My name is Melanie and this year I turned 31. I have suffered with endometriosis since I was 13 years old. Of course, it wasn’t diagnosed until 7 years later. I spent at least 3 days every month home from school in bed and in tears, not knowing or understanding how to deal with the pain. At that time I was never prescribed anything, as the common answer was ‘it’s just cramps’. I took Advil, Midol, Pamprin, etc like they were candy. I felt like no one understood what I was going through. 7 years later I finally was referred to a specialist who diagnosed me with endometriosis. Everything happened so quickly and before I knew it I was having a laparoscopy. After the surgery I experienced more pain that I have ever in my whole life. I couldn’t even stand up. The specialist wanted to give me some pretty heavy duty medication that would make my body think it was going through menopause. I was only 20 years old!! I still don’t understand how anyone could think this was a good idea! I declined the prescription and never went back to that doctor again. I found a naturopath. What a wonderful profession. We talked for so long on my first visit. She wanted to know everything about me, my life, my stress; everything. She made me a mixture, mainly of dandelion root among other yucky tasting things. I took it 3 times a day for months. I changed my diet, cutting out caffeine, chocolate, wheat, dairy and red meat. After a couple months, I actually had a month go by where I experienced no pain! I don’t see the naturopath regularly anymore and for the most part I can manage the endometrial pain through my diet and listening to my body.
The next hurdle…
In October of 2010, I tripped and rolled my ankle. It was determined that I had fractured a small bone in my foot (5th metatarsal) and I wore an airboot for 4 weeks. When I returned for my check up, there was a lot of confusion as to whether or not I actually had a fracture. I was totally disgusted with the fact that the doctors didn’t seem to think this was a big deal. I thought that I should be going to physiotherapy, at least to help get some of the strength back in my leg, but the doctors informed me that it was not necessary. 7 days later my foot started swelling, turning red, purple and almost black at times and the pain was so much that I couldn’t bear it. I saw many doctors who had no idea as to what was going on with my foot. I finally saw a physiotherapist on my own and he suggested that I look into Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (formerly Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy). I saw another specialist who sent me for x-rays and bone scan and diagnosed me with CRPS. He sent me away with a prescription for an Anticonvulsant and told me to come back in 2 weeks.
I still do not understand why all anyone seems to want to do is pump me full of drugs and send me on my merry way. I have a very sensitive system and I react strongly to everything. Over the years, I even developed an allergy to Ibuprofen.
Still not satisfied with my diagnosis, I demanded that my family doctor send me for an MRI. I was still holding out hope that there was something ‘fixable’ in my foot. The results came, and the diagnosis stands. I was given some pretty strong painkillers, but I have a full-time job and I cannot function at all if I take these. I have also been given many prescriptions for anticonvulsants, antidepressants, etc. to which none have been filled. I have been told by a doctor that I cannot ‘win this’ with out medication. I WILL NOT SUBMIT to this. I have done much of my own research, and believe strongly in alternative medicine and the healing power of herbs. I researched ways to deal with herbs, what the medication they prescribed me with does, and I am awaiting a shipment of herbs that I ordered which I will make tea from.
It has been a very long haul in understanding CRPS and learning how to deal with pain every day. There were many days where I couldn’t even wear shoes. I had to work in slippers. (Thank goodness for an understanding boss.)
I read a quote that has stuck with me… ‘Perspective is a choice you make everyday’. I CHOOSE not to let my pain defeat me. I CHOOSE to believe that I am strong enough to handle this. I certainly have my weak moments, and I thank God everyday for my husband who is incredibly supportive and understanding. I have pain every day, my foot goes from unbearably hot to ice cold and swells up at random. A blanket resting on my foot feels like a ton of bricks crushing it. Sometimes just the brush of my pant leg can send me to my knees. I have learned to be able to ‘power through’ and still keep up with my house work and yard work despite the pain. If there is one positive thing through all of this it is that I have learned that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be.
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.