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Let's talk about pain. Not the visible pain of a cut, bruise, or broken bone; but the deep rooted, non-visible pain that comes with some diseases like fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, or better yet, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). These diseases aren't visible to the naked eye, or even to a microscope, but there are people who suffer with these terrible diseases and still manage to make their day-to-day life productive.
There is a scale that is used to measure pain, called the Mcgill Pain Scale (MPS). Now, this scale rates pain of different diseases up to a pain level of 50, which is a lot higher than the typical 1-10 scale used by Emergency Departments when you visit for an injury. To give a basic understanding of the MPS a sprain is rated at a 14, while arthritis is at 18, fibromyalgia is at 30, childbirth (with coaching, and training) is at 35, and non-planned childbirth is at a 38, however CRPS is rated at a 42. The highest ranking pain syndrome that is known to man.
Suffering with CRPS is like suffering from depression, you know you have it, you can feel it, the burning, the pressure, the skin color changes, but, no one else can see it. No one around you realizes that the pain you feel at any given time is so severe that your stomach is in knots, your mind is blank and you can't focus on anything but the amount of pain you're in. I suffer daily from CRPS, the pain is so severe that sometimes I don't recall anything that happened.
I don't there is much of a difference between CRPS and depression, people can know you have it, know your diagnosis, but since they can't see what's wrong with you, there's no scars, blood, or casts like broken bone they think that the pain isn't as bad as the doctors, specialist, and pain psychologists make it out to be, simply because they can't see it. But deep down when you suffer from CRPS ever little task becomes monumental, brushing my teeth takes every ounce of energy I have, tying my shoes becomes a hassle because it hurts, cooking a meal is almost impossible as I fight through the pain to have a single meal. Once I found out that I suffered from CRPS, depression hit me like a ton of bricks.
My depression isn't like a normal persons depression, mine is more related to my severe lack of my previous capabilities. I can't lift over ten pounds, raise my arms over my head, do push-ups, pull-ups, or even throw a baseball. I feel like a burden to everyone around me, my family, my co-workers, my fellow students. At my age, why should I have to suffer such an injustice when it comes to my health? Why do I have to suffer with such a disease that is so debilitating that I can hardly function?
During the week, I go to about ten different doctors appointments, spend about an hour at each appointment, and still leave them in just as much pain as I started. I go to help find a cure, because nothing helps. I get treated like an addict because the only thing that helps with my pain is opioids and they don't like giving those out to people anymore. I go into a flare and end up in the Emergency Department on an IV drip with Fentanyl and Diladid, but my typical pain level goes from about a eight only own to a five. The tears run down my face, leaving streaks in my cheeks that show I'm a warrior. Scratch marks lace my limbs as I've taken so many medications that I'm allergic to at least half, I don't know which ones I'm allergic to.
Do I want to live like this? Survive isn't much of an option. Death seems easier, but I can't leave my family. I have to fight for those who also suffer this unimaginable disease, because maybe one day they will find a cure.