Gutting it Out…

Mitch Schneider
February 6, 2021

I’m in constant pain. It’s relentless. Omnipresent. I know (At least, I hope…) it will go away eventually. But that doesn’t present much solace when it feels as if someone just poked you in the forehead with a hunting knife!

It helps to know the cause. Postherpetic neuralgia, a remnant of my recent Shingles Zoster adventure. But as I mentioned above, knowing doesn’t help all that much.

Like most of us, I’m no stranger to pain. I experienced more than my share through the Chemo that started my transplant journey and the lesions that appeared in my mouth and throat. Fracturing my elbow was an adventure I would care not to repeat. Any time you break something and find yourself rolling around on the ground conjuring up images of dead relatives is something to be avoided.

As was a broken hand 55 years ago. A 5th metacarpal, or ‘boxer’s break’ that followed a physical altercation in a plumbing supply warehouse. It hurt when I fractured it and it hurt worse when the doctor set it.
That’s in addition to all the other breaks, sprains, cuts, and bruises that accompany a blue-collar life well-lived.

If you are at all engaged in the business of life, you’re going to take a hit or two. It’s unavoidable. The question is: What do you do about it?

I don’t know about you, but as much as I’d like to crawl up in a ball and quit at times. I can’t. That’s just not a part of my nature. In fact, my reaction to debilitating pain seems to be a renewed commitment to gut it out. To dig in and transcend the pain and its deleterious impact.

Don’t misunderstand… I don’t enjoy my episodes of chronic pain any more than you or anyone else does. But I’ll be damned if I will let it define me!

  1. Vernon Campbell
    February 6, 2021

    Seems like when I was working in the shop, knowing I had to get the job done, I just powered thru. I guess the work distracted me enough, but at end of the day I felt it. Smashing fingers, bangs, bruises on the shins, head, knees elbows etc. i worked every day during my 38 days of radiation treatment, treatment at 7am then worked till exhausted, sometimes 2pm, sometimes all the way to 5pm, limp like a dish rag each day, but the continuing is probably what kept me going, even when hauling 35 extra pounds I somehow put on after radiation was over but chemical/hotmone therapy was continuing.
    Actually once all treatment done I took on part time jobs, Amazon warehouse later Valet waste going up and down apartment stairs emptying garbage. At 62 still going as much as possible but require more rest to recover.

    Reply Reply
    • Mitch Schneider
      February 9, 2021

      It's odd how we have to learn how to be responsible for ourselves. That nurturing a sense of self-worth is dependent upon the job as if that is what ultimately defines us. I admire your courage, determination, and grit. Not sure I could have gutted my way through thirty-eight days of radiation and what I know must have followed. I do understand how important the sense of purpose is. I wish you a safe, complete, and speedy recovery. Sounds like you've more than earned it! Stay well and take care! Mitch

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