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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, September 30, 2011

Oops. No it's not from the pain..

I had been noticing a scab on my forehead for months, maybe longer. I had been told many years ago that the skin on the left side of my face would probably breakdown at some point. I was afraid the scab was a sign of that so I just kept seeing it and pretending it was nothing.

I also hoped it would be noticed during one of my eye exams since it was close to my eye. It never was and oone day I finally decided to mention it. As soon as she saw it she said "That has to be biopsied. It's a lesion but I doubt it's malignant."

It was cancer, the least of all cancers (to my mind), a basal cell carcinoma. A little office surgery was all that was needed. (Looks like it is back or maybe it was not completely removed the first time so I have to be seen again but still, if you have to have a cancer this is the most minimal of all.)

I did nothing for almost two years because I relied on the fact that it was in the pained area. Other than the breaking down of the skin: and it never got bigger or looked worse so how bad could it be even if it was that?, what else could go wrong there? Nothing. So I thought.

I think of this now because one of the sensations I kept getting, a very, very strong itch feeling at the base of my nose, I blamed on the anesthesia dolorosa.

When these itches came, hard and strong, I took an extra pill or two of my pain control medication (not the codeine but an anticonvulsant also used for pain control.) It seemed to help - but then they disappear on their own, often quickly, and reappear at their own will, sometimes just as fast, sometimes hanging on for seconds and minutes. So what stops them? The medication, or just because they want to? I believed the answer was either/or.

And then the problems with my stimulator started. As I turned down the level of stimulation, the 'tics' still came but when they did they were less fierce. And the lower the level of stimulation, the lower the level of sensation of these itches.

I'll be darned. The implant is causing these, not the phantom pain. It never occurred to me that it could be anything but the damage already there.

Moral of the story: We have to remember that despite our pain we are still prone to all the ills of the world. We cannot let folly (in my case), not wanting to see more doctors, fear of other possible procedures, etc. deter us.

For me a lesson needing to be repeated and hard (hopefully this time)learned.

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