Ready to Get My Life Back

I have always been active. I was a cheerleader for 9 years, a dancer for 13 and an avid outdoor hiker, camper and swimmer. I even did ice skating for 3 years! As an adult I've worked several jobs that affected my back in one way or another. I worked as a pilgrim at Plymouth Plantation where I had to wear a corset & lift heavy things. I was a landscaper, a dancer at Disney World and so on. My last job was at a desk doing customer service. I sat all day long, answering phones and online chats.

Suddenly one day, I could not function. There was no gradually increasing pain, I just woke up one morning and the pain was so bad I couldn't go to work. I lay on the couch & cried, wishing I was paralyzed so I couldn't feel anything from the chest down, the pain was so bad. I hadn't done anything that I knew of but my doctor said it could have been simply twisting the wrong way at work. That seemed very unlikely to me. I was so active. How could twisting the wrong way to answer the phone cause such massive back pain?

I couldn't get out of bed by myself, my husband had to dress me, my children tied my shoes! The pain was stabbing & overwhelming in the lower back, hips, legs, feet, even my toes. It never ended- the muscle relaxers & pain killers made me very groggy and sleepy but the pain was still so bad that I couldn't sleep.

One doctor said I had degenerative disk disease and there was nothing he could do- I just had the body of a 65 yr old woman and had to deal with it. Another said I had two herniated disks, still another said it was fibromyalgia.

The last one I saw tried to tell me I was too heavy and needed "boot camp"! I couldn't even tie my own shoes. What was he thinking? And with all the specialists I saw, the only doctor who ordered an MRI was my primary care doc!

As fast as it came on it was gone. I missed 2 weeks of work and no one believed me because I seemed fine when I came back. Plus I never did anything to cause that kind of pain in my own eyes- why should they believe any different?

Over the next year I had intermittent pain here and there but nothing like that 1st time. I was still able to go to work, took lots of over the counter meds to deal with the pain, got cortisone shots 4 times, saw a chiropractor and took the pain killers at night to sleep.

Then I was laid off in August of '08 and that following April I was in a bad car accident. I was brought to the ER strapped to a backboard, my back in agony. I begged the nurses to unstrap my legs and let me bend them but they refused until a doc looked at me (which was 45 minutes later!). They did not even take an x-ray. I left there with more pain pills & muscle relaxers and the comment "it just hurts cuz you were in an accident" Really? no kidding!

Since then I've been to physical therapy, more chiropractors, two more shots in the SI joint, aqua therapy and massage therapy. Nothing works. I've gained 40 pounds, most mornings I can't tie my own shoes, no matter what I do during the day I'm sore enough to have to take Aleve, sometimes I need help rolling over in bed, I can't run or jump, I have to take stairs one at a time, I've given up ALL my exercise routines for occasionally walking but even that sends spasms down my legs sometimes when the ground is uneven, I can't lift a laundry basket or sit for more then 30 minutes (which limits the job prospects). I still have no job & my unemployment just ran out, so now we have no income.

I've been told "it's all in your head" or "you need to take more frequent breaks", "Ice it", "put a heat pack on it", "the more you move the better it'll get" and so on. I have good days and bad days but most days are right in the middle- there's always pain but you just get used to it. - Kristy

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