I am no stranger to unusual illnesses.
All of my earliest childhood memories include severe stomach pains, vomiting, and diarrhea that doctors concluded were made up to get attention or to ruin my parents marriage. No doctor knew how to help me. I missed much of first grade, barely attended fourth grade, and was privately tutored through seventh grade. By my freshman year I was diagnosed with Candida and H. Pylori, and a chiropractor assured me he could return me to full health. He took me off all medications, recommended a few supplements, and taught me how to eat to repair my gut. I was cured!
For many years I lived healthy. I attended college, and earned my Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. I was finally on the other side of illness working as a medical professional. I worked in oncology and in an outpatient neurological clinic, treating patients with fibromyalgia and MS. In these settings, the two primary symptoms I treated were pain and fatigue, and their affects on daily living and sleep.
I had been in a car accident in graduate school, where I fractured my spine. It took several years to rehab myself with the help of acupuncture and reiki, but all awhile I attended school and was able to work upon graduation. Pain always lingered, but I continued.
Slowly, burning pain in my legs began to affect my sleep. Soon I was having difficulty walking all over Manhattan, NY where I worked. Here I was treating pain and fatigue for my patients, and I myself was secretly struggling with the symptoms. I was so scared. Eventually, I declined to the point of being mostly bed ridden, yet my rheumatologist told me “if you can brush your hair, then you can work.” He totally dismissed my education as a rehab professional and treated me like a child complaining.
Since then, I’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, endometriosis, migraines, bilateral vestibular hypofunctioning, chronic fatigue syndrome, and antiphosolipid antibody syndrome, so far. With my continued research and hard work, I’ve been able to improve my quality of life vastly. My hope is to someday return to work to some capacity.
For now I am grateful for my husband, my two cats, friends, family and all that I am able to do.