EP 6 – Chronic Pain

EP 6 – Chronic Pain


In this episode, I talk about chronic pain and my perspective living with a chronic health condition. This is my 10th year of having chronic pain and for that reason, I thought I would speak a little about what it has been like. I do not hear a lot of young male narratives on the topic and for that reason I wanted to put my feelings out there. 

Chronic pain is a very real condition that affects millions of people around the world. It is an invisible illness and for that reason it is sometimes hard to not think of someone who has chronic pain as crying wolf. For a condition to be chronic it has to have persisted for 12 weeks or about 3 months. Getting diagnosed with a chronic condition can take anywhere from months to years. In my case it has been a few years and I have had the fortune of dealing with my chronic conditions in 5 countries thus far. 

If you know someone with a chronic health challenge, in my opinion the best way learn about it is to ask them after doing your own research. Depending on the kind of condition they have, they may not be able to do certain exercises, change diet or get off medication. 

If you yourself have a chronic health condition, my heart goes out to you because I know it is tough and the medical system is annoying sometimes. 

Chronic Mornings (00:22 – 2:20)

The reality of this is hard to accept but the truth is that it is a part of my reality. I usually hide behind the masks of “I need to take a nap” or “I am just tire today” or “my leg hurts today” or I will just say nothing and disappear for a while. Sitting in darkness usually helps. I am not telling this story for sympathy. I am telling it just so you can have an idea of how someone else feels when they say they have a chronic illness. I am just coming around to the 10th anniversary of mine and frankly the years have been challenging.

I was hesitant to make this episode because of how it would expose me but at the same time I feel like it is necessary. I do not often see male narratives of what it is like to be in pain every day. as I am writing this, I am propping my head up with a pillow. I woke up 2 hours ago but immediately it occurred to me that today was going to be a different day. My chronic pain presents as pain in my left leg but at times my left knee burns. Usually when that happens I am completely exhausted and I have no energy to do anything. On some days I can only eat and take a nap. One some days my hip joints hurt and walking is difficult. Usually on those days I stay in and do less physically exhausting tasks like paint if I can. On a few days my whole body hurts and it feels like gravity has twice its effect on me. Every motion feels heavy and lying down is the only thing I can really do that day. 

The mask of fine (10:30 – 12:10)

I look fine. I know I look fine. I make myself look fine. When you see me in public, what you don’t realize is what happened before I stepped out of my apartment. When I woke up, my body decided it did not want to move. I spent hours in bed unable to sit up. Yes, I watched an episode of a show on Netflix, but that was while my body was booting up. When I finally got out of bed, I realized how exhausted I was and I found my way to make some breakfast. After that, I took a nap because my mind was scrambled and I could not think. When I tried to think and I forgot the things I had to do for the day. I looked at the to-do list I wrote and I did not understand who the person was that wrote that to-do list. After I woke up from my nap, I realized that I had places to be and I decided to step outside. Phone, keys, wallet, I have everything I need! Let me go out. As I get to the door, I realize that I did not look at myself in the mirror and I run to the bathroom to make sure that everything is in its place. I hold my body together so that I do not limp. I have to put on my mask, I have to look fine. 

Rant (24:02 – 31:26)

I struggle to call myself religious but in this case I have no option.

We all have blind faith in things that have gaping holes in logic.

We cling to our believes as if they are fact.

Just because it works for us, does not mean it is a fact.

I have become skeptical of doctors.

I don’t know about you but for years I went to them as if they were god.

They walk around with their white coats and preach the gospel.

After all I am the sick person.

I don’t question God, but I think this god is sick. 

I will allow you to take my blood and touch my body

I will allow myself to be convinced by you

Give me some snake oil while you are at it

I need a surgery? Sure lets go ahead!

I need these pills? Of course I will take them!

I need to lose weight? My diet starts tomorrow!

I need to eat more bread? I will augment my diet right away!

I will even eat meat and potatoes together.

Ah it is the cheese? I need more dairy and perhaps some milk.

I trust you dear doctor.

You are the one who spent years worshipping at the temple of medicine.

I hear you learn a lot over there.

I have been interested but I am not smart enough.

I have heard so many things is it true?

I hear that you are trained to never say “I don’t know”.

I hear that “the new breakthrough” is often a scam.

I hear that your devices are faulty most times.

I hear that you prescribe things you know little about.

I hear that you give false positives with confidence.

I hear you have never been sick before.

How can you have bedside manner when you have never really been sick?

Let me share my experience

I grew up in a household with believers

Both my parents worshipped at the temple of Medicine

They built careers from the fruits of that worship

I am where I am because of those same fruits

But too much sugar is not good for you

I never knew a hospital till my pain became chronic

10 years ago my body started to hurt

I have had 6 surgeries and by body still hurts

On some days it even hurts more than it has ever hurt before

I grew up a believer but now I am a skeptic

I have spent most of my year in bed

I started my fight 10 years ago but I was ignorant at the time

I knew nothing about the god I was praying to

My parents knew little about the god they served

Medicine does not try to end wars

They deceive you with stories while they supply arms to their soldiers

You have this and it means that

You have that and it means this

You have this so take that

You have that so believe this

Every doctor tells you another story

We cling to our believes as if they are fact.

Just because it works for us, does not mean it is a fact.

Every doctor convinces you that they have the solution. 

After all I am the sick person

You must be right

For years I was helpless and I still am

My childhood was marked with pain
I grew up in pain

I have learned that snake oil is real because I bought it

I want to believe but I don’t know what to believe

One doctor said it was not real

One doctor said all my tests don’t show anything

One doctor said it was my throat

One doctor said the other doctor ordered the wrong tests

Another said it was my nose

Another said it was my throat

What next my ear?

Another said it was my leg and I needed to strip

Another said it was my leg and I needed a laser

But then after I woke up he said he realized he couldn’t do anything while I was under

At least he was honest

Another said it was a perforation

I guess it worked but now I have a possibly permanent numb patch

Another said it was because I stand too much and I need rest

He may have had a point

On days when I lay in bed it hurts less

But sometimes it burns

Meanwhile I heard about other religions

They had contradictory information

I heard that they are not as quick to use a knife or give a pill or say you are fine

They actually believe in the unseen

Reluctantly I listened and worshiped

I burned midnight oil on YouTube

When I started to cook weight fell off me

But I was convinced diet was unrelated

When I listened to my body my sinuses cleared up

I now barely have pet allergies

When I tweaked my diet my morning wood came back

But I was told diet was unrelated

When I went to therapy I met myself

But I was told it was in my head and maybe they were right

When I made good friends my depression started to lift

But I was told I should consider pills

When I made a relationship I had an outlook on life

But I was told I should consider pills

When I exercised my immune system thanked me

But I was told to be careful with exercise

When I rested my body got stronger

I guess they were right about rest

When I did my asanas my body showed me my weaknesses

When I laid in savasana my body showed me the source of the pain

All my doctors got it wrong

It doesn’t always show on a blood test

It doesn’t always show on an x-ray

You don’t always have to cut things out.

You should have just asked me about my childhood

You can only get so much medical history when we have 10 minutes

At one point I got cocky

At that point I realized that the grocery store is full of traps.

Flashy packages are designed to reel you in but enough about that.

Let’s go back to the point.

I can not change your mind but I can only tell you to be careful

Some religions are more powerful than others

This religion is a part of our daily lives

Most of us do not even think twice when we drink the kool aid

When you visit this temple be cautious

Not all medicine men are just

If they tell you to take a pill ask why

If they tell you to take out an organ be cautious

If they tell you to put something in pay attention

When you automatically take a pill for a headache ask yourself why

When they sell something that is too good to be true be cautious

When you apply a skin cream pay attention.

We all have blind faith in things that have gaping holes in logic

They walk around with their white coats and preach the gospel

I don’t question God, but I think this god is sick. 

After all I am the sick person

Podcasts mentioned this episode

This is not what I ordered – Hosted by Lauren Selfridge 

In sickness and in health – Hosted by Cara Gael

Invisible not broken – Hosted by Monica Michelle & Kryos

Sickboy – Hosted by Brian, Jeremie & Taylor

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