Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Pain, and Other Inconsequential Ramblings of a Condemned Man

Please don’t try this at home.
Stick your hand into the middle of an open flame. Does it hurt?
Now, leave it there. If the pain didn’t get worse beyond the initial shock, if you wouldn’t suffer irreparable damage from being dumb enough to stick your hand in the middle of an open flame, could you keep it there; for how long?
One minute?
Five minutes?
My hand has been stuck in the middle of the open flame for almost 18 years.
“Pain is relative.” True, to a certain point. If you constantly feel plain, that sensation becomes normal and it does not add discomfort, until you think about it.
I had grown accustomed to that ever-present level of pain, comfortable with the fact my threshold was only exceeded one or two times per month. Then, my MS developed into secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. My “relative” pain is everywhere now, arms, legs, head, chest… Relatively speaking, this pain sucks.
The ancient Roman poet, Ovid, is credited with having said, “Endure and persist; this pain will turn to good by and by.” I, personally, would like to smack the individual who translated his quote this way. It is apparent this person never endured Mr. Pitula’s high school Latin class.
“Perfer et obdura! dolor hic tibi proderit olim.” (Ovid, Amores 3.11a.7-8)
“Bear and persist! The suffering will be useful to you.”
Thank you, George, for teaching me the proper syntax, conjugations, and declensions. Suffering builds character; it teaches you a moral code to apply to your life; the benefits of suffering/adversity are the lessons of turning a challenge into improvement. Pain teaches you three things: pain sucks, don’t do what you did, bury your pain if you want to live. Lesson learned. Don’t get MS.
For so many reasons, my suffering will be useful to me. I will use it to leave my influence in the world. If I could take away one thing from my ‘Life Lesson That is my MS’, it would be pain. Physical pain, without any hope of curtailment, can easily drive even the healthiest of men towards desperate measures.


Pain syndromes are common in MS. In one study, 55% of people with MS had "clinically significant pain" at some time, and almost half had chronic pain.

The fight is not over and it won’t be over until a cure is found.
It will never stop…nor will we
It will never quit…nor will we
This is why we fight!

Never Stop… Never Quit…®
Kevin Byrne
Portland, OR

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