Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pain in my hip!

"You've got what it takes but it will take everything you've got"

Pain...a simple four letter word, easy to say, easy to spell and that's about where my list of positive things end about the word. If you type the word 'Pain" into Google it revels 814,000,000 results in 0.18 seconds. People all around the world are searching for answers to explain their pain but most importantly answers on how to escape it and make it go away. I think we all fear pain on some level- it's uncomfortable, frightening, foreign for most people and makes us lose control. The good news is most pain is acute meaning that it will hurt and be painful but it will pass. Chronic pain on the other hand has settled in, made itself at home and for the foreseeable future isn't budging from your body.

Intense, exhausting, miserable, cruel, nauseating, burning, suffocating, distressing, excruciating pain!

These are the words I would use to explain my left hip which has been an on going issue for a year and a half. It's the kind of pain every cell in your body screams out to. Every part of you desperately wants to escape from. It's a pain that has become way too familiar and frequent for my liking.

Things took a bad turn in March 2013 when after a lupus flare my pain became localised in my left hip. It was as if all the pain in my body suddenly went to this one area. I've lived with pain but never experienced pain this severe before in a joint. My rheumatologist sent me for an MRI to rule out Avascular Necrosis . A clear MRI came back leaving us with no answers. Which brings with it the self doubt - is this pain all in my head? There's nothing on the scan it must be fine? Why did nothing show?? My orthopedic surgeon decided to try an intraarticular cortisone injection which involves using an xray machine to guide the injection into the hip joint. There were two reasons to try this method: firstly to gain pain relief but also to see if the hip joint was the cause of my pain and not another area like my back. Once the local anesthetic was injected into my joint I gained IMMEDIATE relief which was heavenly. Thankfully my steroid injection worked perfectly as well and I thought my days of being in agonising hip pain were over. They were for about six months... Slowly but surely the pain returned and so did the crutches and the loss of ability to do the things I used to be able to do. Codeine turned into Tramadol which then turned into Morphine as I tried desperately to get this pain under control.

In February this year it was decided another steroid injection was needed. Again everything went well. I got instant relief from the local anesthetic and after a few days the cortisone started to kick in. By April the pain had returned! Like before I had started rebuilding my life and gaining independence again then it was all ripped away. That's where those silent tears at night come in. Please make it go again, please make it stop, I'm so tired of fighting this pain, please just leave me alone.

Lovely big needle in my hip during my second cortisone injection

Currently my medical teams are at a loss of what to do to treat me. My MRI's aren't showing anything conclusive. My scan is clear but my ability to function and live like a twenty three year old are completely irregular. I am getting by on a large dose of morphine mixed with stubbornness and perseverance. I refuse to let this be my long term future. Yesterday I got in a warm therapy pool and was able to walk freely which was the most heavenly experience. Water has always been a source of comfort and freedom for me. My heart ached when I had to get out and reach for my crutches and instantly the pain returned as weight was put through my hip. I wish I had fins! I wish I was a mermaid!

So now when my pain gets excruciating and I feel like I am going to be stuck like this forever I close my eyes and imagine myself walking pain free in the pool and think one day I will do this on land and I will cherish every beautiful step.