Definition of Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Yup, that’s pretty much what I have done with chronic pain but I fell down three times not falling again. So, as I explained in an earlier post I first went to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota during college. This is at the point where I was drinking a LOT with my friends for different reasons then they were. Not completely different reasons but mainly to get rid of the physical pain I was dealing with and so people would think I was fun and normal. (I’m anything but normal and I’m happy with that….whatever normal is?) Did amazing at the Mayo Clinic Pain Rehab Center and spent many months there learning the tools necessary to live with chronic pain naturally aka NO more doctor appointments, surgeries, etc. I went back to school and did fantastic. I did not drink, I started (for the first time ever) exercising, eating healthy, meditating, and actually graduated college with a 4.0 in Social Work. I was on top of the world and felt amazing about myself and future. I still had chronic pain but I just stopped thinking about it and basing my whole existence around it.
Following college I moved back to NJ and started my first job as a social worker. The real world hit me hard. I was finding it difficult to manage my chronic pain and all the principles I learned at the Mayo clinic while working in the medical field as a social worker. I figured it out for about 2 years and kept taking on more work and more hours and well I fell back into my old routine. I started going out with people after work for drinks (yay pain went away) and seeing doctors again searching for that “chronic pain cure” that I logically knew did not exist. Most doctors gave me a prescription of some sort and all were certain their method would take my pain fully away. They said no one should have to live with chronic pain naturally and that I could find relief. They were correct, no one should have to live with chronic pain naturally but I knew I had to. So there I was not doing one thing the Mayo Clinic taught me except exercising to an extreme point though (anything to not have to think about pain) Great mix: extreme exercise, working like crazy, not eating well, taking medicine, and drinking most nights with friends. Luckily at this time I had good health insurance and decided to go back to the Mayo Clinic’s Pain Rehab Center. This time I was ecstatic to be there. I knew they could help me because they did it before. I took all the money I had and my dad helped me tremendously and stayed in Minnesota for 2 months while attending the program eight hours a day. I was a mess in the beginning. I had to be weaned off my medications and that was hell on earth. I had to re learn all the principles of the program but I was around people who understood what chronic pain felt like and there is no better feeling than being around people who can understand what you are feeling. My dad flew to Minnesota for the last few days I was there for the family portion of their program. It was one of the only times I have seen my dad cry. I think hearing what chronic pain was really like for people and the stories from other family members made him realize just how hard it was. I left the program in tears because I did not want to leave again. I wanted to live there with the program and the people who understood chronic pain. I did not want to come home and have to do it alone. But, I was out of funds and its not possible to live in the Mayo Clinic Pain Rehab Center. All the doctors, nurses, social workers, physical therapists etc had complete faith that I would do great.
They were right, I did. I didn’t go back to social work right away. I spent a few weeks practicing the program at home and a lot of time at the beach reflecting on how lucky I really was and honestly I was scared to go back. There was no way I would ever be able to afford to go back to the Mayo Clinic’s program again unless I won the lottery so this was my last chance. I was back to doing awesome. People who didn’t even know I had chronic pain saw a huge difference in my appearance and happiness. I was back to exercising the correct way for a person with chronic pain, eating healthy, meditating, doing yoga, journaling, and seeing an amazing therapist. It was time to go back to work. I had chronic pain completely under control. I found an awesome job that had the perfect hours for me. It did not pay what I could make other places but the hours were great and I would have a lot of one on one time with my patients. It was a senior day care center and I was the Director of Social work. I brought a lot of what I did to manage my chronic pain to the day care center. I had twenty patients a day doing meditations with me. I was single, I was doing what I loved, and I was managing chronic pain like a champ. This was one of the happiest times of my life. It was actually during this time that I met my husband. Life was great!
So why did I rock the boat? I was offered a job as a director of social work for a nursing home. They were offering to pay me a lot more money than I was making. It required more hours and a LOT more work. My inner wisdom told me not to take the job. The greedy side of me wanted to make more money. I took the job. My chronic pain became totally unmanageable. I was making more money than I ever had in my life and I had never been more depressed. Insanity kicked in and I began going back to doctors. Once again looking for the cure.
Obviously I couldn’t go back to the Mayo Clinic again. I was laid off from my job (which ironically had nothing to do with my chronic pain) and turns out I was pregnant. I ended up having a miscarriage which didn’t help the depression I was in. I was back to taking medications to alleviate the pain, back to seeing doctors at least once a week, laid off from a job (I despised that job but still sucks to be laid off) and dealing with a miscarriage. I was a mess inside but managed to put on a good act to everyone else. I did not want anyone to know that I had failed at chronic pain again.
I ended up marrying my husband (who never left my side even when I was very hard to deal with) and we ended up giving birth to our daughter, Kayci. We actually had our daughter a year to the date that we lost our son. I had a miscarriage Feb 2, 2011 and Kayci was born Feb 2nd, 2012.
I was still seeing specialists and doctors after Kayci was born and finally I just couldn’t deal with another doctors appointment. I was on different medicines for pain and not one doctor would help me wean myself off the medicine. I even called the Pain Rehab Center in Minnesota to see if they could find any resources around where we live and they came up with nothing. I felt like a complete failure not only to myself but as a wife and mother. I hated myself so much. Well, I obviously could not go back to Minnesota and it hit me one morning that I would have to do this on my own. I looked down at my little baby girls face and thought I need to be a role model and I have got to find some strength. I had a doctor appointment scheduled for that day. I kept looking at Kayci’s face and finally called the doctor and cancelled the appointment. I weaned myself off the medicine they had me on and went through my own hell for a few weeks. I’m managing chronic pain totally off any sort of pain medication or muscle relaxant or even Advil. I should be so proud of myself but I’m still hard on myself. I did something I never thought I could do and my life is getting better and better.
I fell down three times but I got up three times too. I may stumble throughout the path of chronic pain sometimes but I will not be going to see any doctors for chronic pain and will never go back to taking medicine for chronic pain.
I am 32 years old: I have a great husband, an amazing daughter and my life is just beginning. I plan to have more children and help others out there with chronic pain. I am so happy I have zero doctor appointments scheduled. Gives me a lot more time to focus on doing what I know helps me with chronic pain and it certainly is not pain medications. I’m doing this the hard way for the rest of my life and its so odd to say but there is no other way for me to do it.