“I live in pain”. It’s something I say so nonchalantly to explain why I have to sit down, walk slowly, or take prescription meds. I say it so nonchalantly that the words don’t even resonate with me anymore. I’ve lived with chronic pain since the age of 10. I’m now 27, so that’s more than half my life at this point. I don’t really remember what it feels like to be totally pain free. When I tell people that, they usually look sad and apologize. I tell them not to worry about it. It’s hard to miss something you don’t remember having. I just live a different kind of life. Yes, it does suck sometimes. And yes, it can be really frustrating. But more often than not, I simply compensate for my issues and move on, trying not to let them define my entire existence.
My journey with pain began with an osteomyelitis diagnosis, or a bone infection in my left hip joint. It happened right after Halloween, and I was in the fifth grade. I just woke up one morning with a dull ache in my hip; and twelve hours later I was in the emergency room. 3 days later I was admitted to the hospital. After a few stays, surgeries, and medication through a catheter, I was given a clean bill of health and told the only problem I would have would be some scar tissue in the joint.
It was more than just scar tissue. I underwent two more surgeries through my high school years for torn cartilage in the left hip joint. After the first surgery, the surgeon said it was a, “one in a million chance” the cartilage would tear again. Almost one year to the day after that surgery, I was back in the hospital, having the exact same procedure. The pain continued after the surgeries, and I went to several specialists who said I would need a hip replacement in the future, but my pain wasn’t severe enough to cause them to replace a joint on someone so young. So, I did my best to manage pain by watching my activities and taking whatever medication I was told would help me.
In the last few years, the pain has increased at a rapid rate. I now have pain in that same problem hip joint, 3 slipped discs in my lower back, shoulder pain, headaches, and knee pain. Thinking I had developed Rheumatoid Arthritis (which I have a strong family history of), I saw a rheumatologist and was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia instead. The doctor has no idea how I developed Fibromyalgia, but it might have to do with the previous pain I’ve been experiencing in my hip and lower back.
I’m not a medical professional. Everything I write about chronic pain comes from my own experiences and/or articles I have read (which I will always cite). I wanted to start this blog because I have noticed there are so few resources available for young people living in pain. I thought that if I shared my stories, treatments, and research, the information could help someone else. About 2 years ago, I decided I was getting tired of the status quo in managing my pain. I believe there have to be more answers and better treatments out there. This blog is my quest to find those answers.