“Today is a high pain, low spoon, I need a hug kind of day physically. But in all other aspects of self; emotionally-mentally-spiritually, I am doing GREAT!
Blurb about me: I want share; my stories and the best ways I manage my whole person recovery. I want to up-lift, motivate, inspire one another. To share how we, as a community can get though our days, with recipes of love, humor and faith. We can’t do this alone. Let’s stand together!!!
The beginning of my spoonie journey started about 20 years ago and has grown more involved in the days since then. I was involved in a series of serious car accidents and was diagnosed with multiple illnesses and injuries that continued to take a toll on my body, as well as my mind.
My first accident was around 1998, when I was five (5) months pregnant, a drunk-driver hit our car on the passenger side, the car flipped and rolled down the street (like you’d see in a movie) until it landed with a bang and the ceiling caved down the middle and all the windows blew out. The fact that I managed to walk away from the accident with minor injuries (considering they couldn’t treat me because I was pregnant) and that my unborn son was okay, was God looking out for me. My Mom, who was a passenger wasn’t so lucky and had injuries that kept her bed-bound for two decades before she died. I’ve had a total of 5 car accidents, which were not my fault, over the next 10 years.
My first accident got the ball rolling, but the second (2) accident was where things started to really go downhill. It was a year or less after the first accident and I was on my way home from work, I was driving on the bridge to the highway and a lady came out of a side street and hit me head-on, on my front-end passenger side. It was revealed during the investigation that she was high on Peyote and uninsured. My car was totaled, and I was once again in the hospital. Adding more injuries to the list and just trying to get through each day.
The third (3) accident, was six (6) months after the second. I had my now one-year old son in the car, stopped at a light and on my way to physical therapy. When an elderly couple plowed through the light as if it wasn’t red and I wasn’t even there. More pain and more injuries. To say that I’ve gone through many cars at this point is an understatement. 3 have been totaled in the last decade. The fourth was someone who decided to hit me and run, although I filed a police report and reported it to my insurance.
The last and God willing final accident was 5 years ago. I had taken my son, who was at the time entering high school, school shopping, and we were on our way home when a kid who had taken his Mom’s vehicle impacted our lives in ways he didn’t imagine when he got behind the wheel. He was high and texting and not paying attention when he hit us. He hit us so hard, over 50+ mph, that he rammed us into the vehicle in front of us, the front of our car was crushed to the engine, and I had little to no back seat. Thank God my son was a passenger in the front seat. We were 5 minutes from our house, stopped at a light, and my life changed yet again. I got hit from both ends, a crushed metal sandwich.
It’s a ridiculously long list of injuries and illnesses that I’ve accumulated over the last twenty (20) years. Some that were caused by the series of accidents in my life, as well as life giving me more afterwards, it has made me who I am today, brokenness and all. I have not had one day without pain. Not ONE! My Dad says, “The pain lets you know you’re alive. My reply, “Well, I guess I’m really freaking alive then huh”.
I’ve been diagnosed with (not complete list); cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sciatic discs that are bulging, herniated and compressed on my spinal cord and nerve roots. Spinal hemorrhage, spinal instability, and a broken vertebra. A torn meniscus in my left knee, which I had surgery on 4 years ago (still hasn’t healed properly). On top of the injuries, my body changed, and I had to deal with not only the pain, but fatigue, migraines, memory loss, learning to walk all over again unassisted from a walker or cane. The nerve damage, muscle damage, soft tissue damage has been fun.
Rheumatoid arthritis, swelling; in the face, hands, knees, ankles, and feet, and joints that HURT all the time. Continual flare-ups, spasms, waking up to hands that won’t open or close for an hour, or the entire left side of my body being completely numb.
Hypothyroidism, to which I have to take medication for the rest of my life. And Fibromyalgia, to which there is NO cure, at least for now, and compounds ALL my pain and illness. 22 gallstones and gallbladder that had died and was poisoning me, that I had removed in an emergency surgery.
TBI- Traumatic Brain Injury, – I had to stop working as a Paralegal after that one because I couldn’t remember all my 300 cases and continue working. Rosacea, my new friend makes me want to use make-up before people see me. Alopecia, that makes me self-conscious as I have bald spots and am vain about my looks. What woman isn’t?
PTSD, depression and anxiety. What a joy! A severely compromised immune system (Don’t come near me if you’re sick) that regularly attacks me. TMJ, going to the dentist is my favorite.
Pinched nerve. Nerve root compression. Awesome! Advanced lumbar scoliosis. Bursitis in both hands. Bring it on! Chronic ovarian cysts that rupture. Yea, I live for pain.
Tumor that was removed through endoscopic surgery between my stomach and uterus. Several pre-cancerous melanoma skin spots removed, although I have not gone back for a follow-up.
Sure, give me more. I’ve LIVED at the doctor’s offices. And now, well, I’m so damn sick of being sick!
To separate myself from the despair, the betrayal, the isolated feeling, that comes from living with being in chronic pain for over two (2) decades, I’ve had to break-down myself into categories.
How am I feeling physically? How am I feeling emotionally? How am I feeling spiritually? How am I feeling mentally? My God, it took forever, for me to have a positive answer for when someone asked how I was doing. To not just scream and give them a run-down of all my injuries, aches and pains.
Which, to be honest, was all I did, for the first decade. I lost a lot of friends that decade. And still do to this day. I have days where I have had to cancel plans last minute, or I have no energy or spoons left, and the people in my life do not or choose not to understand. I go through another weeding process. Watch my garden grow. Healthy and no longer co-dependent and full of beautiful things called “boundaries”.
When people look at me, they don’t see a woman who is disabled (and actually has a permanent disability tag for my vehicle) and deals with chronic pain, invisible illness, and multiple injuries. Because they can’t physically see it, it is hard for some people to believe, understand or relate to me.
My favorite sayings I often hear are; aren’t you better yet? Why are you always sick and in pain? Why do you never want to hang out? I sometimes feel like a freaking doctor having to break-down and explain it to people who have never gone through this.
I do not share this for sympathy, pity, or to be a victim. Because I am NOT.
For those of you who will never understand, what living like this does to someone, I am happy for you, for you are truly blessed. I would not wish this on anyone. For those of you who do know what I am talking about, I’m sorry you have to live this way, but know for the most part you’ve also found tricks to making the best of the life we’ve been given. Some days are better than others. It’s an emotional coaster we’re on and how we feel physically effects every single thing we say or do.
For better understanding, read “The Spoon Theory”.
Or ask questions. Don’t ASSume. Don’t compare. Don’t belittle. Just share.
What are you battling with???
Chronic pain, chronic fatigue, Fibromyalgia, invisible illness, multiple permanent injuries, and auto-immune disease. Depression, PTSD, and anxiety. Disability/being disabled & how to survive in an able-bodied world. Alcoholism, addiction, medical cannabis patient, how your pain and illness affect your recovery. Domestic abuse, trauma, sexual assault, co-dependency or more. I have first-hand experience with all of it.
If you have any questions for ME, let me know in the comments section of this article and I will include some answers in my next blog????
Until next time.
X: “Confessions of an anonymous Spoonie”
P.s. – Spoon ya later 😉