It's pretty easy, right now, to feel that my experience of RSD/CRPS is a maze. I still have yet to figure a way out. And, while in a lot of pain, I can't get the heart rate down. Feeling the racing heart makes me very anxious and anxiety can increase pain. Are we seeing a cycle here?
So, it was with some trepidation that I scheduled an appointment at the pain clinic. It was probably a week or so ago when I called. There are lots of things which make me nervous about going to the doctor. I'm probably most afraid of hearing the words, "well, there's nothing we can really do for you." And with the heart rate and blood pressure issues, I have to admit that fear has grown larger.
I'm happy to report that I didn't hear the words "there's nothing we can do." I should know by now that the doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners at the pain clinic I go to won't abandon me, but I find that high pain levels make it harder to trust that things will work out. Anxiety and the all-too-familiar depression of living in severe pain from day to day really make it hard to think that things will get better, or trust that others will or can help me. But my unnecessary fear made me think about how hard hope can be to come by.
I often feel like I'm in a maze. We studied illness narratives in my "Reading Illness" course, and often illness narratives are messy. I never realized, though, how hard it can be to see the forest for the trees until this summer. Is the pain causing an increase in heart rate, which causes anxiety? Or, which permutation of all of these messed up factors is correct? When you're dependent on "what comes next?" thinking and dealing with a rather mazelike story, it can get tricky.
describes chronic pain as a "laberinth" in his book "The Anatomy of Hope". And after contemplating, I'd have to say, I totally agree!
The nurse practitioner I work with, a good friend and I came up with a plan which I can live with. It addresses my core concerns. I'm hopeful that we can get the pain under some semblence of control until we figure out the heart rate/blood pressure thing. It's nice, after a month of depression, hopelessness, anxiety, fear and intense pain, to feel one more emotion, hope.
Addendum: My friend, Susan Palwick, published her final eddition of "The Carnival of Hope", on Friday. I'd definitely encourage you to go take a look and
read some stories of hope.