Sunday, August 05, 2007

Pain - the cross that I carry

Unbelievably, within the past 3 months, I had to cope with 3 major bouts of excruciating pain.

The first, my chronic back pain, resulting from some unknown episode first felt about 5 years ago but which was simply written off then as muscle strain.
This now has been diagnosed as a prolapsed vertebra disc ("slipped disc"). I had undergone X-rays and MRI scan and it has been determined I have a prolapsed disc between the vertebrae L4 and L5.
What happened was that the soft tissue in the disc between the vertebrae burst (prolapse) and the resulting issue pressed onto the sciatic nerve that runs down both legs.

This pressure on the nerve causes excruciating pain in my left leg near the calf and ankle areas. So much so that on some days even walking becomes a major event. Apparently, doctors are wary of operating, as the result may not always be favorable despite achieving clinically successful surgery.

I've had physiotherapy, traction, compression, acupuncture, massages and a whole host of ointments, herbs and TCM. All these serve only as temporary relief. Being allergic to NSAIDs (paracetamol, aspirins, etc) also means that I am restricted to my precious Tramadol as the only possible painkiller.

The 2nd episode occurred exactly at 1.30 am on the 12th of June. Waking up to abdominal pains, the likes of which I had never felt in all my life. So much so that I really thought I was dying. Being rushed to hospital by emergency ambulance was also a first in my life.

Kidney stones was the preliminary diagnosis. Painkiller, muscle relaxant and observation - not so life threatening after all. Yet the pain of this episode was a 10 in comparison to my leg pains. Luckily, the stones passed naturally out and now I am on a restricted diet (no chocolates, no red meats, no peanuts, no strawberries, etc etc, drink liters and liters of water every day....). I've lost 4 kg since this episode, which is not a bad thing given that I could be better off losing a few pounds.
The 3rd, and hopefully, final chapter in this painful story was that of the dentist drill !
I broke my molar, eating of all things, unleavened bread. "Sorry, it's better to extract as more than half is gone and filling might cause more pain in future" That's all I needed again!!!!

Thankfully, and to the amazement of my dental surgeon, I felt no pain or discomfort. Simply due to the fact that I had built up a very high tolerance of pain. And drilling and extraction was just a walk in the park!

Bearing your cross has its lighter moments after all.

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