Fatigue, muscle soreness, chronic headaches, lack of appetite, nausea, intense back pain, neck pain.
“I can’t move. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I get up? I’m paralyzed. I can’t move. Why do I have no energy? I hate myself for not being productive. Just get up. GET UP. GET UP!” nothing.
This is a glimpse of my experience with chronic pain. My family figured it might be growing pains or stress; we didn’t think too much of it until I became too weak to do even the smallest of tasks. I became extremely frustrated with my condition, and I blamed myself for it. After about 6 months of dealing with this worsening condition, my mom and I went to the doctor to get things checked out. We told the doctor the symptoms, and after a quick exam, he told us the news: my spine was twisted to the left.
You could feel the difference in the misalignment of my hips and the crookedness of my spine. After checking to ensure it wasn’t scoliosis, we scheduled another appointment to get it (hopefully) realigned. This alignment would (supposedly) get rid of my headaches and neck/back pain. The day of the appointment, after some weird twisting, contorting, and stretching, my back was successfully back in place. The next few days weren’t much better though, as I had a lot of soreness from the change.
In addition, we got an all-inclusive blood test. Those results were shocking, but everything fell into place. It turns out my adrenaline level was 4, while the normal persons’ is between 14 and 20. This accounted for my lack of appetite, nausea, headaches, and fatigue. We ordered medication that would stimulate the adrenal glands to produce more adrenaline. I’m supposed to be up to the normal human level in about 2 months, but I must take them for approximately 6 before we can consider taking me off of them. These pills are anything but fun to take: they smell disgusting and they are big enough to make me gag while taking them more often than not.
The condition I have has been most difficult to deal with mentally. While the physical aspect of being in constant pain was terrible, what affected me the most was the frustration I had with not being 100%. With all that I do, not being physically able to give things my all took a big toll on my mental health. I began to resent not only my pain, but myself as a whole. I would have to will myself to do even the simplest things every single day. It made me feel depressed, frustrated, and sad.
While my journey with this pain is currently ongoing, I’m grateful that we have found a cause. It pains me to know that people go through this kind of thing daily, and perhaps for their entire lives. Whether they can’t find a diagnosis, they can’t afford treatment, or there is no way to get around the pain, some people have to live with chronic pain. This experience has helped me realize what it’s like to be in that situation, more or less, and it’s taught me compassion for those who are in pain. When someone is constantly in that state, it may be easy to become numb to it and excuse it. I urge you to be always compassionate and understanding with friends or family who have a condition that leaves them in pain much (or even all) of the time.