I’ve Never Landed A Punch…Yet!

What would you do if as you were enjoying visiting with a friend or meeting with a client you suddenly experienced a pain that doubled you over, took your breath away, brought tears to your eyes?  I’m starting to learn to live with the agonizing  hot-poker-like nerve pain that randomly sears into my armpit and travels down my left arm, and the alternate dull ache that sometimes infiltrates my chest like a coverlet of distress.  Honestly.  Labor pain was less intense.

A new twist to my new life as a survivor are the random attacks of pain.  They bite without warning.  I’ve yet to figure out if they’re caused by the way I’m sitting, standing, walking, running.  Is the water too hot?  Is the air too cold?  Have I worked too long?  Am I too tired?  Am I nervous?  Anxious?

They don’t happen often, but I feel vulnerable and embarrassed when they do.  I lose my train of thought.  I often involuntarily punch my arm out to the side as a response to the sharp jab of pain. (Thankful no one has been on the receiving end of my left punch!)  Sometimes it helps to shake my arm with my wrist flexed back.  Not sure what I’m doing really when I do that.  Maybe I’m stretching something.  Maybe the movement is taking my mind off the pain and interrupting the signals from hitting their mark in my brain, thus deadening the pain.  Sometimes the pain draws tears as much because it hurts as out of frustration over not being able to tear my arm from my body and throw it across the freaking room!

Sometimes I need to raise my left arm upward, drop my forearm back and, using my right hand, pull my elbow behind my head.  Sometimes I have to close my eyes and breath deeply, like I’m trying to release a sneeze.  And other times I just need to manually readjust my breast.  Each activity brings some relief.  Which would you pick if you were in my shoes?  (Or sports bra?!)

I’ve been searching for information on nerve pain.  My surgeon early on told me to take vitamin B12 to help restore the nerves.  I’m aware it could take up to a year for the nerves to regenerate and heal themselves from being cut through during surgery.  I wonder sometimes if my fatigue of late is due in part to my mind’s working to fight off the healing pain that goes on more than I let myself notice.

I’ve got three meetings with new clients this week.  That’s the most I’ve had back-to-back-to-back since before my diagnosis.  So I’m getting back into the swing of things!  Business still goes on.  Work still needs to be found.  Our employees depend on us for their paychecks.  So here’s hoping I have no episodes in front of anyone I’d have to explain my behavior.  It’s one thing to chat up my jolting and shifting to someone I know who’s sitting wide-eyed in surprise.  It’s a whole other thing to try and cover it up or explain it to someone I’m trying to impress and whose trust and business I want to win.

Wish me luck!  And don’t hesitate to offer up a few tips you think I could use!  Not a big fan of  “excuse me while I grab my boob, please.” though.  Just so you know!