My Story of Chronic Pain (and other various issues)
For the past three and a half years, I have been seeing various doctors to try to figure out “what’s wrong with me.” My periods are constant, I’m always exhausted, my muscles and joints hurt almost every day, and no matter what I do, I can’t lose weight. Every doctor does the same thyroid tests only to find that my thyroid is indeed normal. The only abnormalities found in my test results are high levels of inflammation (read: pain) and low levels of Vitamin D (read: energy).
For a long time, we put off trying to have kids because I was terribly afraid that I had lupus (family history) or another autoimmune disorder that would cause complications. But, when we finally paid tons of money to get all of that tested, everything came back normal.
So, now we are ready to start trying to have a family. I went to my Gynecologist a couple months ago and she scheduled an ultrasound to make sure everything was okay because of the constant period thing. Once again, everything looked normal. So then she scheduled an endometrial biopsy which was supposed to be painless. LIES! It basically felt like she was stabbing me through with a blunt chopstick over and over again. After I collected my dignity off of the floor, I drove to a lab to have my thyroid tested (again) along with my prolactin level.
Well, good news. Everything is still normal. Everything except for the pain, fatigue, inflammation, and constant periods.
Why do I keep looking?
The truth is that I don’t want medications that will cause scary side effects or surgeries that could kill me, so why do I even want a diagnosis? Why keep trying when the doctors just keep doing the same tests over and over again, expecting a different result?
Because I want to stop feeling crazy. I want to be validated in my daily struggles.
I know I am not the only person who has ever gone to doctor after doctor only to leave feeling like I must be a depressed hypochondriac since there is “nothing wrong with me.” I know I am not the only person who fights every day to find the energy to get up and do something – anything – to keep from going insane.
What to do while waiting for a diagnosis
If you are fighting through health issues, struggling through pain to stay active, and/or staying sane through the insanity of chronic pain, hang in there. Eventually, you will come through on the other side. Eventually, some doctor will do the right test or read the right obscure article and give you a word to label your pain.
But until then, just know that you are not alone. You can do this. You can make every day a good day by enjoying the things that you are able to do. Engage with the people around you. Sit outside in the crisp winter air. Laugh with wild abandon. Drink up life in all its glory.
Your pain is only a part of you. It cannot control your life, even if it keeps you from doing some things you want to do. No, you are stronger than your pain. And I am stronger than mine. And regardless of how frustrated we may feel, this life is a gift. We can’t waste our precious time on earth fretting about the things we can’t do. Instead, we should focus on the things we can do. And get out there and do them.
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