I Wish I Could Be More Like Mama

Last night I went to bed feeling just fine—only to wake up a couple of hours later in a tremendous amount of pain.   This is something I should be used to by now.  I was diagnosed with gall stone pancreatitis in September 2008 and have attacks with it every once in a while.   These attacks come on without warning; you never know when to expect them.  And they can last anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of  weeks.  It is a completely unpredictable condition as those of you who have had gallstones know quite well.

Your entire abdomen swells up (sometimes your ankles and feet, too), and you have this indescribable, horrible pain that starts right in the middle of your back and will not let up until it has taken over your whole body.  Nothing you do helps.  You dope up on over the counter pain medicine, stand in the shower, letting water that is practically boiling hit you in the back, and perhaps lay on the fetal position on the floor, bawling like a baby.  But you know it’s of no use.  The pain just has to go away on its own.

My mother had the same condition.   Hers was so bad that it caused respiratory distress and landed her in the ICU for more than a month back in 2009.   She suffered a great deal more than I ever have—and she has the rare disease sarcoidosis and osteoporosis.  By the time she was my age, my mama had been operated on more than two dozen times for ailments in her eyes, kidneys, and lungs.  She had lung surgery, rib spreaders and all, immediately following my 1st birthday.  She had her gall bladder removed in April of 2010 right after her birthday.


Mama immediately following the surgery to remove her gall bladder and drain cysts that had formed on her pancreas.

If anyone knows about pain and suffering, it’s my mama.  But she rarely, if ever, complains.  She handles her problems like an adult, so it makes me sort of embarrassed to be up at two o’clock in the morning bawling like a baby because I can’t handle the pain I’m in.

I really do wish I could be more like my mama.  I certainly don’t want a rare, incurable autoimmune disease like sarcoidosis, and I don’t want to undergo as many surgeries as she’s had, but I want her strength.  It really would be nice to be able to cope the way she does.

Is there anyone in your family or circle of friends who constantly amazes you with their ability to cope with difficult situations?

Leave a comment


  1. Hi Angie,

    For me, it is also my Mom. She has a wonderful ability for coping in the most difficult of circumstances, and making it seem so easy. What really impresses me, which I will always try to emulate, is how gracious she remains in the face of adversity.

    Hope you feel better!

    • Mothers almost always have this amazing ability to deal with the toughest crap. And I honestly don’t know how mine does it with so much on her plate.

  2. Hi Angie, I’m sorry to hear this – it sounds awful. One thing I wanted to say – there’s no “right way” to handle your own pain. Your reaction is your reaction. Doesn’t make you a “baby” if you lay on the floor crying. It’s how your body handles the stress of pain. Bless your mom for how she handled hers but remember that it’s HER reaction. YOURS is different and that’s okay.

    (I didn’t want to see you beat yourself up for something you really can’t control. And I wish healing on all levels for you and no pain.)

    Hugs from Maryland

  3. My mum suffred with cancer and rarely complained, mums are amazing!

    • My gran had cancer also and some of the stuff she went through…lord….I wouldn’t be able to do it. Her radiation treatments scorched her internal organs, blew holes in her intestines and colon. Can you imagine? And she never once complained about the pain. I’d be howling every waking minute.

  4. I hope you are feeling better. Everyone has a different pain threshold for example my aunt couldn’t understand why people made a fuss over childbirth (she had 6 children). She was diagnosed with cancer, she had put up with a bit of “discomfort” for a few months – she died within a couple of weeks. She hardly took any pain relief even though they kept on trying to give it to her because she wanted to be fully aware of what was going on around her.

    • I am feeling a wee bit better, thanks.

      Sometimes it makes me feel so weak because I have zero tolerance for pain and everyone else in my family deals with it so well. My dad had ALS and numerous other health problems, my mama with her chronic pain and diseases, my grandparents and their laundry list of things that would have killed me right off the bat.

      I suppose when you have absolutely no choice, you just deal with it, eh.

      • There is a NLP technique that works well for pain. Instead of trying to avoid pain, pay attention to how your body feels, where exactly in your body it is located. What colour is it? Is it moving or staying still? What shape? Does it have a sound? Is it changing? By paying attention you bring yourself into the present. It helps you to relax.

      • Thank you very much for the tips, Nicky. I am going to try that the next time I am in pain. I’ll let you know how it works out for me.

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