Life takes us all on a journey, it twists and turns and you end up in places you never expected. Pain is not just physical but it is also psychological and impacts everything we see, do, feel and experience. Being a healthcare provider does not protect one from experiencing pain but makes it more tangible, real and there is a need to extend a hand to help others.
I decided to extend my education, but during the process life took unexpected turns that sent me reeling and questioned my intentions. During my education my mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, placed on hospice and died 10 days later. Thankfully I could help her, my husband and deal with the grief that ensued. Approximately one year later my husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer. This sent him reeling and my education helped me participate in his care while balancing school, family life and care for him. One year later my husband developed renal cell cancer. Once again, I was able to help him navigate the system, care for him and balance school. I thought I was going to lose my mind between work, school and my husband’s health. I had trouble sleeping doubting myself and praying that I was smart enough, supportive enough and strong enough to help him. I was lucky, things worked out.
While it appears that I was highly functional and held it together, my pain increased during periods of stress. We are all one, with similar experiences. As I cared for my patients experiencing fear, pain and uncertainty, my heart cried, my fortitude increased and my desire to help others escalated.
However, in the mix I forgot about myself. I lost my footing and walked the tight rope. I repeat, we are all one….we all have the same fears and psychological stressors that increase our pain. I ponder and wonder if I am a better person, better wife, better healthcare provider due to my own pain. I would like to believe that is true. Perception is everything. School is finished, my husband is healthy and I miss my mother in law every day. I look in the mirror and tell myself that I am doing the best I can with what I have. I am not unaffected. I feel like an outsider looking in…I wonder if I will achieve my goals. However, rest assured that my husband is healthy and I will manage my pain, calm my back spasms and keep myself from getting too emotional. Emotions, fear and stress increase the pain.
So many people in the pain community have similar experiences. Those that do not, rest assured that many in the healthcare field are silent but knowing, caring and treating yourself, loved ones and each other. We are truly one united in similar experiences.
Written By A Member of TPC Community