During the years of intense physical pain, the most annoying and irritating thing you could ask me was, “What’s your pain level? or Where does it hurt? or How’s the pain today compared to yesterday?” I didn’t want to think about it, or be reminded that I felt like hell, much less consider how I felt and describe it to you. My answer (picture a super annoyed teenager who’d rather do anything else than talk to you right now) “My pain level is a 10. And I hurt everyday, thanks for reminding me.”
I got really tired of having to answer questions about – What’s your pain level? Did it coincide with your cycle? Where was the pain located? Would you describe it as radiating, stabbing, throbbing, or continuous? How are you sleeping? What pills did you take on what day? When was your last cycle? – It was exhausting, most the time I would just say something like, pain level of 10, I hurt all the time, I sleep all the time, and I take all my pills. SO HELPFUL! Finally, (before smart phones) I kept a day calendar where I could take notes on my pain level, what pills I took, if I took a nap, or when I last had my period. At one point I started using descriptors for how bad my body felt, because ‘pain level of 10’ doesn’t get the point across.
“My eyelashes hurt” would explain the overall painful/tired/took all my energy feeling. “My eyelashes hurt” days were an all over fatigue. The kind of exhaustion where asking me to move from the bed to the sofa was far too much. If my phone wasn’t within reach, I probably wouldn’t answer it. Oh, you want to sit on the sofa too? Ehhhh….you can move my legs if you want. Basically, I’m too tired and it takes too much energy to lift my eyelashes…pain.
“Meat Grinder” was when menstruating or ovulating was so far beyond painful, it felt like my organs were going through a meat grinder. I could FEEL my ovaries pushing eggs to my uterus, like pushing a boulder up a hill. And as my uterus shed its lining, I thought of old wallpaper being torn off the wall. The Meat Grinder was focused intense pain that sharply stabbed my abdomen and radiated out to the rest of my body. Dizzying. Debilitating.
It got to the point where I could describe my condition in a couple of words. Meat Grinder. All my therapists knew how I felt, no questions.