Pain Versus Suffering.

I have been in near debilitating pain for the last two weeks. This particular situation has nothing to do with lyme disease, and while excruciating, it is much easier to tolerate.

Let me explain.

First, the pain. I fell on the ice a few weeks ago, and ended up herniating a disc in my neck, which led to screaming nerve pain across my left shoulder and down my left arm. I have had nerve pain before, but this is a whole new level. It’s like electricity. 12 out of 10 and I’m not exaggerating. 

Thank goodness, I am comfortable when sitting in a soft chair, and when laying down. However, I can only stand for 5 to 15 minutes before the pain becomes intolerable. I have been literally yowling in pain. The photo above is from a cortisone injection a week ago, which did nothing to ease the pain. I had another one today, and it will be a few days to know if it helps.

While the pain is physically exhausting, it is not wearing me out emotionally. That’s because I can see it as something explainable, it’s easy to understand, and I know it will eventually pass. I’m prepared to gut it out, whether it’s another day, week, or longer.

It’s just pain, and it will pass.

Lyme disease is different.

It’s not easily explainable. It’s hard to understand. And I don’t know if it will ever pass. I would say the same about my GI tract basically shutting down without notice. Ditto for the raging anxiety that somehow became part of my life without my invitation or permission. 

For me, this all amounts to suffering. Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. Everybody has a cross to bear, and this is mine. It could be worse, and I’m grateful it’s not.

However, I have experienced the darkest of days. The deepest fatigue. The bleakest of thoughts. All courtesy of lyme disease, and there is no easy exit strategy. 

But the nerve situation is so blessedly simple. The doctor pointed to the exact spot on the MRI that is causing my pain. And then he told me the treatment options, which include cortisone injections, surgery and time. I’m not interested in surgery, so I’m going for a cocktail of injections and time at this point.

At times my nerve pain brings me to tears. Other times it steals my breath. But there’s no emotional burden. I’m not wondering if I’m doing enough to help myself. I’m not confused about a myriad of treatment options. I don’t feel stigmatized. It’s all so wonderfully clear. Painful, but clear.

If only lyme disease could be so clear. Then there would be a lot less suffering. 

For me, and for my fellow warriors.

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