So, I may have mentioned in one of my past blogs that I have Fibromyalgia (link is provided for those who may not know what this condition entails). This has been an ongoing issue for me for at least 12 years.
It started with pain in my back when I was 18. I would have these awful back spasms which would double me over and prevent me from standing up, walking, or even sitting properly. At one point, I even had to go to the hospital and was put in a wheelchair. At that point, they told me that nothing was wrong; all my xrays came back normal.
The next time I was hospitalized for it, they said that I had a slight case of scoliosis (curvature of the spine), which was likely causing my back problems. There was no real treatment offered, and I just had to "deal with it".
Next came the knees. I had trouble standing for long periods, sitting for long periods, walking, bending my knees, etc. It felt like my knees were breaking all the time. Of course, I had better days, and I had really bad days. I'd been to the clinic multiple times for one of my knees (which was the worst of the two) as I didn't have a family doctor. I was sent for many xrays, and every single time I was told that I was completely healthy, and there was nothing wrong with my knee(s). I was so sure it had to be arthritis, because I noticed that they hurt much more when it was wet or rainy or snowing.
Then, 4 years ago when I was living in Australia, I woke up with incredible pain in my left (?) shoulder. I use the question mark because I honestly can't remember which one it was, as I have pain in both of them now. After about 3 weeks of constant, aching, chilling pain, I went to see a doctor. They did an xray and an ultrasound, and couldn't find any source for my pain. (Bear in mind that throughout this, I was still experiencing pain in my back and my knee. One of my knees was always sore, and occasionally it would switch to the other knee).
When I came back from Australia, I still had this unexplained pain in my shoulder. I'm sure I went to the clinic at least twice for it, both times having ultrasounds and xrays, both times being told there was nothing abnormal about my scans.
After my son was born, I started experiencing pain in both of my shoulders. I finally got my family doctor to send me for an MRI, as well as another xray and ultrasound. Once again, everything came back completely fine. I went for blood tests; everything came back normal.
So there I was, a new mother with a colicky baby, extreme and constant pain, and no answers. This was a very tough time for me; not just physically, but emotionally as well. Not only was I constantly in pain, but I was also constantly tired. Sure, a lot of it at first was because hey, I had a baby. They don't always sleep! But I've noticed even now that I can sleep 5 hours or 15 hours (that's an exaggeration of course... I think I've had one or two nights where I've gone to bed at 7:30pm and slept until 6:30am) and I'm just as exhausted when I wake up as I was when I went to bed.
Finally, I had a breakthrough on January 1st, 2012. I woke up at 5:30am and I literally could. not. move. I felt paralyzed with pain. I panicked. I woke my husband up, insistently tugging on his pant leg with the one hand I could move, and said, "I need to go to the hospital."
That seemed to wake him up in an instant. He liked to joke that I was a hypochondriac, because of all my health issues in the past, but I rarely asked to go to the Emergency Room.
"Why? What's wrong?"
I responded, "I don't really know, but I can't move. I can't move and I'm starting to panic. Everything hurts. Literally, everything. I can't even get out of bed!"
Now, I'm not exaggerating when I say everything hurt; my jaw, my ear, my neck, my shoulders, my entire back (upper, mid, and lower), my hips, my knees, my ankles, even my toes. Everything ached, throbbed, stabbed at me. I felt like someone had punched me in the side of the face, like my jaw and my ear just had to be swollen and red (they weren't). Everything in me wanted to cry, to scream, to run away. But I couldn't.
After spending 6 hours in Emerg with no doctor on staff, I had my blood taken (it was of course, normal and healthy) and was told by a Nurse Practitioner that it sounded to her like I had Fibro.
I had done my research at this point, because a friend of mine also has it. I didn't think that I did, though, because I didn't have the "typical" pain points.
2 weeks later, I was referred to a Rheumatologist who diagnosed me, once and for all, with Fibromyalgia.
There is no cure. I'm too sensitive to medications, so for me, there have been no treatment options. I can't afford to go to physiotherapy (and I did try while I was working in a rehabilitation clinic... but it caused me too much pain), to have accupuncture, or see a chiropractor. I've been exhausted, depressed, and in pain ever since.
The winter is always much worse, as the change in temperature always brings out the worst pain. Looking after my son for 12+ hours a day is almost impossible, yet I do it, because I have no choice. At the end of every day, I feel like crying because I'm just at the end of my rope.
But a silver lining has presented itself recently; I've been offered 2 months of free chiropractic care, by a compassionate doctor who interviewed me for a position that went to someone else. Today is my first appointment. I am so very grateful and eager to try this, as I welcome any relief I can get.
This entire post was not supposed to be this long, and if you've stuck around to read it all, hey... you're a champ! I applaud you. But the whole reason I was going to write today was to announce that I will not be sewing anything for the near future, while I work on trying to recover. I've noticed lately that whenever I sew, I pay for it for days afterwards. I'm in more pain than ever, and it becomes all I can do to survive the days following.
It really upsets me, because I have such a passion for sewing, and seeing my ideas come to life in my hands. But after a long and painful road, with much soulful contemplation and prayer, I feel like I need to take a break from it. I realize that I've only been doing it for a year, and I don't want it to hurt my chances at succeeding with my business down the road... but I need to do this for me.
To all my loyal and lovely customers and fans, I love you so much for supporting my dream! It means more to me than you'll ever know. I will of course keep you updated via my blog and Facebook with my therapy, and once I'm feeling more up to the task again, I will return to my passion.
Thank you so much, and I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!