How on earth did I reach the point where I am functioning well without medication or anything of the sort people ask. I had brain surgery and suffered with chronic pain for a great portion of my adolescent and adult life and yet here I am at the age of thirty two writing to help people who suffer from an invisible illness. How the hell did I get to a good point? I ask myself that same question on an almost daily basis. The answer to the question is that I hit rock bottom. After spending ten years of my life seeing specialists, taking various medications, and going through numerous procedures I gave up,
I guess the day I gave up was the day I packed a bag and flew to Boulder, Colorado. I had no plan in mind, hardy any money in my pocket, and left my education to become a teacher behind. I had a good friend in Colorado and that was enough for me to leave. Once there I was able to party all the time. Boulder, Colorado is known for its beauty and skiing but it is also quite known for being a party town. That was exactly what I wanted. I wanted to be surrounded by drinking and “fun” so that I could forget about chronic pain and the depression it had led me to. Partying in Colorado was extremely common so I did not have look as if I was any different then the people around me.
I ended up meeting a guy who was a few years older than me and we hit it off right away. I spent my days as a part-time nanny and the rest of the time partying with my boyfriend and our friends. I stayed with my boyfriend and his seven other roommates. I honestly did not care that we were sleeping on a mattress in a room the size of my closet. I was so close to wanting to die and give up on all my dreams, that tiny room and mattress fit how I felt just fine. Alcohol always numbed my chronic pain. It was the one thing I could turn to without having to see doctors constantly that would numb my pain. Liquor stores were closed on Sundays in Colorado and I remember always making sure that we stocked up on Friday so that we would not run out once Sunday came. There were a few Sundays that we were unable to drink and I cried all day in pain. I was a complete mess. It was not until I came down with a sinus infection that I truly hit rock bottom. I felt too sick to drink and just laid in my boyfriends tiny room on that mattress crying for days. It felt like prison both inside and outside of my body. I was literally a prisoner to my pain. I laid on that mattress for days looking at all the red wine stains on the rug around me, knowing very well each one of those stains was from on of my drunken moments. I kept telling my boyfriend I wanted to die. I could not live in this horrible physical and mental pain anymore. I felt as if I was a waste to my friends and family and the world would be a much better place without someone like me in it. I must have been acting as serious about not wanting to live as I felt because a couple days later my boyfriend and I were in my Explorer driving to Rochester, MN. He had done research and made multiple phone calls and knew I needed to find help for my chronic pain. He took me to the Mayo Clinic and that is when I slowly began to heal. We spent the first month there seeing every specialist that could help with chronic pain, trying to find a cure. The head of neurology finally told me the words that would literally change my life forever. He said: “You have chronic pain and there really is no cure, just a lot of treatments.” He knew my medical history and knew that I had literally tried everything. That is when he sent me to the Pain Rehab Center where I spent almost five weeks learning how to manage chronic pain naturally. A lot of people in the program were extremely against what the Pain Rehab Center stood for and did not want to do the work. They wanted to keep searching for a cure to their chronic pain. I was done looking and ready to work. I had hit my rock bottom. To this day I can picture that tiny room with wine stains and a mattress without sheets and I cringe.
Following my “graduation” from the Pain Rehab Center I went back to Colorado but did not go near that house with that tiny room and mattress. My boyfriend and I moved to Denver and that is where I began to rebuild my life. That was a long time ago and to this day I stick to the program the Mayo Clinic taught me and what I write about. Colorado is extremely special to me. It is where I hit rock bottom and where I rebuilt my life and found health and happiness.