Friday, May 11, 2012

You're A Pretty Girl, It's A Shame You Are So Unhappy

I stared back at my doctor slack-jawed, open-mouthed, shocked. This woman had seen me through the worst health of my life, was the one to finally diagnose me with Fibromyalgia and CFS/ME. Here we were two years later, and she was thinking I was just depressed the whole time? I wanted to scream in her face, jump up and down and shake my fist at her, call her a long string of really bad curse words. But that would only make me look crazier, plus I didn't have the energy. What's worse is she was one of the few who actually helped me. So we sat there battling back and forth, fighting over pain meds and how I was supposed to work my retail job. I couldn't stand up without feeling like I was crushing myself, and I was supposed to run around a department store caring about what shade of lipstick somebody bought? Finally my doctor looked me square in the eye and said, "I am not going to give you anything stronger. Once you get on the pain patch you don't ever come off. Go get a massage, acupuncture, something. You need to figure out how to make yourself better!" And with that she stood up with a flourish and flounced out of the room. Did that really just happen? I thought to myself. My doctor telling me I need to figure out how to make myself better? That was rich. 

Oddly enough desperation is what precipitated every turning point in my recovery, and this encounter left me with loads of desperation. So I did what she said, set out on a quest to turn over every rock and look under every stone in an attempt to gain some quality of life back. I researched until my eyes dried out, beat the proverbial crap out of myself because my level of functioning was so low. I cried, threw hourly pity parties, hated everyone and everything around me because I simply hurt so bad I could see or feel nothing else. Still working, I couldn't afford not to but it was taking me down very quickly. I was confused and bewildered, shocked this had become my life. But I was able to find a little kernel of fight way deep down inside and began pouring this tremendous amount of tumultuous emotion into it. Started taking responsibility for my part in this nightmare. Not causing it, but in repairing it. This was when I lost all faith in modern medicine. They had no knowledge about my condition and were not going to fix me. As wrong as it was, it really was up to me.

My quest and research opened my eyes to major truths between man and nature. It led me to view my entire body as a complete life cycle. I started taking into account every bit of food I put in my mouth, the stress I existed in, exercise I hurt too bad to do, medications I took and sleep I didn't get. I became aware of the lie the modern American lifestyle precipitates and how that alone causes a multitude of serious illnesses. When I would feel even remotely capable I fluttered into a flurry of activity, desperate to catch up with my life that was racing fast ahead of me. Yet after every push there was a crash, but how do you not push? This combat was mentally, physically, emotionally and psychologically exhaustive! And there was no way to get away from it, no relief that was not in the form of a drug-dazed Percocet haze which in many ways was worse than the pain itself. So I broke down, and Visa and I went to a specialty clinic. They were knowledgeable and compassionate, but quite expensive. They enlightened me to so much about my body. My immune system was null. I was host to a multitude of viruses and infections. Candida was out of control, thyroid whacked, testosterone non-existent and at the age of 29 my human growth hormone was that of a 86 year old. Literally. I had not had a dream in years and was never reaching stage four sleep, critical for growth hormone production and self-repair of the physical body. 

The clinic treated a plethora of problems with medication, hormones, vitamins and supplements. I started gentle yoga stretches and forced myself to shuffle around the block with my puppy. Quit packaged, prepared, processed, fried and refined foods. I finally accepted I was sick but was going to get better, not giving myself any other option. It was so hard and so much work! Each step forward met with a hard shove back. But I pushed harder. I refused to live life so sick I could not function and did anything and everything I could to improve my situation. I went on heavy-duty anti-virals to rid myself of the primary cause of CFS/ME, and endless bouts of other medications too. An incredible acupuncturist came into my life and I entered an entirely new realm of healing with her. I did the Lyrica and Cymbalta dance once they became FDA approved. But I fell prey to their side-effects, spent the better part of two years of my life in a half-conscious state, so medicated I didn't feel pain but I didn't feel anything else either. My 5'6" frame ballooned well up to 230 lbs. 

Oh you name it, I have tried it. Some of it worked, some of it didn't and some of it made me worse. But after years of exhaustive work my illness was managed and I could function again. You better bet your sweet bippie before I moved to Arizona I made one last appointment with that doctor. I walked in, healthier than I had been in years. I told her what I had done, shared my resources with her and watched her in amazement as she said, "Wow, you really were in pain, weren't you!" And then I tried with all my might not to kick her in the shin as I flounced out of the room in a flourish.

Thanks for joining,

This blog was originally published on 9/6/2010.


  1. thank you, you said it ALL well... I'm posting this to my facebook and personal facebook pages (delightful whimsy).... stay well and stay happy, know that you are NOT alone!


  2. Hey Leah. Does ultram work for you? I take that ibuprophen, neurontin and cymbalta. I have bipolar type 2, and depression is the main feature. I enjoy your blog.