Friday, April 15, 2011

30DC - Day 11

Day 11 - A picture of something you hate.

PAIN SUCKS. I started experiencing pain in my childhood, around age 10 or so. I was diagnosed with arthritis and what was then called fibrositis, now known as fibromyalgia. I wasn't aware of the diagnosis until many years later, after I was diagnosed a second time at the age of 23. With a lot of hard work and medication I managed to get my symptoms under control - until I sustained a neck & back injury 2 years later. That was 12 years ago. I have been in chronic pain ever since.

I have been through physical therapy more times than I've tied my shoes, tried all kinds of medications and treatments, including Botox injections from the base of my skull down to below the scapula (that's the shoulderblade, for those of you who are not up to par on your anatomy). I received a series of injections over a period of 2 years, every 4 to 6 months, getting up to 24 injections in one sitting. The injections worked wonders at first, paralyzing the muscles in my neck and upper back and thereby preventing painful spasms. But it wasn't permanent. And after a while the efficacy began to fade. But my neck and upper back did look smooth and wrinkle-free.  When the Botox stopped working we tried trigger-point injections, shooting mostly into the same spots as the Botox but with a saline solution instead of the toxin. Both the Botox and the TrP injections were extremely painful and only last a certain amount of time.

So now I just rely on at home exercises that I learned in PT. Every once in a while I have to go back into PT, if I've injured myself (which is a lot easier to do when you have fibromyalgia), or when the muscle spasms won't calm down with my at home treatments (exercise, heat, ice, massage & meds). Somedays I feel good, but you never know what's going to trigger a flare-up with the fibro, which in turn flares up the site of the injury, which flares up the fibro again and round and round we go. I've also been diagnosed with migraines, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), all of which can be extremely painful in their own right. Put them all together and now you've got a pain party! I don't want to complain, but I am not a fan of pain. But I've had to learn to cope with it. If you don't learn to adapt then your life can be absolutely miserable. I do have days when I feel miserable, don't get me wrong. But learning to work with the pain instead of against it can make all the difference in the world.


  1. In case you haven't seen the Hyperbole and a Half pain rating scale

  2. Ha! Yes I've seen that and totally forgot about it - thank you for the reminder!! LOVE it! Today has been a 6/7.... :'(