Thursday, October 6, 2011

Shameless Shit #12 - Share About a Health Struggle

Five years ago this month, I found myself suffering from a stabbing pain in my midsection. We had only moved to the Wichita, KS area a few months before that, so I was fairly new at my job. However, the pain was interfering with all aspects of my life so I ended up missing some work to get tests done.

The doctors tested for just about everything you can think of - ovarian cysts, tumors, intestinal/stomach problems - I finally got to a doctor who figured out that my pain was some type of groin injury and I was sent off for xrays. It was discovered that I had Osteitis Pubis, an uncommon joint disorder that involves having inflammation of the pelvic joint. I was told I should get a cortisone shot, and to take an excessive amount of anti-inflammatories each day to help to control the pain. I was also told I should take some bed rest.

The next day, I told my boss about the diagnosis and provided a dr's note that stated my need to be sitting for at least 15 minutes of every hour and that I needed to wear tennis shoes rather than dress shoes. The next day, I was fired... for "not working out."

The day I was fired was the day before the end of the month, which means I would basically lose my insurance immediately, so I decided I better go ahead and go in for the cortisone shot. They were able to get me in at the last minute.

Looking back, I almost wish they hadn't gotten me in! It ended up being an extremely painful procedure, one in which I wasn't warned of the dangers of getting a shot there in the first place, and then afterwards I dealt with one of the most painful reactions of my life - my body rejected the cortisone and I was left for three days feeling like my whole entire body was on fire and barely able to move for a week.

I stayed in bed for a couple of weeks, but then my husband and I decided it was time to move back to the Omaha, NE area since it was so difficult to find a job in Wichita. I spent months without insurance and with no money to treat my condition, and by the time I had passed the waiting period for a pre-existing condition, my pain had continued to get worse. Despite bed rest and avoiding strenuous activities, my inflammation had worsened. I was put on prescription anti-inflammatories and sent to physical therapy. In the course of three years, I tried several different forms of physical therapy with no relief or healing.

As of today, I still battle with severe pain in my abdomen whenever I am forced to exert myself, and am unable to use a normal bicycle. Climbing stairs is a difficult task. I can no longer run on the treadmill or elliptical like I used to. The only therapy that has "worked" for me is to take a combination of anti-inflammatories and neurological medicines, which isn't an ideal way to live.

However, out of all of this, I suppose there has been a couple of bright sides. First, I really learned not to take health for granted, and always try to look out for those around me. Second, I discovered a love of hand cycling, and hope to one day start either a hand cycle shop or a hand cycle charity that can help others like me who suffer from unapparent disabilities as well as amputees and those with other types of problems that make it impossible for them to ride a standard bicycle.

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