Our most recent family photo.
Having chronic pain changes you in ways other people can’t imagine. It changes your personality, your body, and maybe most importantly, your relationships with the people you love. Most people don’t understand how a family member being in pain could challenge the very foundation of their connection with you. However, I guarantee you it does.
If you think about it, it makes sense that a person’s personality doing a complete 180 would change the way their family relates to them because family members will obviously behave differently with a completely different person. I’ll use me as an example. Before my original surgery that caused all of my pain I was a straight A, incredibly driven, community involved, family oriented person. Each of those traits were slowly stolen from me throughout the years. The first thing to go was my drive. It turns out when you’re tired, depressed and in pain you don’t really feel like doing much. But it’s more than just that. I found myself having genuinely no interest in doing school work or anything that required effort for that matter. So I didn’t do the school work, or not until the last minute anyway. This, of course, effected my grades which then stole my identity as a straight A student. (more…)
On the “My Story” page of my blog you can get background info about what happened to me. Long story short: had reconstructive maxilla facial jaw surgery, caused chronic pain for five years, so I just had jaw surgery number two. And let me tell you, jaw surgery number two hurt like hell. A billion times worse than surgery number one even though this time they only moved one jaw. Why, you ask? Because of chronic pain. Unfortunately, over the past five years I have been on all sorts of narcotics; most recently being percocet and fentanyl patches. When you are on pain medication for an extended period of time, you have a higher tolerance to pain medication. This means if you have, say, a highly intrusive seven hour surgery, you’re going to need more pain meds than your average Joe.
UCLA was absolutely fabulous during and after the surgery, but all of my doctors highly underestimated just how much more pain medication I would need. My first memory in the hospital is me in a recovery room writhing and screaming in pain. I do not have another memory until two days later when there is a pain pump attached. Now, even with that pain pump AND the oral liquid medication they gave me through a giant syringe I was still in awful, horrendous pain. I just kept repeating,
Me three days after surgery with a swollen face and lips.
“If I had known, I wouldn’t have done this. I could have lived with the chronic pain”.