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The wolf in the corner

Cath111CCath111 Posts: 3,702
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi everyone.

I just finished reading a book called "The Thirteenth Tale" and found a paragraph in it that made me think of us. This woman is dying of cancer, I think, but she made a statement about her pain that I think we can all relate to and want to share it with you. Ron refers to pain as "The Beast" and this is much like what he talks about.

It reads:

"The Wolf - yes. That black beast that gnaws at my bones whenever he gets a chance. He loiters in corners and behind doors most of the time, because he's afraid of these." She indicated the white pills on the table beside her. "But they don't last forever. It's nearly twelve and they are wearing off. He is sniffing at my neck. By half past he will be digging his teeth and claws in. Until one, when I can take another tablet and he will have to return to his corner. We are always clockwatching, he and I. He pounces five minutes earlier every day. But I cannot take my tablets five minutes earlier. That stays the same.

"Once a week, or once every ten days, the doctor adjusts the dose. Only never quite enough. He does not want to be the one to kill me, you see. And so when it comes, it must be the wolf that finishes me off."

Very expressive, don't you think? Can you relate?



  • to the dr not wanting to finish her off, and waiting for the beast who will do that job

    how do i wait?
    seems impossible task to do.....

    its all so raw right now....in and out of my mind trying to process this disease

    like cancer it spreads and invades my body, cruelly destructive

    it is not the pain that scares me, it is the progressive loss of function

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,833
    Just reading that sent chills up my spine. You know I talk all about the beast, but the Wolf..... That was scarier.

    Just visioning, the wolf laying back while the pain medications are helping, but knowing that they will wear and then the wolf will have its chance to pounce on the victim again.....

    Frightening, but all so very true.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I found so much truth and expression in that segment, it also sent chills down my spine. It makes it easy to picture what our days are like. When I get off work these days, I can picture the Wolf waiting and my needing to scare him off with my little white pill.

    It's difficult to stay ahead of the Wolf when he's lurking, always lurking somewhere in the corner...
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,833
    This beast/wolf always seems to be lurking around.
    I can't tell you how many days I just felt its presence. Like hanging in the shadows, in the dark, just waiting. Or in a car one or two behind where you are driving.
    Or in a super market in the next aisle.

    Always seems to be around, not always actively aggressive, but you just feel its presence somewhere.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Doesn't it seem that he's always somewhere? Never is there a time when I'm not aware of the Beast/Wolf somewhere in my peripheral vision.

    I think that's what bothers some, if not most, of us the most - he's always there, maybe farther away some days than others, but he's somewhere and always too close for comfort.

    I always wonder what it would be like to have the dang thing die? What if he never existed any more? What if I didn't need my meds and the wolf went on to bigger and better chronic pain sufferers?

    I doubt I'll ever know, but I think about it. I can barely remember when that was the case in the beginning of 2008.
  • Well put! That's an eerie and wonderfully evocative way of describing the feeling shared by so many who live with chronic pain.

    It reminded me of a great short story by Harlan Ellison in which a man's loneliness and alienation gradually begins to manifest as something real and living, lurking in the corner of his room, growing bigger day by day.
  • that mite make a great stephen king movie
  • that mite make a great stephen king movie
  • the analogy is unreal.......very fitting. wish it weren't so true though.
  • I love it!! Thanks Cathie for sharing that. As I was reading, I could envision the wolf pacing back and forth, ready to pounce at any given moment to attack, but all the while keeping its cold, hungry eyes on you. Freaky.
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • I can see a cancer patient writing something like that. Anyone with an incurable disease who is dying. It is very graphic and gripping.

    That said and this whole beast thing. I think some of you overplay this stuff in your heads. You aren't dying. You have pain. Keep some perspective.

  • I will tell you what Z. I ran in to my sister inlaw and her sister was fighting cancer and she was describing the medications she was taking. Its the same meds we take to not go out of our minds. I just hapened to walk out of the pain clinic had injection and she walked out of the same building telling me her sister is on morphine and such. As if i dont know that feeling to some degree.

    As i told my sister inlaw i been on every medication your sister is taking for nerve pain but i will probably live. Which sometimes i wonder if thats a bonus or not. She ended up passing just last week sadly. Depends on what level a persons pain is i guess but i believe some of the spineys are close to the level almost as a cancer patient. Thats my take on it anyways. I told dr many times help this nerve pain or simply just kill me. Not that i realy ment it but it helped get the point across.

    I am glad you have gotten beter z but you beter hope that wolf dont come back and bite you in the ass in the future lol. Alex
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • CP is terrible, there is no doubt about that. Whenever my mothers cancer invaded her organs, her bones, she felt pain-I'm certain she could relate to the Wolf, but she never talked about or wrote about her pain. I wondered about her and how bad she hurt, but she was not the type to dwell on negative for she feared that would make things worse. I knew it was bad because she was over the top about her house, keeping it clean and such, but was not cleaning, driving or even eating. I asked her once if it hurt and she said YES, but she said it in a rather mean way. Knowing her I understand now why she answered me that way. I forced her to talk about something that only made her uncomfortable and possibly even made her pain worse. I never asked again and I learned a lot from that.
    I learned a lot from listening to what people say and even what they don't say. Wolves reside in corners of many rooms.
  • Z06 said:

    That said and this whole beast thing. I think some of you overplay this stuff in your heads. You aren't dying. You have pain. Keep some perspective.

    This statement, from a spiney? It's bad enough when friends and family who don't have a clue say stuff like you just did. Like Alex said, maybe you will be a lucky one and live a more normal life than many of us. But that 'wolf' might come and bite you. Sorry, had to be said.

    Cathie: I like the wolf description as we all know what a wolf looks like vs our interpretation of "a beast"..sorry Ron! (G)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,833
    Over the years I have read many moving articles and stories about serious medical conditions. Some of them are so moving and makes you really think about life and how you are dealing with it.

    I believe two of the best stories I have read, is what our good friend and what I call our Chronic Pain SPOKEPERSON, TracyLynne posted - The Spoon Theory and A Letter to Normals from a Person in Chronic Pain.

    So, it really doesnt matter what medical situation you may be in, any one condition that lingers for years is totally draining and exhausting.

    Now, do people die from Spinal Chronic Pain? I know there is one member here that always post that happens. But think about the critical but futile conditions, such as Cancer and to me the one that is the most difficult, COPD.

    They have their wolves and beasts just like us. And their's come out of the dark just like ours.
    I think that with terminal patients, the difference is not knowing when that animal is going to make it's final attack.

    Graham, I've always respected your statements and ideas (well, we might have had a couple of them that we went a bit head to head on, but privately), and your post here is no different. One of the problems with online forums, is that unless you really get to know someone, you can only make assumptions. I do feel like I know where you've been, and what you have been through yourself and family situations. I totally understand your statements.

    However, I do think there is one difference in what you stated and how most of us approach this.

    Am I consumed by the beast/wolf? Yes at times its overwhelming.

    Will I give in to the beast/wolf?? No, Never.

    I know for myself and from many others I've talked to here, its not overplaying it in our heads, its more just understanding that its there and figuring out how we all can deal with it.

    My major thoughts is how we all (Spinal, Cancer, COPD, Heart) patients can try to manage that beast/wolf so that it doesnt over take our daily lives.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Yes - I can relate to that. Like Ron, your post sent chills up my spine; this is probably one of the most precise explanations of chronic pain I've ever heard.

    As for some of us "playing it up", I don't think anyone has the right to make that assumption. Each of us has different kinds and levels of pain, and each of us goes through the highs and lows of dealing with this pain. Those who are lucky enough to make it out the other end mentally and physically intact are very fortunate.

    I once had a friend say "well, at least you'll never die from chronic pain"....what an insult. I guess it was supposed to make me feel better knowing that I might deal with the vicious cycle of chronic pain for the rest of my life.

    Thanks for the post, Cathie; I'll add it to my collection and probably use it in my chronic pain presentations if you don't mind!

  • Please forgive me, but this hit a nerve for me for entirely different reasons.

    Wolves are actually wonderful animals. Predatory, yes, in the sense of always hunting for food. But absent rabies, they don't hunt down & kill humans. In, fact, they are very afraid of us. Except for artics who have been studied intensively by humans for years & thus will show less avoidant behavior toward people than would normally be the case.

    Sadly, the misunderstanding & misrepresentation of these magnificent animals have led to mass slaughter.

    If the wolf is your own personal representation of the torment of CP, so be it.

    I just wanted to express my own personal feelings about animals I especially love & respect.

  • CP can shorten one's life. It creates a lot of stress on the body & we now know how that flight/fight syndrome wears the system out prematurely.

  • Just a quick thank you for sharing such a vivid portrayal of a chronic pain sufferer's fear and reality. It was such a raw moving passage and I connected with it immediately, sadly. I thank god, that I do not face my wolf daily anymore, I've learned to keep him at bay, for the most part but I know he is there, not only lurking in a corner, but he also follows me and too often will growl & show his teeth, just to remind me I have yet to cage him.

  • Regardless of whether it actually causes death, it certainly has a big impact - in many cases a devastating impact - on the life of the person in pain. It affects the sufferer physically, emotionally, psychologically, socially... it interferes with sleep, often to a truly debilitating degree, and can wreak havoc on many other important areas of our lives as well.

    It is a grueling, punishing way to live one's life, getting up in the morning every day in considerable pain and knowing that the same daily struggle lies ahead and quite possibly will for the rest of one's life. If anything, I think a lot of people underplay the effects of really bad chronic pain. It's easy to understate the degree of pain and disruption it causes if you haven't lived it, day in and day out, year after year.

    But, like Ron said above, I believe we must do everything we can to not give in to it and let it ruin our lives. Chronic pain has brought me a lot of misery, but it has also shown me how important it is to continue to celebrate life and live to the fullest degree possible. Maybe that sounds cheesy, but it's true!
  • Let me say I apologize to those who are truly in that much pain and will never get better. This wolf/beast thing you see every day. I don't and never have seen pain that way. I'll leave it at that as you wouldn't understand how I look at things.

    Don't think for a minute I am 100% pain free or 100% better. Or that I don't think the pain is coming back at some point. I full well expect it will. For now I move on and try and live my life as best as I can.
  • Z06 said:
    For now I move on and try and live my life as best as I can.
    As we all do.... but we're all at different stages on the road to that point.
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • Just pretend this wolf in question was biten by an animal that had rabies maybe that will help , lol. Sorry i just thought my computer jumped from the chronic pain to the discovery chanel.
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Thanks for sharing Cathie :) I really appreciated it.

  • There is always a perspective that sometimes I think get lost on the forums. Many see members posting about pain and the effects it does to a person. But many of these members live as close to a normal life as possible outside of the forums. The come here and post and share as others understand them. But in real life may never tell anyone other than their doctors what is going on in their life. But when they come here they are free to discuss it, and then go back out in the living world and don't breath a word of it. Which that is exactly what the forums are for, a place where others understand what they are going through. I truly believe everyone on this forum is trying to find the way to live with the pain and move forward in life.

    I never make any assumptions or play the game I am in more pain than you, or do more or any of that. Sense we don't know most people in real life we have to take them at their word and what they are saying. Just because one person has had a ton of surgeries and one none, that has no bearing or measurement on someone's pain level.

    I also believe that everyone on the path of chronic pain is at different level in the acceptance and how to manage the chronic pain. Look around the forums and you can see a member arrive here desperate for help and then as the gain information and knowledge and get treatments they move into a more advanced level of accepting their chronic pain. Their glass so to speak goes from half empty to half full. But one thing is for sure we all deal with it in different ways and different paces. Hopefully we all learn from each other and help those along whom are having a rough go. I know I sure don't have all the answers yet, and more than likely never will, but it sure helps to pick up a tip or idea now and then.

    The concept Cath posted my first thoughts were not more of the animal the wolf but the werwolf. Which truly shows how different we all perceive things.
  • it sounds like good book and ty for sharing that part of it...i can see why it stood out...
    very scarey cancer...my brother fought it 2x's and all tho i knew cause we lived close by....and i took my son to his house often to play with his amazing collection of trains...he never spoke to anyone in family that he had cancer...

    I would go to his house bring him things he needed and he would make me promise to tell my mom he was fine... he didn't want anyone to see him in such pain...
    at the end (the last days)i prayed for God to take him you could see the beast gnawing away....
    my mother in law suffers from copd and i have been told i'm in early stages of it...
    so for cronic pain suffers,any type of pain suffers
    you have to stay positive the best you can....
    when i'm in a huge flare up from the many things i have...i remember the hell that took over my brothers body....and i thank god i'm not nearly that close....
    and for those that do know me from here and have talked on a daily basis with me....not just via internet....know i do have many of days i'm a whinney baby...
    and ty for listening to me on those beast of days..
    ty again cath
    neck,bone spurs pain started 04, back issues and fusion l4,l5 06~hardware removed.
    good few yrs. 09 pain sharp, numbness feet,legs, diagnosed fibro, neurop. legs.lung issues.
    daily goal do good thing for someone.
  • Yes some members here are Dying or will Die from their Injuries. Some have Cancer in their Spine, Some will die of Blood Clots from their Injuries years down the Road, and Some from a Simple bed sore that got out of control.

    Post Edited, We do not want to see public bashing of any member online, items like this need to be taken off line or deal with a moderator

    Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Administrator 04/26/11
  • No fighting you crazy spineys. I think we all get very emotional because of our pain very often. Thats to be expected. Its the nature of the beast, i am sure Z was refering to maybe a few who might not have such serious issues and might be over reacting and are not close to dying.

    Pain is just not a good thing i think we all agree on that 1 thing. I dont wish this kind of pain on my worse enemy. Ok i lied , maybe just 1 person lol. I hope every one had a great easter. Alex
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • I dont think we are far off the topic of this wolf/beast thing. I think posts like this lets us see how diferent we all are, and we all have a diferent view on pain and how we all deal with it diferently. I personaly try not to take anything too personal from anyones post and try not to read it as if it was directed at me.

    Pain can make us very sensative and lots of times over react to a post when someone looks at there pain diferently. We all use the forum to vent in 1 way or the other. I have not seen any post in my 2 years here that has not taken many turns, and everyone has there diferent view on any subject thats ever posted.

    Have we become our worse enemy? Have we become the beast in question? If we all deal with chronic pain and we cant even understand each other, how the hell do we expect the outside world to understand us?

    I think its ok to disagree among each other and actualy might even be healthy to vent our frustration. At the end of the day we are still here and we all have a level of respect for the other chronic pain patient and member. At least i would like to think so. Now weather the disagreement is on this post or the next post it realy dont make no diference.

    We are all mature adults here and we should be able to handle a healthy disagreement over any post and comment. Emotions will run high always, its a chronic pain forum. If you put 3 healthy people in 1 room its imposible to get them to agree on anything. You put 30 chronic pain people in a forum. God help us all lol.

    And yes i am still talking about the wolf/beast that lives within us all with chronic pain,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • By giving something a name, we give it power. By creating an image, we give it form. Once it has form and power we battle it or surrender.

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