Long term health conditions

Lynn - Interview 28

Female
Age at interview: 28

Brief outline: Lynn has lived with chronic pain for the last fourteen years. She experienced the pain before and during her periods. At first health professionals thought that she had endomietrosis. She had several exploratory tests and treatments, but she still does not have a clear diagnosis. She describes her condition as 'a chronic pelvic pain sufferer; or as a chronic lower pain sufferer with a black hole'.

Background: Lynn lives with her long term partner and is expecting their second child. University graduate. Ethnic background/nationality' White British.

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Lynn has lived with chronic pain since she was aged 14. She experienced the pain before and during her periods. At first the health professionals thought that she had endometriosis. She had several exploratory tests and treatments, including a laparoscopy and a drug induced menopause but she still does not have a clear diagnosis. She describes her condition as “a chronic pelvic pain sufferer; or as a chronic lower pain sufferer with a black hole” She says that this limbo situation as far as diagnosis is concerned is frustrating for both patient and medical professional. She is current being treated with' co-codamol (Tylex), sodium diclofenac (Voltarol), amitriptyline and morphine for flare-ups.

As a teenager she found communicating with health professionals, particularly GP's and specialists difficult. In her experience, she says, they can be divided into the 'patronising' and 'authoritarian' types.

For the last 14 years, pain has determined what she can and can't do in all aspects of her life but despite this she still has a positive outlook. She did a pain management course and it taught her techniques that have made her feel more in control of her pain and how she copes with it. A particularly valuable technique has been the 'breathing' technique. Moreover, she commented that the psychologist who taught her was a very good communicator and related to her as a friend.

She and her partner have been together for ten years and despite her doctors predictions she has become pregnant twice. Pregnancy is a particularly difficult period for her because she has to be taken off medication for the first three months each pregnancy which basically means that she is in a lot of pain during that period of time.

Her advice to other people suffering with chronic pain is that they are the only ones that really know what it is like to live with their own pain and that they have to live according to their own priorities and expectations, not those of other people such as friends and medical people.

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