Tough Times, Yet I Must Trust
Feb 20, 2014 2:45amHi everyone,
This is Betsy. I know my Mom is typically the one who updates this site, and she is quite amazing at it. But I also know it makes her happy when I post too, so here goes...
First, I would like to say a special "thank you" to those of you who continue to check this site and still pray for me. It has been over 5 years now, and I still have prayer warriors and people who care how I'm doing. It is just plain humbling. And Lord knows, I need lots of prayers, as my cancer journey continues, day after day.
In an earlier post, I know my Mom mentioned The Pain Rehabilitation Center that exists down at Mayo Clinic. I knew nothing of it until my great aunt brought it up to my mom (Thanks Becky!). A couple of months ago, I had a consultation at the facility, and was told that I'm the ideal candidate for their program. That is bittersweet for me because that automatically means I really have a serious problem, as they only accept patients who have run out of options. But being accepted is a great thing, of course, because I can still hold on to some hope for improvement regarding my daily head, neck and back pain.
I have very mixed emotions about entering this intensive pain rehab program. It's all day, everyday for 3 weeks. I begin the program on March 19th. For my level of functioning right now, that schedule sounds grueling, if not impossible! At times, I have major doubts on whether or not this place will be able to help me, since it's uncommon for them to get patients with cancer in the brain and spine. But I think I will be able to identify with the other participants when it comes to the debilitating nature of chronic pain. It is my hope that meeting people who struggle with chronic pain will, at the very least, make me feel less alone.
I'll admit I'm feeling a bit of pressure since this is a kind of "last straw" or final hope of my pain improving. I feel pressure because my family and loved ones have generously offered their financial resources so I am able to stay in Rochester for the extent of my program. Thank you for releasing that burden, and may God bless you abundantly for your giving hearts. It is just mind-blowing to me how God provides and also what a close, special family I have! I want you all to know how much I love you and that I am taking this opportunity very, very seriously.
I hope you all had a lovely Valentine's Day. Tim and I were able to have date night at "Biaggi's" (yum!) and then we watched romantic movies at home while eating chocolate covered strawberries, which he surprised me with. I'm beyond lucky to have a husband who doesn't mind a good chick flick every now and then! I pray that I am able to be more independent, patient and hopeful after I complete this rehab. Because Tim helps me with SO much every single day, with no complaints. EVER. I love him so much. I so desperately want my freedom back from pain and my cancer. I know I cannot have the "pre-cancer" me back, or the life I had five years ago, but I just want to be the best partner I can be for Tim.
In other news, I've started having panic attacks (I wouldn't wish this experience on anyone), deep depression, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, grief, and an overall inability to handle the pain (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual). I am SO worn down from the pain, that I've slowly isolated myself from others. I hate disappointing people when I have to cancel plans so often due to pain or some other cancer-related issue. I'm in the darkest, heaviest place I've ever been in. It's worse than all the surgeries, chemo, radiation, infections, etc. And it's worse because I'm losing hope. I hate thinking or saying that when I have God, and my amazing husband, family, and friends who love me, but it's the ugly truth of it all right now.
As you all know, I've tried many treatments for both my cancer and chronic pain, but none have been successful. I will always be willing to try one more thing (if the possible benefits outweigh the risks). A component of this particular treatment program at Mayo involves working to wean patients off of narcotic pain medications. I have taken low-dose Dilaudid daily for several years now. I don't abuse my pain meds, but I know my body has naturally become tolerant and dependent on the meds, since I've been taking them for years. And that scares me sometimes.
I have committed mysef to fully participate in this upcoming program, with an open mind and heart. In the end, I hope to return home refreshed, armed with coping skills and tools that truly help ease my pain, anxiety and depression. I know my heart is longing to re-connect, so please pray that I will be able to do so with myself, my family, and old and new friends. Thanks for reading...and I apologize...I can never keep it short and sweet!
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