Throughout life I have been a pretty optimistic person except when it came to chronic pain. Well, that is not true. In the first few months, possibly years of searching for a cure for chronic pain I was quite optimistic. I never thought that the pain would just never go away and I would have to live with it forever. The difference between acute pain and chronic pain never even entered my mind because really what is cute about any pain? After maybe the thirtieth doctor, twentieth medication, or tenth procedure my optimism that my pain would go away slowly diminished. It took many years for me to give up hope of any help or life with pain but living in constant pain for years turned me into a pretty pessimistic person. I kept seeing doctors for years because a part of me wanted to believe that someone out there would be able to cure my pain. I not only looked for help in my home state, New Jersey but: Pennsylvania, New York, Colorado, and lastly Minnesota. My book one day should be entitled: “The Road Trip to End Pain.” Clearly, I never did find a cure for chronic pain but with the help of the Mayo Clinic was able to learn to accept it and live a very fulfilling and happy life despite chronic pain. My journey with pain has been a roller coaster but I have the knowledge I need to manage it naturally and the wisdom to know I do not need a cure to live the life I want.
I have been pregnant three times. I had a miscarriage prior to my daughter and a miscarriage after my daughter. Kayci is now twenty five months and obviously (if you follow my blog) the best thing to ever happen to me. Chronic pain causes many people to lose sight or their dreams. After years of being in pain constantly people begin to ask themselves: “How will I ever hold down a job again?” or “How will I ever be able to make my family happy?” or in my case: “How will my dream of being a mother ever come true if I have to live with chronic pain forever?” I truly never believed I would be able to be the mother and wife I had always dreamed of being. From the time I was able to walk I was playing with dolls and always pretended my younger brother was my own. Yes, I wanted to be a teacher and a social worker and I did end up getting my degree in social work and had much success as a social worker. However, my true dream, the thing that I have always wanted more than anything in this world was to be a mother. So, here I am the age of thirty two: married with a beautiful little girl and wanting to make her a brother or sister. The quote I love about dreams is: “Never give up on something you cannot go a day without thinking about.” A never go a day without thinking about having more children and I am fortunate enough to be married to someone who shares the same dream. I have been quite pessimistic about getting pregnant and I honestly kept thinking: “I don’t think I can get pregnant.” People, including friends, family and my doctor look at me as if I am nuts. Of course I can get pregnant. Look at the little girl I have and sadly the two miscarriages we have faced. Obviously we can get pregnant and have not even been “trying” a year yet. My closest friend who has known me since my bike accident at the age of thirteen and watched me battle chronic pain for nearly fifteen years gave me the biggest AHA moment last night. She texted me something that blew me away. She wrote me: “Jess, I have a theory why this fertility issue hits you so deeply. It is because you have dealt with chronic pain for so many years where there was no answer and that is all you know. But thankfully, you can get pregnant and will.” Sometimes the closest people to us can see things we are unable to see. This is not the first time my dear friend has known me better than myself.
Chronic pain (for me) will probably be a life long battle. I know it affects me physically and mentally but I never thought it had anything to do with my current anxieties and fears. It just truly shows us how much chronic pain can take away from us: the biggest thing being hope. I have accepted I have chronic pain and am managing it quite well. There are bumps in the road and it is not always easy and sometimes downright brutal but on a whole I am a ton happier than I ever was during my search for a cure. I do not want my past to contribute to the hopes and dreams I have now. I will get pregnant, Kayci will have a sibling because getting pregnant has zero to do with my life with chronic pain. Chronic pain destroyed almost a half of my entire lifetime, I refuse to let it destroy the remainder.