Pain. It’s my constant companion. Adiba and I share the status of having bone only metastases. While having bone only metastases is associated with a statistically longer life expectancy (approximately 10 years rather than the overall 2-3 year median life expectancy), the constant and chronic pain can really wear on a person.
Here’s how Adiba looks at it …
While it’s not scientific, I also explain to others that breast cancer has “eaten” my bones since the breast cancer lesions/tumors/etc., do interfere with the equation and metabolic activity that is taking place inside your bones every day, all day long. I didn’t always understand that our bones are “alive,” with the cells constantly dying and being replaced, just like the rest of our bodies until I had to learn more due to having bone mets. When we add the bisphosphonates (Zometa, Xgeva, Prolia, etc.) that help to stabilize our bones and that equation, even more side effects can result.
This is the bottom line — bone mets cause pain and the treatment for bone mets causes more pain as well as the death of other bones like the jaw, the small bones of the feet, and the femurs. It’s all pain, pain and more pain.
What does chronic pain do?
It not only occupies the physical, but it affects the emotional and the mental. To simply get out of bed is painful. To move is painful. To walk is painful. To conduct the normal activities of daily like is painful.
And it wears on you, body, mind and spirit.
On some days, it takes literally every bit of my effort and energy to get out of bed, to do the “normal” activities of life. Every bit of effort.
And then I don’t have much more to give and I don’t have the energy to filter the things that I say or do and that’s hard on the people around me. Some days I just have to stay in bed, I have to rest, I have to take a break. Other days, I’m having a good day. Some days I do too much and then I pay for it later.
If there is someone in your life who is experiencing pain, give them grace and then give them some more. You have no idea how much effort it takes just to be upright.
And now you know more about the pain that bone mets cause and the effort to be alert.