In 2004 I got into a car accident where I rear end someone at 45MHP(totally my fault)! Initially I didn't have any pain or apparent injuries. Over the next year I started having aches and pains that I just chalked up to getting older & being a busy mom with 3 kids. Woke up one morning with my neck killing me & just thought I slept on it wrong. Then I started having pain in my left hip & leg, I just thought it was something I was doing wrong at the gym. The pain in my leg got worse & I ended up in a neurosurgeons office after MRI showed a large ruptured disc in my lumbar spine. At the time I was working as a Kindergarten teaching assistant & was on my feet most of the day so needless to say it was quite a challenge. I tried several treatment options with little to no relief so I decided to have surgery on Christmas break 2005 with the assumption I would be good to go by the time winter break was over. Well, the surgery did not go as planned, it failed and made my back worse!! It my the pain in my leg 100 times worse. I literally pleaded for my doctor to cut my leg off if that is what it took to relieve the pain. It was determined that there was a pieces of loose disc that was laying directly on the nerve. The kicker was it wouldn't be or another month until they could get me back in surgery to remove it & perform a lumbar fusion. After that surgery the leg pain was better but now I had nerve damage to my leg & my back was killing me, I wonder why?? haha! Needless to say for over 2 months I lived on pain killers. It was so bad that I would wake myself up crying & my loving hubby would be there to give me the next pill. No way to "function"! I had the lumbar fusion and the leg pain was gone but recovery was brutal!! I had to use a walker & go through physical therapy. I tried to quit taking the pain meds cold turkey not realizing my body had gotten addicted, boy was that a mistake! I got soooo sick! My husband said I looked like some kind of junkie! I was hurting all over, sick to my stomach, sweating like a pig, so anxious all I could do was pace & cry. Then it dawned on us that I was having withdrawals for the pain meds! I called my doctor feeling so embarrassed, thankfully they told me not to worry that it happens & gave me a regiment to wean myself off the pain meds & thankfully I did! WHEW!!
My husband & kids were AWESOME!! They had no clue what I was going thought while they were at work & school. I would cry all day not knowing what to do! My whole world had been completely turned upside down. I would pull myself together in time for them to get home & be waiting for them on the couch with a forced smile on my face. My daughter was asked to draw a picture of her family & there I was laying on the couch!! I was so mad at my body for failing me!! During all of this I was still battling the problems with my neck & shoulder. Finally decided I needed to have it check. GUESS WHAT??? Another ruptured disc!!!!!!! REALLY?!?!? At this point I had used up all my time under the Fair Family Medical Leave Act & was forced to resign. I thought I was literally losing my mind!! Bill collectors calling like crazy, threats of foreclosure on our house, repo man literally knocking on the door for our car while hiding it in the garage! We had no choice but file for bankruptcy which was yet another embarrassment!! So I put off surgery on my neck & just "dealt" with it.
Luckily I was able to get well enough to go back to work & got a office job doing. Everything seemed to be going pretty good. I think it was because my mood was lift being able to work & contribute to the family. I was still battling my neck & was noticing that I was ALWAYS so exhausted & depressed! I would fall asleep at my desk & in the car at stop lights going to & from work. Sometimes I would go the bathroom at work & nap for a minute or two. Pathetic! Once again I blew it off to getting older & all the trauma my body was trying to get over. Then an opportunity of a life time fell into my lap, an opportunity to work from home as an HR Manager. Went great for a while, didn't have to get up so early & commute so no more falling asleep in the car! But the fatigue was still crippling! My doctor suggested a sleep study to see if I possibly had sleep apnea. Was thinking, finally I will get some answer & start feeling better. But the test was negative for sleep apnea, I must say I was disappointed because it could have been so easily treated. Instead they stated had a sleep disorder called alpha EEG anomaly which is inability to achieve the deep level of sleep needed for both emotional and physical restoration of the mind and body. Once again I got excited & thought yeah, fix it!! Well not so easy! They felt this was due to Fibromyalgia! I had heard of it in passing but did really know it meant. So yet again I get excited thinking I could now be cured because we know what it is. SORRY, NO CURE!! Was told you just kind of have to deal with it! Took me forever to come to terms with this MONSTER called Fibroymyalgia!
In the mean time I was still having problems with my neck & was showing signs of nerve problems in my arms. Didn't need anymore nerve damage so I decided to get the surgery to have the ruptured disc replace with an artificial disc. It helped with the arm pain but the shoulder pain was still there. Kind of discouraging! Oh & while in the hospital I almost died! I mean FOR REAL almost died!! This particular hospital has a bad reputation in our area but the surgeon was so highly recommended. It was just a 1 night stay so I figured I would be in & out so quick that they couldn't kill me. haha! Well, almost not so lucky!
They had me on a very powerful pain medication called dilaudid which is fine as long as you are being properly monitored for signs of respirator distress! I could tell it was too strong & kept telling my family something wasn't right. They just blew it off as me being stubborn & not wanting to rest & just told me to relax & go with it & that the nurses were "monitoring" me & everything would be fine. Mid way through the day the monitor that had me on quit working. We asked over & over if they were going to get a new one brought in & they said they would. My hubby left to take care of my little girls & my teenage son stayed with me to keep me company. Made me feel better having someone with me! : ) We had problems that whole night not being about to get my nurse to respond to me, my husband had to actually call the floor several times from home to get them to come to my room. I was in tears but I hid them from my son! Still no monitors & I had also requested NOT to be given the FULL dose of the dilaudid because it made me feel like if I went to sleep I wouldn't wake up. I think my body was trying to tell me something. Needless to say the nurse was not happy with us the last time I had my son call for my meds. She appeared to having a very bad night! Before she gave me that last dose I asked about the monitors again & she said nothing & just stuck me with a needle. As she was pushing the meds in I asked if it was the full dose & she said yes. I then told her NO THAT'S TOO MUCH!! Oh & at this point she has also given me Benadryl, Ambien & something for nausea which HELLO all make you sleep!!! Last thing I remember is my son asking if I was OK & I felt surely I was being that I was in a hospital & all. So I told him to go to sleep. Then next thing I remember is some sitting on top of me jerking me around & screaming my name!! It was my guardian angel!! It so happened that a friend of mine worked in the hospital part-time & happened to be working that night. She came down to see me at 4am & she said appeared to be sleeping fine so she didn't bother me. She got off at 6am & wasn't going to come back down but "something" kept pulling her to come check on me (I know who that was, GOD!). She walked into my room & said I was making a horrible sound & was as blue as a smurf. She ran to get the nurses who were sleeping & called the rapid response team in to "revive" me! Thank God for that little guardian angle, she truly saved my life! I was put on a re breather & given 2 shots of Narcan to help bring me back! The hospital NEVER acknowledged anything happened & later came in to ask if I wanted something for pain! I couldn't believe this all had just happened. Luckily I did not suffer any permanent damage other than the over all trauma of the ordeal! My son still carries guilt like he had done something wrong, which he did not. Plus watching all of this happed to his mother in from of him! Can you imagine?! Poor baby!
Thankfully I came out of there alive but was still having shoulder pain & needless to say that, the trauma of my hospital stay, the fatigue, not truly understanding or accepting the whole FIBRO thing was starting to take a BIG toll on my mentally. I have always fought depression but this was deeper than ever! The job I had working from home that once had been a blessing starting to become a burden. The isolation of working from home was not helping at all! With the economy being the way it was, the company I was working for was feeling it as well. Most of the position within our company were revenue producing but mine. Needless to say my hours were being cut back & I wasn't being as productive because of the fatigue & depression.
I finally started researching FIBRO and once I "embraced" it & accepted it then things started looking up. I decided I needed to look for work to supplement my income because of my reduced hours & felt it would be good for me to get out of the house & around people again. I used to be a 911 dispatcher over 10 years ago & enjoyed it so I decided that maybe I would try that again. Once again God was watching over me. I got a position with a local sheriffs office working in the 911 center & was still working from home part-time. As I predicted my position with the company that I was working from home for eliminated my position which was a blessing! I absolutely LOVE the job I have now!! I work 12 hours shift on the night shift! Which works out perfect for me! I am NOT a morning person & was already sleeping all day & staying up all night due to the insomnia! Not to mention I get to help save lives!!
Luckily I have a great relationship with my general practitioner & together we have tried several different meds & vitamin combinations to find what works for me. So far what we are doing to working pretty good. I still battle the constant fatigue & have days that I flare, OUCH! I started getting acupuncture for my neck & shoulder, its wonderful!!! I didn't believe in it but thought it was worth a shot, I FINALLY got some relief from the pain since 2004!! ACUPUNCTURE ROCKS!!
So as you can tell this has been one heck of a journey & I can only imagine what is still to come! I have had many trials & tribulations but have so many blessings!! I have a wonderful husband of 16 years that has stood by me & took over as Mr. Mom! 3 beautiful children that love me so unconditionally! I sat my kids down & explained to them what I have & why sometimes it hurts me when they give me hugs so now the are more gentle! ((gentle hugs)) I do however carry so much guilt for how they all have to suffer because of what FIBRO & my back has done & continues to do to our lives! But no matter what we all still have each other & for that I am thankful!
Sorry for being so long winded but my journey as been long with lots of ups & downs! Feel like I am on a roller coaster of life most days! Hope my story helps someone else feel that they are not alone in this journey called life.
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." Plato