The first hours were a struggle to catch up to the pain, which went from 0 to +10 within 15 minutes of leaving my tongue biopsy surgery. I was given two pain medication prescriptions. After trying the first one and waiting 4 hours with no change in the pain, I tried the 2nd prescription. An edge came off the pain, taking it to an solid 9. Then I was nauseous. The pain never went below 8. With deep body/mind self-coaching and meditation, I slept. I took more of the prescription. Felt sicker, pain constant at 8. I kept myself distracted with TV and movies. 27 hours post-surgery, I rallied myself to meet with some people – plans made before my surgery. In pain and nauseous, I lay on their porch swing while the conversation went on without me. I determined to take no more of that prescription. I vomited when I got home. I resorted to over-the-counter pain relief that was in my cupboard. The pain went to a 6, with no more nausea.
After three days, the swelling was still pronounced and the pain a constant burning or pinching. Eating was impossible and liquids through a straw pulled on my stitches. Do you realize how many times you swallow, in a minute?!
Expectations, Everyone Has Them
I wrote that email to my surgeon and got a prompt phone call to come in. All is ‘normal.’ There’s no infection and was told that everyone’s pain experience is different and I was not outside of expectations. Well, I guess I better adjust my expectations. Another prescription for another pain killer. What the heck, I thought. Desperation is not a great place from which to make decisions. I took the dosage of that prescription and slept 4 hours in a coma-like state on my couch. Woke up with same tongue pain at 7-8 and feeling nauseous again.
Finally, Advice That Helps
I walked to my local health food store to get the products recommended by my personal coach and everything related to holistic healing – my daughter, Ali. The walk cleared my head and made me wonder why I didn’t do this when she first told me 2 days ago. Shame and self-recrimination ensue. Also present were anger, resentment and helplessness. I’m so used to these feelings. They were like companions on my walk home. I was glad for the company.
Lo and behold the topical product I purchased, instantly numbed the pain sight reducing it to a 3, but not for long. The second product gave pain relief and swelling reduction with no nausea. I functioned in my home for several hours before bed. I slept. The pain still woke me, but I returned to sleep after applying the topical ointment and ingesting the natural pain relief.
Hunger or Pain?
There’s a battle between my hunger and my mouth pain. My hunger rages whenever the pain intensity dips. In order to ingest a small serving of something blended or juiced, I need to take the over-the-counter pain-relief to endure the pain that occurs afterward. Moving – yoga, walking light house work – feels therapeutic. One moment at a time. Attentively attending to my mind running ahead with the story of a pain-filled, food enjoyment free future or the ever-popular anger, frustration, poor me and coulda-shoulda-woulda thoughts, keeps me busy when I sit.
Hope and Gratitude
I have pain-free moments on Day 4! I even make myself some soup and consume a whole cup before the pain resumes and makes it not worth it. This gives me hope and enables me to clearly visualize my tongue returning to normal size and function.
I am grateful I can sleep almost through the night. I am grateful for so much kindness and generous, loving support from my friends and family. I am grateful there are resources available to relieve my pain. I am grateful for the level of mental fitness that I have developed that this experience has called upon. I am grateful my body knows what to do and I’m learning to understand its communication. Writing helps me process my experience immensely. Thank you for listening.