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Warning, this isn't like most of my blog posts. This isn't a business related or fundraising related post. You won't be seeing any new jewelry or any cute dog pictures. I won't be offended if you choose to stop reading at this point. This post is about my life and the disability that causes me constant, chronic pain each and every day. This post is a bit long, so maybe there will be a surprise at the end.
I have Fibromyalgia. I was diagnosed September 11, 2013, though another doctor told me that's what he thought I had months earlier. It's not an "official" diagnosis until a neurologist or rheumatologist says so. My journey into disability began in 2011 as a seemingly innocuous event. My then boyfriend (who is now my husband) and I were driving to pick up my daughter from her father's house which was an hour or so away. I began to get dizzy on the ride and my head & neck started hurting. No big deal, I thought. So we got back and my boyfriend dropped my daughter and I off at my apartment. He lived down the road from us at the time. Later that evening apparently I passed out in the living room. I vaguely remember my daughter trying to wake me up and saying she was going to call Mike (my then boyfriend, now husband). I think I told her no and somehow crawled into my bedroom. She did call him, he came and literally carried me to the emergency room. Thus began a six month journey of emergency room visits and doctor appointments with mri's in between.
During this time I was working as a restaurant manager. I was on Tramadol for the neck and head pain. Frequently I would get dizzy at work and need to sit down. I was working 9 and 10 hour shifts. Many evenings I would have seizure like events and pass out. I ended up losing my job due to missing work. Mike let my daughter and I move in with him since I wouldn't be able to afford my apartment on unemployment. After a few times of seizure like events and Mike having to take me to the emergency room, one doctor figured out I was allergic to the Tramadol as some people are and it can cause the seizure events. Once I was off the medication, no more seizures. But, she also determined I had Anxiety disorder and that may have been what I had originally, an anxiety attack.
So I took the opportunity of being on unemployment to go back to school, deciding on majoring in Human Services. Things were going well until my unemployment was about to run out, so I decided to look for work. I was hired as a restaurant manager with a company that I had worked with in 2008 under a different franchise. I loved my job. The hours were long and the job was exhausting but the pay was great and I loved contributing again. Then in January of 2013 I was offered a promotion with more money BUT it was at a store 45 minutes away. By this time Mike and I had gotten married (in 2012). We discussed the pros and cons and decided I would take the promotion.
Things were great at first. I loved my store and my employees but my supervisor was (excuse my language) a bitch who hated other women. Apparently my supervisor was supposed to have fired an employee at the store for violent outbursts before I took the store over, but she was sleeping with the former manager and "forgot" to fire the employee when the scandal took over and they fired the former manager. So in February of 2013, that employee had a violent outburst with an assistant manager so I had to be the one to fire him. To cover my "ass" I had all my assistants attend the meeting in my office (which would be on camera). I explained to the employee why he was being terminated. He got extremely angry and pushed me into a doorway to get out of my office. I don't think he intended to hurt me, but it injured my shoulder. I was out on Worker's Comp for a bit, it took a few weeks before I could resume work and even then I couldn't lift or really use my right arm very well (and I'm right handed).
So along comes March 24, 2013. As the store manager, I didn't generally work Sundays. I had missed a day for some reason and was supposed to work that day but we were having a freak snow storm. Again, I was 45 minutes away. All my assistant managers lived within walking distance of the store. So I called my supervisor to tell her I couldn't make it into the store. She told me that if I didn't go in I would be fired. Ok fine, I got dressed and started driving. I grew up in Massachusetts so I knew how to drive in snow. Most of the drive was on a major interstate so I figured I'd be ok, I was wrong. No sooner had I gotten onto the highway then I was off the road (for the FIRST TIME!). Back onto the road, driving 30 MPH (the speed limit is normally 70 MPH). Got off that road and onto the next highway. Halfway there, still taking it slow and steady. Not many cars on the road, well duh, it's a snow storm and smart people stay home! About 15 minutes away from work and off I go into a ditch. Neck snaps pretty hard, hurts like hell. Shit, can't get car out. Start crying. Call husband. Freaking out, having anxiety attack. He's trying to calm me down. A knock on my car window. A nice young man in a bright yellow MIZZOU sweatshirt asking if I'm ok and if I need help. He says he has tow straps and a truck and can get me out of the ditch. Still on phone with husband, I say yes thank you. He gets me out of ditch and asks again if I'm ok and then drives away. I stay on phone with husband until I reach work. No sense in driving all the way home since work was closer.
Get to work, no customers. My assistant is mad at my supervisor for forcing me to go in and causing me to have an accident. My supervisor is mad at me for taking so long to get to work. What the hell? Neck is hurting so bad. After a couple hours I can't take it anymore and I call my husband to come get me. By now the snow has stopped and the roads are cleared. I call my supervisor and tell her I'm going to urgent care. I go to work the next night, still in pain and in a neck brace. I was off the next day and rested. On Wednesday I worked 10-7. When I got to work I spent the first hour or so doing paperwork until lunchtime. When it started to get busy I went out and helped to get orders out. All of a sudden I got dizzy, luckily a co-worker was standing right next to me as I passed out. He was able to keep me from falling on the floor. He brought me into the office. They called 911 and an ambulance came. It turned out that one of the paramedics was working the day of my accident and was driving by (on the other side of the highway) as I was being pulled out of the ditch.
That was the last day I've worked outside of the house. March 27, 2013. Though officially they didn't "fire" me until May. I received short term disability for 13 weeks but was ineligible for long term disability because in 2011 I received treatment for my neck so it was considered a "prior condition" and I hadn't been at the job for 12 months (only 8).
Flash forward to now. I'm trying to accept the way my life is now. I'm in counseling for the depression and also cognitive behavioral therapy which is supposed to help with the "fibro brain fog"
The main reason I'm even writing this post is yesterday I felt great physically. I had a lot to do, homework and business wise. I got a lot accomplished, finishing up at around midnight. Woke up still feeling physically ok. My husband and I ran errands this morning and I was still feeling physically ok UNTIL we were on the ride home. Then it seemed to hit me. First my neck, then my head, then the exhaustion. We got home, first stopping for some take out for lunch, and ate. My husband works overnights, so after eating he went to bed. Some days I'll lay down with him and take a nap for a few hours, but today I had some phone calls to make so I stayed up. Neck and head were still hurting pretty bad. I decided to try and take a little nap on the couch. I got myself comfortable and fell asleep around 2:30. I awoke at 7 in extreme pain. My shoulder that I had surgery on last July is hurting so bad I'd like to rip it off, my neck feels like someone is trying to pop my head off like a dandelion and everytime I bend over I get a headache so bad I want to die.
Of course I still have a ton of homework due before Sunday, orders to make and send out, housework to do and dogs to take care of. Oh and tomorrow I have therapy and chiropractic appointments plus stop by physical therapy to drop off new script for neck therapy and get appointments set up. Writing this post is helping to keep me from having a full blown anxiety attack.
So to conclude, is it really too much to ask the universe that I have just one PAIN FREE DAY that I don't pay for the next day with extreme pain?
So for those who have been nice enough to read this all the way through, if you want, visit my shop at get 30% off with code JUSTONCE www.bellaornamenti.com
Until Next Time...