is faith something we find, or create? or does it find us...
I know how important faith is, when I feel it i feel like i can climb any mountain no matter how high, the trouble is I also loose faith and sometimes when i most need it it's just not there....like now!
I am 28 years old and have lived with chronic pain for 11 years now. After 5 spinal fractures and multiple failed spinal surgery, infection in hospital meant I had to have metal work taken out too soon, then suffered collapse at lumbar-thoraic juncture. All this was 11 years ago and i was told that although things had not gone to plan they were sorry to say there was nothing else to be done and i'd have to do my best to live with it....I was 17 at the time and so i did my best to slowly build my life back.
It took about three years to get most of my daily functions and mobility back, but pain has always been the bigger struggle.
I did manage to so start doing bits of work, very limited at first and then building up, I then had increased problems with fatigue and hormonal issues which i am sure are related to the stress of chronic pain and pushing myself. After another period of rest and rehab un-employment got to me so i started thinking i'd like to study. Having no A levels because i was in hospital all that year when i originally had my accident i had to start from an access course which i did well at though sitting to write essays was a big struggle. I went on to complete a BA in a subject i was fascinated by (though not that practical for employment) social anthropology at the school of oriental and african studies....THIS NEARLY KILLED ME....despite my clear medical issues and debilitating pain levels they would not let me study part-time and the sheer work load and hours of sitting to read and write wore me down to the bone literally...i was suicidal in the final year, desperately struggling with intense daily pain, not sleeping etc but determined to finish...which i did manage to scrape through and put it behind me.
Trouble is that is finished of any confidence that i would be able to work...and i needed a long break just to get back to some semblance of sanity! My pain levels still spike any time i try to sit (just typing this i'm getting damn sore) a distant memory are enjoying going to the cinema or theatre or train journeys...as i'm sure many of you know!
now it's two years since i've graduated, I've tried of different bits of working, but as a surgeon told me today "you are basically unemployable in this state" (thanks). I'm sure this is a big part of what i find so hard...being so young when this happened i've not had the chance to build a career, an identity of what i do, but the deeper feeling is that i just have nothing to give the world.
so in a desperate plea to find peace in my body which would allow me to make something meaningful of my life i have been back to the docs for a review.
Now they have taken new x-rays, MRIs, CTs and are saying "wow i can't believe you were left with your spine in this state" yes its a mess of failed fusions, multiple ruptured discs, missing discs, kyphosis, bone spurs, scar tissue...ouch! seeing those images today was shocking for me even though i know everyday how it feels i did not know how bad it looked!
All of this has left me so tired, i'm not able to work, relationships have been taken passed breaking point, I recently separated from my partner after a tough year in which i was forced to have an abortion due to my pain levels and condition of my spine, so now even thinking i could have a family feels like a lost dream and he being also in his late twenties has had to follow his dreams rather sticking around just to look after me (in a way i am glad to see him be free and happy)....
i am left truly wondering why i would force myself to keep living this pain....faith escapes me at this moment...
the surgeon told me today that no-one can give me a pain free life...the structural damage to my spine is too severe...he is considering that i could have lots more fusions done in an attempt to reduce pain levels but cannot make any guarantee that this would ease things, it could also quite possible make things worse and would definitely leave me with less mobility...
hmmmm....here in the dark i'm struggling to find much hope or faith but glad to have found this site and its the first time ever i've really connected to others living with chronic pain (and hell its a lonely path to walk)
thanks to those who have read this far (sorry it turned into an essay)
from the wilderness