Living with Chronic Pain is something you will never understand until you are had it! I know this because 13 years ago I started the journey with Chronic Pain and it is something I will never escape. Prior to that I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, mild Fibromyalgia, Depression, and Sleep Apnea. Chronic pain is a totally different entity though, it’s something that’s with you all the time, you don’t sleep because the pain is to bad, you don’t go anywhere because there is no energy to go, and you isolate yourself from family and friends because you know, from experience, no one is going to understand!
My journey with Asthma, Chronic Fatigue, depression, and mild Fibromyalgia began in my mid thirties, when I came to a place in my life that I could no longer deny and hide from the abuse and traumas I had suffered in my childhood. I spent many days in my bedroom crying, rocking in a rocking chair, and sleeping. After months of living this way I decided I had a family that needed a wife and mother and I emerged, but I was not better. I was so angry about the things that had happened to me that I would unintentionally fly into a rage over the slightest thing. It was an awful time for me and my family, I finally got a wake up call one day when my children and I had a particularly bad morning and I was just yelling all morning. My husband came home for lunch this particular day and when he went to go back to work my pre-teen daughters grabbed him around the waist and ask, almost begging, to go to work with him because they didn’t want to stay with “her”! It brings tears to my eyes even now knowing I behaved that way and hurt them. My emotional pain was so great, I had no idea how to cope. That was my wake up call! I could not stand my children felt that way and the hopeless look in my husbands eyes told me, I had to do something.
I made an appointment with my doctor and at my appointment explained the situation to her. She agreed that I likely had a chemical imbalance in my brain, but pills weren’t a cure-all. I needed counseling, along with medical intervention. I sought out a councilor from the list she gave me. The first one I went to just wasn’t the right fit for me, so I started over. I went down the list one by one until I interviewed one lady that seemed like she understood and could help. I started counseling with her the next week and slowly with her help and the medication I began to find my way back to me. I went back to college and finished my masters degree, with the encouragement of my family and counselor. I finally found a level of healing from everything, applying the natural healing techniques I was learning on the way to getting my Masters in Naturopathy and began to live and in fact I was doing so much better, in celebration of completing my degree I made arrangements to rent a small office space in a friend’s Health store and made plans for the children and I to go home to Louisiana for a visit before I signed the papers and opened my business.
However, it was not to be! On our way home we met up with my husband, the oldest daughter (now just 2 weeks from turning 18), and my husband’s family for a camping trip/family reunion. On our drive back into Michigan we hit rush hour traffic and construction, that’s when the rest of my life was irreversibly changed. The semi truck in front of us did not obey the constitution signs and stayed in the right lane which was the shoulder of the road. Towing an 8000 pound camper, that had already had a blow out earlier in the day, my husband decided to follow the truck and try to make it home without anymore incidents. Well, the truck driver came to a bridge he did not think he could clear from that lane, he locked up the breaks, my husband locked up the breaks, but we went screeching into and under the back of the semi. The camper hit us and our 15 and 17-year-old daughters following in my husbands truck went screeching into the camper and back into us. In the course of less than two minutes my life was forever changed.
My husband had to kick the window out of the suburban we were in, pull my son out and then crawled back in to unbuckle my seatbelt and help me out through the window. I was in shock, all I could hear was someone screaming helplessly and had no idea it was me. Ambulance rides to the hospital, everyone pronounced okay, except for bumps, bruises, and scratches except guess who? That’s right…ME!!!! Five days on the cardiac ward of the hospital with a broken sternum, damaged knees, a ruptured disc in my back and herniated disc in my neck with nerve damage was my new reality. No opening my office, Fibromyalgia was back and no longer mild, but severe, the next 13 years would prove to be the hardest to survive. The pain was unbearable, then 5 surgeries, physical therapy, acupuncture, injections, and multitudes of pills was something I was not prepared for. It’s been a journey I never dreamed of or wanted to go on and certainly didn’t want to stay on for the rest of my life.
My goal in writing this is to let my readers who don’t live with Chronic Pain have a peek in the window of what life is like with it, for my readers with family or friends who suffer with chronic pain more understanding of what your loved one goes through, and to my readers who do live with Chronic Pain to know you are not alone and there is life worth living and hope despite your pain.
I had no idea of the kind life I was facing. This was by far not my first auto accident and unfortunately not my last, but by far my worst. The multiple surgeries, years of physical therapy, and many, many bottles of pills was a huge problem for me, being a believer in natural medicine and having no desire to journey into the world of western medicine I had never even considered!
As a natural health practitioner I tried to treat my pain with every alternative therapy I could find, but sadly nothing was ever quite enough to make my pain bearable or give me back the life I had known before. I sought out physical therapy that included massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, and supplements for pain and inflammation, but to no avail, I had to keep falling back on pain management.
I am fortunate in that my family is forgiving, loving, caring, understanding, and helpful. They know the person I was before and the person I have become with the ever-present monster of Chronic pain. I absolutely would not have come as far as I have in the past 13 years without their love and support!
Over the years, as I continued to go to pain management, the doctors just prescribed more and stronger pills, surgery and shots in my back, shots in my neck and the back of my skull for the debilitating migraines, that came along with the severe whiplash and disc damage in my neck. It was a merry-go-round I desperately wanted to get off of but had no idea how to get off.
Then in 2014, after 9 years of living with these monsters, the wake up call came in the form of yet another surgery, this one had nothing to do with my injuries, however it helped me realize the life I wasn’t living. After my out-patient procedure my pain was off the charts, so bad in fact that I ended up staying in the hospital over night and almost going into shock, because they could not control my pain. With teeth chattering and body shaking uncontrollably I begged for relief, but relief was not to be had. Despite three IV’s (because I kept blowing veins), multiple pills, and constant visits by nurses, my pain was out of control. I realized that all the pain management, for all those years had only brought me to a point where the pain was no longer controllable. See all that pain management had only made my body toxic and so adapted to pain medication that in the end the pain medication didn’t work anymore.
When I got home from the hospital and recovered from this surgery, it was time to take my life back. I started one half a pill at a time, every two weeks I would eliminate a half a pain pill. I replaced them with a holistic diet, supplements, chiropractic, massage therapy, yoga, and CBD Oil. One day at a time I regained my strength, I detoxed my over stressed system and I began to journal. But the real turning point came when I got my DNA results from Ancestry. See I never knew who my biological father was, this was for me an incredibly hard thing to come to terms with and it left me feeling like part of me was blank. So through DNA and the help of a genealogist I solved the mystery of WHO THE OTHER HALF OF ME WAS. Shortly thereafter we moved, yet again, this time to our final home and after moving in and getting settled I called my biological father, he of course denied it was him, but I knew by his answers to my questions and in my heart of hearts it was him. Somehow the combination of knowing what I had longed to know for my entire life and the more moderate climate we now lived in my Healing accelerated.
I believe we were created as a four-part person, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual and until all areas are healed and balanced, true healing will not occur. True healing would not come and did not come until I allowed God to heal all these areas of my being. Now am I saying I’m completely healed and the person I was before? NO, nor do I want to be! I am whole now, I still have pain, bad days, emotional days, headaches, and sometimes I just need to sleep, but I do know I will recover. I do have a life to live, a voice to impact the world, and a God who loves me more than anything and will give me the strength to overcome whatever comes against me.
I sincerely hope my Story brings you hope and helps you know you too can be a overcomer with the right help, hope, and a plan for healing. I would love to talk with you about how I can help you make a plan for Hope and Healing.
My life Verse:
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28 NASB)