To Live or Exist: How I’m Coping w/Chronic Pain

I remember laying on the table at the orthopedist’s office with nothing but a gown and panties on; wondering why I didn’t wear a cuter pair of panties and thinking ‘It can’t be too bad.’ But in my heart of hearts I knew it was that bad.

For over a year I’ve had a debilitating pain in my left hip that has caused me a limp, makes me cry and often time has resigned me to my seat more times than I want. While I was pregnant, the OB told me that it would go away after delivery, this was just normal pregnancy pains.

Almost 6 months after birth when I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s I was told that chronic inflammation was common. Being that I was experiencing joint and muscle pain everywhere my assumption was that this was the case. So when my Orthopedic doctor came into the exam room and hugged me I knew something was definitely that bad.

“Arthritis. You have a rare form of Rheumatoid arthritis. I mean this isn’t regular osteo either.” And he was explaining and my head was spinning. He showed me an x-ray of cysts in my bone, no cartilage and how it was in my pubic bone as well. Prognosis? I’ll live. I’ll need a hip replacement before 35. I am almost 33. How did I feel? Defeated.

I felt my mobility slipping away from me and I kept ignoring it. Kept buying into the idea that if I just lost enough weight… My PCP believed it was in my head and that it was just my weight. So I ignored, persevered, cried in bathroom stalls where I’d collapse in pain after a brief walk.

I grew exhausted explaining to co-workers, congregation members why I was limping, Why I didn’t want to go to the mall. Why I avoided going shopping for my family. The pain. The pain is so excruciating I find myself praying for a peaceful death sometimes. There’s no pill, no quick fix.

I thought I would feel better after I knew what was wrong-but it turns out it made me feel worse. I’ve been silently brooding and mourning the loss of my flexibility and ability to walk normally. The other day I finally broke down and used a mart kart inside the store. I felt embarrassed and angry. And on the car ride home I realized I was grieving.

I realized that the quality of my life was going to have to change and that was good reason to be sad. In the same breath I realized that the fact I still had a life was something to be grateful for. And ever since that car ride home I’ve been attempting to change my point of view.

I want to be able to come here and share a testimony of success with ya’ll. Tell you how I’ve overcome; but I’m afraid that’s not the message here. I’m still having moments when all I want to do is cry. I still have moments where the idea of a having to take a step brings on a full anxiety attack. I still have moments when I question why my husband still desires intimacy with me and finds me beautiful.

Despite these moments, these episodes of self loathing- I am still trying. And that’s the part that matters. I still find joy in my husband, my children, my friends, and though there are things that I used to enjoy a bit more; I haven’t given up on trying to enjoy them in a new way.

So if you came here today for the happy ending; I’m sorry to disappoint. But I hope you learned something anyway….

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