Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Phantom Mence

I would like to start the day by telling you a little bit about myself. Friendship! There are degrees of friendship. Best friends! Lifelong friends! Friends of friends. shipmates, Bar-buddies, old flames that became cold over time, Casual acquaintances that leave a memory, and people you would die to protect. For me friendship never came easily. I had a basic distrust of all people. I erected a wall of polished stone around me. Very few people ever attempted to scale that wall. And even fewer ever got in. It was the defense mechanism. I had an icy stare that would freeze teachers in mid sentence. The very few people I've befriended have enjoyed my undying loyalty, trust and devotion. The people who know me today would be very surprised to know my past. People from my past would be stunned by my attitude today. In my dark days I had two types of friends. Those I would kill or die for and those I said "hello" to. Now I still have only two classes of friends. The ones I call Brother, and those I want to lead to God's love.
Now back to the story:
You may have heard the term "phantom pain". People will tell you that it is a remnant sensation from a part of your body that had been removed. There is no possible way you could feel it. Because it isn't there. It's all in your mind!
I have experienced phantom pain. And although it may not be as excruciating or as exquisitely agonizing as others I have felt. It is real and not in my head. I hope. But it is very disturbing psychologically. If I sit in one position too long my foot will fall asleep. The pins and needles are very real indeed. You cannot ignore them. They will not subside. No amount of vicodin provides relief. I must reposition my body and shake my leg to get relief. But if I look at the foot to make sure it isn't on fire somehow. DOO DOO DO DOO. Twilight Zone again! There is no foot there. I am staring at an empty air-space, that smarts like the dickens, where my foot used to be. Looking at it does not make it any better. It just adds to the confusion. Some people tell me there is a psychic connection between my foot and my brain. I laugh and ask "Why didn't it hurt when the hospital burned it in the incinerator?" But I must admit! The sensation mystifies me. It's not scary! The "NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD" did not scare me. But I hate that I can't find a reasonable explanation for this phenomena. It has been over a year now, and it is still as real and disturbing today as the first time I felt it. I am open to suggestions that have no surrealistic elements.


Kathleen "Kat" Smith said...

Hmmm, not sure what the reason behind it all means, but I am sure that God has a purpose for it. He never creates anything without solid reasoning behind it. I am in prayer as to what to say but all I can come up with is that could be one of those really great questions to ask God when we return home.

Perhaps it is a reminder to constantly trust in Him for faith and hope in all things. Just because you lost a part of your body, God uses that to minister to others and one day will completely restore you. For now, it is part of your testimony of His strength in helping you overcome what you have had to in this life.

It is a visible reminder for you of how much He loved you to keep you alive and complete His work through you.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Kelly Combs said...

I think your brain is "looking for" your foot. Since it can't find it, it assumes it must be asleep and sends those sensations out to wake it up. Of course, I really have no idea, just guessing.

I'm glad to know you now, rather than before, so I can be your sister in Christ, instead of the icy stare.

Edie said...

Have you ever read "The Gift of Pain" by Phillip Yancy? It is really a very interesting book. It taught me a little more about how God wired our bodies and about the pain process and our response to it.

Now it didn't teach me anything about phantom pain but here is my thought.

You know how when a person has a heart attack they often feel the pain in another area like their arm? It is because our internal organs have fewer nerves since they have our bodies to protect them from injury. So when something goes wrong inside, our brain still sends a signal to us that there is pain. It tells us the pain is in our arm even though it isn't.

I wonder if the nerves that the brain perceives are connected to the foot are sending signals that the brain only knows to translate as "my foot is asleep".

That's a very feeble attempt at a possible explanation, but the best I could do.


Kimberly said...

Can't say myself as I (as of today) have all of my external body parts. I've heard of phantom pain but never had anyone say directly what it feels like. Sounds really cool in an awful way.

Best of luck to you...and ridding yourself of all those ghosts.

My ADHD Me said...

I have heard of that but don't understand it either.

Sometimes the Vicoden does nothing to relieve my pain (although not as severe as yours, pain is still pain). Pain is causing many changes in my life too.

As for the wall. We really are alot alike. If you look at the header of my blog, you will see there is a part were there is a brick wall with a crack in it. I do my best to keep the wall up but occasionally some one makes it crack just a bit. BTW, Edie did my entire header. I was close to no help at all because I didn't know what I wanted. She pretty much had me pegged completely. She did an OUTSTANDING job!

AmyK. said...

I've often wondered about that phenomenon. Thank you for explaining it. I like Kelly's theory.