Patient: Tracy Sep 6 2002
[email protected] wrote:
I am a mother of 4 beautiful girls ages 18, 15, 14, and 6. I have a wonderful husband and just a great family. And up until a couple of years ago I had more than any one person should ever be blessed with.
I had a full time job that I thoroughly enjoyed, plus it was a very well paying job. My husband worked full time doing something that he enjoyed and we were able to spend quality time with our children. Doing all the things that we believed a "family" should do. Tried raising our children with morals, with respect for themselves and others, and believing in God first and then our government.
A government that is letting us down in a fierce, fierce way. A government that is taking away what little I have left after having suffered chronic pain for the past two and half years with no hope for a cure nor for adequate relief if things continue the way they are going.
You see, in Sept 1999 I suffered a collapsed lung. This happens when a person has blebs, which are sort of like a birth defect internally. It is not detected at birth, its not tested for until one experiences the collapse. After suffering at least 8 more collapses by Jan. 2000 my surgeon recommended that a corrective surgery be done. The procedure is where they go in, remove the bad portion of the lung (the portion that keeps collapsing), staple the lung closed and then glue the lung to the chest wall in order to prevent any future collapses. The success rate is 95% and it all sounded like after recovery things would be back to normal for me and my family.
That was the farthest thing from the truth. The surgery left me with chronic pleuretic pain and irreperable nerve damage. The surgery left me unable to breath properly on most days, unable to walk to the mailbox much less around the block with my family. The surgery left me pain that has me in tears for 20 of each and every 24 hour day. It took away my ability to perform a part time job much less a full time job. It has left my once stable family torn in more pieces than I can count.
You see, my children now have to worry about their mother. Something that they should never, ever have to do. They have had to grow up faster than is fair to any child because they have to make up for the everyday things that I am not able to do for them anymore. My 6 year old has no idea what "fun" is. Her idea of fun is sitting in bed with me reading a book...a book that we are unable to finish in one or two days because of my intense pain. My husband has had to work harder than ever to make up for the income that I once contributed to the family, so that we can afford the medical treatment - medications, drs, therapists, specialists - Plus he has to try and maintain the stability that we once had as a family unit.
It is so hard to wake up each morning in so much pain that the tears roll down my face uncontrollably while at the same time trying to be a positive roll model for my children and reassure them that I am ok. When I know I am certainly anything but ok. It is so hard to watch my husband struggle with two full time jobs and maintain a household, cook dinner, help the girls with their homework, and ensure that they are able to do some of the things that all teenagers and young children should be able to enjoy.
So you see, chronic pain takes so much away from a person. We are no longer people but rather burdens to all those around us. We become isolated from society because we are no longer able to function. We become depressed because we suffer horrendous amounts of pain day in and day out. Plus we see our families being torn apart right before our eyes and there is not a damn thing we can do about it. It is so hard to find a doctor that is willing to treat us, and when we do they are not able to provide adequate relief. Most doctors know their hands are tied so they turn us away. Society in general turns us away. Every door is closed to those of us that suffer chronic pain. That is humiliating, it takes away a person's self esteem, takes away all that we fought so hard to become. Pain has taken away everything about me.
As a chronic painer I have had to fight for everything. I fight to get out of bed each and every day, I try so hard to fight back the tears and when I can't it is so frustrating. I have had to fight to be seen by a doctor that is willing to treat pain. I have had to fight to get any relief and the relief that is offered leaves the mind in a mess. My first medication was a drug called Neurontin, this drug caused me to forget who I was, where I lived, and I even forgot that I had children. Do you have any idea how hard it was for my daughter when I asked her what she was doing in MY house? Do you have any idea how horrible I felt not only as a mother but as a human being?
If taking a medication that contains an opiod allows me to wake up in the morning and kiss my children good bye as they head out the door for school why should I be denied this? If taking an opiod allows me to walk outside on a sunny day, shouldn't I be allowed this? If taking an opiod means that I can take a deep breath should I be denied something that most people do unconsciously? If taking an opiod means that I might actually smile or laugh with my family - who has the right to deny not only me but my entire family this?
Every day that I wake up the very first thought is not what am I going to do today, its not what clothes should I wear, its not whether or not my socks match my pants, its not any of these things that most people think of. My first thought each and every morning is whether or not today is going to be the day that throws me over the edge, or what is the most effective way to end all this pain...yes, suicide is the first thing on my mind every day. Its the last thing on my mind at the end of each day. And its there on my mind right along with the pain every minute of every day. I have to pray every night and ask God for the strength to make it through another day and to thank him for getting me through the day that is at end.
I'm not asking for money, I'm not asking for special treatment, I'm not asking for a new house or a fancy car. All I ask is for adequate relief. Enough relief to allow me to have one "good" day a week. A "good" day being a day that I can get up without tears, kiss & hug my family good bye as they venture out for their day, straighten up my house, do a load of laundry, make dinner, help my children with their homework, talk to them about their day, and to let them know that they are the most important thing in the world to me. My dream, my goal in life at this point, is to reassure my children that whatever troubles life throws at them, I will always be there for them no matter what.
The past two years I have not lived, I have suffered. I may not be dead, but is this really any kind of life? I don't understand why I am not worthy of proper medical treatment, treatment that involves adequate relief. I have worked, I pay taxes, I am a proud American, I have respected others, I have done so many right things in my life. The pain that I suffer is not my fault, it is not something that I did to myself deliberately or illegally, it is not my fault and it is not my family's fault. Why are we left to suffer like this? Why do I deserve less than some sense of normalcy in my life and the lives of my family?
Thank you for listening, Tracy McAdams