Recent Pain Profile (Submitted to Official Electronic Medical Record)
In May 2014, I conferred with doctor Stevens regarding my chronic side pain and my prescriptions due to a change in what I’ll call my “pain profile.”
For a couple years now my pain profile has been that I have a chronic pain in my left side that is always present and when controlled with medications is a tolerable 4-5 / 10 on a pain scale. Additionally there are periods of intense pain that I refer to as 200 on a scale of 1-10.
These occur fairly rarely and tend to be very brief. For years the had been no more than 30 seconds but over the last year they have increased in length to up to what I imagine to be a few minutes. I have not timed them to date. When these “lightning strikes” occur I can barely breathe and I just focus on outlasting them since I know they are so brief. I’m not sure that I have shared this with any of my medical professionals including Dr. Stevens. Primarily since I know there is nothing that can be done about them since they are so sporadic and random and so very brief. I have stated honestly to those close to me that if my pain were at the lightning strike level all the time I would terminate my life. It would be unbearable for anyone to live with that level of pain.
So while my onset of chronic pain in my left side (6th, 7th rib area) dates back as far as 2002 as best I can remember the above has been my pain profile for at least the last two years. The change I mentioned to doc was that in the evenings I was finding that I am having fairly consistent break through pain. My best description his that it feels like it always does except stronger; maybe an 8-9 on the scale AND it feels as though I have been kicked in that area by a mule… that kind of sore. There is some throbbing aspect to it as well. I had been coping with the pain for a couple weeks by attempting to position myself in a “stretched” position that while not alleviating the pain at least allows some other sensation in the oblique muscles that can compete with the pain.
Those who spend time with me at home know this position well as I am in it often. I lay on my side and bring my left leg over the top of my right leg and body and it crosses over my hips to rest my foot in front of my groin/stomach. I can then get a stretch sensation by either leaning my weight into the foot positioned this way, or pushing my knee downward away from my upper body. I will occasionally reach up and pull on wooden bars above my head built into the headboard to give me a different sort of stretch. This never alleviates the pain but again at least allows my to add another sensation other than pain and gives me a sense of control in an out of control situation.
I still have some residual concerns from my past about increasing these meds but am comfortable with a very very slow creep upward knowing at some point I’ll top out and have to be medically weaned. Unfortunately I am now a pain syndrome patient. As Dr. Somaio recently explained, my pain is similar to ghost pain experienced by amputees. The pain is now “hard wired” into my brain and it is as much about the way the synapses in my brain fire as it is about the real pain in my side.