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Pain is Weakness Leaving the Body

“You tend to downplay your symptoms,” my oncologist said as he wrote me a prescription for Oxycodone. “Like last summer when you were telling me you felt fine while you were coughing all over the place. So if you say you hurt an 8 or a 10, you must really be in pain.”

He was right. I’ve been in non-stop blinding pain since Thursday. I thought my lower back was out of whack, which was causing a shooting sensation in my left hip. But I went to the chiropractor for an adjustment on Monday afternoon, and afterwards I felt exactly the same.

I had an infusion in Atlanta on Wednesday and told them what was going on. I wasn’t too worried about it from an oncology perspective, but as I described what I was feeling and how long it had been going on, my doctor was like, “Yeah, we’re getting you an MRI.”

I’ve had some bone spots pop up over the past year and apparently it can make me susceptible to fractures. So before I let another person crack my spine, we need to make sure there’s nothing broken.

It’s amazing what pain does to a person. This past Monday I was giving notes on monologues laying on my back staring at the ceiling of the black box theatre. I had to warn my students that if I wasn’t my normal, jovial self it wasn’t because I didn’t love them, it’s just that it felt like someone was stabbing me in the back and then for fun pounding my hip. On my flight to Iowa this morning I stood in the bathroom for five minutes because I couldn’t handle sitting down any longer.

I used to see these shirts in high school. The Cross Country team used to wear them. They had sayings- “Pain in Temporary, Pride is Forever.” “Pain is Weakness Leaving the Body.”

I understand why they wore those shirts. We all need motivation. Reasons to keep going when the going gets tough. But those platitudes are meaningless when faced with actual pain. And what about when it isn’t temporary? I’m pretty sure weakness wasn’t leaving my body this morning. And if that’s what it was, I can stand to be a little weaker.

I’ve got all the strength I can handle thank you very much.

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