Sunday, November 22, 2009


Today the pain is relentless and over the top. I just got off the phone with my friend Anne and I was sobbing. I said the truth that I've been thinking of for awhile now, which is that I don't want to live this way anymore. It's not that I don't want to live; I don't want to live like this.

Too many days are spent lying on the couch, never even getting out of my pajamas.

The last few mornings, I've been overcome with sleepiness, despite this new diet, which I'd been hoping would help, but it obviously isn't doing much. I felt an initial burst of energy, but my state has dissolved into a type of strange slumber. I've been buying healthy foods, cooking good meals, getting enough sleep, going to the gym a few times a week, but what's it all for when I only end up back at square one? Why bother when life is merely surviving and not living?

This afternoon I spent a few hours on the web, looking for other surgeons in the country who've perhaps had more success in treating this condition than the ones I've been to, but I don't see how they're any different.

I also found my way back to an old support group list, which I'd forgotten about. Apparently, I was there eight months ago, hoping to find help, just like hundreds of others from around the world who feel somewhat better after surgery, only to decline back into a diseased state. It was strange to see my name and read my words, realizing that nothing has really changed since then. I did have another surgery during this time, but the pain left me for just a few days before it came throbbing back.

It's an unbearable existence.

I saw Richard Branson on TV today and was reminded that just before all this started, I was planning to take flying lessons, not so much to learn how to fly, but to do a funny photo essay of the experience. I'd even bought an aviator cap and goggles, and had storyboarded the goofy adventure, hoping I'd have funny teachers who'd be willing to join in on the fun. I even had the airport and flight school picked out.

But that's all behind me now. And the cruel truth is that, despite all of my explorations into the meaning of suffering, chronic pain is meaningless. I simply drew a bad card in life, and it's not much more complicated than that.

I began writing this blog to give meaning to this experience, but I'm finding that, despite my best hopes and efforts, I'm not going to write my way out of this. My hope was that through my writing, I could help others, and of course, myself. I was praying that if I could find a path out of this mess, I could maybe provide hope for those laboring through their own unthinkable existence. But I see now that there is no way out. This is what it is, and judging from my research and my experience, it's not going to change.

And so I have to I want to live this way for the remaining 25 or 30 years of my life? What's the point? Five years ago, my depression over this landed me in a psychiatric hospital as I was suicidal. But the feelings I have now aren't so much based upon depression but rather on a logical conclusion that this is just no way to live.

When I've had thoughts like this before, my nieces would immediately come into my mind, and what I would be taking from them if I were no longer here. I'm the only aunt they have, and as my own aunts were so important to me growing up, I know that if they didn't have me in their lives, they would be the less for it.

But my thinking has shifted tonight. They're young; Sarah has just turned three, and Catherine will be five in January. Their parents are wonderful, and with or without me, I know they'll be okay. It would be a shock for everyone if I were to end my suffering, but my family and friends all know what I've been through. I'm sure they would forgive me. Yes, there would be anger, but not at me, I don't think. They would simply feel sad that such suffering could take out such a vibrant person...a person they loved.

That's all I have tonight. I don't know that there will be any more posts to write, no matter what decision I make. This blog has been an 18-month experiment, to see if it could somehow help, but I think I've reached the end.

I'm tired and in agony. And I can't stop crying.

This is no way to live.



Anonymous said...

Mary Ann -

I love you and while I know that makes no difference when you feel this way - I want you to know that. Do you need someone to just listen? I've just read your latest post. I'll be home around 5 PM EST and here all weekend...Perry

BevE said...

Mary Ann- you are in inspiration. I was just on the SmugMug site checking it out for my husband who is looking into getting a pro account there and came upon your testimony for them. One click lead to another and here I am. Pain is no way to live but sometimes the only way to keep living. Your art is beautiful and your spirit even more so. Just wanted to say Merry Christmas and I'm glad I had the chance to 'meet' you.


maffy said...

Thank you, Bev, for such kind words. I hope your hubbie does sign up for SmugMug, as it's the best photo site I've found, free or otherwise. Worth every penny!