It’s an ache, a longing almost. A space within me which needs to be filled, but the only emotions which seems to gravitate to the void is despair and helplessness.

That’s my pain

Fay – no stranger to pain herself, – writes here of observational pain.

‘Jane asked me a couple of months ago to contribute to ‘A String of Pearls’. But I was unexpectedly diagnosed (mind you, who expects it!?) with a tumour in my right kidney, which was recently removed. It’s cancer, however I count myself lucky as it was found by accident while tests were carried out on a very painful gallbladder.

It’s been a difficult few months, operations, tests, waiting and more waiting. But this isn’t what I’m describing, this is nothing compared to seeing my partner of nearly twenty years in pain.

To see the man I fell in love with, melt away over the last few years have been heartbreaking.


If I could take it all away, take some of the pain he feels for myself, to give him a little bit of himself back, I would. And it hurts that I can’t.

MrC’s story started several years ago when he had a large bowel resection to cure diverticulitis. There were complication which resulted in peritonitis and an emergency repair ( was given 24 hours to say goodbye to him) The repair meant an illeostomy bag was fitted to help healing, which he hated. (I wasn’t too impressed with it either, but you can only laugh when it splits in the middle of the night due to a bad case of wind which made it explode! Crying wasn’t going to get it cleaned up at 3 in the morning!)

5 or 6 operations later and he’s in chronic pain primarily due to adhesions, (Read about adhesions)which are sticky internal scar tissue from the various surgeries. MrCs’ mean his bowels and bladder are stuck together and the loops, which should glide gently over each other as food moves through them under the act of peristalsis –  What is Presitalsis  pull and cause obstructions.

This means it hurts for him to eat, to empty his bladder, to fill his bladder, to make love, to sit upright in a chair, to move around for very long. Basically he’s in pain most of the time.

His pain is chronic, he takes a LOT of opiates which never quite cover enough to allow him a normal life.


I’ve watched as over the years, the pain has robbed him of the things he loved to do. He’s a shadow of the man I knew. This was a man who looked after the family, cooked and cleaned and did all the DIY. He loved woodwork and had made several beautiful pieces of built-in furniture for our home. He now struggles to climb the steps to just get to his workshop let alone cut a piece of wood. He stays at home, rarely going out and he’s missed many family events.

We’ve shared our life together, the good and the bad and I’d like to think we’ve helped each other through the tough times. I’m doing my best to support him but sometimes my pain is unbearable too, the pain of not being able to do anything to help’.


 How did watching someone in pain change you? 

This is Part 3 in our Series on Pain.

Part one     Part two 

next week is Part four