Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Time turns me into a cliche

Hard to believe we're half way through February. What a cliche but there you have it. The passage of time is wearing on me like most people and the way it accelerates is one of life's little ironies of aging. I can hardly believe I turn 50 this year. Not that 50 is old by any stretch of the imagination but it's a milestone none the less. It helps to think of people I know in their late 50s, 60s, and one woman at the place I work who is 82. I work for a testing company that hires a lot of retired teachers so we have an older work force than some places. We have both extremes. Some people are quite young and my employer has programs to help employees go to college. I am very fortunate to have the luxury of working from home and I have to keep telling myself that when I get frustrated with work. I am pretty sure that I wouldn't have been able to keep working after all the issues I've had since my LND started if I had to commute. I try not to worry about the what ifs but it's hard. If my work situation changed and I needed to commute, I'm still not sure if I could do it. A woman on the MPIP posted that her husband who was stage IV worked literally to the end of his life, going to work the day before he died. It astounds me how strong some people are. I fear that I pale in comparison. Part of what I have trouble with is preconceptions I had of what chronic pain is. I remember clearly going to an appointment with my doctor with a family member. That's when I got the news that some people have chronic pain after a LND, particularly the groin LND. Up until that point I was sure I was having a recurrence. I couldn't believe that I could have the symptoms I had without a clear problem that could either be fixed or would ultimately be terminal. I remember telling my family member that I couldn't believe this was just chronic pain because of the severity. To me chronic pain might as well have been chronic complaints. I didn't see it as something dehabilitating unless the person let it be. I was oh so stupid. Fortunately my supporter was literally older and smarter than me and she said, Carver, chronic doesn't meant that it's nothing it means that it can be forever. She said it in the nicest possible way but I finally got it. For the first time it registered with me what chronic pain was. Later I saw a good news program on chronic pain and researchers who are doing trials with patients who suffer from it. It has been an educational experience but it's still hard to shake the feeling of being weak. I'm doing better in a lot of ways but it bothers me that I still have to take so many medications and I'm back to where the modified regimen I started on in September is barely sufficient and I'm adding in over the counter meds along with the prescibed ones. I feel like a whiner talking about it. I am so very aware of my good fortune but I also think it is important that I face it head on. I've had others who have had chronic pain after their LND let me know that it helped them to read my blog and know they weren't alone. That meant more to me, I'm sure, than anything I've ever said could have helped anyone else. I wish I had answers for a better system of dealing with this. I know my set up could be a hell of a lot worse but going to a pain doc every 6 months for re-fills is not ideal by any stretch of the imagination. That's my current regime. My last appointment he wrote out 6 months worth of re-fills and said see you in 6 months. At least he was congenial. He agreed with the changes my PCP had made when things got worse and he included the new med she had prescribed in my re-fills. That said, it's hard for me to accept that this is my life. It's not a bad life but I am still struggling with acceptance. I am still struggling with the feeling that I should be able to overcome my limitations in ways I haven't been able to do.


Anonymous said...

You may be pale, but you're certainly beyond any comparison, my friend!
Pain. Meds.
I agree it just blows.(insert Serenity Prayer here and rip it to pieces) Just an opinion, but...
If you are not willing to settle for less than you had, it will make you stronger in the fight.
Your photos are beautiful,as usual. I love that coreopsis!
Happy V Day!

Holly said...

Carver, I think we all have expectations that we should be able to handle things better than we currently are especially when we are N.E.D and so many others are still *in the fight*. I think it is a form of "survivor's guilt".

I cannot even imagine how much your life has changed since your groin LND and yet you still find ways to be a constant form of support for so many. You are an inspiration and a good example of finding a way to live STRONG as a Melanoma Survivor.

Being a Survivor doesn't always come to us as we expect it to (with life returning to "the way it was". Hand-in-Hand, it is our ability to adapt and accept our lifes *after Cancer* that shows our true strength,character and grace. You are the perfect example of that strength, character and grace EVERYDAY! Live STRONG my friend!

Miss Melanoma said...

Love the fotos as usual.

Thanks so much for your comment on my post. I was literally brought to tears. It's still such a sad subject, but I agree- it has a hint of uplifting to it, too. Oh, look at me, now I'M not making any sense.
I have to tell you that I think you are too hard on yourself, my friend. You do so much for so many. I am never surprised to see a comment from you, even though we've never met and there are people I've been "friends" with for 20 years that have never read my blog. As for the "new normal" we all keep waiting for: let's face it, this new normal is not normal at all. And yet we have found so much in each other, would I take it all back? I don't know somedays, but today I know I would not.

I love ya my friend, and you are a model of strength, grace, and support.

We appreciate all that you do.

-L and friends