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How My Chronic Pain Affects My Children

I’ve had pain for so long, I can’t remember exactly when it started. For the last 3.5 years though it’s been an intense roller-coaster of chronic, debilitating pain due to almost 15 surgeries and procedures. I went for surgery under the belief I would come out a “new woman,” but I came out a nerve damaged mess.

I have the most amazing, supportive husband, Simon, who is trying to hold our family of five together while working full-time and learning a new culture. We relocated about six months after my first operation for his business, but it’s also more affordable to hire help in the home. Simon has had to take on the role of both mum and dad, at times when I’m either physically or mentally wiped out from the pain. I have missed drop off at school, birthday parties, play-dates and even half of Christmas day this year. I take my hat off to my wonderful husband as he certainly has a lot of balls up in the air.

Our kids have been so resilient it amazes me. We decided as a family that we would be honest with our kids about my medical journey. Obviously we are careful with how it is worded and filter out the gory bits. For us, it was important for them to feel part of the process but we were starting to see more fighting and tears, realizing we had a highly emotional household.

My eldest (9) follows me around with a small hand towel to wipe away my perfuse sweats (thanks, side effects). The middle child (7)  asks me if I’m OK every five minutes in a tearful voice. My wee 3-year-old peanut runs to find my walking stick if he seen me get up, along with waking up in the night in tears, depressive looks, silent responses and separation anxiety. This is when I knew that not only were my husband and I going through the trauma of it all, the kids were feeling it too.

So, I talked to each of them individually and answered any of their questions. Over a period of time they slowly released their anxiety and emotions began to be released. Individually they handle it differently.

My 9-year-old has taken some of my MRI scans into school for show-and-tell. It was quite amazing listening to him rehearse his perspective of my pain.

My daughter suffers the most, or is more vocal and emotional about my daily pain. I feel her watching me. She actually got stomach pains and began to lose weight over a two-month period. I brought her to the doctors and after examinations and cameras into her tummy, it was all clear. About four nights later she confided in me that she felt they were worry pains about me and since that night, she’s had no more cramps or stomach pains.

Pain is crap, chronic pain is crappier, but crappiest of all is that it doesn’t just affect the person suffering. It affects the loved ones who try to make our world just a bit better.

To my husband Simon, Kids Ebhan, Zahra and Callum, Sorry. Sorry that you guys have been affected by my pain. I love you all madly and am so blessed to have you all. Thank you.

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Thinkstock image by: zahar2000