02 Feb MY NAME IS SHARON
The pain rushes in like the wind, unseen but still a force to be reckoned. At the moment of impact or flare I am no longer myself; I’ve become someone completely unrecognizable. I plead for help and lose my individuality to the agony. It controls who I am, what I do, and where I can go. I remember a time when physical activities were apart of daily life. Walking through the park during the summer, riding a bike with ease as the sun beams on my hair, shopping for groceries, toting laundry for three children, a full time employee at a university and college student. I had great pride in my place of employment and constant activities was an imperative part of my personality. Never did I realize the wind would change my entire outlook.
At first I presumed it was the five unintended car accidents due to careless drivers. But one day. I came upon an old friend who lifted me from the ground with a bear-like greeting that resulted in a month of sick leave, intense physical therapy, pain killers and electric blankets for relief. That was the beginning.
I was hopeful that this was something that would resolve itself quickly. After fifteen years the pain began to evolve into an even deeper troubling position. Eventually, the pain began to radiate into my hands, shoulders, arms, legs, thighs and neck. I often boasted about my independence; it was my greatest source of pride. Offering myself as everyone else’s support is what I enjoyed most about my life. But for me, I enjoyed doing everything for myself and by myself.
Time has created a new sense of reality as my mobility started to fade and my new realization of a dependent lifestyle crept up on me like a splinter stuck in a child’s toe. I realize that I now have to depend on people more than I have ever wanted to. This new reality presents even more problems because depression seeped in; self-esteem diminished and self-worth is something left in a box like old pictures in the attic.
All of sudden, cooking, cleaning, moving furniture, organizing fantastic parties and self-preservation became strenuous and demeaning. I am aware that every living being feels some type of pain in life, but this is a deep tissue/nerve pain that starts with a burning sensation and ends with me screaming for mercy. When the burning begins, it spreads like fire under my skin and radiates the affected area leaving my body in a useless deformity. I appear as if someone took a bone out of that section and left me hanging.
My chiropractor, which I was attending for a pinched nerve in my lower spine recommended I see a pain management specialist. I have been a patient for at least 10 years at the facility. The entire time, I was treated with certain medications to help with pain. However, the office was never able to treat me during acute episodes, so a trip to the emergency room is warranted. Many times I was caught off guard by a delayed back ache that would start while I’m driving, leaving me helpless and desperate. Ambulance companies arrive quickly to transport me from my vehicle to a medical facility for which I am grateful for the expedient medical treatment.
I often get into lengthy conversations with people who believe they have the right cure for what ails me. Maybe if I exercise, lose weight or drink a certain mineral or protein or fruit or vegetable that this will go away. Many suggest I pray more; which they have no idea how much I pray, so they assume I do not pray at all. I take different medications in an attempt to control the flares. I have received many trigger point injections to relax the muscles.
When I’m not in flare, I enjoy singing, writing songs, poems, and skits, college life and spending quality time with my two granddaughters. The 18month old learns fast, which is a plus for me because I taught her easily how to do things on her own with very little help from me. Music has brought so much joy to my life and with it I have gained wonderful friendships. I am also very grateful for my newest friendships established through the Fibromyalgia Care Society. Truly looking forward to the Caterpillar Walk in May. See you there!