Only Child feels the pain – physical

Only child works through the pain

Physical pain seems to be the norm in our lives. Age doesn’t matter. It seems we can do all the healthy things (or not) and we still get “hit” with pain. I’m not talking about one-offs such as toothaches or labour pains; I mean acute and chronic pain. But I’m noticing something. Those of us in pain are not taking it lying down without a fight.

I’ve been in some kind of acute or chronic pain for 30 years. I suppose I come from it honestly, the pain part anyway. As I write in my memoir about my dad and his cancer, I realize the pain he suffered.

Then Dad gets recurring headaches that escalate into one big throbbing hurt at the top of his head. It must be torture to bend over the toilet bowl to puke out his guts while his head drums to the same painful beat. He becomes weaker and spends most of his time in bed. Our family doctor sends him to the hospital, this time St. Michael’s.

Those are the bad old days, when cancer treatment wobbles in its infancy and has only two prongs – slice or burn. The doctor chooses the fire of radiation to try to destroy the cancer seeds. Daily, Dad is wheeled into the treatment room and blasted for 20 minutes with volts of radiation straight into his brain. Clumps of hair fall out, and his head resembles an abstract quilt with the white batting sticking out.

(Excerpt from You Can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2011 Sharon Crawford)

Individuals with cancer are good examples of those in pain.. True, there are so many more options than when my father had cancer in the late 1950s and 1960s. But I see these good examples in the determination and guts of those with cancer today, for example, many walk in marathons for cancer research. The news has countless stories about the courage of children with cancer. Children getting cancer is something I think is totally wrong, something I can’t quite get my head around. But that is for another post.

My pain started with migraines thirty years ago. Despite postponing some work assignments for the demeral-gravol shot in the hip and crawling into bed  (temporarily) to sleep it off, I didn’t give up on my life. The migraines (which are long gone, thanks to the treatment of a doctor at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto’s pain clinic; he later became head of that clinic). Suffering migraines became a turning point in my life – migraines started my writing in the health area, which I still do (Example, see http://www.samcraw.com/Clippings/OHThePain.html, copy of my story originally published in Body, Mind & Spirit).

I’m not going to bore you with a history of all my pain episodes, but I want to mention the current one because many people may have it but don’t know they do. I have a Vitamin D deficiency and one of the symptoms is severe bone pain in one leg, just below the knee, so we’re not talking arthritis. I also have a digestive disorder which causes malabsorption. The best Vitamin D source is the sun filtering in through your skin; so far I’ve been okay in summer as I’m outside a lot in my garden, walking, and at outdoor festivals. But for those of us living in the northern hemisphere, winter brings little sun and much cold weather. Despite this winter’s somewhat milder climate (in some parts of Canada), most of us do not spend much time outdoors. We bundle up, so our skin isn’t exposed much in the winter. So we have to take Vitamin D3 supplements, but if we have malabsorption those supplements have a hard time getting absorbed into our system.  I have a friend who takes from 3,000 to 5,000 IU’s daily (depending on the season) of Vitamin D and so far she’s had no side effects. Over the weekend, I just bumped mine up to 2,500 a day and began taking digestive tablets.

Studies in the United States and the United Kingdom show there is a dearth of Vitamin D deficiency in people of all ages – from children to seniors. A University of Minnesota study showed the count at 100 per cent to 55 percent with five people having no Vitamin D in their bodies; in most cases the symptom was undetermined muscle or bone pain (See http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/4836.php). In the last few years tests for Vitamin D deficiency have skyrocketed (See http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-07-13-vitamin-d-tests_N.htm). It’s a simple blood test folks; I recommend you ask your doctor for one if he or she doesn’t already do it as part of your annual medical check-up.

Meantime, I think my leg pain may be decreasing. I’ll find out for sure when I go for my daily walk. Walking outside tends to up the pain. And I’m hoping to still be able to start my Yoga class this Thursday evening – a gentle stretch Yoga with meditation, specifically for those recovering from injury and illness. Yes or no to Yoga, I will continue to apply what has kept me going through my pain: determination, passion in what I do, perseverance, and plain old stubbornness, a trait I inherited from my Dad.

Dad’s cancer went into remission – for the time being. I’ll leave you with how he rejoiced at this.

…one day when mother and I walk into his [hospital] room, Dad smiles at us.

“I ate a cheese sandwich, and it stayed down,” he says.

(Excerpt from You Can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2011 Sharon Crawford)

Tell me your pain stories and how you cope.

Cheers.

Sharon Crawford

Only Child Writes

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2 Comments

Filed under Bone Pain, cancer, Health, Only child memoir, Pain, Vitamin D Deficiency, Vitamin D tests, Yoga

2 responses to “Only Child feels the pain – physical

  1. Pain is so complicated and intricate. I too have migraines and they are miserable.
    On an aside, I have nominated you for the ABC blog award. For more information, you can check out my post here: http://trishadm.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/alphabet-soup-the-abc-award/. Take care!

    • Hi Trisha:

      Thanks for nominating me for the ABC blog award. It is an honour to be nominated.

      Yes, I remember those migraine pains – not fun.As an aside my leg pain seems to be lessening with all that extra Vitamin d and more calcium as well.

      Cheers.

      Sharon
      Only Child Writes

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