I live with neuropathic (nerve) pain and back pain. I can drive only for short periods, I can hardly walk, and most days I’m all alone on a cattle farm.
Several years ago the back pain was so bad I ended up going to Sydney for spinal surgery, but six weeks after that I was falling over so I had more surgery and now have rods in my spine, but there has been no improvement in my pain.
The nerve pain appears to be related to an original injury in my teens, when I fell off a horse, however it didn’t present itself until a few years ago. I have pain, pins and needles and numbness in both feet, so my walking is affected. It was recently diagnosed as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.
I have a spinal cord stimulator but I still take a lot of painkillers every day, which make my mind fuzzy. I’ve tried physiotherapy but it doesn’t help my pain.
I bought a book about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and my local GP wanted to help, but I really need to consult an expert, and they are all in the city.
My pain has put a lot of pressure on us financially. I had to stop working, replace the manual car with an automatic car and, although we have private health insurance, the gap payments have been enormous.
Due to the debt incurred through medical expenses and related travel, as well as the drought, my husband has to do shearing and other jobs far away, and the closest of my children lives 1.5 hours away. It makes me feel very isolated.
I try to get to Sydney every six months to have my stimulator adjusted, but I see a travelling pain specialist monthly. The one-hour trip to visit him is still exhausting and expensive.
If I were in the city I could catch public transport to see my specialist and access other experts, and I wouldn’t feel so alone.