The second or third time I sat down with a nurse practitioner who worked with my new OB/GYN that I found near my home after giving birth to my daughter and finding myself in severe continuous pain, she tried to explain to me how pain works. It took a lot of appointments with different doctors – gynecological specialists, pelvic pain experts, a psychiatrist, a neurologist and a handful of physical therapists – for me to really grasp the whole concept, but one thing she said to me that at first really confused me was “the pain IS the problem.”
I was always looking for the root of the cause of the pain but after a certain point, it doesn’t matter what the root is because the pain becomes a neurological misconfiguration in itself and thereby is the problem. So here I am embarking on yet another medicinal journey to try another new drug – typically used for a wide range of different things – to relieve my pain. Lyrica, the latest in the arsenal, I’ll start taking this weekend and then several months of treatment commence. It may take a combination of a couple of drugs and we don’t know what dosage will work, but because the pain is the problem, nothing less than 100% success in relieving the pain will work.
I’ve read a lot about this now, but essentially due to the nature of messages transmitted up and down the spinal cord to the brain from the affected nerves in the pelvis, there’s a continual state of irritation, stress and inflammation on the tissue that over time has probably already altered the nerves and my spinal cord. So now we have to make them forget they are, were, or ever have been in pain so they can calm down, heal, and reset. Then and only then can I go back off the drugs and attempt to have a pain-free life.
Honestly, at this point I’d be happy with 70% pain relief. That would be dreamy. 80% would be like heaven. 90% I’d feel like a kid again. 100% I cannot even fathom. So one might see where I could be skeptical this whole thing will work, but it has worked for others and I have to be optimistic in order to make it work for me, so here goes nothing. It’s been 16 years since my last A+ was recorded, so I’m a bit rusty on the concept, but I guess it’s time for some Yoda wisdom: do or do not – there is no try.