I am 47-years-old and happily married with two kids. I met my husband at a gym. We both were body builders. We even went into one competition. But mostly we did it because we just loved it.
I was so strong and invincible. I was even in a bad car wreck and recovered quite well and was able to continue life strong and in shape.
Then in 2002, I was working in a hospital putting files away and the ladder I was standing on broke. I landed on my tailbone hitting concrete. I felt electricity all the way from my tailbone shoot up to the left side of my skull. I lost my urine and was in pain.
I went to the ER and was checked out. No x-rays or scans. I was told I would mend. I had no reason to think otherwise. The pain was terrible and I could not sit or walk, but I thought I would get better after a couple weeks. I was strong and invincible, right?
The pain would improve at times but when I would try physical therapy it would get unbearable. Now I am one to say NO PAIN NO GAIN! But I could not function. I no longer had that strength or energy, and the pain was so burning and sharp it took your breath away. I no longer had the control of my body that I had. I had to take pain meds just to get by.
I ended up trying injections and went to a pain clinic. I thought “this is in my head” and “I have to get over this,” and some of the doctors and nurses would make me feel like it was just me.
I am very lucky because I have a great doctor who knew better and a family that is supportive. But I was so low because here I was an ex-bodybuilder and I couldn’t work anymore.
It seemed like I had to fight everyday just to live. The pain was out of control and I was still in denial about my injury and why I wasn’t getting better. Then one day I saw an article in a magazine about Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) and cried. This is what I was dealing with! It finally had a name. It was real!!!
And it wasn’t all in my head.
I am still strong and I am just fighting something that you really cannot fight. You have to learn to live with it and you have to accept this life change. My doctor and I sat down and decided to find a good fit in medicine and exercise for a better quality of life. It took a couple of years of trial and error with pain medicine and it was not easy at all. But I didn’t give up.
Eventually I found a time release medication for pain. With that and other medicines I have been able to have a somewhat good quality of life.
I have learned so much from this journey. I have so much I would love to share and I would love to help others. I have learned empathy, patience and true love. I have learned true friendship and to never give up.
Do not allow others to make you feel that this is in your head. Do not put limits on your life.
Find other ways to achieve your goals. Know that you are not alone.
Beth Powers and her family live in Ramsey, Minnesota.
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