Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Limits Of Everything

It's Saturday now. It's taken me two days to absorb the consultation at the Hackensack Pain Clinic, where after a long discussion about the details of my health history, I was told I would most likely be in pain for the rest of my life.

While I was told about treatments that might help--a change in medications, injection therapy (which most likely wouldn't work as this has gone on too long), and a type of brain surgery where a device is implanted to re-route the pain signals--the words that echo are the ones that sounded so final. This condition will never heal on its own, as what I'm experiencing now is something akin to phantom limb pain. The source of the pain is long gone; what is firing now are essentially memories of it.

The pain has been worsening in the last month or two, which has made me careless, as I've been smoking again, albeit one or two here and there. Still, it doesn't help matters any.

The doctor I saw was perhaps the most empathetic doctor I've ever seen. He gave me the bad news first and let me cry in a fit of shock at hearing words I wasn't expecting. I might have had an easier time hearing I was going to die than hearing I would be feeling this pain for the remaining decades of my life.

He actually made that point to me--that I was still a relatively young person who had a lot of life yet to live, and therefore something like this motor cortex stimulation (the should be something seriously considered.

I woke up feeling just so sick this morning from all the pills I've been taking, and just so sad, as if a grey mist was circling my entire room. Of course, it might have been the dust build-up, as I can't bring myself to clean anything right now. My poor cat is acting as the dust mop. As she rolls around the floor, her fur picks up all kinds of debris. She knows something is up.

My friends in recovery are so concerned about the effect of this news on my addiction, but addiction right now seems like the least of my concerns. Whatever it takes to get me through the day is what I'll take, addiction be damned.

I'm trying my hardest to move forward. I saw a chiropractor yesterday, and will continue to see him for trigger point therapy; I've made an appointment with my old acupuncturist for Monday; and I've made an appointment with the neurosurgeon recommended by the pain doctor for Wednesday.

It's all a bit overwhelming to find myself at this level of pain again, and at this point of despondency. I suppose the question I'm grappling with now is not how much suffering one person can take, but how many times can they take it?

I'm trying to push myself out the door to work on my Christmas card project down at my studio, but I'd so much rather watch television and escape into lives and stories where things always work out.

I'm also trying hard not to feel sorry for myself, but all this trying in every direction is eroding me to the bone.

I just can't go to the recovery rooms anymore. While I'm happy for everyone that God is working in their lives, as many have truly found peace and contentment, I just can't be there right now and listen to it. Instead of finding understanding and fellowship there, I'm finding, well, nothing.

That said, I'm still working with my sponsor, who I love, as I do enjoy the Twelve Steps. But that's about as far as I can go with the recovery folks right now.

While these other therapies the pain doctor spoke of do present some hope, I just can't feel it for some reason. I'm so used to everything going wrong at every turn that I dare not get my hopes up for anything. While I said in a recent post that disappointment hasn't killed me yet, I fear there IS a limit as to how much one can bear.

Just like there are no absolute truths, there are limits to everything, and I've hit the limit of just about everything I can currently think of.

Getting out of this mess will be a miracle indeed.

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