Anyone who's ever had a cramp knows that whenever you have one, you think of nothing else but "When will this end??"
Well, I've been getting them for the last 8months now. They've been happening every day, everywhere and they happen for no reason we can find out whatsoever.
Sometimes they go on for hours. Usually, I can't even stretch or walk them out; they happen in my abs, which I just have to bear as there's no way I could stretch them, or on opposing muscles simultaneously... Stretching one side's cramps out makes the other side's worse. Often, they happen while I'm sleeping... Every second night, I wake up, screaming, writhing in pain until I can untangle myself from my blanket and bear it out.
Sometimes I wake up my family with those screams.
Nothing has helped. My doctors don't have a clue. I've tried literally everything. Electrolytes - I drink them every day, every night. Regular stretching, cutting out certain spices/vitamins, every medication; alternative and proven, exercise (I was going through them while I trained up for and did my 200km bikeride too - the feeling of having a calf muscle cramp-up while you're riding down a hill at over 70km/h is terrifying beyond anything you can ever experience).... but NOTHING WORKS!
I can't even begin to express how bad these last few months in particular have been!
Every minute of every day I know they're coming... Every time I even move my foot in bed, or reach for the remote, or get up from a chair, I dread the writhing hot, burning pain that is bound to ignite.
But the last 3 or 4 days... it's gotten even worse.
I'm writing this now at 5a.m. I tried going to bed at 11:30 last night, before the cramping started. I've managed to get into 1 cycle of deep sleep, but woke up from that mid-way.
I was barely able to open my eyes as I stumbled around the house, slamming the walls with my hands, trying to stretch out my burning fingers that are curling up like a dying spider against my will.
That was an hour ago and after slumping back wearily into bed after my hands and quads finally stopped spasming, I've woken up again twice, only to have my abs, and then my calves and shoulders start burning up.
I'm typing this out 1 key at a time, massaging hands that are aching, threatening to start spasming again...
This FUCKING. SUCKS!EVERYTHING I DO, I DO FEARING WHAT MAY COME...
I may seem like I'm in control and happy all the time. though I don't let it affect my overall outlook and still can, and do, smile, and enjoy everything I can, EVERY. DAY is a struggle.
There have been a few times, over the last year or two in particular, where I've wondered... "why do I even bother? I mean, it'd be so much easier if I... slipped away..."
When you've been living for as long as I have not being able to remember the last day you weren't in pain, able to count the last good sleeps you've had in the last year on your fingers; wondering, and in awe, at the energy everyone else seems to have, at age 21, you can't help but wonder those things every now and again...
But though I've wondered and thought about it; at one point, when I was hallucinating (due to a near-fatal toxicity from a drug), in so much pain and out of control I even screamed at my nurses and my own mother to euthanize me... I've always, during those rough patches, remembered these few things.
First - that pain, which I've been forced to go through so much of over the last few years - it's temporary.
Though it sucks... it's finite and has an end. What usually hurts us more than any neurological response of the firing of some nocioceptors is the emotional toll that fear of that pain puts on us. In the end... when you take a step back and think about it, how it affects us is something that WE control. So why should I let it hurt me more than it should? (how I do that, and how you can if you feel the same way - I talk about here).
Second - I remember the words of my doctor. When I asked him about what he thought of euthanasia (it wasn't prompted by an ideation of mine, I was just interested on his opinion one consultation), he told me "I've had a few patients who've come in asking if they could end it. But most, in a few weeks, come back shocked that they could even think such a thing."
Pain is horrible. Something that bad, it's only natural that it can affect our judgement. But pain, especially that associated with treatment, or recovery, it does end... and once you're free from it - life becomes a much brighter, nicer place.
But when it's chronic pain, something that seems to, or may well go on forever... when you feel like there's no end to this, that this pain will keep coming back, over and over (as it may well do for my cramps); that can be even more disheartening than even the horrible trauma that chemos, pleural biopsies or the worst pain imaginable may bring on.
But in the end... if you, now, in the future, or anyone you know is going through that... remember this third thing.
That though it does suck while it goes on, and though it may impair, or affect us, there are still so many good things worth living for. And that there are still so many things we can still do, despite it.
This is how I get by, and somehow, often manage to be happy despite all the crap that I have to go through. Unfortunately, I'm not an extraordinary case... many people go through the same, or similar, or worse hurdles... every day of their life.
It helps when you have great friends, a great family, great people to talk to who give you someone to talk to, an understanding nod when you need it, or something to laugh about during those.
Many don't have that. If you're one of them, I'm happy to talk about it (contacts below), if you think a friend or family member, or even stranger is going through that - be there for them or feel free to pass them on to me.
But sometimes... The whole world seems bleak; you struggle to do even the most menial tasks, you've been sad for so long that you forget what it feels like to be happy... and even the things you love fail to bring joy to you anymore.
You don't need to be in physical pain for that to happen. Anything can bring it on; loss, bullying; in fact, for many, nothing does... it's like it's your natural state... and the self-loathing we feel when we think we're worthless because of that... that can push us further into that sad, blue pit.
Depression... that's a whole other pain of its own. It's no coincidence that major depressive disorder is present in at least half of all people who commit suicide. Probably more. I've been through depression myself... and it's not always for the reasons you'd think are "obvious" in my case too...
I'll be writing a big one on that topic soon... but in the meantime... if you're struggling to cope... if you're struggling to find reason... I want you to watch this.
Here on the blog