My book.

My book.
"Fascinating" Stephen S. Hall. writer, N.Y.Times magazine. "Hard to put down." A.C.P.A., American Chronic Pain Association.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Bra shoulder valleys and why it made me think of how I relate to my pain.

I saw an ad on TV about bras and the crevices many women get when the straps bite into their shoulders.

It reminded me of when I had gained weight. Like many women, (sorry men but this may be TMI - too much information) I tended to gain in my chest area.

It did not matter that the valleys in my shoulders got wider and deeper as my undergarment got tighter and tighter. No matter what, I was not going to acknowledge the weight gain. The best way to do that was by refusing to admit I needed a larger size. Wearing it meant pain in my back and around my chest where the bottom part bit into me. It made it a little harder to breathe as there was no good room for my ribs to expand. It meant my shoulder gulleys turned red, then redder becoming chaffed and sore. Undaunted I swore it was still the right size for me.

What does this have to do with my pain you may well ask.

I am boneheaded about that as well.

I refuse to accept the aspects of it that have been with me for over 30 years. I honestly awaken each day thinking "I no longer have the pain, I know that is the case." And then I use my eyes, even just to look over at the clock. "Oh no, it is still there. How can that be??"

When the pain gets bad, if I use the computer or go to a store and actually look at a lot of items, or go to choir rehearsal or church, I have to take my codeine. It is a lot less than I used to take, a major reason because the face pain itself is gone but also because I have consciously, and more often I think unconsciously, stopped doing things that will cause me to need the codeine. Nevertheless I fight taking it. I think of it as 'giving in'.

But it is not a surrender, it is using what is available to try and make the pain a little less 'there'.

It would be nice to have a tidy ending to this writing; that I get it and no longer refuse to acknowledge my reality.

I wear sports bras now. You don't have to deal with the size as much with them. So a pound here, a pound there and I can still pretend without all the messy side effects of a too tight garment.

An eye movement here, too much eye usage there though and I still fight it. I can read a little longer - just another page maybe, but by then it is too late. The pain that was manageable a page ago has gotten out of hand. Instead of 'giving in' the page before, and waiting 20 minutes, maybe a half hour for the pain to go back down so I can use the eye again the pain is unmanageable. Now I have to give up and take a codeine. Now I have to wait sometimes for up to 2 hours before the pain has calmed down again enough to use my eye.

I talk with others in chronic pain, read what they write and see that I am not alone in this reluctance to acknowledge the pain as a part of my life that is not going to magically disappear.

How deep does the crevice and pain have to become before it must be seen as real? At what point must I accept it? I guess maybe the real question becomes must I accept it? And if the answer is yes, why can't, or won't I?


  1. Love how you and I think so alike, so often.
    As you know by now this is a major struggle for me too.

    Why don't we get it?
    Why do we continue to beat our heads against the wall, or the computer monitor.

    Maybe it's because we are inheirintly hopeful for change.

  2. Hope springs eternal. I used to think that was a mere cliche but I am learning , as they say, cliches did not come out of nowhere.

  3. I reluctantly began the pleasure of reading your blogs.
    Fibro-fog strikes and now I must rest.
    But I will be back to read more of your painful journey, for somehow you inspire me.

  4. I am glad it became a pleasure but sorry you have the fibro fog (and fibro.)
    Thank you. I am glad you get a boost from it.