I just love the picture of myself on the left so much I had to share it with the world again…no that is definitely not why I am posting this picture of two completely Jessica’s again. Since the moment I got a hold on my chronic pain and learned to manage it naturally and without treatment I have known my calling in this world. I went into the medical field as a social worker to help those with chronic pain. It was not until I became a mother that I found my true passion in this world: sharing my story to give people hope. I have been writing for many months now about my journey with chronic pain and sometimes it is not easy. There are many things from my past/present that I am not proud of and it has taken much soul searching and positive feedback to continue to share my story. As time goes on I am very thankful that more and more people are finding my blog and more than that I feel I am making a difference (quite small) but yet a difference for those who have lost hope in their journey with chronic pain. I am thirty two years old and I have been spent almost a two thirds of my life enduring chronic pain. My bike accident which resulted in brain surgery happened before my second year of middle school. Chronic pain started to get intolerable around the age of seventeen and it was at that age forward that I searched for a cure for my chronic illness. Chronic pain is so awful that I swear my brain surgery and recovery from the surgery was fifty times easier than living in constant pain with no answers or cures. After brain surgery I looked terrible. Half of my long brown hair was shaved off, I had scars, bruises, and I did not recognize myself in the mirror. It was not until my hair grew back and my visible scars disappeared that I began to fall apart. I looked healthy on the outside but was in severe pain on the inside. I wished for years all the physical marks of my accident remained with me so people would see the pain I was in. I got balloons, candy, cards, and flowers following my brain surgery but I have yet to get flowers for chronic pain.
Most of my life revolved around searching for a cure for my pain. A week did not go by that I was not in a doctor’s office. I have been on every medication known to man for pain relief, I have had multiple surgeries to try and “fix” my pain, I have tried everything from acupuncture to massage therapy to spinal injections, to surgeries which involved cutting nerve endings off in my face. I spent over ten years searching for a cure for my chronic pain and each time I believed something would work and it did not I fell apart a little more. As each week, month, and year went by without relief I gave up on myself and life in general. There is not a medication or procedure someone can ask me: “have you tried…..” that I have not tried and even if I haven’t tried it I am not going to. I lost so much of my life searching for a cure to chronic pain and pain was the center of my world for far too long to ever let it get in the way of living again. Once I hit my rock bottom and was close to suicide, I found the Mayo Clinic’s Pain Rehab Center. I did not believe in their philosophy at first but once I decided to truly try living with pain naturally and not letting it be the focus of my life, my life began to start.
People ask me all the time why I do not take medication or why I stopped searching for a cure. I get why people ask me that. Ten years ago I would have asked someone the same thing and probably thought someone was completely nuts to stop searching for help. For me, there is not a cure to chronic pain. I accept that and I am happy. If I was still searching for help and a cure I promise you I never would have graduated college, I would not have a family, and my biggest dream to be a mother would definitely not have come true. This was not an easy choice to make and it takes a lot of work to manage pain naturally. I wake up every day with chronic pain but I make a choice to try and not think about the pain and I usually win. I exercise, I juice, I practice yoga, meditation, mindfulness, nutrition, distraction, moderation and gratitude. I never judge anyone for their actions or choices and I am no better than anyone with or without chronic pain. I have hurt people, drank for weeks on end, dropped out of school and drove to Colorado, lost friends/family members, and have put my loved ones through living hell because of some of my choices and actions when I could no longer take living with chronic pain. The number one reason people die with chronic pain is suicide and I would be lying if I said there were not many times I did not think about ending my life. I am writing this blog to show people that one can live a happy life despite chronic pain and there is a way, maybe not out but through invisible illness. I do not recognize the person on the left in this picture. I was just about to enter the Mayo Clinic in that picture and was about twenty one. That smile is the fakest smile I have ever seen. I was dying on the inside. The picture of the right was taken this year and that’s the real Jessica. I am a mother with chronic pain who has two dreams in her life: to have more children, and to help as many people as I possibly can who are suffering with chronic pain. If it takes sharing/showing the world my story: the good/bad/and ugly I will do it. At one time life with chronic pain was the reason I wanted and came close to dying. Now chronic pain is the reason I am the healthy, happy person I am today. I know that probably does not make sense to so many people reading this but one day it just might. Never give up hope, trust me.