Back in the early days of being a chronic pain patient, whenever I met with somebody or called somebody, their first question was "How's your pain doing?". The conversation usually continued with "have you heard about this new therapy/test/diagnosis called ..." or "a friend of mine had that too and he did the ... treatment/test".
Initially I appreciated the questions about my pain situation and the suggestions. But after some time I just couldn't hear it anymore. I was sick of telling the same story over and over again and I was sick of trying out all the different things that they had mentioned.
My psychologist who I was seeing back then told me that this is a common problem. He gave me very valuable advice: "Tell everybody around you, that you no longer want talk about your pain, unless you bring up the topic yourself."
I did so and it was a major relief :-) Well, it wasn’t quick and easy because many of my friends and family fell back into the old pattern of bringing up the topic themselves. I had to remind them and explain why I did not want to talk about it (because some of them felt offended that I did not want to "accept" their support).
I told them "Look, everybody is talking to me about my pain. I know it's because you all care about me. But it makes me feel like I am being reduced to being a pain patient and nothing else. There are plenty other topics we can talk about. Pain already plays a major role in my life, I don't need it to play a role in our conversations (unless I bring it up myself)".
You have the right to ask for that.
Once everybody was sticking to the rule (and I stopped talking to those who just didn't get it) I started feeling like a real person again. And I learned that there are still areas in my life where I am the one who dictates what's happening and not my pain.
Are you a person or a pain patient? ;-)