Monday, July 27, 2015

Post 3 of 5: The Problem of Pain

Another question I often get is,

"Are you in pain?"

I usually say no, because I assume that they're referring to my kidneys, and it's not as though I had cysts or kidney stones. But kidney disease aggravates any other conditions you have and also causes new ones, many of which do cause pain. So yes, I am in pain most of the time. 

I have scoliosis (always have), so most days I have mild to moderate achiness in my back, neck, head, shoulders, and ribs, which occasionally becomes acute; I also have frequent stomach aches and heartburn/acid reflux; periodically, I get excruciating intestinal cramps, leading to bouts of vomiting, after which it takes me several days before I am able to eat normally again, which in turn causes weakness and sometimes potassium deficiency. I also get migraines, which often come in clusters and which also cause vomiting. (My stomach is so sensitive now: I think that I've thrown up more times in the last four years than in the rest of my life, combined.)

That's all very unpleasant, but in my opinion, practically anything is preferable to a migraine. I have a fairly high level of pain tolerance in general (I once went through a surgery, conscious, with ineffective local anesthetic), but with migraines, I just can't function: I can't bear light, scents of any kind, noise, heat, sometimes physical touch; I can't lie down; I can't even think. It's just a stupor of agony. People who don't get migraines can never understand. It's not "just a headache".

There's a medicine that usually helps nip my migraines in the bud, but my insurance only approves nine pills per month, and sometimes the pill just isn't enough to stop it. My chiropractor has been doing muscle treatments on my back and neck which really have helped reduce the frequency of migraines; I'd go there twice a week if I could, but that's outside our budget.

So much for pain.