Three words are tattooed on the arm of Stéphane Lasnier: “Realize your dreams”. Three years ago, he was forced to cross over. Permanent pain makes her life hell.
To add to his misfortune, the condition of the resident of Chateauguay does not appear. From outside, the 39-year-old looks healthy. “All I have on my body is a small scar in the back. But 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, I have a pain in my spine. My legs are weak. From the navel to the toes, I do not feel anything, “said Stéphane Lasnier in an interview.
Since his illness is not apparent, he often feels misunderstood and misunderstood. He wanted to testify to make the public aware of the unseen suffering. “It’s not to complain but to make chronic pain known. We do not talk much about it, it’s unknown. I would like to feel less judged, “he says.
The misfortune of Stéphane Lasnier began with pain caused by a “large disc herniation”. A common disorder: the gelatinous nucleus of an intervertebral disc comes out and compresses one or more nerves.
He underwent a first back surgery in 2010. “It did not solve the problem,” he grieves.
Four years later, he had to be urgently reoperated because of disturbing symptoms that suddenly appeared. “I was urinating and it stopped at once. I started to lose the sensation of the belly button up to the toes, “he recalls.
Nerves were about to be cut. “The surgeon Benoît Goulet who operated on me saved me from paralysis. He arranged for me to be able to find the movement of my legs. When I knew I would walk again, I was very happy, “says Stéphane Lasnier.
Fentanyl and others
As a result of the second intervention, chronic pain persists. And Stéphane Lasnier no longer feels the lower part of his body. He has to take 35 pills daily. Medications for pain, but also to mitigate the side effects of these remedies, including the digestive system. The drugs do not relieve him completely. “My pain is at 6 or 7 out of 10 most of the time,” he says.
The man has been treated by several specialists in many hospitals. He is always followed. The precise diagnosis remains to be made.
“For a long time, the pain workshops were my only outings,” he notes.
The incurable pain forced Stéphane Lasnier to make several bereavements. His state of health prevents him from holding a job. He lives on social assistance. “It’s extremely hard for morale. I was working. I had a job. I would really like to go to work, “he says. “I do not know if I would have wanted children or not but I can forget paternity,” he adds. Small pleasures like enjoying the sun are also forbidden because of the drugs that make it more sensitive to its rays. “Most of the time, I stay in bed. I spend my days lying down. It’s as if, from one day to the next, my life was taken away from me, “says the 39-year-old.
Support of his mother
His mother is suffering from seeing her son in this state. “Mother one day, mother always, we never stop worrying for her child,” says Denise Charbonneau. She supports her boy. “I lift my hat for the courage he has to live with that. He is brave and resilient, “she says.
Love and hope
What keeps Stéphane Lasnier alive? “My girlfriend!” He answers on the most energetic note of the whole interview. He made his acquaintance on the internet. “It changed my life,” he admits.
And he is hopeful that a new treatment will make him one day his whole life.
The constancy of Fentanyl
Stéphane Lasnier notably mitigates his pain with Fentanyl, this substance that makes the headlines because of many overdose deaths deplored in consumers using it for non-medical purposes. “I do not feel any euphoric effect. The advantage of Fentanyl is that it provides an equal dose 24 hours a day. With morphine, for example, it takes half an hour to feel the effect. It lasts two and a half hours and it starts to go down. You spend your day doing like a wave, “says Lasnier. With Fentanyl administered with a patch attached to the skin, he is not afraid of overdose. “It’s been three years that I take and I never had a problem,” he says. However, it keeps Naloxone, antidote to Fentanyl, just in case.
20% of the affected population
At least 20% of the population in Quebec and Canada live with a chronic pain problem, according to the Quebec Association of Chronic Pain (AQDC).”It’s dramatic. All age groups are affected, from infancy to old age! “Says its president, Céline Charbonneau. Older people are the most affected. And as the population ages, the phenomenon is expected to grow. The lumbar and back problems are the most numerous, says Ms. Charbonneau. “Thereafter, in the disorder, there is osteoarthritis, arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines and headaches, not to mention the sequels of operations that leave chronic pain problems. This is the same phenomenon that we find in the treatment suites of different cancers, “she explains. Inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome are also on the list.
The AQDC has more than 8000 members in Quebec and 17 self-help groups. Others will be added ne
xt year, says Céline Charbonneau.