Pain means a lot of different things to different people. Cancer changed my view drastically.I never truly knew what pain to me was until I went through cancer, and what it means to me now.
There was plenty of physical pain. The surgery and the recovery. Radiation and the burns on my skin. Chemotherapy and the hoards of side effects. The day to day physical pain was constant for almost twelve months. I am still amazed I was able to deal with it. The desire to survive got me through it I think. I would be on so many pain killers I would pass out some days from them. I hated the way I looked, I got to the point I couldn't even look in the mirror. I lost a sense of self, I didn't know who I was anymore.
These pains were present for a long time, some still linger.
There is plenty of emotional pain as well. It is draining to go through all the these things and trying to tell yourself it will get better. It is the only thing to get you through some days. It hurts to have your family watch you go through so much, and to be honest I did my best to hide it from everyone around me. A lot of friends stopped talking to me and basically abandoned me. That was a special type of pain, I still have not forgiven most of them for that. On the other side of things, the ones who didn't leave mean so much more to me, especially my family and my wife.
The feeling of isolation is painful. I never felt more alone in my life. I was fortunate that no one I knew very well ever had to go through cancer. However, I had no one to really "share" what I was going through. This is one I still deal with. Not for lack of my friends trying, it is just hard to quantify many of these things when there is no way to describe everything.
I still struggle with fear, something I place in emotional pain. Every ache, bruise, or illness makes me think I may be going back. I am positive with my outlook, the treatment seemed to work, but I don't know if I can ever fully go back. I don't think this is uncommon with cancer survivors. It just becomes something you have to deal with.
All of this pain has changed me. It is a tricky thing, and it is hard to fully explain in such a short space, this is probably something I will revisit often. I think I am a stronger person for it. I don't complain about day to day things anymore, it takes a lot to really set me off with work, I think this is a good thing.
For better or worse, the pain changes you.