Elaine's Story

Bonnie Schuman
Last Modified: May 25, 1997

"Every time I told a doctor I had pain, I was told it would eventually go away." So says Elaine Malouf who since her diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer has suffered many different types of pain. Immediately following her radical bi-lateral mastectomy Elaine experienced intense chest and arm pain. Because this reaction was extremely rare it was determined that she had uncommonly sensitive nerve endings. Elaine knew what she had to do for herself. She instantly pleaded with her physicians saying "I need help." They responded by giving her morphine which stopped the pain until she was forced to discontinue the medication until completion of a bone marrow transplant. Unexpectedly, Elaine became the twenty-ninth women in her protocol to receive two bone marrow transplants. Following the two transplantations Elaine began to experience a painful numbness in her fingers, arthritis in every joint in her hand, and a painful sensation of vibration in her lower legs and feet. At this time the chest and arm pain returned because she was not on any medication and a new pain in the chest and shoulder emerged as a result of radiation treatments. For two years Elaine sought relief from her pain. She tried meditation, acupuncture, physical therapy, a personal trainer, cranio sacra massage, chiropractic medicine, homeopathic medicine and finally a neurologist. The neurologist isolated and tested each nerve and then created a combination of non-narcotic drugs including two anti-seizure pills and an anti-depressant with which to treat Elaine. It took four to five weeks, but finally one day, Elaine woke up and realized that for the first time, she was pain-free, and she cried the entire day from a mixture of feelings.. Today, Elaine is pain-free but, her journey is not over. She is currently investigating hypnosis as a replacement for the medications she takes for pain. Her advice to anyone who is suffering discomfort is, "Fight back! If they don't listen the first time, tell them again. Bang down the door. Say 'I need help' and if there's tears streaming down your face, well that's okay."


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