NOVember 29, 2012

Coming to Terms with Pain

By Manage My Pain User, Cindy
Cindy - patient - using Manage My Pain app to help with her chronic pain
Cindy realized that denying her pain wasn't helping her deal with it
My journey with chronic pain has been fraught with denial and depression. I am 60 now and had to face the fact that my pain isn't going away and that I have to learn to live with it.

I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia 16 years ago after a shoulder injury. Before that diagnosis, I had lived with back problems and the results of severe whiplash - but it is Fibromyalgia that really changed my life. I was no longer able to be "Superwoman", or, as my doc put it, "not invincible anymore". That realization really didn't hit home until 7 years ago when I developed intense back and neck pain which sent me to an Orthopaedic surgeon. After conducting tests, he said that I required surgery on my back and four levels of my neck. I was also told I had spinal stenosis, arthritis, bone spurs, degenerative disk disease and possible multiple sclerosis. Immediately after my diagnosis, my insurance company raised my rates to the point where I was no longer able to keep my health insurance, leaving me few options - surgery wasn't one of them. I was really depressed at the thought of living with this additional pain and unable to work full time. Everything seemed to go downhill from that point.

A few years ago, my sister-in-law hinted that I should file for disability. I told her I would not do that while there was still hope of recovery. I wasn't ready to give up or admit it was that bad. I kept my denial close to me; it was my closest friend during those dark years, but my sister-in-law never stopped insisting that I face reality and deal with my pain. Last year it became obvious to me that I needed help.

It still isn't easy living with chronic pain but I feel much better about my situation since I traded my denial for reality.
I found a new doctor who was willing to listen to me and decided to keep a "health journal", but it was just too much paperwork to carry around. Then it occurred to me that there might be an app I could put on my smart phone. I searched and, to my joy, found one that had everything I needed and more! In January, I downloaded Manage My Pain for Android and began to record my symptoms. It only takes a few minutes and is conveniently stored on my phone which I always keep with me anyway.

I discovered I could customize the app with locations, symptoms, triggers and treatments specific to my condition. Charts, graphs and calendars let me see my history at a glance. It really helps me to see how certain activities like driving and sitting increase my pain levels. More importantly, I now have reports and summaries to print out for my doctors and lawyer that show exactly what is happening with my health.

It still isn't easy living with chronic pain but I feel much better about my situation since I traded my denial for reality. I am so grateful for Manage My Pain - it's an awesome app that has really changed my life.