Saturday, February 11, 2017

You can only see cause of pain, not how it feels

Stop Feeling Pain and Start Healing
Combat Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 11, 2017

It doesn't matter if the pain you feel is physical or emotional, or both, you want to stop feeling it. Pain makes life harder than it should be.
This is me with my Semper Fidelis America Brothers. This is how I get to spend so much of my free time. You'd never know that two of us were in physical pain and others were in emotional pain. You can't see pain in any of us, or in anyone else.

This picture was taken during a fundraiser for one of our members. In other words, having fun, doing something for someone else, took that pain away for a few hours because someone else came first.

Last year I was having a lot of problems with my left leg. I am a klutz, so falling down wasn't a big deal, but it was happening way too often. I was in even more pain because of the pain, if that makes sense. 

I put off going to the doctor because some days it wasn't as bad as other days. When I finally reached the point where I just couldn't take it any longer, I went to my doctor. He got me in the day after I called. 

Then he sent me for an MRI. That took about a week. A couple more days, and I got a phone call telling me it was nerve damage and I needed to see a surgeon. 

Another couple of weeks before I could get into that office. At least I had some pain pills to help. That was vital considering I have a desk job and had to sit on my leg while feeling as if my chair turned into barbed wire.

The second doctor sent me for X-rays. A couple of more days and I went back to see him. He said I would need surgery but it could be put off. I needed to go to a pain management center. That took another couple of weeks because some of the doctors did not take my insurance.

A few more weeks later, I was told what I was actually dealing with. A vertebra moved and disc went with it, pushing my sciatic nerve, plus arthritis and fluid in my spine.

A few more weeks and I was sent for shots into my spine. Little by little the pain was being defeated, but the cause of the pain was still there. This week it came back full force. Now I wait to go to the pain center again in a couple more weeks. As for the pain right now, I am going to see my primary care doctor on Monday to see what he can do.

That's what people need to remember when talking about delays at the VA. All of us have to wait for appointments. Go through tests to find out what is causing what is wrong and then wait for more tests and appointments before we start to feel better.

They have to play around with medications to take the pain away without causing other problems from side effects. They have to make them strong enough to work, but not so strong we become numb to the rest of our lives or so out of it we can't do our jobs. (Oh, sorry, I forgot. I didn't miss a full day of work because of this.)

It all works the same way when you have emotional pain. They have to figure out the cause of it, the level of pain you are feeling and then come up with a plan to address it. With emotional pain, it means therapy and usually medication. The therapy is based on what is best for you. One-on-one or group, but you have to wait for appointments. They have to base your medication on what they think will work, but discover they have to change it because it is not working well with your chemistry. Yep, you have to wait for another appointment.

I know shots and medications will not take away the cause of my pain. I will only be made numb to the pain. The only option for me is to let them operate on the problem and hope for the best.

With emotional pain it is the same story. Medications numb the pain but the cause is still there. The only option for you is to operate on the problem and hope is the best way to do that. Yes, you read that right. It wasn't a typo for a change. Hope is the best way to operate on PTSD.

Did you know it stops getting worse as soon as you start to talk about it? Did you know that you can actually heal instead of getting numb? Well you can. Three hours ago, I was on my knees, waiting for the pill to kick in. Now I am sitting at my desk and not changing positions every couple of seconds to avoid the agony. Getting help for PTSD is a long process and takes a lot of work. It means working to change your life and thus, saving your life. Getting you off your knees so you can start to feel happy emotions and kick the hell out of you.

If you doubt what I just told you, then listen to my "brother" tell his story.