Illnesses Personal

Fibromyalgia: My Invisible Illness

This is my story…. My story of fighting everyday. My story about strength, sadness, weakness, but most of all, Pain. I was recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. This has been a long journey for me and my family. After 9 months of crying in agony, muscle stem therapy, several medications being thrown at me by so many different doctors, and nights with no sleep due to worry and fear, I finally got my answer to what has been hurting my body so badly.

I have spent days and nights wondering what the future will look like for me. I’m never not in pain. Depression has been a friend that I never wanted to meet or get to know. Doctors had so many theories as to what was causing this sudden change in my body. Multiple sclerosis, Lyme’s disease, Lupus, Lou-Gehrig’s disease…. No one really knew and it was torture for me. I fought and cried with doctors to understand that this was not being made-up.

Fibromyalgia is a neurologic chronic health condition that causes pain all over the body as well as other symptoms. I never knew what Fibromyalgia was. Never took the time to research it. But now, I live it and it hurts. It hurts every aspect of me and my life. It hurts my son. I cannot be the mother I was months ago. I can’t jump with him anymore, I can’t run with him. When he asks if I can play he’ll first ask, “Are you hurting, momma?” That is not what a 3 year old should be concerned with, but here we are. It has affected us financially as the unscrupulous disability insurance company whom I pay for their services biweekly, have denied my claim. There has been no paycheck for 3 months and there is a possibility I may also lose my job.

This is my story not to get sympathy from friends or family reading this, but to let other Fibromyalgia sufferers know that they are not alone. It sucks, it hurts, it’s so stressful, but you’re not alone.

The pain is literally everywhere in my body. I don’t want to express my pain out loud, because I’m afraid to sound like a chronic complainer. I don’t want to limit what I can do, because I don’t want to seem weak or lazy. But in reality, I am limited. I am hurting. I am tired. I am most likely screaming in anguish on the inside. Migraines are an everyday struggle along with burning and dull pain throughout my entire spine. My fingers hurt all day as if I have been typing up a Harry Potter book non-stop. My feet ache in my sleep like if I just ran a 50k marathon barefoot on hot burning coals. I want a massage so bad, but the touch on my skin stings. What a normal person defines as painful it is x20 for someone with Fibromyalgia. That is exactly how my Rheumatologist explained it and she couldn’t have explained it better.

There are over 200 symptoms that affect a Fibromyalgia fighter. It causes dysfunction of the nervous, muscular, integumentary, hormonal, digestive, immune, endocrine, reproductive, and lymphatic systems. Some patients have better experiences than others. Some days are good and some are the worst ever. Everyday will always be different.

There is no cure, but I hear there are some ways to cope with the pain. No one body is the same so what works for one person might not work for the other. This is all just a trial-and-error process and I am truly hoping for the best.

This is called the invisible illness, because it cannot be seen on x-rays or blood tests, and it does not affect the major organs, but it is there. It does not alter the look of our bodies, but we feel it.

This is my story, my story that has been changed forever.

Depression Family Friendships Personal

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay: Losing A Loved One

This is dedicated to my Brother in law who lost a parent, my niece who lost a grandparent, and my sister who lost an in law. This is for my dear friend who lost her husband and her children who lost their father. This is for a friend who lost a cousin. This is for the neighbors who lost their grandparent. This is for a friend who lost his brother in law and best friend. This is for a friend who lost her mother. This is for a parent who lost their child. This is for the brother who lost his sister. This is for the sister who lost her brother. This is for you if you lost someone you loved. And lastly, this is for me as I have lost a great friend. Rest in Peace, Gary Wright.

There is never a good enough reason for a loved one to be taken from us. Losing someone you love is something so hard to bear that even a person who is mentally strong breaks down to a million pieces and drowns himself in his own tears from the heartache. There is nothing like it. When someone experiences the loss of a loved one It changes them in a way, that they could never go back being the person they once were. They will never be the same. This is not a blog to guide you on how to cope and accept your loss. This is simply to let you know that it is okay to not be okay. You may have lost someone 3 years ago maybe even 10 and stillcannot quite grasp the realtiy of it all, and that is okay. There is no timeline on when you should accept, stop crying and hurting, and move on. That is not how it works when dealing with the daily struggles of losing someone so dear to you. Losing someone you love is so devestating that you can actually feel your heart break into tiny pieces. You feel so helpless because there is nothing that can repair the loss and there is nothing that can put your broken pieces back together again.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve, you have been changed forever. You don’t wake up one day and just get over the loss you have suffered and are ready to live life the way you once did when that person was next to you. No… BUT,you may wake up one day and not even realize that you have already accepted the fact that they arent physically here with you and thats the best that you can do, is accept. You can cherish the memories, go through photos, and even talk with them. They are still near you. They did not leave you behind. They never left you at all. When you cry, they hold you wishing they could tell you that you are not alone. When you talk with them, they are hearing you and talking right back to you wishing that you could hear them, too. But when you dream of them, perhaps that is the only way they can connect with you, who knows? That is where hope comes in. You can lose yourself in your tears for a moment (not forever), but keep that hope alive. Keep that hope that tells you that one day you will be able to live with the fact that they are gone. Keep hope that you will meet with them someday and they will run to you with arms wide open.

You may wake up each and every day pretending that you are okay, while your heart is screaming in pain. I am here to tell you that you do not have to pretend. Cry. Scream. Take days off. But when you are done, you have to pick yourself back up and know that you have to continue to move forward. Not moving on, just forward. Don’t forget them, don’t cover up the pain, but feel and live until you can sincerely smile without forcing yourself to. That is hope – Finding your smile back when you have endured true hardship. Each griever must find their own way. You will find your way back to some type of normalcy. Your own normalcy. Your new normalcy. Take your time. Embrace your reality. I know your spirit is crushed, but one day it will be whole again. You will never get ‘over it’, but you will get through it. Keep that hope. Its okay to not be okay, just as long as you’re not giving up. It is hard to be strong after a tremendous loss, and you don’t have to be. You don’t even have to look strong. It’s okay to fall apart. This is one hard fight for you. This is a wound that will scab over, but never completely heal. Its okay to have bad days because it reminds you how much you love them and the good days remind you that they are right there with you. It’s okay to not be okay.

Health Personal

My Experience with Epidural Spinal Injections

I’ve been having back problems for as long as I can think back. At 7 years old I was diagnosed with Scoliosis along with herniated disks in the lumbar area (the lower back). I had to wear a shoe lift in my left shoe. Due to scoliosis, my left leg was shorter than the right. Chiropractor visits were weekly to help alleviate discomfort. I always just took it day by day and lived through the pain.

Fast forward 20+ years later, the pain became significantly worse until one day in January my body could no longer take it. I could scarcely walk. My job was becoming impossible to do (which includes a lot of lifting, pulling, and pushing) and the pain was just unbearable. I began having problems driving as I could no longer sit without being in excruciating pain. Lying down gave no relief and standing was just as hard. Nothing was helping. I would just cry from desperation, pain, and even pity.

Finally, today after months of physical therapy, I decided to get Epidural Spinal Injections (ESI) and LET ME TELL YOU…… These suckers hurt! Now, please understand I have gone through a terrible labor experience – this is nothing like that…. in a good way, haha. Labor pain was definitely much worse, however, this is still quite painful. Before the procedure began the doctor numbed the area with lidocaine. I certainly felt that pinch from the needle entering my skin. She, then, inserted a needle into the joint space in my back of which was causing agony. Mine were the sacroiliac joints. That pain was intense, because she hit the nerves a couple of times as the needle was entering. I shrieked and tightened my buttocks a bit, haha, (funny, but not!). As the needle was entering my nerves, her assistant was taking fluoroscopic images (live Xrays) with a C-arm to ensure that she was inserting the needle into the right area. Once she was content with the needle placement, she injected the steroid in.

After the procedure was done, within an hour of being home, the pain was tolerable. It was a pain that was there, but you can almost not feel it (if that makes any sense), probably had a lot to do with the lidocaine still taking effect. Then, 4 hours went by and the pain became a little stronger. 8 hours later, here I am crying! Yes, really, I am crying!! I’m not sure if it’s pain from the injection site, from the nerve being traumatized, my usual back pain worsened now, or perhaps all of the above. Still, the pain has worsened and I am truly hoping for a better tomorrow.

Anyway, If you have had this procedure done before let me know what your experience was like and if you experienced any pain afterward please tell me what helped you.

If you are thinking of getting this done, remember my pain tolerance is probably much lower than yours, so don’t let this discourage you. I am simply sharing my own personal experience with this.

Remember to listen to your body and take care of your back!