That old pain

Last week, the old pain in my back ribs exploded, sending pounding pain through the surrounding muscles, under my shoulder blade, and up into my neck and skull. I don’t know how (or why) it happened, just that it did, around lunchtime on Wednesday. Desparate to talk about anything but cancer on this blog, I didn’t mention it, but I’ve been struggling with this debilitating pain ever since. I have meds and muscle relaxers and steroids and pain relief available, but nothing really takes it all away as much as just lying down does again.

But no sooner do I lie back down in my bed, propped up and surrounded by pillows, than I face the closets again and that wall — that wall that I studied for months on end when I was sick — rises up again and taunts me with its blankness. There is nothing new to see here. There is nothing new to do. I am once again stuck in bed, fighting the pain.

This time, though, I took action quickly and went to the primary care doctor the same day, begging for relief. She tried, using osteopathic tricks, and got the pain to settle down so that I no longer felt like screaming. The next morning, I went to a new P.T., and I went back to see him today. He’s good, but he’s no Bretta. They have different specialties, though, and this is what I need right now. He spends the whole hour just moving my muscles, finding and resolving trigger points, and using traction to stretch. He says that my back was under a lot of strain, between supporting the heavy tumor and not getting any exercise when I was sick. And I didn’t. I didn’t get so much as a walk in 6 months, and spent many weeks in bed altogether.

I still am not sure how I made it through that time.

But the one thing that I know is that I DO NOT WANT to be there again. And so I will be a good girl, and do my exercises, and move my lymph, and watch what I eat, and start to walk again for exercise (10 minutes today, 20 tomorrow, 30 on Wednesday, and so on) to try to lose some of the excess weight that I gained during chemo, and then again when I thought the cancer was back and I didn’t handle it all that well.

I have to come up with some new coping strategies. I go back to the oncologist on Thursday for my second three-month checkup since the end of chemo and my surgery, and I’ll find out the results of Wednesday’s CT scan then. She’ll ask me about my side effects, and I’ll tell her, and I’ll do my best to smile, even though sometimes still I scream inside

from the terror of realizing that this year I had cancer. And even though I barely recognize myself after all the treatments, it could come back at any time.

P.S. This is lovely. I’m so glad that there are people like Ilina in the world.

5 Responses to That old pain

  1. Christy says:

    Have faith, just one step at a time, literally😉

  2. ilinap says:

    You have come so far. There’s way to more see looking ahead than there is looking back.

  3. NYfriend says:

    Oh crickey! That bites. But you’ll push through this one too, you’re one tough cookie! You made it through all that time because you have amazing will power.

    Hang in there! Wishing you an easier time soon. Big hugs. 🙂

  4. Susan K says:

    I’m thinking you need to rearrange your bedroom. Or buy a new, beautiful piece of art to hang on “the wall”. Not that I expect you to spend much time looking at it. But even 10 minutes must be too much, so you need to CHANGE THE VIEW.

    Maybe pick a favorite picture of the boys and have it blown up to poster size!

  5. tori says:

    There is one particular place in my house where I was standing when I heard that I had cancer that I don’t even like to be near. It literally makes me feel a bit sick. I would love to move just so I wouldn’t have to ever see it again, but I realize the problem is not the place in my house, but the connection I have made with it.

    I will think good thoughts for you!

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