Saturday, 18 October 2014

It's Only Pain

During the last year or so I have managed to wean myself off the prescription opiates and anti-depressants I was using to control CRPS. This had the added benefit of allowing me to stop seeing the doctors and nurses who were treating me using conventional pain treatment models.

Since I escaped their clutches, I have remained drug free, lost over 50 Lbs in weight and set myself the goal of completing a half Ironman (known as Granite man) next year. People who meet me often say that they are glad that I’ve recovered; unfortunately this is not the case. I still have CRPS, my pain levels remain super high and I still suffer from bouts of depression.

Chronic pain exists almost as an entity; it is not like acute pain which is designed to stop you from harming yourself. This has made training pretty difficult, as CRPS masks acute pain caused by normal training injuries. (When you’re standing in a fire it’s hard to tell you have a hamstring problem.) My solution has been to return to the premise I learnt as a young paratrooper; “Whatever it does to me, it can’t make me pregnant!”

The following poem is a candid insight into my daily struggle with CRPS.

It’s Only Pain

“It’s only pain”,
the mantra whispered again and again.
As if to convince me the waves are not there,
they just feel like a phosphorous flare.
As they flow and they burn
I just have to learn,
That; “no harm’s being done”.

Nausea wells deep inside
as the skin of my leg is gently fried.
Unlike real fire, nerves remain whole
so there’s no mercy for this tortured soul.
Twenty-four seven I have to endure
they tell me; “there is no cure”.
“It’s only pain”, I say it again.

I push and I strive
as I make to survive.
My mind carries just three thoughts
Why bother? and
“It’s only pain”,
said again and again.

John Carré Buchanan
18 October 2014


  1. That's a very moving poem, John. Made more so by the prose intro. I found it interesting how a rhyme was incorporated, but subtly. It gives us a small (and for us, painless) insight into CRPS.

    1. Thank you for your kind comment. I am glad that this has given you an insight into CRPS, even better that it was pain free;-)
      Unfortunately chronic pain affects as many people as diabetes in the UK and whilst it is officially classed as a disability, people who suffer from it are often regarded as shirkers.
      I used the rhyme in an attempt to represent the mantra which plays in my head most of the time nowadays, sometimes it seems as if it is the only life line to sanity.


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