Nick Wood: Start writing your Chronic Pelvic Pain recovery story
Overhearing colleagues chatting about the illness that had forced him to take six weeks off work, Nick Wood cringed inside.
In hushed tones, someone who knew Nick was married, whispered: “Prostatitis? Is that something you catch from prostitutes?”
At 34, Nick was at the very start of his journey with chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS), and it’s fair to say that the path since has not been easy.
In our second Pelvic Pain Matters webinar, Nick, a consultant clinical psychologist and researcher, shared the highs and lows of his story in a session entitled: Building Healing-Focused Client-Therapist Relationships.
Looking back, Nick feels that by speaking openly about CPPS and taking charge of the narrative, patients can tighten their control on the condition and its impact on our lives.
He said: “How we ‘story’ our illness is important. If we shape the direction of the story, it gives us a sense of achievement. You gain mastery over what it is and where it is going.”
At times, Nick’s experiences made for difficult listening.
Like many sufferers, after his diagnosis Nick was prescribed antibiotics, which made him feel better in the short-term but didn’t clear the problem.
The symptoms progressively worsened, until Nick was dribbling, unable to fully empty his bladder and debilitated by the incessant pain.
Even though his GP and various urologists began investigations for cancer, when a chronic prostatitis diagnosis came back, even that proved a devastating hammer blow.
Nick said: “I cried all the way to the bus stop. The doctor told me hopefully it would burn itself out in four years, but I might have it for the rest of my life. Hope is so important. Hope keeps us going. More medics need to understand and validate patients’ stories and experiences.”
Nick’s lowest ebb came as he sat at the breakfast table one morning, overwhelmed with suffering. In that moment he decided he couldn’t go on living.
He said: “Then I noticed my wife right there. She was quietly crying, looking at me. I knew then I couldn’t do what I was thinking. I had to take charge of the story.”
Nick’s recovery was a journey in itself and incorporated ditching antibiotics while beginning medication to help night-time bladder control.
Nick made sure his employer was aware of his challenges so that workplace adjustments could be made.
Nick said: “It’s helpful to make meaning from pain. What does it mean for me? In my case I feel I was very cerebral, always in my head, and the pain called me back into my body. It brought me to the here and now, to where I could appreciate my body more. Ask why is it with me? With a quest story, the pain becomes much more manageable.”
Our thanks to Nick for sharing his inspirational story of recovery from CPPS.
Watch my interview with Nick Wood on the event here
To read the reflections from the Nick Wood webinar click here
To view more of our Pelvic Pain Matters Webinar click here