The Personality of my Chronic Pain/Headache

body of tears

During the last six and a half years I have said to myself and out loud many times – “If I ever get through this, I am going to share my story so that I can help other people. I want to help others that are living with chronic pain learn to cope. I want to show them that it is ok to ask for second, third or even more opinions.”

As a registered nurse, one of my priorities was always pain relief for my patients. I researched pain. I watched patients in pain. Pain disturbs rest. Without rest, our body can not recharge, repair, heal. I thought I knew about pain, because it was important to me, and I had done a significant amount of reading on the topic. I was wrong. There is pain, and then there is debilitating chronic pain. It is like it takes on a whole different personality.

Since I had the goal to share my story when I was able, I thought that as soon as I had the permanent stimulator implant done, I would be bursting to get going. Actually, I have had to twist my own arm to work on this post. I am finding that I do not want to look back. I am not going that direction. I am going forward. I want to, and need to go forward so bad, it seems like torture to think about what it was like with the intractable skull busting headache 24/7. A promise is a promise though, I like to keep my word. I am hoping that it will still be therapeutic for me to know that even if I could help one person, it would make the length of time with uncontrolled pain worth something.

Right at the time of the accident, I immediately had the most exploding severe headache I had ever felt. It went away within a few minutes, well not completely, but the exploding part. The remainder went away within a few hours, so I did not think anything of it. I just thought that I had a basic whiplash. I took all of the appropriate precautions accordingly – rest, ice, then careful motion and stretching. I did not work out, I decreased my activity at home and at work. ( Prior to the accident I was a very active, energetic person.)

About two weeks after the accident, my muscles started getting very tight and reactive to the most minimal activity. Then it got to the point I could barely turn my head, or move my left arm. I went back to my family Doctor, started physiotherapy and went off of work. Things seemed to settle down for a few weeks again, until I tried to increase my activity again. My physiotherapist encouraged me to push through it. She didn’t realize that I had quite a high pain threshold. In other words, if I was saying it was painful to move, and not wanting to, it must be pretty bad. There was no way for her to know. I pushed through. There was some particular movements at that time that would increase the pain at the base of my head on the right side. She told me to just stop those movements and exercises, and continue otherwise. After two separate sessions with her I ended up with a pretty bad headache that lasted a few hours each time. When I reported this to her, she did not think too much of it.

My return to work arrangements went ahead as planned six weeks after I had started physiotherapy. During my first four-hour shift, every time I tried to do something with my right arm – reaching with something in my hand such as an intravenous bag (5Β lbs), or pushing or pulling something the pain would come back. The second day, I recruited some helpers to get my patient out of bed. The patient was quite weak, needing significant assistance. My helpers suggested that I support her head, and they do the other tasks. I thought this would be the safe choice for me as well. During this patient transfer, just by holding the patients head, the pain at the back of my head came worse…and it did not leave.

I did not sleep much that night, or since then, until the last month – to be honest. By 11:00 the next day I was vomiting. I vomited frequently all afternoon, ending up dehydrated in emergency. I have never felt pain that intense in my life. There was no position that was comfortable. I could not even close my eyes, let alone sleep. It felt like something inside my head was trying to explode. A tooth ache that started at the back of my head, then wrapped up and around to the front in all directions. The pain inside my head was a beast with its own personality.

Next post I am going to talk about daily life, raising my kids, and road to diagnosis with the intractable skull busting beast that stayed in my head 24/7 for over six years. I am going to try to put into words what helped me get through the days. At the end of an assessment at a Pain Clinic, I was complimented on my techniques, and offered a job for once I recovered. They thought that I could bring something to their team to help people with chronic pain. So, please come back in case I have something to offer you or someone you know.

I Hope….


About Susan Bachelder aka. zolemia

Susan is a free spirited slightly crazy gal who is passionate about helping people discover their potential. A Dream Whisperer, Purpose Strategist, Lover of Life, Sustainable Fulfillment Coach... Susan seeks to enlighten others with the power to step into their potential, discover their purpose. Her incredible journey of pushing through challenges, past borders is an example of the power of will, strength of soul and the persistence of the human spirit. View all posts by Susan Bachelder aka. zolemia

18 responses to “The Personality of my Chronic Pain/Headache

  • Redneckprincess

    Wow, amazing story, I get migraine headaches, it sounds like that is what you lived. I have no idea how you would suffer that pain each and every day. I look forward to reading more.

  • zolemia

    Thank you for reading, and your support Donna!

  • Terry Beigie

    Wow. I have fibromyalgia. I don’t post a lot about it because I don’t like to remember that pain … that awful life that I had for many years—really until my divorce. I am sure it must have been awful for you. I’m so sorry!

  • LoveLiveAndLearn

    You have suffered so much and yet you’ve stayed strong – you are such an inspirational person!
    I will definitely read all of the posts in this series, I need all the advice I can get. Thank you for writing this πŸ™‚

    • zolemia

      I do not see myself as strong. What I “see” is what I expect of myself, and my two reasons “why”, which are my kids. As long as I have a focus, a plan, a mission I can persevere. It was the days that the pain was bad enough, and I was tired enough that I could not see, that I felt like I was crumbling. I am working on writing about getting through those times.
      Take care! Remember to remind yourself how well you are doing!!

      Thank you for stopping by and for your comment!!

  • Phil's Lounge

    Hey Susan,

    Thanks for taking the time to share and for going back to give us some insight.
    It’s been said and I echo it, you have gone through an ordeal and shown amazing resilience, strength and determination.
    You are amazing and Blessed, to be able to see past “self” and think of others with what you have experienced is awesome.

    I will be informing one of my sisters and a cousin to visit and read….sometimes my sister finds it too painful to type but I’m sure when she reads your posts she’ll be encouraged.

    Much Love. πŸ˜‰

    • zolemia

      Thank you Phil for your generous words! Your comments always make me smile.

      Please do share with your sister and cousin. I have so much to share. I know the content will be helpful, my challenge is getting it in print. I am not a writer, and am very critical of what I do write. Therefore it is a personal battle to get it down. If I was speaking, hours would go by!!

      Take Care πŸ™‚

  • Shawna

    Keep writing, you are doing great! I am so glad you are at the point where you can share your story. I look forward to reading it all!

  • wordsfallfrommyeyes

    Wow. This is such a huge experience. I have never had a headache in my life but when you described it as ‘exploding headache’ I got a real picture of it.

    I had a friend (once!!) who suffered a car accident – 2 broken legs, 2 broken arm. His experience in hospital was really bad – he wrote about it and I typed it up for him. It’s well worth writing about, sharing it. I TOO SAID ‘if I ever get through this, I’ll write it out’ – and that is EXACTLY why I commenced my blog in August & exactly why I maintain it. It really helps to let it go.

    My sincere best to you. Health forever! πŸ™‚

  • The Hook

    Fantastic title! I suck at titles, so I have immense respect for creative bloggers like yourself!

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