I opened a door, injured my shoulder and my life changed. Thirteen doctors, nine months and more hours of pain than I can possibly count later, I was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. The journey to a diagnosis was brutal. I dealt with doctors who accused me, the workaholic of not wanting to return to work; doctors who accused me, the patient with a medicine cabinet full of ineffective narcotics of being a drug seeker; and doctors who accused me, a person in real physical pain of having psychiatric problems. By the time I got my diagnosis, I felt like a battered woman.
I was fortunate enough to find some good doctors who were willing to admit when they did not know how to help me so I could move on and seek other care. Additionally, I was extremely lucky to find doctors who took the time to find out what was actually going on with me and who had the expertise to help me get well. I still have flair ups and still have to live with pain, but I am building a life of productivity.
There are so many women out there who are in pain and whose experiences are being discounted. I want to stand in solidarity with those women and say “No one else can ever feel what you are experiencing, so never let them invalidate your experience. Believe in yourself and keep speaking your truth! There are many caring medical professionals out in the world, be persistent, find them. And remember you are your own best advocate.”