Friday, January 24, 2014

Post-Thoracotomy Syndrome... 'Forever Pain'

Post Thoracotomy Syndrome...  'Forever Pain'
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee... 2013

Do you know someone who has had a thoracotomy surgery?  How about 2 thoracotomy surgeries in one year?  If you aren't familiar with thoracotomy surgery... Google it.  Normally... if someone has this surgery, it's one surgery... not two.

I had two... one on July 12, 1998... the second one on July 16, 1999.  I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.  A big mass was discovered on my right lung, resting against my heart.  This was the first thoracotomy... a rib was removed... the first surgery began the pain I suffer with today.

The second thoracotomy was done when it was discovered I had non-Hodgkins lymphoma in my left lung.  A small portion of my lung was removed... this intensified the pain I suffer with still today.

Nerves are severed... the sad thing is... they can't ever be 'put back together again'.  Pain becomes what I call 'forever pain'...  I remember losing hope when I asked a long time ago... if 'it could be fixed'.  The doctor told me... 'unfortunately, no'.

So you will know... I'm thankful to have this terrible pain.  Did I sound crazy saying this?  If I didn't suffer with this pain... it means I wouldn't be living.  It's my trade-off to live...  I want to live... I love life... no matter how painful it is.  :)))  Not only is the pain my 'trade-off' to live... my heart was damaged from a chemotherapy drug called 'adriamycin'.  It's okay... I was near death... all helped me to survive.  Skip helped me to live...

Through the years, I've had more surgeries... all added to the pain I suffer with.  Old injuries now, haunt me with... pain.  Not only physical pain, I have suffered a lot of pain... mentally.  So many 'bad' things have happened in my life... so much more than for the average person.  Life is like that sometimes... I am stronger for it.  The good thing is... I've never become bitter.  I've tried to learn all I can from all that's happened in my life.

If you, or anyone have caused me extra pain, grief through time... I've forgiven you for it.  It's not my nature to hold grudges... though, in all honesty... I do feel lots of anger.  That's my nature... to be angry.  I think I was born angry.  I've known it all my life... I've battled it all my life for as long as I can remember.

But... I'm not a 'bad' angry.  Does that make sense?  I don't feel the need to strike out, hurt others.  I'm just 'mad'.... until I finally cope with it... put it away.  I want to forgive... and go on; not look back... let it go.

Pain is my closest companion... I know it well.  Sometimes, when it's bad... I am very angry.  I don't realize it until... I become aware of myself.  I'm not proud of it... sometimes, I'm sharp with others when I am in great pain.  If I become aware of it in time... I stop myself, apologize.  I can say 'I'm so sorry'.

Only someone who lives in such pain can understand what I'm speaking of.  If you have been so fortunate to never suffer... you won't know what I'm talking about.  That's good... that means you haven't had to suffer.  I'm so, so glad for you.

This month, after 16 years of coping with the pain on my own... suffering, not wanting to take medicines other than what I have to have.... I have finally asked for relief.  I can't believe 16 years have passed... I can't believe 3 years have passed since Tommy died....

I've never wanted to take pain medicines... I have suffered more than I could ever tell you in my words.  I don't complain, I don't talk about it very often... it's a part of me, just as the air I breathe.  It'll be there until the day I die...

The good thing is... I have medicine that I can take when I choose to.  I have a second medicine I will take in low dosage for this type of pain.  I feel hope for the first time since the thoracotomy surgeries.  I've actually felt 'happy, excited'... to know how it'll feel to go through a day without pain.  I haven't experienced it, yet.  I hope to, soon.  I can't imagine... I just can't imagine.  :)))

Why have I chosen to punish myself all these years?  I don't think I realized it possible to get medicines to help me... unless they were narcotics.  I don't want to take them...
I have grown up with the grief, physical and mental pain inflicted upon me from 'family' on drugs, alcohol... It affected me in such a way, that I've suffered greatly all these years.  It's a wonder I'm not .... 'crazy as hell'.  :)))  I'm not... but, I'm very strong.

Not only that, many 'family' members are gone now... people I loved with my very heart.  They all had 'problems'... I can't tell you the grief in my heart ... these were the very closest family members I loved dearly from a child up...

I will say when my son died from blockages in his heart... it was the worse pain I've ever known... nothing I've ever experienced compared to when he died.  I'm so glad I got to see him the evening before... I still see his smile in my mind.  The pain... oh my, just the pain alone from his death.....

I don't think a lot of people are familiar with 'post thoracotomy syndrome'.  I hope this will bring awareness of such... hopefully, if someone you know is suffering from it... know it really is... horrible.  I haven't went into 'how horrible'... one can Google for more information.

I think I wrote this because for the first time... I am smiling, my heart is full of hope, excitement ... I might get to feel 'pain-free' days in the near future.  I really can't imagine such... but, I'm looking forward.  I smile most of the time... can you imagine my smile being like the sunshine?  Why, I'll shine so much... I might glow at night.  A soft, happy, golden glow... so, if you see such at night... it could be... me.  :))))

Oh!  I told you... I wasn't perfect.

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad you have finally felt some relief from all the pain you've been suffering. I don't know how you've managed to overcome so much. Maybe it's because your heart is bigger than most people can possibly imagine.