Saturday, 19 May 2012
Let's get physical!
Visions of precarious pensioners huffing and puffing and heaving their way around treadmills and weights began to inhabit my thinking where, previously, quite reasonable notions existed. But hang on - I'm 30-years-old and have chronic pain, so where did those assumptions come from? And aren't they unfair? Well, yes. Of course they are.
My pain management treatment with the hospital includes gentle exercises "to enable individuals with ongoing pain to improve their activity levels". I'd attended this kind of happening, just once, many years ago in an attempt to help strengthen my wobbly, dislocating knees. It didn't go well; I was catastrophically premenstrual and had a mood on. I didn't go back.
When these current fitness sessions were suggested, I was, initially, apprehensive. In a keen-to-try-it kind of way. I have to try everything the pain people have to offer, of course I do. I've seen the psychologist, who was very lovely, and helped me to view aspects of my life in a not-so-gloomy way, to hope for better while still being realistic.
I've begun using a TENS machine, which, although not a super-treatment for my endometriosis pains in all their varied glory, does help in some magical tingly way.
And I've changed my anti-depressant by swapping Citalopram with Duloxetine, as suggested by the pain people, as the latter can help lessen pain. And things are changing...
My last period - and the second on Duloxetine - was still painful, I still needed help with moving and such, and I still felt fairly knocked out by the effects of endometriosis, the pain, and the painkillers. But this time, the pain wasn't breath-takingly horrific. It wasn't so terrible that I was disabled by it, nor was my ability to communicate with speech taken temporarily by the impact of the pain. Yes, I was still on the sofa but only for 2 days, and most of the time I sat up, watched who knows what on telly, laughed, joked, texted. I was in "good spirits". That NEVER happens when I have a period. I slept for an hour or so on both days, but that is much reduced when compared to my "normal" periods. And it's weird. But good. But still weird.
This. is. wonderful.
Duloxetine has decreased my pain. The everyday pelvic aches and ovarian sharps are still there, but not as intrusive. I have some bad days, but fewer than before. And, on Friday, I wore clothes! Not just comfy trousers and a comfy top. Actual out-of-the-house clothes! I wasn't going anywhere while wearing those clothes but I felt like wearing them, rather than just wanting to. I didn't feel enough pain to warrant a hot water bottle, which, when wearing jeans, can burn like a mutha. Metal buttons + heat = OW. I still took my trusty 30/500mg co-codamol several times through the day to block out some pain but it was underlying and unobtrusive pain.
Reiteration: This. is. wonderful.
It's a huge change for me. Improvements. I've wanted this for so long, and never thought I'd feel it happen. This is no miracle, and it's not an instant change to my life; rather, I can see how unfortunate - but sometimes very likely - habits can all too easily form from frustrating situations in one's life. And, probably most crucially, I'm able to see these different viewpoints without feeling like I have to be defensive of the pains I have, or how I've been thinking. I don't always get things right. I make mistakes. My pain is real. But it's becoming less important in my life. I'm making it less important.
On day 3 of my last period, I was dressed. I was able to get dressed. I could stand up in the bathroom for 10 or so minutes without needing to sit on the edge of the bath to stop my unstable body giving up on me, and landing on the floor. That day 3 was mine. I "earned" it, I took it back, I unpeeled the cruel grip that endometriosis had on it when it stole it from me. A whole day! What did I do? I laughed. And I walked with stiffness, but easy stiffness. I marvelled with Mum about how different I was. I could see, when I looked in the mirror, how much better I looked. The mirror didn't crack. Enormous improvements...
For the first time in I don't know how long, I'm actually optimistic. I'm not setting my sights on an absurdly unachievable goal, but I am hoping to be able to get back to - among other things - my beloved Art, and yoga. Again, I don't have unrealistic aims; I must work within my limits, while simultaneously doing all I can to further my physical fitness and emotional well-being. (Ugh, how I detest "well-being".) I'm still mulling over the Art part. I'm quite sure I'll be unable to rely totally on any income I may be lucky enough to acquire from selling my Artwork, so I shan't be aiming to be entirely independent, lest it does not happen and I end up in a sobbing mess on the floor with a ton of snotty tissues beside me.
I'm as sure as I can be that my periods aren't going to "settle", or be less dominating, despite the reduction in pain, but they are having less impact and the cut-down pain, therefore, has meant that I'm less reliant on other people and THAT, blog fans, is almost THE most important change in my life for a very... long... time...
In the next post, you'll find out how my first hour in the hospital gym went.
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