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Living with Chronic Pain

Never give up hope.

If you live with chronic pain of any kind, then you know how defeated it can make you feel. After you've been to the doctor a million times for the same thing and they tell you nothing is wrong, you don't even feel like talking to people about it anymore. You begin to think nothing will help you. Sometimes doctors don't believe you or they think you are over exaggerating. Sometimes your friends and family don't believe you either. You end up letting down the people you love. You constantly don't feel well and you can't explain why. It's hard to keep a job. People think you are lazy because you go out with your friends but you can't get up to go to work. The pain is unpredictable and exhausting. You're in a constant state of overdrive and it's hard not to be irritable. This pain you experience that is so much a part of your life is invisible to everyone else around you. Even if they tried to understand, they couldn't even begin to know what it was like to hurt from the moment you woke up until the moment you fall asleep. 

Everyday for years I have suffered from headaches and migraines, stomach pain, and body pain. For a long time I accepted that maybe this was just my normal. I started to think that I would just have to deal with this for the rest of my life. People around me, even doctors seemed to think it would just randomly go away. I heard things like, "Are you drinking enough water? Are you getting enough sleep? Have you tried a heating pad? Take some more Ibuprofen." And even, "You are too young to be having pain. Are you sure it's not just muscle aches?" These empty phrases became more and more frustrating. How often do 19 year olds get muscle aches? Why isn't the Ibuprofen helping anymore? Why doesn't anything help?

After going to the doctor in tears too many times, after blood tests and repeat blood tests, after examinations and x-rays and chiropractor visits and ultrasounds, I was finally recently told that there is a high possibility I have Fibromyalgia. Receiving this diagnosis didn't give me the hope I thought I would feel. Fibromyalgia cannot be cured, only treated. I was told that the treatments are often unsuccessful at relieving the symptoms and that there isn't much that could be done. 

Once again, I felt defeated.

But today I am hopeful. I went to a neurologist. She was the first doctor who has ever truly listened to me. I told her about my pain, and she understood. She didn't interrupt me with some shit about drinking more water or sleeping more. She didn't make excuses for my pain. She prescribed me ONE medication that she explained should treat several of my ailments. She explained why my pain presented itself the way it does.  Instead of adding five new medications to my personal pharmacy, she killed several birds with one stone. AMAZING! But here's the part that has me beaming with gratitude: I mentioned to her that my neck always hurts and if I ever have pain in my head, my neck is always throbbing along with it. So she left the room for a minute to check my insurance when she came back she told me, "I want to give you a shot in your neck, I think it will really help you. It numbs the nerves in your neck so it won't hurt anymore. But your insurance doesn't cover it. So I'm going to give it to you for free, and if it helps you we will figure something out."

Well I'm pretty convinced that this doctor came straight from heaven because now even a week later, I have no pain in my neck for the first time in years. Before this shot I had gone to ridiculous efforts to try to rid myself of the pain, and nothing helped for longer than a few hours. Even with the other pain I'm still experiencing, having my neck not constantly hurting is so relieving. I don't know how long this shot will last, or what will happen in the future with my pain. But for right now I am hopeful for the first time in a long time that someday I will be able to live a normal life. 

If you live with chronic pain, don't give up. There are so many others out there that know exactly how you feel. I'm only 19 years old and it took me years to find someone that listened to what I was going through. 

"Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine." - Jack Ma

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