How many of us are living with chronic pain and still chasing the cure? How many of us find ourselves in chronic pain because we were chasing the cure? How many of us have experienced failed back surgeries, or failed surgeries of any kind related to our particular issues? How many of us ponder continuing the chase and how many of us ponder not chasing anymore?
I have had three back surgeries that include a fusion and then removal of hardware for that fusion, and sacroiliac joint fusion. All of those surgeries have caused me a great amount of pain and have ultimately not been successful. The original lower lumbar fusion was a success for 5-6 years, but I think outlived its success. The sacroiliac joint fusion, on the other hand, only had a 50% likelihood it would work and eight months now since surgery I would have to say I fall into the other 50%; a failed attempt that is causing me more pain then what I started out with. That surgery made me re-think any future surgeries, in that I decided I am done chasing the cure for now.
Every surgery I have causes a flare in inflammation and the last two surgeries, though not anywhere as serious as my hip replacement and my lumbar fusion, causing me ten times the amount of pain and extended my recovery time by a couple of months. Though tempting as it might be to hear about the possibility of a surgery curing me of this pain, unless there was evidence to show that it was at least 85% effective, I do not think I would chance it. Each surgery has brought with it an ER visit for pain that was not controlled, even with meds and such a painful recovery time that unless I am dying and need an organ transplant, I do not want to attempt it. But how many of us have tried to chase the cure? How many of us still will?
I think about the chase for the cure on everyone’s behalf because it scares me. It scares me for three reasons. The first is the vulnerability of us as humans living in pain. And while I never discount anyone’s pain, meaning, I will never say his pain is worse than her pain, there are clearly those of us in excruciating pain who would do anything to be free of it. The second, are those that hold powers of position in the medical field who might take advantage of our pain to suit their own purposes (I am not saying that they all do, but some do). Within this area are the various trials, that I know many of us have been a part of that while not offered in any malicious way can often be dangerous and end in disappointment. But without taking a chance, we never know what might work. So here, you see the vicious circle. Lastly, it’s those of us around us, caregivers and family, who are often just as vulnerable as we are. I can’t tell you the number of times my husband has lamented his helplessness. They want, just as much as we do and sometimes more-so, to help us. To end the pain. Which can leave them open to deception and trying to convince us that “this is the cure.”
Even if it didn’t scare me, the chase for the cure is still something that would occupy my mind. Most of us with chronic illness are fragile (In body not, spirit!). The more we put our bodies through, the more difficult it is to bounce back. Now please, throughout all of this, do not misunderstand me. I understand that some of us need surgery. I needed my back fused. I needed a hip replacement. What I am talking about are surgeries that do not have a guarantee of making us well. Surgeries put us at risk for flares and infection and exhaustive recovery periods. Surgeries that disappoint us because they don’t deliver on what we hope they will and send us spiraling into depression.
It is a personal decision, how far you want to take chasing the cure. Are you only going to chase non-evasive cures or treatments like CBD oil and Kratom? Or are you going to just try living your best life possible how you are now? I have made the choice not to have any more surgeries. Seriously, unless it was a live or die situation, and I need a heart transplant, I am not having surgery. However, I am still investigating non-evasive treatments and maybe that exploration will prove beneficial, but it just proves that we have a very strong urge to continue chasing the cure. I think it is simply being human. We don’t want to hurt and anything that might help us not to is going to draw our attention. So, from one girl who is still chasing the cure, to all of my chronic community, good luck.
Have a Happy Friday and a great weekend!