- CASE FILE
A 40 year old, married, mother of four with an 8 year history of debilitating, widespread, chronic pain.
ABOUT THIS CASE FILE
Almost eight years ago, I was a healthy, married, mother of 4 in my early 30s. I was training for a 5k with a friend and life was good. I awoke one morning in November of that year with intense pain in my back. Having had experience with kidney stones, I assumed this was the cause. I was evaluated and kidney stones were not thought to be the problem. I was treated for acute pain early on but as time went on and tests kept coming back negative for any injury or illness, doctors were stumped as to what was causing my pain. The pain continued to be in my mid and lower back. In the first three months of my experience with pain, I endured a very painful ESWL to break up a large kidney stone within my kidney (hoping this was part of the problem), I underwent surgery to remove my gallbladder (again hoping this was the problem). None of the procedures helped and really on intensified my pain as my body did not handle recovery as well as it once had. Finally, my primary care physician referred me to a pain management doctor. I have been seeing this specialist ever since that original referral. We are constantly looking at new treatments and options to try to find relief or a cure for my often debilitating pain. At one point, about 5 years ago, I even traveled to The Cleveland Clinic to undergo treatment in their Pain Rehab Program with Dr. Covington. While there, I learned some ways to cope with my pain but no real cause or illness could be found despite countless tests and appointments with specialists in the Cleveland Clinic. I came home after 3 weeks away from my family without much improvement. Over the course of the last few years, my pain management doctor and I have worked together to find a regimen of medications that allow me to function. I still am unable to be as active as I once was and I can often be found lying in bed in the afternoons trying to rest my body from the morning so I can function in the evening to care for my children and my family. If I "overdo" it somehow, by going shopping with my teenage daughters or going to a concert, then I know that I will likely spend the next day in bed recovering from the exertion. Through the years of dealing with this pain, I have developed fibromyalgia which has contributed an all-over fatigue and aching pain to my already painful existence. I have developed hypertension, depression and insomnia. I no longer sleep more than a few hours at night. My body hurts too much to lie in bed for more than 4 hours and forces me from my bed. If I am fortunate to have a light schedule the next day, I can try to get in a nap to make up for the sleep deficit but that rarely works and I am constantly in a state of sleep deprivation. I do my best to make the most of my life. My faith, my husband and children and my family are dear to me and it is heartbreaking when I am unable to be active with my family like I want to be. Even today, my husband and children are enjoying a day at a local amusement park while I remain home because I knew there was no way I would be able to walk in the heat and endure the miles of walking and activity required to enjoy such an outing. I hope that one day, someone will be able to help me discover what is wrong and hopefully find a cure. In the meantime, I do the best I can to serve God, love my husband and children and make a life for us with what I have to offer.