will love ever damn second of it, like I have done today.

I hope and pray that this lasts, if it doesn’t, whatever it was that caused today… Thank you.

I’m going to enjoy typing this next part.

Pain rating: 0.5 (Just to be safe)Pain Rating

The Gym – 23/07/14 15:06

The one thing that doctors and consultants have always said to me is “stay active”, and I’ve always questioned exactly what they meant by that, and they’d always reply “go to the gym”.

Now, going to the gym isn’t something new to me. I used to go quite regularly with an old friend of mine, and it was enjoyable for the most part, and we’d always have that ‘after gym’ burn. We’d seriously push ourselves.. Dangerously so, when I think about it now.

Anyway, this time around, it’s me and the other half that are going to the gym together, which is actually really nice. It’s something that we can do together, get quite fit, and we can keep each other motivated when we’re there. We’re still “newbies” to this new gym, but I’m sure we’ll settle in soon enough. One of the things which we adore, is the fact that this gym has a Hydro-pool, Sauna, Steam room, and a Sanarium.

I have been told numerous times to seek out a Hydro-pool, because apparently they’re fantastic for people with my condition, and just general arthritis. To be honest, I quite agree with them. I can safely say that whilst in the pool, I generally feel more relaxed, and in some cases, my pain has actually reduced because of the gravity free environment and the soft (or powerful) jets.

Last night we decided to head into the Hydro-pool, because in case anybody hadn’t noticed… It’s stupidly hot. I mean seriously… 28 Degrees in the UK? That’s just unheard of.

Anyway, so we went into the Hydro-pool, and surprisingly enough it was colder than usual. It’s usually quite warm because warmer temperatures help reduces inflammation and tries to encourage flexibility, but this time, it was a lot colder. Not that it mattered, I was just happy to get into the water and relieve the pressure. I was most certainly worn out yesterday because of the night before, so the gravity-free environment, was a joy to my bones.

It’s also nice to spend some time in the sanarium, because the humidity and heat certainly adds to the relaxation, and calming of my muscles and joints. Furthermore, it’s lovely to be able to do this with someone, you know? It really does add to the relaxation factor, and actually almost adds to the purpose of being there.

It was then that I decided, I’m going to come to the gym today when I’ve dropped the other half off at work at 8:30. I’ll go straight to the gym, and see what I can do, then go home. Great idea!

The only trouble is… Today I awoke in agony again. Not so much as the other day, good god no, but I was, and still am, in agony today. So trying to motivate myself to keep this idea of going to the gym today, was absolutely awful. Seriously, I put on my trackies and gym top, and I think I just stood there in my room just looking round at things, because I was just having this fight and debate in my head of going, or not going, to the gym.

That’s the daily struggle that I have. The fact that I want to do something, but the pain just puts me off from doing it. So in the end, I didn’t think, and instead I just “did”. I made it to the gym, but kind of made a little deal with myself as I was driving there. I won’t do any core exercises, such as my abs or lower back muscles, as to not aggravate the pain even more, and I wont do any leg exercises either, because I’m already not too steady on my feet, I’d rather not make that worse either. If I fall over at any point, I’m in big trouble.

So an hour later, after I’d mainly focused on my upper body, I had to pack it in.

I didn’t want to, because I would have liked to have stayed there, but as I was up and down off the machines, my back was getting sorer. I’ve also realised that if I’m tensing when lifting a weight, for some reason, my back even tenses, causing some discomfort. That being said, after an hour, I couldn’t physically lift any more weights, my arms just wouldn’t work, so I suppose it was best me leaving.

The good thing was, is I actually felt better for going. I’d had this battle in my head with myself about whether to go or not, and I’d won, then I’d actually just gone to the gym in the first place. Yes okay, it’s only an hour, but at least it’s an hour more than I would have done, and it’s actually made me feel a bit better today. My pain is still bad, if not actually worse than it was this morning, but I’m proud of myself for doing something at least a slight bit productive.

It’s things like that, that help me to keep doing things. Little bits of something, that just keep me ticking over, and feeling proud of myself, because it is hard you know… It is hard to be proud of yourself when all you can think of is pain.

I don’t think I’ll end up going tomorrow though, purely because I don’t want to push it, and at the end of the day, I don’t know how I’ll feel either. Perhaps I’ll go Friday.. I don’t know, we’ll see.

For now, I’m just proud of myself for today. The gym helps, because it does make you feel better about yourself, and I’d encourage everybody to join one, even if you go to relax in the pools or saunas etc. It’s so worth the money. Yet, it also helps me, because it keeps my confidence up a little, and gives me a little kick in the right direction.

I’m hoping that when I end up going back to Uni, I’ll be able to develop some sort of regime, and apparently, the guys at the gym can help with that too, so it will be nice, especially when me and the other half go too. I’m hoping to get into a routine of going at least three times a week when I’m at Uni, doing a number of things from weights, to classes, to going in the pools. I’m actually really looking forward to it.

For now though, I’ll just settle with going whenever I can, and whenever I can also go with the missus.

Pain Rating: 7

20140724-122205-44525423.jpg

Excruciating Pain & Flaring Up – 21/07/14 23:10

That would be one of many words that I would use to describe how I feel during a flare up. A few others, would easily come to mind, even for those who’d never experienced such pain before.

The pain experienced during one of my flare ups, is like nothing else imaginable. Every single time is different, yet also exactly the same. Right now, I’m feeling the same things I was feeling last time I had a flare up, yet I’m also feeling different things.

Now of course, a flare up can be completely different depending on the type of condition a sufferer has, and a flare up can be brought on by a number of completely different things. Plenty of times I’ve had flare ups just because of the weather! Then there’s, a lack of sleep, stress, a lack of movement, just to name a few. Even my own medication, the stuff that’s supposed to help me, can cause me to have horrific flare ups. Then of course.. They can just be random.

Right now, I’m in the middle of a random one, or at least, so I think.

Those of you that’ve read my post a few days ago, know that I had six injections in my back last Tuesday (15/07/14), and whilst the chances of me suffering from a flare up because of those injections, was reasonably high at the time, those chances are now actually a lot less. Then again, it’s a factor that I can’t ignore.

The thing is, it’s easy to ignore. In fact, I wasn’t even going to write this post. If it wasn’t for the fact that I know that I won’t be able to sleep, I would most certainly have left this, and not even bothered, purely because my mentality isn’t with it.

Right now, I can’t even concentrate on what time it is. I’m not concentrating on anything, if I’m quite honest.

I’m in PAIN!

For the first time, as far as I can remember, this flare up is also in my neck. At the bottom of my neck, where it joins my spine. It hurts. My pelvis, hurts. My spine, hurts. My hips, hurt. It all just fucking hurts. The thing is… And this is probably THE MOST depressing thing about it… I can’t do anything about it.

You heard me.

Right now, my heads all over the place. Literally, my thoughts are just like fluid in my brain, with no way of me actually putting a hold on any of them. The only thing I can constantly think about is this pain. It’s not a stabbing pain, or a pinching pain, or an ache. It’s not a “you can take some tablets and you’ll be fine” pain. It’s not a “just ignore it and it’ll go away” type of pain. And it is most certainly not “typical back/neck” pain.

No, I agree, it’s not comparable to child birth. It’s not comparable to getting kicked in the balls either. It’s not comparable to anything. If I had to honestly describe how I feel right now… The only thing that comes to mind is that I’m hurting. I’d cry if I could, but I’ve done that enough over the years. I have a cry, and once I’m done, I’m still in pain. There’s no point.

This, white hot burning poker, is just rammed so far into my joints, it’s unbearable. I move, it hurts. I stay still, it hurts.

This is all something which is familiar throughout my flare ups. The type of pain is different every time, and the way I feel the pain, is also, much much different. Yet the way to describe it, and how I describe it, doesn’t change much. Because there is no other way to describe it.

I know that this type of pain I’m feeling now, is completely different to the pain I was feeling this morning, or even the pain I was feeling in the last flare up. I feel crippled. I almost feel helpless, and powerless to do anything. I can’t do anything. I can take more painkillers yeah, but that will temporarily scrape the surface of it. Yet, it’s worth a try, so I do it anyway.

The funny thing is, it’s in my mind. No literally, it actually takes control of my mind. Being in the state I’m in right now, there’s nothing I can think about. I’ve just had the TV on, yet I couldn’t tell you much about the program I’d just watched. I wasn’t concentrating, nor was I listening. I was just… Staring. My concentration had, and has, just gone completely. This out maybe full of jibe fish for all I know, because I’m just seeing my fingers dart around the screen of my iPad.

I know if I move, it’ll hurt. The only way of thinking about it is like my hips have completely rusted at the joint, and my spine and now including my neck, have just been fused. Even just being sat on my pelvis hurts. Ever heard of anyone complaining of that?

“Ouch!”

“What’s wrong?”

“My pelvis hurts”

It’s strange to think isn’t it?

We’ll think about it, and think about it good, because it fucking hurts. This pain isn’t a nice type of pain. It doesn’t make me feel alive. It doesn’t make me want to go and do something with my life before it gets worse. It makes me want to sit there, and do nothing. Curl up and just let the world pass me by.

I know I can’t do that. Not only do I not want to do that, I can think of two people especially who wouldn’t let me do that. Two, very influential, yet very loving women, who would put themselves through all of this, just so I didn’t have to.

That saddens me.

It saddens me because… They see me like this. Nobody has seen me in this state. People have seen me in agonising pain… But a flare up is 100x worse. Yet these two women have seen me in it, and throughout it. It hurts to know what they’d do for me, but it comforts me at the same time.

Sometimes I’ve thought about giving it all up you know? Especially when it’s like this. The pain… It just becomes too much. There’s only so much one man can take. The feeling of bones actually hurting. The cracking and creaking of the joints as they try to move. The pokers, still has white hot as they were before, slowly moving about.

A life without pain… Imagine what that’d be like. I’ve forgotten now. It’s been too long ago that I’ve experienced such a thing.

Then again… I did have a glimpse of hope once my procedure was done. I could walk for a short while, without being in any pain.

It’s nice to think like that when I’m like this, but those thoughts and memories are just too hard to uncover mentally. There’s like a demon, or some sort of fog within my mind, always appearing whenever I’m in pain, or to be more specific, becoming more opaque, covering my thoughts, memories, feelings and everything that is me, the more and more pain I’m in. So it becomes harder to function. As my body moves slower, so does my mind. Slowed to a halt as this fog takes over. Shortening my concentration. Blocking my cognitive functions, and worst of all, taking away all of my energy.

There’s another thing… This is exhausting. Physically, that’s understandable. Mentally, is something you’d never even begin to imagine. Everyday it’s the same old pain, same old fog. Slowly wearing you down, but there’s a certain amount that can be dealt with. But today? Things go up to 11. Concentration? No. Memory? Ha! Don’t think so. Motivation? Nope. Tiredness? My body is screaming, it’s on fire. My nerves are firing twice the speed they usually do… Yet I want to go to sleep. Please can I go to sleep? But I can’t go to sleep, not yet. That means I have to move, and moving means I’ll be in even more pain. It’s alright, I’ll just sit here for a bit, it’s okay, I can deal with it.

“I can deal with it”

That’s probably the biggest, yet most common lie I’ve ever told myself.

Thing is… You can’t just “deal” with this pain. It’s constantly changing, constantly shifting and changing the way it effects me. Every single day, and yet… You know what’s even worse?

It will never get better. It will get worse.

Over time, of course, but over time or not, that’s something else resting heavily on my mind. Especially when flare ups tend to happen.

A flare up can be a very long, and excruciating reminder that this is my future. This is what I have to “look forward to”. This, is a life that I’m going to lead.

Again, that saddens me.

Yet, throughout all of this… I could wake up tomorrow, and be absolutely fine. I seriously could. Or, I could be exactly the same, or worse. That’s the only trouble with this… Every day is a new day. I seriously just have to live everyday as it comes.

That, my friends, is what I will keep on doing.

There will be some of you reading this, that perhaps will see this as a very negative post. Some of you, will find it incredibly interesting. And some of you will get lost halfway through.

Either way… Just remember this. I’ve suffered through this thing before… I’ll sure as hell be doing it again. Pain is my number one weakness, it’s the only thing I’m scared of, yet it’s the fear I face every single day. Not because I want to, and not because I have anything to prove. I don’t have to prove shit to anybody. I do it, because I won’t stop. I can’t stop. Life will just move on around me, no matter what. I’d rather move with it and do something with my life.

It’s one problem at a time though, and right now, this is taking everything out of me. I’d like to sleep. I think sleep is good. Sleep might help. Will it? Probably not, but I can only hope.

So this is my first time at fully describing a flare up, as it’s actually happening. I hope it’s a good read for some, and an interesting memory for me.

For now.. I’ll let my subconscious take care of the demons wrecking havoc on my body and my mind.

Pain Rating: 9

20140722-000158-118769.jpg

Alcohol & Pain – 21/07/14 09:38

I tried to write this post yesterday, but got quite distracted soon after starting. That wasn’t too much of an issue as I realised that perhaps this post needs to be written on my laptop due to the subject I’m writing about, and how it may need some research so that people understand exactly what I’m saying.

I only say this because together, alcohol and pain, it’s a subject which is quite hard to describe, because everybody reacts differently to both.

The thing is, it’s a shame really. I enjoy a drink just as much as the next guy. I really do! I’ve got a small bottle of Scotch Whiskey which I plan to have on the rocks, and I’ve still got near enough a full crate of Kronenbourg 1664 which was from Christmas. The only trouble is, I can’t drink very often. I’m not saying I’d like to have a drink everyday, because that would cause more issues than I have now, but having a drink once in a while is nice.

Yet at 20 years old, I’m not allowed to. I’ve been told by my doctors, consultants, and even others who are on the same meds as I am, that there is no way in hell I can have a drink, and it’s upsetting you know? That’s not the way things should be, I should be able to have a drink whenever the hell I like. A few years ago, when I had a drink, I most certainly had a drink. I’ve got many happy memories and fuzzy nights out of just being absolutely plastered, it was great.

If I’d like to do that now.. I have to not take any of my meds all day. Perhaps if I’m pushing it, I’ll take the first set of tablets in the morning, but I can’t take them throughout the day. This is because of the type of medication that I take.

One especially; Tramadol.

Tramadol is an opiate, meaning that the basic substance is ‘farmed’ from the dried milk of the poppy seed. It also means that it is in¬†the same group as Heroin and Morphine, slightly less powerful, yet just as addictive. It’s also the main reason why alcohol doesn’t agree with me, and why I can’t actually have a drink any more.

You see, Tramadol is a painkiller, and try as it may, it does hold off my pain and I can’t dispute that at all, without it I am in agony. Yet the first thing mentioned on the leaflet for this drug, is that the user must not consume alcohol alongside taking the medication. This is for a number of reasons.

Firstly, alcohol can basically¬†diminish the effects of Tramadol within the body. Completely. This is the one that effects me the most, even after just one drink. I can actually feel it happening. About halfway through a pint, or perhaps even after one single Vodka and Coke, my pain just appears, rather quickly, but gradually at the same time. The more I drink, the more the pain appears, and before I know it, I’m drunk and in agony on the floor. This may not be the same for everybody, but still.

This brings me onto the second point.

Drinking alcohol whilst on Tramadol gets you drunk quicker, but not in a nice way. Not in a nice way at all. Back in the day, I could drink a lot. At one point a litre of Vodka would be my best friend on the night, and surprisingly enough, I’d wake up with only a very slight headache and a craving for a cup of tea. Not exactly what I’d call a hangover anyway. Now though, I wouldn’t even think about it. 4 pints and more, will cause my pain to creep up towards the 7 / 8 on the pain rating scale. That’s not even taking into account that at the time I’ve started my 5th pint, I probably haven’t even had any painkillers for over 12 hours.

That right there, is an issue. I don’t just take my painkillers because I’m in pain.. Yes that is the main reason, but I’ve been taking opiates for about 3, perhaps 4 years now, and I’m addicted to them. I don’t go mental when I’ve not had one for over 6 hours, don’t get me wrong, but in this example, I would not only have been starting my 5th pint and probably well and truly drunk, I’d be in excruciating pain, my cognitive functions would have slowed to the speed of a snail, and on top of that, I haven’t had any painkillers for over 12 hours, which not only makes me feel like shit, but by now.. My pain is through the roof. Pain Rating of 0 – 10? 11. No doubt about it.

That’s the sad truth really.

Plus as well, this is all ‘external factors’. These are things which I can feel happening, yet actually inside of me, there’s another detrimental effect that the cocktail of alcohol and tramadol is having on my body. My liver is going into overdrive.

Your liver, as everyone knows, is the power horse of your body. It’s roughly 8 and a half inches long, and filters most of the substances that pass through your body, and tries to convert them into non-lethal substances. (I know the kidneys also do this too, but alcohol and opiates don’t really have a strong negative effect on them, as much as they do on the liver.)

The only trouble is, your liver can’t filter alcohol very well. Or at least, not as fast as it is usually consumed. When alcohol enters the body, it makes it way down towards the liver and is converted into acetaldehyde by means of enzymes and a process called oxidization, then broken down even further to acetic acid, then CO2 and water. This is fine, the liver can handle this process, and as long as the acetaldehyde is kept inside the liver, you’re okay. Yet after drink number 4, and shot number 6, your liver can’t seem to keep up with the amount of alcohol that you’re putting into your body, and the acetaldehyde can’t be further broken down quick enough, and starts to seep into your bloodstream. This is where it starts to kill of cells in the liver, and whilst it is doing this, the liver becomes even more powerless to convert the vast amounts of alcohol consumed. This happens over time, and with a lot of alcohol, so don’t be worried it’ll happen straight away on a bender. It really wont.

However, the liver is still under a lot of stress when you drink alcohol full stop. Here comes the issue though..

Likewise with alcohol, opiates cause a lot of stress on the liver. If taken for long periods of time, the liver can not effectively break down the chemical compounds, and instead they become toxic within the liver and start to cause damage. The same thing happens on a much quicker scale when somebody overdoses on opiates. If you overdose on opiates, within the space of hours, you can completely fry your liver. Scary thought, right?

So I’ve been told to take tramadol because of my pain, and I’ve been taking it for a long time now. So I can understand that my body has quite a high build up of the stuff, and actually a high tolerance too. My liver is constantly working away to convert the medicine down from it’s active substance, to other compounds so that I can basically get rid of it out of my body later on. This means it is under a lot of stress, constantly. When you bring alcohol into the equation.. This just makes everything 110% worse. Hence why people on opiates get drunk quicker. Hence, why we can have even more liver problems, and hence why we are told specifically NOT to drink alcohol.

The fact is.. It’s a worrying thing to think about when I realise that I can’t actually get drunk, because I know I’ll not only be in pain.. But it could actually permanently damage my liver.

Luckily for me.. I don’t drink very often, and now, people have a bit more understanding of exactly why. Yet, even after all of this, I can safely say that I’ll still be able to drink a fair few others under the table. Some people just can’t handle their drink because they’re lightweights. Others just can’t because their body wont let it.

That’s it for today though, I just thought this would be an interesting post to make, and hopefully give people an insight to exactly what happens when I consume alcohol, and why sometimes, I actually have to say ‘no’ because of the effect it’ll have, not because I don’t want to.

Pain Rating Today: 6Pain Rating

Disturbed Sleep – 19/07/14 02:57

I’ve begun to realise that my once ‘healthy’ sleeping state, is now much more disturbed than I’m actually letting on.

As you know, pain can sometimes keep you awake. It can also wake up the deepest of sleepers too, very sharply and suddenly. Yet I am, or was, not like that. My pain didn’t actually make my sleep worse, but in fact made it a bit better.

Sometimes if my pain is high on the rating scale, my ability to actually go to sleep, is compromised and delayed, purely because I can’t get in a comfortable enough position so that my pain can be reduced for the ~20 minutes it takes me to fall into a deep slumber. Once I’m actually asleep though… There’s no waking me. Seriously! I’ve slept through the bumps in the night, my dog walking all over me to get comfortable on my bed, I even sometimes don’t even wake up to sunlight!

This is because the only ever time that I’m out of pain completely, is when I’m sleeping. Completely knocked out, in the deepest of slumbers.

Now, whether this is a defense mechanism developed by my mind or body over time, or whether it is more a habitual ritual that I seem to fall into, I’m not really too sure. I can safely say when I’m having a flare-up and my pain is going upwards of about 7, perhaps 8 and even more, I am incredibly tired, more so than usual. Generally because I’m using that much energy in order to move and to mentally motivate myself to get up and stay up, that I’m just draining all of my energy, and this is even before I’ve started the day. Also, because I’m in that much pain, the only thing that gets me completely out of pain, or so that my consciousness doesn’t feel it, is when it’s not active. A.K.A Sleep.

Sleep has always been a big factor in my life though. My emotions and mood can sometimes be tied directly to how I’ve slept the night before, or more importantly, how many hours of sleep I’ve had. Although, the amount of hours sleep is generally becoming less of a factor, purely because I’m now a student, having finished my first year at university. I think after pulling countless number of all nighters and at one point, staying up for close to 60 hours on the go, my body has begun to realise that sometimes, sleep does have to come last.

I’ve never seemed to have a problem with it though, and a lot of people have said it before, once I’m asleep, I’m gone and it’s a real challenge to wake me up, unless it’s very nicely and usually consists of constant reminders and a cup of tea. Man, there’s nothing better than a brew in the morning. I don’t think I’ve been a day without one!

However, whilst I’m going on about how well I sleep, it’s something that the other half seemed to realise about how I actually am in my sleep, and regretfully, I actually kept her up for a few nights. (Heh!)

A couple of weeks ago, my mum and her partner went away for two weeks, and I was basically left in the house on my own, bar the pooch, which as company goes, she’s rather disloyal unless you’re quite cool temperature wise and / or are willing to bribe her with treats. So naturally, I was delighted when the missus said that she’d stay with me for the two weeks.

The first week was great! I was up in the mornings with her, making a brew and some breakfast, before I dropped her off at work and came home to chill. It was lovely just to have her there, waking up to her and falling asleep with her, it was actually incredibly comforting, and I thought I slept a lot better with her there.

The second week however, was somewhat of a disaster! The pooch decided it would be a fun idea to eat the folded up kitchen towel I’d used to catch the grease from my George Foreman, and then decide that over a course of a few days, try and throw it back up again. The other half was woken up at the start of the week, by a dog who was trying to be sick, yet failing. The night after though, again, the other half was woken up, yet the pooch had successfully thrown up the undigested kitchen towel, to which I swiftly disposed of and got back to bed. After that night however, that’s it, the other half just didn’t sleep well, and this is where I found out that my sleep patterns, may not be so plain and simple.

By the end of the week, she was knackered. I could physically see it in her face, she was drained, and I felt like I was responsible because it was my dog that messed it up at the start of the week, and she’s been living at mine for the past two weeks, in bed with me!

According to her, she’s successfully been able to determine when I’m in pain throughout my sleep, purely by how I am when I’m in the slumber.

Apparently, whilst in my sleep, I react to the pain I feel during the day, in a somewhat similar fashion whilst I’m asleep. At some points I was curled up in a ball because I needed to stretch my back out, leaving her with not a lot of space to get comfortable. This is one of the positions I’d try and relax in or get comfortable, if I was on a chair or lay down, whilst in pain. In other instances however, I found it more comfortable to be lay on my back, rather than my sides, as that’s putting direct pressure on one side of my pelvis. My memory foam mattress topper does wonders for my back, but I can still feel the pressure on my hips if I lie on one side. This naturally caused another issue for her, as when I’m on my back, I tend to snore… Yeah.. Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m a snorer. Dammit.

This next part however, is actually not expected, and something which I didn’t expect either!

A few months ago, I was prescribed a patch called a BuTrans patch, which is basically a painkiller that acts in the same way a nicotine patch does, and I have to wear it for 7 days.
I’d been prescribed 5mg to start with, and after a couple of weeks, I then moved up to 10mg as my pain wasn’t reducing in any way. Just before my mum went away, I’d seen my consultant who said that I could move upwards again, this time doubling the patch to 20mg. It was only halfway through the two weeks she was away that the missus realised I was only wearing a 10mg patch. I removed it, and she placed a 20mg one on for me.

This… Caused a few issues whilst I slept, and actually whilst I was awake, because it gave me terrible itches. Yep… Itching.
Boy, did I scratch like a motherfucker. I’ve actually still got a scab on my ankle about an inch tall, of where I itched continuously. It was irritating, and mixed with the warm weather… I was a nightmare to sleep with.

I was itching constantly in my sleep apparently. My body, my arms, my legs, my head, everywhere! This got so bad to the point that (and I actually remember this), the missus took my hand away from my itching head, and slammed it down over the other side of the bed. She wasn’t doing it to hut me, she was just sick of the scratching, because it was keeping her awake! I don’t blame her to be honest… It’s safe to say that I soon became irritated by the daytime itching and switched back to 10mg. The plan is to work up to 15mg first, but that’s for another post.

Now, itching and keeping the other half awake aside, another new addition to my sleeping pattern is actually voluntary. I purposefully wake myself up roughly 3 – 4 hours before I have to wake up, so that I can take some painkillers. This means that they have time to take effect, and by the time I wake up, it’s a lot easier and I’m not in as much pain.

This is fine, and I’m more than happy with this, but now it seems to have become an automatic reaction. For the past 4 nights on the trot, I’ve woken up on, or around, 04:30. It’s great, because it means no alarm, and I’m usually wide awake and I love that! Waking up naturally, and being alert and completely awake! The only trouble with this is… I have to go back to sleep, and with that… Means I have to wake up again, which would be fine, if I actually woke up in the same way. Usually when I wake up 3 – 4 hours later, I’m incredibly groggy.

Speaking of sleep though, I’ve realised that I’ve been writing this post for over an hour, and since I came in from work roughly two hours ago, I suppose I’d better get some sleep.

I just thought it was interesting how, on one hand, I thought my sleeping patterns were solid and that I hardly moved and that I was out of pain throughout the night, yet on the other, my partner is telling me that I’m curling up in a ball and switching positions because I’m reacting to pain, and that even in my sleep, my medication is having an effect on not only my cognitive functions, but also my physical ones too. I probably would have never woken up that morning, if she hadn’t have taken my hand away from my face!

I think that eventually, it’ll just be something that we’ll get used to when staying together. I won’t even get into her sleeping positions! You thought the exorcist had some crazy moves…

For now though, I’ll leave this post here and get some much needed shut eye. Perhaps I’ll make a post tomorrow, or Sunday, explaining how my pain in whilst I’m in work. Tonight I just fancied something a bit easier and nicer to write about, to take my mind off it.

Pain Rating: 6

20140719-035416-14056094.jpg

Aftermath of Procedure – 18/07/14 10:54

So yesterday I realised that anaesthetic can have a serious lasting effect on the body, or at least, it did on mine.

Don’t get me wrong, I was ‘okay’ to a point. Yesterday I woke up, and I felt alright. My pain levels were low, the stiffness has mostly faded as with the aching, so I was relatively happy and I couldn’t complain. Next thing I know, I’m feeling lethargic and have a very deep sickly feeling in my stomach.

At this point, I’m confused. I had a good amount of sleep the night before, I’ve still taken my meds as normal, and I’ve eaten. So what the hell is going on? I wouldn’t mind, but I was border-lining dangerous as I continued to get even more lethargic as I went to see the missus at work. After leaving her, I went to see my mum on her break and she questioned whether I had taken anything bar my normal medication. I swiftly refused, but she’d only asked because my pupils were tiny. Granted, it was a very sunny day, but still, they were stupidly small.

She thought it best I go home and sleep, to see if that will help any. I agreed with her, and went home to catch some Zzz’s before I went to go an pick up the other half. Lucky for me, she wanted to get a couple of hours shut eye when we got back to mine, so again, I fell asleep.

Once we’d both awoke, I felt fine. I mean seriously, I felt absolutely fine and actually went to a family get together and had a couple of drinks.

It was strange, because I’m usually tired anyway, not so much because I’m lazy or because I don’t do anything because I’m certainly not lazy at all. It’s mainly because I’m knocking back that many pills, a concoction of painkillers, nerve suppressants and anti-inflammatorys, I’m bound to feel knackered all the time, and alongside the anaesthetic and steroids given to me in my back… I think my body just reacted negatively and needed time to recharge and get itself together.

Granted, as I said, I went to a get together last night and the missus came along too. Me, my mum and the other half, and I can safely say it was lovely. Surprisingly enough actually. Usually this half of the family, whilst most of the time way over the alcohol limit, are a bit.. Stuck up. You see, they have money.. A LOT of money. When you put that next to what my mum earns, she probably earns <10% of what they earn in a year. So it’s difficult for us to understand exactly why they’re so money mad.

My mum works incredibly hard for her wages, always doing overtime and actually sometimes running herself into the ground. The same can be said for the other half too! She does something similar, and I do worry about them both about the amount their working and the affect it’s having on them, but then I have to think… They’re worrying about me too, and when I was working.. I was doing exactly the same, so I understand why they do it.

So we work for our money… Yet this side of the family, at least most of them, have a lot of money given to them. Nevertheless, we had a lovely night, and it was actually the first time I’ve introduced a girlfriend to that side of the family, and it’s safe to say that she got along well with a few of them, which was an absolute pleasure to see. We may not see them all again any time soon, but it was a lovely night.

It was a lovely ending, to an otherwise very strange day. It was odd feeling that way, it has to be said, and I hope that I don’t feel like that again any time soon. Then again, it’s just the aftermath of all the shit running through my body.

I really wish that I didn’t have to take all these tablets, and perhaps one day, I’ll explain why.

For now though, I’m going to end this here, and coincidentally enough.. Go and get the other half!

Pain Rating: 4

Pain Rating