Something is WRONG with me!!
There you have it. I’ve finally come to the point where I have to admit, to myself and everyone else, that something is totally wrong with me.
What, you ask? I don’t know… but it’s something. Okay I have an IDEA, but we’ll get to that.
So what brings on this topic of conversation? In an effort to spare you my entire life’s history on the topic (and it is long and whiny) I’ll just say this…
I’ve had issues with back pain and the shoulder/neck region since I became active in sports in high school. I’ve been to several doctors over the years of varying specialties (GPs, orthopedic, rheumatologists, you get the idea), been prescribed some meds that help (a LOT that didn’t), and referred to physical therapy four times (with no relief ANY time).
I would tell them about my ever present *seriously-every-dang-day* back pain, shoulder/neck aches to severe stabbing pains, random pains in the wrist, elbow, knees, and hips. Yes. This is for real. No. I’m not being a whimp. I would tell them things like “I’m not really sure that this _____ feeling is normal,” or “am I supposed to be sore for so long; I mean it’s been 2 weeks,” or sometimes “I’m tired of always hurting.” Most of them would just look at me and say things like “you’re fine,” or “hmmm… really? you really feel like that?” or my personal favorite “when you get old, things just don’t work the same.” REALLY DUDE?! I’M -or I was at the time- 27!! I FEEL LIKE A 60-YR-OLD LADY!!! It was very frustrating. I began to believe them. Maybe I AM a big ‘ole baby. I guess most people feel this way, they just don’t complain about… I need to suck it up.
So I started to learn how to cope on my own. I can’t sleep in for very long because the pain in my back always gets worse the longer I am laying down. I occasionally resort to taking my ‘super ibuprofen’ and if I’m desperate my low-dose muscle relaxer. I turn on my heating pad. I take long & scolding hot showers. I soak in menthol and Epsom salt baths. I workout my pain everyday using exercises and stretches — Yoga has changed my life. I do my best each and every day to keep my mouth shut and my smile on. This has become my life… coping, faking, and hiding.
This past month I saw the same doctor my mother uses. She has been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis – formerly lupus – formerly fibromyalgia. She talked so highly of her. I thought it was worth a visit. She asked questions and I mostly shrugged and told her “things hurt sometimes.” Given my repeated positive ANA test results, she recommended I visit a rheumatologist. Oh greeeeaaat. Here we go again.
I saw my mother’s rheumy (that’s slang for us cool patients) last Thursday. She made me fill out a huge questionnaire and, after our lengthy visit, she told me I definitely have something ‘wrong’ with me. She couldn’t tell me anything for sure yet; it sounds like Ankylosing Spondylitis or possibly Psoriatic Arthritis. She sent me for more blood work, gave me some brochures for possible treatment options (this is how we test her theories on diagnoses), and mailed me some reading material. No big deal, right? Well, it was pretty much a huge deal for me. I had been told repeatedly -by others and myself- that I’m just a big baby, suck it up, deal with it, blah blah. On the drive home I had to pull over because I was balling my freaking eyes out. I’m crying now. It just feels really good to have someone, after years of struggle, listen to you and believe you. I had reached the point where I didn’t even believe myself anymore.
So again you say, okay… what is the point? Well, I just want to give you what I was given… hope. I could say so many things on the topic of hope. Instead I’ll say that I don’t want anyone to ever feel the way I did – hopeless. I thought I’d be living like this, in constant pain, forever; thinking it was just the way life was. Maybe it is for someone who suffers like me, but I’m thankful for the small inkling of hope I was given last week from someone who would finally LISTEN. Don’t ever lose hope. If you have, then go find it again! It’s out there… you just have to be open to sharing your story. Someone will eventually listen to it.
Thanks for letting me share mine with you… and thanks for listening.
Have you ever been in this kind of situation?