It was about 10AM on Monday that it all began. I thought I was just having indigestion, terrible indigestion. Then indigestion turned into hot lava. I thought well I might be having a minor pancreatic flare again, but it should pass. Then it felt like someone placed a belt right below my rib cage, encircling me, and began pulling on it. Making it tighter and tighter. Oh, the pain! No. I could not believe this! I was having a bad pancreas attack! A horrible attack! I hadn’t had a severe attack in almost a year. I called my doctor for rescue medications, I called my husband to come home because until I get the pain under control, my doctor could admit me to the hospital at any time. I need my husband when my pain was this bad because I am completely helpless and cognitively impaired.
Around 3:30 PM my husband arrived with my rescue drugs. I was out of my mind in pain and took what my doctor had prescribed. I waited for a 1/2 hour. NO relief. I was at a loss, my pain was steadily increasing, and I said to my husband, “I can’t go through this again!” I took a second pain pill. My doctor always told me to stay ahead of the pain. I did get some pain relief from the second pill. I was ahead of the pain! So I began taking one pill every six hours as directed. I slept for exactly six hours, would wake up, and take another dose, write it in my meditation journal, and fall back asleep.
We have been through these pancreas attacks before. It’s almost like a little dance now… I call my doctor, then my husband. Jeff will pick up medications on his way home, I will have already taken my anti-nausea medication and will have started pushing fluids. He will give me my first dose and keep track of the time. I will try to cognitively go to another place where there is no pain. Jeff will go to the kitchen to make me some crystal light and chop some ice, so I have ice chips. We wait for our orders from the doctor after the nurse has called to see how it’s going. And that is our routine for dealing with a pancreas attack. We are good at this! Unfortunately, we are good at this because I have had seven surgeries on my pancreas.
As we were sitting together, waiting for the medication to work and any additional orders from the doctor…
I asked my husband a question;
What is your biggest fear when I call you with a pancreas attack?
My biggest fear?
Yes, what do you fear?
I fear that you won’t call me, that you will have stopped fighting, and you are dead.
Yes, that is my biggest fear. When I call or text you, and I don’t get a response from you even when you are not having a flare, I worry.
I thought I always answered?
Well, sometimes you are sleeping.
What do you think of the people who are close to us that do not believe I have Fibromyalgia Syndrome?
Kim, I’ve known you since birth. I watched you grow up. You were always a go-getter. And for those that don’t believe you, I honestly do not understand this? I just can’t think anyone close to us would treat you like a liar, but there were a few that did.
I really don’t understand why you would want to marry me after seeing the shape I was in with my Fibromyalgia. We didn’t even know about this pancreas crap! Why did you stay?
So is that two questions?
Yes, I think so.
Remember that little promise in our vows? For better or worse, in sickness and in health. That is why I stay, I signed up for this.
You did drink the Kool-Aid.
Yes, I drank the Kool-aid.
To answer the other part of your question, you know we have always been friends, we’ve met for coffee, gone out to dinner, and just visited every time we saw each other. I think it was after your brother’s funeral [in August 2003] that I really saw how alone you were and I just wanted to be there for you. The Severson’s [my side of the family] don’t show weakness. So they second-guessed you and didn’t believe you even when all this shit was going on. I knew you had problems with your friends and were losing some of those relationships. So I called you to meet for coffee and go out to dinner, and it was on one of those nights out for dinner we decided to date. I was all for it.
So, you see us staying married? Because a lot of husbands leave their wives because of this.
You never have given me a reason to doubt you. We will stay married.
Do you have any advice for other husbands whose wives have Fibromyalgia Syndrome?
Pity the man who knows no victory or defeat.-Teddy Roosevelt