Wednesday, July 3, 2013

My Chronic Pain Journey - Part 2

Pregnant with Miss Emily
This is the second post on my chronic pain journey thus far. Click here if you want to read the first post.

After I had gotten a handle on my pain, I went through some big life changes. I moved in with Todd, and then a year later we moved down to NC. We got married, honeymooned at Disney World a year later and 3 months after our honeymoon, I got pregnant.

A lot of people told me that their migraines got better after they got pregnant, but mine never did. The first trimester was not pleasant because of extreme nausea on top of my normal pain. The second trimester I felt ok, and I was even able to attend Dragon*Con eight months pregnant. Once we got home from Dragon*Con, I started feeling bad. I was getting so big that it hurt to move and my migraine pain levels got higher.

Finally I gave birth to Miss Emily via c-section on October 17, 2008. It took some adjustment to parenthood, especially since I suddenly became a stay at home mom when I got laid off. I did suffer from postpartum depression, but I was able to get help for it.

Life went on for a couple of years and my pain didn't change. I did develop a few other issues like very bad eczema and IBS, but mostly I was able to cope with it all as I went back to get a 2nd college degree.
Things took a turn for the worse winter 2010. I lost two days that I can’t remember at all – it was Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. When I was able to start remember, I was very paranoid. Nothing in my house looked familiar and I was seeing things out of the corner of my eye. Todd says that I was awake during those two days but I was really out of it.

We dropped Emily off with friends the day after Christmas and Todd took me to the ER. They ran a bunch of tests on me and I was admitted to the hospital. The only thing they could find is that there is a mass in my brain that got inflamed. It went down so the doctors said it wasn't cancer and I hadn't had a stroke.

The neurologists weren't able to do anything and again the drugs they gave me didn't work. The medicine actually dried my skin out that it made my eczema even worse. It took a long time for me to recover. For months, I would have trouble finding things in my house because everything still was unfamiliar. But it subsided as did the things I was seeing out of the corner of my eye. The headache pain was still there.
The doctors weren't able to figure out why I had this mass in my brain, but it wasn't hurting me anymore. Todd had a theory that it was stress that caused it because I was really stressed out about school right before the episode.

Things got back to normal for the most part. I finished school and I got a temp. job doing filing. It was soon after I went back to work that I started having panic attacks. This was due in large part to the behavior of a family member. I cut that family member out of my life and saw my doctor. I was on antidepressants for a while, but I was dumb and stopped taking them.

I was good for about a year. I got a new job working from home and my pain levels were staying about the same. But this past spring, I started having panic attacks and high anxiety again. There was no good reason for it, so I ended up back on anti-depressants. This time, I’m not going to go off them because I feel much better now.

Even though I am able to live a fairly normal life, I still have the pain. It gets very bad sometimes but usually I can cope. It will be ten years with the same headache next month and I've resigned myself to the fact that I’ll probably have this pain for the rest of my life. But I’m not going to keep it from letting me live my life to the fullest.


  1. It's amazing how productive you are. Like many with chronic pain, you have no choice but to tackle the daily issues of life while withstanding various levels of discomfort and plain agony. I wish the doctors had better answers for you, and not just educated guesses. I also loathe when medical professionals think that because they can't properly diagnose something it doesn't exist. Headaches and migraines have so many causes and are symptom to so many different diagnoses that a doctor doubting you had pain is incredibly enraging to me. I hope you keep finding ways to manage your pain, and what is more, I hope one day the pain abruptly stops, and never comes back.

  2. Aww, thanks - I try my best but some days I'm not productive at all. My house is messier than I'd like it to be.

    I'm not really a fan of doctors but I manage the best that I can. I hope the pain will go away someday but I'm not holding my breath.

  3. It's not often that you find someone talking frankly about chronic pain and how they deal with it. It's nice for me to know that there are others out there who also deal with it daily.

    1. Thanks :) I try to talk about it openly because people don't understand chronic pain unless they go through it themselves or if they have a close loved one