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Chronic Pain - Stress on us, Stress on our loved ones

Living with chronic pain can and does put stress on everyone who is close to the patient who is suffering. So much is spent on the subject of the person in pain, but there are others that suffering also. They may not be suffering in physical pain, but that’s not the only pain.

When you are in constant pain, so many times, that is the only thing that you think about. You are pre-occupied with this pain and what can be done to control and reduce it. While we are doing this, it is so easy to ‘forget’ about the others, our loved ones.

I think most of us can understand the term ‘caretaker’ when it comes to watching over the elderly. But it really is no that much different when it comes to the chronic pain patient.
We have our schedules, the medications, the exercises, the do’s , the don’ts , and this list could go on and on. Who manages all of this? And who has to deal with all of this?

I know personally, when I was at the worst times in my spinal career, I couldn’t care about tomorrow, I was just consumed with getting through the day. That could me, lying down, ice/heat, my medications, etc. Everything else almost became a blur.

Now our spouse/family sits by and watches this. They see us in constant pain, but they also see is looking for more, looking for help or with some, retreating within themselves. Either way, that creates a strain on them. While they can not feel you physical pain, they can feel their own pain knowing that you are hurting , you are in pain, and that there is not much they can do to eliminate all of this. For some, that could be almost a sign of failure.

But, do we as the chronic pain patient look at it this way?

When do we say thank you? And when do we show it? Words are easy, actions take a bit more.

Sure, I’ve read so many posts about us, the patient feeling that they are a burden to others. I don’t believe that is true. In my own personal situation, my wife would do anything to help me, but she would also say that the only time I was a burden is when I failed to comply with the things I needed to do. That could be medication control, diet control, exercise control, or doing too much.

For me that would be watching myself to avoid flare ups. It was like a catch-22 situation. I felt bad that so much was placed on the shoulders of my wife and my family. So what I did is go beyond what I should have been doing , wind up causing a flare up, which in turn placed more burden on everyone else.

It took me a number of years to figure this all out. But, I believe, it is us, the patient who has the easier job in a relationship. We get the pain medications, we get the attention, what do our loved ones really get?

We owe so much to our loved ones, just please try to make sure you show them that!

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


  • Ron, you have no idea how this post hit home with me today. Not only have I been dealing with chronic pain in my lumbar and thoracic spine but I had microfracture surgery on my left knee 2 months ago and the pain since surgery has been as bad or worse since surgery. I had a steroid injection this past Monday and pain was better until I woke up this morning and it was worse. I was so frustrated that I couldn't do anything but cry. My hubby texts or calls from work every day at lunch to check on me and I get so tired of telling him that something else it wrong today. I broke down in tears and told him I was so tired of hurting and never realized how it affects my family until he started crying and said I just don't know what to do to help you...I feel so helpless. I felt so bad and realized that even though I need someone to vent to I will try not to vent so much to them. They do so much for me and I tell them constantly how thankful I am but I still feel so guilty.

    I had to put off a lunch with a friend that I worked with again today. I can't count the times I have bailed on them at lunch or dinner but today was a very bad pain day plus sickness on top of it. She just said ok and haven't heard from her all day. It hurt because the girls I worked with have always been there for me and I feel like one at a time they have been pulling away. It has just been a horrible day all around and having chronic pain sucks.

    Thank you though for posting this today. I am going to try to do something little...a card, text, phone call or something little I can do at home for them to make it easier on them. I was once the caretaker for my mama who was dying from cancer and it was a privilage to be with her and take care of her that last 6 months. It was so hard though. I felt so guilty for getting tired, mad, short-tempered when she was leaving us and knew it. I truly believe being the caretaker is much, much harder than being the patient anytime after being on both sides.

    I love coming to SH and there is always an answer to what I am seeking. Always encouragment, knowledge and love from someone to help me get through a tough time <3

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    edited 03/21/2013 - 8:09 PM
    thread came to you at the right time.

    You said so much in your post. The following words
    kamgram said:

    I felt so bad and realized that even though I need someone to vent to I will try not to vent so much to them. They do so much for me and I tell them constantly how thankful I am but I still feel so guilty.
    are those that describe how so many others on this site feel. Thank you for sharing that.

    I have often talked to others here about venting... well I still am not sure if is venting, because to me,its just letting something out, something that is not healthy to keep inside
    I think we all have the opportunity here, at Spine-Health to let out to others. Because those others understand and might do the same to you in return. I've told members that its ok (via pm or email) to yell or scream, dump on, explode,etc at ME. Sometimes, everyone needs an outlet, and to me, if someone does that to me (it has happened) I understand 100%.

    But Kelli, again thanks for your post, everyone should read it a couple of times.

    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
  • bassetmommybbassetmommy Posts: 50
    edited 03/21/2013 - 11:58 PM
    thanks, dilauro for your insightful identification of the dynamic of chronic pain. kelli- i recall so often making plans, and needing to cancel due to pain increasing to a 7, or so.

    right now, there are people out there who are worried for me. rather than contact them, i isolate! i just bought a new pack of great cards that merely say "hello" in the upper corner....... i will write to 2 or 3 tomorrow to let them know i am safe before my upcoming surgery friday. you get what you give i just discovered a new song, but i will PM it to both kelli and dilauro, as i am not sure if posting it is OK. anyway, it focuses on needing to be there for yourself.

    i find i am afraid to intrude with my struggles and issues. the fact is, my girlfriends want me however i am. if i could just trust that...they'd rather see me for 30 minutes than none at all.

    i am focusing on hope now. i pray for an increase in mobility and decrease in pain- maybe 30%?? we must remember our presence is valued to family and friends. hoping you will find the strength to do the best you can to be there in whatever way they need you.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    was to be with my father when he died.
    My father was sick for over 15 years. You name it, he had it.. Congestive Heart Failure, Multiple Strokes, Diabetes, Food Peg Failed Back Surgery. My parents at the time lived on Long Island , about 75 miles from where we lived. It was almost on clockwork, every 3 months, we'd get a call, he is in the hospital again, so off we drove.
    Finally in 2000, we convinced them to move up near us. That was the best time in the life between my father and myself.
    I was able to stop over every day to say hello and just to see his failing but smiling face was more than enough for me.
    He died about 5 months later, but it was so good that it was in his bed, and he had the beautiful time in seeing his children and his grandchildren around so often. He was surrounded by love... What better way to go out.
    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
  • JacqulynBillmanJJacqulynBillman Posts: 2
    edited 03/29/2013 - 11:06 PM
    I think this thread would also help a lot in this discussion


    Link removed, solicitation not permitted
    Post Edited by The Spine-Health Moderator Team
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