My surgeon received my final pathology report. None of the organs or tissues removed showed any signs of cancer or any other diseases that need monitoring. The mysterious growth is less mysterious now because it’s not the congenital disease initially believed and it’s not a cancer. Now, it is more clearly a cystic growth that my doctors view as incidental to leading them to discover my chronic pain condition. The chronic pain is now the mystery that requires solving.
To solve that mystery I will go to monthly appointments at the pain clinic. I will also work to taper my pain medications to a lower dose based on what my body can bear. In my last meeting with my pain specialist, we discussed trying acupuncture to see if that gives me any relief. She’s open to trying anything, as am I, which does not require another invasive procedure but may deliver some positive results.
The strangest part about all of this is that my family and friends, with whom I’ve had the opportunity to share the news, might actually be more relieved and happy than I am. I don’t mean that I’m not happy that I don’t have cancer. I mean that I’m disappointed that after two years, so many invasive procedures, including this major surgery and an ocean of pain medications, I still don’t have a final diagnosis. I’m still unable to perform the simple act of going for a walk without suffering painful consequences and I’m still stuck inside my approximately 700 square feet of space most days because of this pain. Even though I know it would have been close to miraculous for the pain to be gone so soon after surgery, I want it gone.
Just over a year ago, I decided to approach my condition as if it was something I had to live with long-term to avoid this kind of disappointment. However, if I’m being honest that wasn’t a real decision or commitment to a new way of living. I was still bargaining with the universe, even if I didn’t want to admit it. I was still desperately clinging to hope that there would be no permanence in this situation. I know this still may not be permanent, but I’m not sure it’s wise for me to grasp so firmly, to hope about what might not be if my pain mystery remains unsolved.
Instead of falling on either side of the line of what could be permanent, I’ve decided instead, to take the approach of breathing a little easier for now. I’ll continue breathing easier unless the day arrives when breathing easy hurts too.
Anna Nalick – Breathe (2am)