When you're dealing with chronic illness, it's not always easy for others to understand the depth and breadth of what that means. I've been by WH's side for the duration of his illness, and even I only know a fraction of what he goes through on a regular basis. This was solidified for me earlier this week when he gave me an example of how bad his pain is.
A few weeks ago, he had to have two teeth removed due to infection in his jaw likely related to the mold exposure. Last week he had to go to the dentist again, because even though the area was healing, his jaw bone had grown spurs (think icicles growing up from the bone and beginning to poke through the gums that had been recently operated on). It was extremely painful, and I cringed when he told me about it. The oral surgeon had to go into the area, snap off the offending bits of bone, and saw it down to smooth so that the problem wouldn't happen again. It sounds like hell, right?
Just about everyone out there can relate to dental pain. Who amongst us hasn't squirmed under a drill at some point? Each time WH would tell the story of his dental woes, our friends and family would wince and express how awful, how painful it must've been. After one of these wincings, WH said to me, "You know, everyone gets it when I say how painful my mouth is. Everyone can relate to that. But compared to the pain I've been in for the last four years, it's nothing."
Suddenly, I had a moment of clarity that I hadn't since we started going through all of this: I don't know what he's going through. I have no concept of how horrific this illness is and what a warrior he has been as he goes through it. I don't know what pain is. It reminded me of a scene from one of our favorite movies, Silence of the Lambs. The film is oft quoted amongst us, even at the most inappropriate times. In the scene, serial killer Buffalo Bill is trying to get his dog back from the woman he's kidnapped. She tells him that the dog has broken his leg and is in a lot of pain. At that point, Bill yells, "You don't know what pain is!"
This illness is unfathomable, even as I've witnessed it. We simply don't know what pain is. If you would like to learn more about we're going through or help us as we battle this monster, please visit our YouCaring website.
For more information about environmental illness, mold, and mycotoxin poisoning, read here, here, and here, and watch video here.