God, I wish this could be a more positive update but unfortunately, it’s a little on the dreary side. Nevertheless, it’s been a while since I’ve posted a personal update and I thought it was time to (a) get it off my chest and (b) inform people who don’t live with health conditions what it really is like.
For those of you who don’t know, I suffer from pancreatitis; inflammation of the pancreas after a trigger. My trigger, after copious amounts of tests, is still unknown to the professionals however, it appears my gallbladder removal seems the likely suspect. More often than not (this was news to me) gallstones can get trapped inside bile ducts which connect to the pancreas, hence causing inflammation and let’s not forget the best seller; a hell of a lot of pain. I’ve been told by many that gallbladder and gallstone pain is the worst pain you’ll ever experience. Bullshit. Pancreatitis is by far the worst pain; I thought I was going to pass out from the pain and couldn’t stand, sit or walk. Morphine was my best friend and codeine was a close second.
There are two types of pancreatitis: acute and chronic. Acute is, as the name gives away, short, and sometimes fatal, episodes of pain caused by the inflammation. Chronic is consistent pain and episodes of pancreatitis attacks. The latter, in some ways, is worse as you’re more susceptible to pancreatic cancer. I thank God I don’t have CP as it’s a death sentence.
AP usually takes 3 months or so to recover from. I had my attack in Christmas last year. I was put on chronic pain relief medication in January, and for a while my pain did settle. But that was short lived; in late May this year, my pain returned after attending a party. Unfortunately, I am still suffering with the pain. The cause is, again, unknown, and the doctors are baffled as to why I’m still getting symptoms.
The first thing to reiterate is that the pain is nowhere near as bad as it was over Christmas; that was a life or death kind of pain. However, being constantly reminded of my poor health with a mild sensation of being stabbed in the stomach every time I eat something is not something to belittle. Just because I can stand on two feet and smile and make conversation does not mean I’m okay. Some people are better at hiding their pain and problems. I am one of them.
My family, in particular my parents, have been nothing but supportive and by my side throughout this whole situation. But watching them watch me in agony and seeing their agony at being so utterly helpless was heartbreaking. I know it’s wrong to hide pain and suffering from your parents, but sometimes it’s even more painful to watch the worry in their eyes as I tell them I’ve relapsed into spasming pain again.
I think the key underlying issue behind all this is how to cope with a health condition. I’ve said time and time again until I’m blue in the face that I’ve got it lucky; my condition is not terminal, it can be cured and doesn’t put my life in imminent danger. But being in pain all the time is psychologically draining; at times it makes me miserable. the thought of never recovering from this condition, or the possibility of being on life long pain relief. Taking two pills a night to knock me out and help me forget what pain really is. There’s no other way to describe it: it’s shit.
I’ve learnt to somewhat cope with it by writing about it. Knowing that there are others out there who have fought the same battle I fight on a daily basis. But I suppose I still do struggle. The bad days tend to outweigh the good, and that’s something I need to work on.
I guess the reason I wrote this is to inform people that not everyone who plasters a smile on their face is okay. Some people do suffer in silence. Half of the stuff I go through on a daily basis wouldn’t make it to this page because I haven’t come to terms with it yet.
But I hope it gets better. Because I have a life to live, and I intend on living it to the full.