No Comparison

I suppose it is human nature to compare experiences, but when it comes to chronic pain I believe it is best not to compare pain levels.  This is a mistake that I am guilty of making but also one that I am making a conscious effort not to repeat.

I have observed people comparing their pain levels, each fully convinced that their pain is worse than that of someone else.  How can they know that for sure?  I have seen it happening in chronic pain support groups, I have experienced it with well meaning friends and/or family, I have heard it from doctors, and my husband and I have even made the mistake of trying to compare each others pain.  The result is never good.  It leads to hurt feelings, frustration, and stress; each of which can amplify the pain level of someone who lives with daily chronic pain.

I truly believe that when it comes to pain there is no comparison.  Even the number system used by doctors and hospitals is flawed in many ways.  Everyone experiences pain differently and everyone has a different tolerance to it.  A treatment that eases one person’s pain may very well do nothing for someone else or even make another person’s pain worse.  I might sit quietly and suffer in silence while experiencing pain that may bring another person to tears or someone else crying out in agony, but I don’t know that for sure because I do not know how anyone else is feeling inside and I cannot feel their pain, nor can they feel mine.  What I do know is that I suffer from what I consider severe chronic pain every minute of every day and it hurts.  What also hurts is when other people try to diminish the severity of it by thoughtless comments or comparisons.  None of us have any way of knowing how another person truly feels, inside or out, so in reality a true comparison of pain is impossible.

Endometriosis Awareness Month & The Birth of a Blog

In honor of Endometriosis Awareness Month, I have decided to try my hand at blogging.  I follow a number of other people’s blogs and have often considered starting one myself, but have been unsure if I would be able to devote the time and energy necessary to keep it updated with relevant and interesting posts.  Well, I’m done thinking about it and I’m going to give it my best shot.

I titled the blog Invisible Pain Warriors because that is what I consider my husband and I to be.  I have suffered from Endometriosis and PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) for 20 years and was diagnosed 5 years ago and the age of 31, during a diagnostic laparoscopy to investigate the cause of my chronic abdominal pain and infertility.  Since that time, I have experienced a roller-coaster of symptoms, had a 2nd laparoscopic surgery to remove more Endometriosis and pelvic adhesions, and over the past 6-8 months have suffered a significant increase in the severity and frequency of my Endo-related pain.

I also have another source of chronic pain, which isn’t as easily identified, diagnosed, or explained.  I usually refer to it as a “chronic facial pain syndrome” but it has been diagnosed as a number of things, including Trigeminal Neuralgia, Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia, Atypical Facial Pain, TMJ, and even just a headache.  While no one is quite sure what it is or how to fix it, it has had a dramatic effect on my daily quality of life and is something that I struggle with each and every day.

My husband Billy suffers from severe constant chronic pain resulting from what appears to have been a failed anterior cervical fusion surgery, which took place in December 2012.  He does not spend much time on the internet and will likely never add to this blog but his battle with chronic pain is something that I will likely write about as it is one of the most difficult and cruel things that either of us have ever witnessed or experienced.

We have both spent many years, thousands upon thousands of dollars, and expended endless time and energy searching for help and resolutions to our pain, but as of yet the medical community has done very little to help us (not for complete lack of trying), short of providing the minimum amount of pain medication necessary for us to function at any capacity.

This is a short summary of a very long story that I will likely elaborate more on in future posts.  I consider us warriors, fighting an invisible battle against a monster that no one can see.  I hope that sharing our story, our struggles, and triumphs along the way can help others who are fighting similar battles to know that they are not alone.