I’ve covered quite a few aspects of my autoimmune life, but there’s yet another to be discussed… The persistent, ever-changing, unending pain. I don’t just mean a little ache or morning stiffness. I’m talking about the chronic, constant pain that renders you unable to move, walk, talk or even breathe. The pain that I deal with on a daily basis would debilitate most people yet I force myself through it day in and day out.
I have three different pain-causing conditions and from day to day I have no clue which condition is causing each particular pain. My first suspicion at the onset of pain is fibromyalgia, which causes widespread pain in every muscle of my body. This most often rears its ugly head first thing in the morning and presents as muscle stiffness and soreness. As bad as it is, I can deal with it most of the time. If I have a day full of strenuous activity, it becomes more unbearable and renders me unable to get out of bed.
Another major culprit to my near-constant pain is my lovely failing liver. Due to Primary Biliary Cholangitis, or PBC for short, I get excruciating pain in my upper right quadrant, and let me tell you… there is no pain that I have ever experienced that compares to this. It is a gut-wrenching pain that forces me to beg for death. I can’t walk, or talk or even breathe while having a liver attack. It feels like someone is twisting a knife through my stomach and back, causing pain to shoot all of the way up to my shoulder. It is pure torture and I live my life in fear of the next episode.
In addition to the aforementioned pain conditions, I have Raynauds Disease which caused me to lose the feeling in my hands and feet as soon as I get cold. This comes to me compliments of limited scleroderma. My extremities turn white as a sheet of paper and the pain that I feel is that of tiny needles pricking my skin. These attacks happen several times a day. Although this particular pain is the least of what I go through, it is definitely the most irritating of my symptoms because other people can actually see what is happening.
Most people with these levels of pain would be running to the doctor for prescription relief. I guess I’m a bit hard-headed or paranoid of addiction, but I refuse to take any narcotic pain relievers at this time. I don’t want to be the next one addicted to opiates. I have seen what they have caused in my friends and family members, and it terrifies me!
My diseases are progressive and they are guaranteed to get worse over time. There will come a day when the pain will be too severe not to take something, but until they I plan to “gut it out” for lack of a better term. Exercise has recently proven to be a much bigger help than I originally thought it would be, and I am quite pleased to be able to share that will all of you! So stay strong my fellow autoimmune warriors!