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I started living with chronic pain when I was tripped while playing basketball in grade 7 gym class. I smashed my right elbow into the corner of a concrete block wall and was instantly met with searing hot pain. Like someone kept stabbing me in the ulnar nerve with a million hot pins. It was annoying to say the very least.
Since then, I’ve had ulnar neuropathy. It got progressively more painful until I was giving up things I loved to do. No more volleyball, no more piano, no more ninjitsu, no more using a damn rolling pin even. It SUCKED. Right up until I finally found a doctor that said I needed surgery to decompress the nerve. I was 22 by the time that happened.
Surgery helped a bit. Turns out my nerve had so much scar tissue and so many blood vessels over it that the nerve was being “guillotined” (as my surgeon put it). Not too long after the surgery though, I had to move across the country. Packing shit up didn’t help my nerve in the slightest.
And then I was diagnosed with atypical IBS. My brain misinterprets peristalsis as pain. Hooray!
I was hit by a car. As a pedestrian. In a crosswalk. After my husband was hit first. He was fine, I was not.
My head bounced off the road at least twice. I had a severe concussion and was on bed rest for about 11 months before I could even try to return to work. I barely remember any of it, my memory went to shit. My husband tells me I repeated myself a lot and would cry out of nowhere or start laughing hysterically. Fun times.
I ended up with chronic migraines, TMJ issues, SI pain, neck pain, shoulder pain… basically the whole right side of me was screwed. Throw some PTSD in there too. Some things have calmed down a bit but for the most part the right side of me is still pretty messed up. Not to mention my already nerve damaged elbow made contact with the hood of that guy’s car. There goes the surgery I had to help that elbow.
I’ve had a lot of other health problems as well. Complete molar pregnancy, chemotherapy, blood clot, blood infection, allodynia, scoliosis, eczema… probably some other stuff I’m forgetting about. I try to not let my health define me. I try not to complain tooooo much on a day to day basis. At least, not in person. I’m sure I’ll complain a lot here.
I ultimately hope that sharing my experiences with chronic pain helps someone else living with chronic pain. Helping someone without pain understand this invisible illness would be wonderful as well. Let me know what you’re going through in the comments below, or contact me privately if you prefer.
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