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skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 9/26/2008 12:59 PM (GMT -7)   
How do you keep going when the pain interferes so much with the important things in life despite your best effort?

My pain is in my eye. I've been dealing with it for nearly two years, but I'm not sure what to do any longer. I am a student, so my eye is incredibly important. I've been struggling through for two years, but I don't know if I can do it any longer. It's a vicious cycle. The pain & the vision make the massive amounts of work harder, and the constant use of the eye makes the pain worse. I'm very close to being forced to drop out of school, which is the last thing I want to do, but my best effort just doesn't seem to be good enough; I'm got getting done what I need to get done because I physically can't do it. I've been working my entire life to get to where I am today, and I still have several years ahead of me before I can reach my dream, something that I should be able to do were it not for the pain. Now I'm faced with not even being able to complete college, let alone grad school.

Does anyone have any suggestions about how to reduce the stress associated with dealing with chronic pain?

Chartreux
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9622
   Posted 9/26/2008 1:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Oh wow, I had eye pain in 2006 due to a boil, which kept coming back and 3 eye surgeries.
You did not mention if you'd been to an eye doctor, If you've not then go asap..
If you have then maybe switching to a better doctor.
This is serious hun, and needs to get treated...
Have you tried warm to hot compresses...
These are just suggestions, sure wish you'd given us more infomation.
Keep us posted...
**********************************************
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc, Fibromyalgia, Gerd, Enlarged Pituitary Gland
******** "We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world" from Helen Keller *********

********>^..^<********>^..^<********>^..^<********


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 9/26/2008 1:31 PM (GMT -7)   
Skeye,
You're asking a million dollar question! I think it's what each one of us struggles with in our own way, and part of why we come to this forum.

I think the first thing is to make sure you know everything you can about your condition, and try to get the best doctors and medical care possible. Have you been to a teaching hospital that deals with eye issues? I'd agree with Char, you don't want to let this linger, even if it means taking time out now to get treatment so things don't worsen.

Many of us struggle with accepting when our condition is such that it is never going to be "cured" or completely healed, and I don't know if that's where you're at. I still struggle with that myself - trying to figure out if I'll ever be able to work full time again, or if I'm truly going to be relegated to a life of pain AND poverty because my financial resources are dried up. I think we take it one day at a time.

Others on this site who are further along than I am I think have made more peace with limitations. I'm somewhere along the road. But you want to make sure that there's nothing you can do to fix or cure the problem first. The next thing would be to learn what kind of options might be out there for you to keep learniing with less reliance on your eyes. I've known blind people who have finished college (I used to teach and had a blind student in college so I know this firsthand), but not without making adjustments. There are lots more things on audio book now than ever used to be there, and a tutor might also be helpful to you. See what resources your school has to help you - even if it means swallowing your pride. It's better than dropping out. Might you have to make adjustments in your career or work path? Yes, possibly, depending on what you want to do. But that doesn't mean there aren't other roads for you to take. Don't give up!

PaLady

skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 9/26/2008 3:14 PM (GMT -7)   
PaLady & Chartreux -- Thanks for the replies & support.

Unfortunately eye problems are not new to me. But the chronic pain is due to an eye injury.

I saw my eye doctor up to several times a week for months after the injury. I did a lot of damage deep within the orbit which also worsened some of my muscle problems which resulted in another surgery (as I have had muscle surgery in the past). The muscle problem was resolved and the visible damage healed, but I fought a very long battle with inflammation within my eye, which finally cleared up about 6 mo after the injury. However the pain from the initial injury never went away. I don't have a diagnosis which is set in stone, but we think that there is still a lot of unresolved inflammation and scar tissue deep behind the eye (and possibly in the nerves) which is reeking havoc with my nerves. There is definitely still something going on back there, as besides the pain, there is still some swelling above and underneath my eye, as well as vision problems which suggest nerve involvement rather than just being from blunt trauma. However, this type of condition is very rare and very hard to treat as it is unresponsive to just about everything. I don't have a specific name of a condition because we still have no idea what nerves are involved.

My eye doctor is a muscle specialist himself, and he has done everything he can, he is just as frustrated as I am (or as frustrated as you can be without living with the problem), As far as I know there isn't anyone who specializes in my condition because it is so rare. I have been to several different neuro-opthamologists, including one at a big university hospital. That one didn't believe me and treated me horribly and the other didn't have much to say. The problem is the process is so deep behind the eye that you can't see much wrong when you look at the eye itself (it took my eye doctor two exams before he found the damage, and once he found it he said that it was one of the worst injuries he ever had seen). No one really knows if and when this will ever resolve.

I've been seeing a pain management doc since the spring, but I haven't gotten much help from him yet. I just had the first nerve block in a series of 3 done yesterday, but I haven't gotten any relief - which is horribly disappointing since I had the same block done 3 weeks ago and got partial relief for a couple of days. In terms of school, I'm doing everything I can to help me through. I've been working with the administration since the injury & they enlarge my books and/or get them on tape when they can, but unfortunately I'm a science major, and so almost all my text books are impossible to get on tape & can't be enlarged because they are too big. I need to talk to the admin again to see if there is anything else that can be done.

I'm trying my best to hang in there and not give up, but I'm afraid that my best just isn't good enough.

Post Edited (skeye) : 9/26/2008 4:37:56 PM (GMT-6)


Pamela Neckpain
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 1821
   Posted 9/26/2008 4:49 PM (GMT -7)   
"Somewhere Along The Road" say PaL

Best to you Skeye ... and everyone else.

Pamela :-)

ladyred
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 191
   Posted 9/26/2008 5:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Dear Skeye,
 
I am very sorry to hear all that you have gone trough.  I think dealing with CP and all that it brings and takes aways is the hardest thing most of us have had to deal with in life. 
 
I was wondering if you have looked into doing college online.  I dont know if it is possible for you but it would at least be something that you can do at your own pace when you are upto it.  It might take you longer that way but at least you dont have to give up on your dream...
 
Lara
 
 

Morgoth
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 177
   Posted 9/26/2008 5:41 PM (GMT -7)   
The only advice I can give you is to impose a strickt daily routine in everything you do, like in the military. It has been proven throughout the centuries that military discipline can get people through the worst situations such as prolonged artillery fire, sieges and even nuclear combat. Military regulations make sure you do all things that need to be done and also spread them throughout 24 hours so you can get your mind of the problem. This lifestyle has kept me going for the last 15 years.

When imposing such a regime of self-discipline, you won't take away the pain of course, but you can fill your day in such a way you can function optimally. For example, always get up at the same time, feed the cat, go to school, eat, take medication, whatever, but always according to the same routine. When in pain or stress, your mind will look forward to such simple breaks that will actually force you to concentrate on a certain choir and make you forget the pain for a moment. Unconsciously, the knowledge that such a break is upcoming usually reduces the stress. Such simple breaks don't need to be pleasant, actually, they are usually more effective when they are annoying. A soldier having to shave at least once a day may not look forward to it, but wile shaving will have to concentrate as not to cut himself. Same thing with polishing shoes and bayonet. It has no intrinsic value (especially when performed every day when they are not dirty), but does keep your mind of bigger problems.

Such a daily routine needs time to take effect, usually several months. I know this sounds stupid but it really works and has been tried under almost all conditions.

I can offer you no hope or practical solutions but this one. By know I guess you'll know you'll have to learn to life with the pain, which you will eventually get used to. I also suggest not to have high hopes for the future. Not that I want to sress you more or make you depressed, it's just a fact that when you expect the worst, things usaully get better, when you hope for the best, they usually get worse;

Take care.
To stand and be still at the Birkenhead Drill is a mighty bullet to shew.


skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 9/26/2008 5:46 PM (GMT -7)   
Lara --

Unfortunately I don't think that's an option for me. I'm in the sciences, so most of my classes have labs associated with them, and since labs are hands on (and required for grad school), I'm not sure it would be possible to take those kinds of courses online. I'd also worry that I'd actually have to use my eyes more for an online course. But thanks for the idea! I hadn't ever thought of that before.

skeye

Boxerlover
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 274
   Posted 9/26/2008 7:08 PM (GMT -7)   

Skeye, I'm sorry you are having such a rough time.  I've had very mild eye pain from my auto-immune disease and it was annoying, I can't even imagine what you are going through.  I wish I had an answer for you as far as school goes, but I did want to share.  I was very ill during my college years, I had cancer and even though I didn't know it then I also had my auto-immune disorder which led to chronic kidney stones and I'm talking too many to count on both sides.  I had to drop out 3 semesters throughout my 4 years.  I did make one of them up by going during the summer(I wish I would have known how nice summer semester was and I would have gone every summer.  It was like a whole different school. I don't know where you are going, I went to Penn State so having the smaller classes and layed back atmosphere was really nice).  I know that is the last thing you would want to do and I am not advising one way or the other. I just wanted to say that I still was able to do all the things that I had dreamed and worked very hard for.  It just wasn't on the same time table. 

I wish you all the best!

Melissa


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 9/26/2008 9:44 PM (GMT -7)   
Skeye,
What do your professors say about your ability to do your course/lab work, and future career responsibilities, with your limitations? Some things can be done, but some may not be a realistic possibility. Are their alternate ways to get through lab classes, for example?

Yes, you may have to forego some things - and that means grieving the loss. But like I said earlier, that doesn't mean there's no path. I don't know if you've thought about talking with a counselor or therapist, but that might be a help as you negotiate all of this - one way to help cope.

PaLady

Pamela Neckpain
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 1821
   Posted 9/27/2008 11:14 AM (GMT -7)   
side note to Morgoth:
There are many books to keep track of comings, goings, doings, and beings. Some
of the things we do are not necessary. For instance, we really don't need to shower
every day. Many things are not real fun but we do them just as part of our routine.
Since I've been struck with this intractible chronic pain, I rely more and more
on a schedule. I buy all sorts of lined papers, all sorts of pens ... just trying to
organize my life and not dissapear into piles of newspapers and cat food cans. (You
know the type?) I understand about routine. You have shown me the other side of
it. I believe many people use their schedules as a means of coping and psychological
wellness.
Pamela :-)

okonner
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 9/27/2008 11:30 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Skeye,
I don't respond to posts that often but I felt like I should put in how I deal with my pain.
I started having problems with my back and legs 12 years ago. I got to a point where I stayed in my room for along time. Then one day I thought to myself, Pain will not run my life or ruin it. I started to do anything I could think of to take my mind off of the pain. Even if it meant going to bed with the lights off and talking to a good friend on speaker phone of course. I have many health problems I just try my best to live my life to the fullest and never say never. I hope your pain will one day be a thing of the past. I don't know if this has even helped you out. Godspeed.....Okonner

Chartreux
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9622
   Posted 9/27/2008 11:38 AM (GMT -7)   
One quick question if I might:
Could this possibly be scar tissue?
Might wanna ask your doctor that next time...
Just a thought...
Lots of well wishes and soft hugz coming your way.......
.
**********************************************
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc, Fibromyalgia, Gerd, Enlarged Pituitary Gland
******** "We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world" from Helen Keller *********

********>^..^<********>^..^<********>^..^<********


skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 9/27/2008 12:07 PM (GMT -7)   
PAlady --

My professors believe in me. They know how determined I am, and they want to do anything that they possibly can to help. It helps that I have always been an excellent student and am at a small school where I know my professors well. I'm not sure that there are alternatives to the labs themselves, other than to take them at a different time, but that is something that I'll have find out more about over the next week. I'm not giving up hope yet, but it is a tough existence. Everything would be so much simpler if I didn't have such a strong passion, but at the same time I think that passion has been the only thing that has kept me going as long as I have. And of course it would help if veterinary school wasn't so hard to get into. smilewinkgrin

I have been seeing a therapist for almost a year which helps, but as I'm sure you know, in general, chronic pain is a very lonely condition as no one but you truly understands what you go through.

Pamela --

Scheduling certainly does help! I'm lucky that having been a highly competitive athlete for most of my life, I retained my sense of organization and strict time management. I don't think I'd be able to function at all without know what I have to get done when. In fact my desk is often covered with notes about daily schedules, weekly schedules, and so on. The hard part is just getting everything done in the amount of time available to do it.

Boxerlove --

I love the name. If you're referring to the dog, they are such great animals (although they don't always get the reputation they deserve)! I would love to have a boxer at some point in the future.

Taking classes in the summer is a great idea. I think I'm definitely going to have to do that for one or two classes, although it I think I will have to go somewhere other than my current school, as since I am at a small school, our summer course offerings are very limited.

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone!

Skeye

skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 9/27/2008 12:14 PM (GMT -7)   
Chartreux --

Yes, it very well could be. My doctor thinks that it is a combination of scar tissue and inflammation. Although I don't know if it would be possible to remove since it is very deep in the orbit behind the eye. Makes me wish today's medicine was like that of star trek where nothing in the body was inaccessible...

Skeye

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 9/27/2008 1:17 PM (GMT -7)   
Skeye,
You and me both! I keep waiting for that little instrument that the doc ("bones") could use to just fix everything.

Scar tissue and inflammation. Common enemies for a lot of us, although for me it's in my spine. Failed back surgery, and surgeon wants to go back in to remove "soft tissue" which was basically created by the first surgery. Scar tissue is challenging, that's for sure, and in the eye region must be even more difficult to address. Inflammation, though, maybe could have some options, even if they might be a bit drastic and have risk (like oral steroids). Mind you, I'm not recommending these things, just saying I know it's not an easy fix. And for lots of us it's a question of learning to deal with what we have and try our best to move forward.

A vet. What a wonderful passion. I truly hope there will be ways for you to pursue your dream, even though it might require some "tweaking" or maybe even some major adjustments, but if it's the love of animals hang onto that, and be open to different paths to achieving that goal. I have heard vet school is very hard to get into, so there are probably others even without health issues that have to adjust their path. Keep working with your instructors - it's great they're all supportive - and stay creative and brainstorm!

PaLady

Becoming undone
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 927
   Posted 9/27/2008 4:25 PM (GMT -7)   
don't know if you've tried yet...but talk to student services. There are all kinds of things that they could help you with(even in the sciences) such as books on tape (read and recorded by students...interns a/k/a cheap labour), longer times to take exams, etc.. Many students don't know they qualify...even for temporary problems (broken bones & such) much less more chronic illness. I used to work with and received some help (yeah broke a few bones...fell down the science building stairs at 2 am in the morning after studying for a particularly hard o-chem exam...) and had to work my way through school (took many odd jobs). Schools really want to help you stay, you just gotta ask for the help...and they usually do...
Anyway, just hope you keep shooting for the moon, cause even if you miss, you'll still land amongst the stars...

skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 9/27/2008 9:25 PM (GMT -7)   
PAlady --

Wouldn't it be great?! Not only can they fix just about anything, but they can fix it in no time flat! We just need to fast forward another hundred or two hundred years. But I guess all we can do for now is just watch & wish!

In the mean time I actually have tried massive doses of both steroids & anti-inflammatories, but with no luck. Although supposedly that is characteristic for this type of injury - it's unresponsive to just about everything. Good luck with your back! It's got to be very tough when something that was supposed to help you ends up causing more damage.

And yes, it is an intense love of animals (and people, despite what many people believe, you can't be a vet without loving people too, since when you treat an animal, there is always an owner attached), along with a strong passion for science. Vet school is actually much harder to get into than med school, so yes, even without chronic pain, adjustments are often necessary. But I'm not giving up yet! Even if I do have to take time off or change my life around, I'm determined to find some way to make it work in the end.

Becoming undone --

I have been working with them since the injury, and am actually meeting with them again next week to discuss more options. It's times like this when I am really glad that I chose a small school!

And breaking bones due to organic chemistry. Wow. That could make quite a story...

Skeye

Mochiah
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 450
   Posted 9/27/2008 10:05 PM (GMT -7)   
Skeye - just curious to ask if your ophthalmologist has ever brought up the subject of retrobulbar alcohol injections to alleviate your eye pain.

This may be something you may wish to investigate.
Mochiah/a.k.a. Sue
cervical fusion 2006
L4-5 surgery with cages, plates, and screws in 2005
MEDS:  Fentanyl patch, Norco, Celexa, trazodone, and Flexeril
 
To handle yourself, use your head...to handle others, use your heart
 
I'm going to smile like nothing is wrong, act like everything is perfect, and pretend its not hurting me.


skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 9/28/2008 7:20 AM (GMT -7)   
Mochiah,

No he's never mentioned such a thing. I'll have to do some research about it & ask him next time I see him. Thanks!

Skeye

kshields
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 9/28/2008 8:19 AM (GMT -7)   
hey I know exactly how you feel. I have chronic chest pain and have been on narcs for about 2 years.  I am trying to get off of the narcs now (very hard). I went to a very prestigious doctor, best in the nation and he told me that sometimes being on pain meds can make the pain worse so that is why I am getting off of them.  Are you seeing a pain doctor? You should ask your primary and see what he or she thinks.  I was suppose to go to med school but the  pain interfered with everything especially the ability to be a mother and wife, let alone school.  Now I have my degree but can't work.  Try homeopathic remedies maybe, just talk to your doctor. I am praying for you!

Chartreux
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9622
   Posted 9/28/2008 9:49 AM (GMT -7)   
Awe to be a Vet, that's great!
I sure hope you can make it...
P.S. Chartreux is a cat breed, get to know your breeds! there are CFA registered cats and TICA.
A Snowshoe is a TICA registered breed, not yet recongnized by the CFA.
There will be a quiz on this tomorrow, have you paper and pencils ready...
Just joking..
Hope you don't mind, it's me...eh...hehehe.........
try warm to very hot compresses,
I use a wash cloth wraped around a wooden spoon held up to the eye.
It keeps the heat longer, try it, you might like it...eh...hehehe..
sorry, it keeps slipping from me.
Soft Hugz
and lots of well wishes
**********************************************
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc, Fibromyalgia, Gerd, Enlarged Pituitary Gland
******** "We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world" from Helen Keller *********

********>^..^<********>^..^<********>^..^<********


Becoming undone
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 927
   Posted 9/28/2008 11:50 AM (GMT -7)   
Well here's to you...I'm so glad you're at a small school. I went to one that had smaller classes too. Though it was a state school, it tried to keep its class size small...and emphasized the education (no grad students teaching the classes...had the actual tenured professor).

I also know the intelligence and drive it takes to go to vet school, and I do agree that it is harder to get into vet school...I just wish and pray for you the best...we're here if you want to vent to...you probably need it...all those books...heck I got magnifiers just to ease the eyestrain after reading so much and late into the night...and, I didn't need them...I can't even imagine what you are going through.

All the best

skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 9/28/2008 7:36 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks everyone for the support and suggestions! I really appreciate it!

Chartreux --

I didn't realize that you username was a cat breed...at first. But then once you mentioned it, it realized that I have actually heard of that breed before! I must admit, I don't know my cat breeds very well. Dogs yes, horses yes, but cats, not so much. It's funny people take so much care to breed and purchase pure breed dogs, but the same doesn't apply to cats. Sure there are a lot of people who do breed and sell pure breed cats, but when it comes to cats, the majority of the people tend to own just a "domestic short hair" or a "domestic long hair." You'd think that the same general rule would apply... Just something I find interesting.

Skeye

Chartreux
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9622
   Posted 9/29/2008 2:05 PM (GMT -7)   
I too have scar tissue, just not as bad as yours, I had three eye surgeries and the doctor wanted to do a 4th and
I had had enough, my scar tissue is on the lower right eye lid, and very visible when I'm tired or have no make up on...
Sure hope your pain can get some relief. The warm compress help mine but I grew used to the pain, sometimes it hurt at night
and hard to go away its always constant...
I agree that there are more dog fantic people over the purr-fect dog, but you can pick up pure bred's from the pound.
I got my Snowshoe from the pound, but he has no papers. In the cat world there are a lot of Persians, it's the more
popular breed and the CFA does allow for a household cat category, but it has to have the claws, two of my cat's from the
pound did not have claws so I could'nt show them. You'll find out that the biggest deal is Claws or no Claws. To me it
doesn't matter what I get from the pound as long as it's in good health.
Lot's of well wishes to you...
Soft hugz as well..........
**********************************************
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc, Fibromyalgia, Gerd, Enlarged Pituitary Gland
******** "We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world" from Helen Keller *********

********>^..^<********>^..^<********>^..^<********

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