I need to give you a little background of my health before I can get into the heart of my testimony. I always thought of myself as a healthy person. Growing up, I hardly ever went to the doctor for sickness or injury. In fact, I felt like I could throw myself down a flight of stairs and would more than likely come out just fine. My sister on the other hand, if she did that, she would have probably broken both ankles. That’s just the way it seemed growing up…that she was the one always sick or getting hurt.
In fact, it would appear I was in good health until I started having children. I ended up with very difficult pregnancies that would lead to possible miscarriages and pre-term labor, etc. Once through having children, it would appear all was well again. Then I began having female organ problems. IE: very painful menstrual cycles, ovarian cysts, ovarian tumors, endometriosis, etc. This would lead to numerous exploratory surgeries which would then lead them to remove the tumors (grapefruit size) and cysts (orange size), adhesions, and then ultimately a complete hysterectomy.
With the exception of the difficult pregnancies, all of the surgeries, including the hysterectomy took place within 6 years. During this time I used a wheelchair as needed, was in tremendous amount of pain, etc. Then after the hysterectomy in November of 2004, all seemed well again, I was exercising, I had lost weight and felt like a whole new me.
All that aside, here is where my story really gets interesting. In the fall/winter of 2005, many emotionally stressful events occurred in my life. I won’t go into any detail except for one. I know I became somewhat depressed. I was getting tired easily and just figured I needed to snap out of it. It would seem I was getting better. I seemed to be handling the stress better and then we began preparing for the adoption of our son, Joshua. That in itself is an experience I will never forget. Mainly because he is an eternal blessing to our family but also because of the rocky, emotional roller coaster ride we were put on due to his birth parents. Obviously that didn’t seem to help either.
Josh was born in April and I noticed even before then that I was getting numbness in my legs. It was very small and slight and was random, that I just put it to the back of my mind. I was about to become a mom again and in my mind, I had more important things to do…like getting ready for baby! LOL 😉
After we brought him home, I began to notice that the numbness was increasing. My fatigue was increasing. It seemed like I could throw my back out easily. Just a bunch of little things were going on. Now mind you, on the outside, I seemed perfectly normal but on the inside, it felt like I was slowly deteriorating. Before long, my abdominal pains returned and I could no longer exercise. The pain was so intense, I literally felt like I could just die. I have a very high threshold for pain but this was unbearable. I gave birth to 4 of my 5 girls, naturally. No pain meds, etc. This pain that I was experiencing seemed worse than that at times.
I eventually reached a point where walking was even difficult. My right foot would just drag. It hurt to even lift my feet or legs at times. They were like dead weight. The thing about this is it would happen any time, any where. The numbness in my legs was gradually getting worse. I remember I could actually push a pen into my leg and felt nothing. That was scary.
We spoke with our Bishop of our church at the time, who was a Chiropractor. He thought I had some other condition that had to do with the spine and would require surgery so he wouldn’t look at me. He said to go to a medical doctor.
Here is the thing about me and doctors. We don’t always get along. During my pregnancies, during my female problems, I had issues where they just wouldn’t listen to me. Then once they were doing exploratory surgery or what have you, they would realize that I was right and that something really was wrong. More times than not, I was disbelieved and kind of pushed to the side and forgotten. So, for me to have to go to one now, was not appealing to me at all but I was desperate because my symptoms were getting worse.
It is now January of 2007. I could tell my mind was acting weird now too. So, I go to a family practice guy. (Yes, I just rolled my eyes just thinking about him.) He was young and fairly new but I wasn’t going to let that be an issue. But the more I saw him, the more I (sigh…yes, I just rolled my eyes again.) oh, never mind. I’m sure you get the picture.
He talks to me about phantom pain. How he wants to put me on anti-depressants “Because they will help with the pain.” I think, yea right. You probably just think I’m crazy. I mean, come on, I’ve been to enough doctors at this point in my life; I knew this routine…wasn’t going there! Needless to say, I felt like I had to tell him what to do. Tell him what I felt was wrong. Of course, he could eventually see my point and gives me some referrals. Oh great…referrals! Can’t wait…NOT! So, since I had pelvic adhesions before and the pain in the same area, I decide to go to an OB/GYN. (sigh again! More aggravated this time. Can I just say it took like 2 months to get in to see this guy? It would have taken that long for any of the OB/GYN’s in the area…good grief!)
So, I go to this doctor. I drag my son and a friend to watch him only to go in pay my stupid co-pay, not to mention my insurance being charged a new patient fee, all for him to not even examine me but see me in his office for count them…less than 10 minutes!! For what, you ask? To tell me that since “there’s nothing there for him to see”, (because of my hysterectomy) he can’t really do anything. So, you guessed it, another referral…YEA ME!!! (NOT!)
So, I get an ultrasound ordered by the Oh-Be-Guy-Nee and get to see an internist now. I go for the stupid ultrasound. (Talk about a waste of time. I mean really, I had to hold my pee for nothing! Talk about painful…been there and done that one too many times already.) The dumb ultrasound tech can’t find anything…duh! I had a hysterectomy…remember?
Okay, so dumb ultrasound is over. I go to the internist. It is April of 2007 now. Which when I walk in, it is quite obvious to EVERYONE I am in severe pain and something is drastically wrong. I fill out all of their stupid new patient papers. Write down a gazillion symptoms. Only for him to come into the exam room and ask me all these questions which tell me he really didn’t read those forms. Now I understand a doctor has to ask questions but these definitely told me that he didn’t pay any attention to what I wrote! I had writer’s cramp! What a waste!
After talking to him here is what he said in a nutshell, I was in a “no-win” situation. I was pretty much a “mystery” to him and “he really has no clue about what could be wrong” with me. So, what does he do??? You guessed it! Ordered tests! Yea for me!! (gggrrrr…yes, I’m more aggravated at this point…can you tell?) So 3 CAT scans later (I hate those…the nasty chalk stuff gets me every time!), I get to go in for a colonoscopy and an upper GI endoscopy. (GAG ME…LITERALLY!!!) Come on! I thought those were for OLD people…not a YOUNG 30-something me! Oh, and can I just say I am literally scarred for life. I can never drink invisible Kool-aid EVER!!! It reminds me too much of the nasty-clear-yet-smells-good crap I had to drink before my procedure to “clean me out”. Hold on…I’m going to vomit now…ahh, the memories.
Do you want to know the worst part about it all was? It was for NOTHING!! They found NOTHING!! Don’t even get me started on that. Poor John got an earful that’s for sure. I mean really. I had to go through THAT for NOTHING!! I have severe, severe heartburn and they stick a camera down my throat yet nothing. Go figure and don’t even get me going on the other end. Uh-uh.
After all that, guess what happens next?? You guessed it! Another REFERRAL! YEA! I almost feel like I’m on a medical game show…how many referrals can you get? Yippee! (another sigh…this time deeper) So, the internist’s, PA thinks I need to see a back specialist and wouldn’t you know it, it’s the one she works for as a PA as well!
So, we are into May now and I make this appointment and I’m thinking ok, I can live with that. At least it’s something. Well, the DR. she wanted me to see was unavailable so I go see a different one in the same office…BIG MISTAKE. His name is Dr. Bacon but I refer to him as “Dr. STUPID”. When I saw him I gave him a page worth of symptoms and he tells me he wants to go backwards to the beginning, get these tests done and go from there. I had X-rays done on my neck and back, as well as a nerve conduction test on my limbs.
I go to see Dr. Stupid for the second time and what a visit that was. He breezed in and out. Didn’t even say hi to John (it was his first time there), got mad at ME for not having all the films from my scans when the hospital was the one that gave them to me. He said nothing was wrong. My nerve test, which I had to call on to get the results on were negative. He could see I was upset and all he could say was “you came in here for a surgical consult and I’m telling you, you don’t need one.” Then he was gone. Both times I saw him he was in the room for a combined total of maybe, MAYBE 10 minutes! Needless to say, I had to stay in the room because I was so angry and was tearing up. To make matters worse, I went up to the checkout desk and asked the lady, what I was supposed to do. I could barely walk. I couldn’t walk from a parking lot to the store without trouble. Were they going to give me some kind of handicap sticker or what? I needed something. If there was nothing they could do for me… I needed at least that because I couldn’t move, I couldn’t walk or anything. Do you know what they gave me? They came back with a prescription for pain meds and another referral for a “pain management” guy! Me and meds don’t mix. So, I was offended when they thought they could just give me a pill for it.
After all that, I cancel my appointment with their referral and go see the original back doctor I was referred to at the beginning. I wanted a second opinion. So, I go see this guy and he was definitely nicer than Dr. Stupid. (I have a feeling the PA forewarned him about me because I had spoken to her and filled her in on my frustrations with Dr. Stupid.)
He looked at all my films, showed me my bulging discs. Explained why he felt I wouldn’t need surgery. Diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia and explained why, then referred me to the same pain management guy as Dr. Stupid. It was definitely a much better experience than before. I’m beginning to feel a glimmer of hope.
So, it’s now July and I go see Dr. Collage. I will refer to him as “Dr. Psycho”. Before I get into Dr. Psycho, let me backtrack for a moment. I had written Dr. Stupid a letter explaining my disappointment in his bedside manner and the way he does business. Well, it turns out Dr. Stupid and Dr. Psycho, are not only “Colleagues but very good buddies”. Oops! My bad! (Rolling my eyes…again)
From the moment he (Dr. Psycho) walked in he had an air of arrogance about him and he was out to get me…no lie. He began lecturing me from the very first moment. He basically mocked my list of symptoms. He was about to take back my Fibromyalgia diagnosis but said, “I’ll give you that”. He told me that I “wasn’t crazy” but it was “in my mind”. He brought up our religion and had the audacity to ask me about an article in one of our church magazines from a previous month. (He’s also a member of our church.) When we didn’t answer, (due to shock) he said, “Come on, this is your religion guys!”
Then when we talked about my weight, he said I needed to exercise more. That I “better work REAL hard over the next couple of weeks.” When I told him I couldn’t move at times. He lectured me about the pioneers (settlers) that walked the plains into Salt Lake City. How the women then didn’t complain. You don’t read about their pain in their journals, etc. I’m “a year into this and come on…” (He looked at my page of symptoms.) Then he sat so close to me, his knees touching mine and talked about how he exercises every day and does farm work or whatever else it was and he has back problems and such but he bucks up and works through the pain. Then he had me repeat the words, “Hurt Does Not Equal Harm”. TWICE! He said other things but I can’t remember what they were. All I know is that he wanted to do a brain scan to rule out MS and do some blood work and then see me again but I never went to any of those things. I cancelled them all.
Now you see why I call him Dr. Psycho? He crossed the line. BIG TIME! … All because I gave Dr. Stupid a piece of my mind. And I only used one swear word in that letter. It was “Damn”. So it’s not like it was this profane filled letter. Needless to say, after that, I promised NEVER to go back to a doctor again unless it was an emergency and absolutely necessary.
Now let’s fast forward about 10 months or so. Here I am in Tennessee and it is now May of 2008. Between my appointment with Dr. Psycho and now, here are what my symptoms are: numbness in all extremities. Pain, all over, so severe I am basically bedridden. Fatigue, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.
My neurological symptoms have increased ten-fold. My eyeballs are doing this weird twitching/shaking thing. I can’t control it. (Very frustrating when you are trying to put make-up on.) ☺ I can’t remember things. My speech is slurred. My comprehension is off. My head feels foggy.
I can’t walk. When I do, I may stumble at any moment and can’t move at all. I have to use a wheelchair when out. I drag my right foot and leg. Some times I have to crawl places because my strength is gone or I can’t move my legs. My fine motor skills are off. I can’t move my hands or fingers.
Here is an example of one of the worst episodes. It was so bad, I couldn’t move or even crawl. I tried but couldn’t. John had to help me to bed. He laid me down and I couldn’t scoot up onto my pillow. I was literally like a wet noodle. He had to pull me up from under my arms and drag me up to my pillow. Then I was crying and I couldn’t move my hands. My arms felt like lead weights and it took every ounce of energy to move them just a little. It was exhausting.
John brings in our son and lays him by me and I didn’t have the strength to even put my arm around him. I was crying so hard because I couldn’t hold my baby. Then I couldn’t even wipe my tears. John had to do it for me. It was so bad, I needed help to bathe and go to the bathroom.
I am now 35 but at this time I was 34 and I felt like a 90 yr. old nursing home patient. I felt like I was dying inside. My kids had to learn so much. Become independent. Help out more than most their age. It was devastating for me. Especially because doctors, even friends and some family thought I was making all of this up because I “looked healthy”. Talk about making you think there is something psychologically wrong with you. It was awful. For years I was in this condition. YEARS!! I had to use a wheel chair on and off for 8 years! Deal with doctors who think you are making it all up for just as long.
You know, you deal with something like this and you lose yours sense of self worth. You don’t feel like a person any more. I was either resigning myself to death or to a life of being a crippled. By all accounts medically speaking, I had all the classic symptoms of MS. I had to think about that. I knew I wasn’t officially diagnosed but I had to face the fact that that was a real possibility. I had to face the fact that I really didn’t know how much literal time I had left on this earth, let alone QUALITY time left.
When I was younger, teens and early 20’s, I was 100 lbs. dripping wet, maybe 110. I was strong. I could move any piece of furniture in my house. My husband never knew what the house was going to look like when he came home. I was a dancer. I was active. I was fit. I was joyful, fun, and most of all, HAPPY. Not that I couldn’t be happy now, it was just that this illness or whatever it was had taken over my life…over my physical, emotional and mental being. How was I going to beat it?
Here we are May 2008. John drags me to some doctor’s office that he made an appointment with over the radio. (Whoop-dee-doo, I’m thinking.) I VERY reluctantly went. Again…I have to fill out that stupid new patient forms. Can you tell I had a big chip on my shoulder? I see the staff behind the counter. They seem friendly enough but I don’t care. I don’t want to be here because how are they really going to help? Then I find out John dragged me into a Chiropractor’s office…OH NO!! NO CHIROPRACTORS! I HATE CHIROPRACTORS!
I’m totally annoyed now. You can tell by my very irritable and scratchy handwriting on all those stupid new patient forms. lol So, I meet this young guy. Oh, he’s the doctor? Can’t be…he’s too young looking…and cute!
As we are waiting to talk to him, I see people hanging themselves and walking around with dumb looking hats on their heads! I glare at John, what the heck is he bringing me here for? He’s gonna die on the way home!!
We go into this little room and I am not happy…at all. I listen this doctor talk about “Subluxation”(sp?). Whatever, I don’t care. Then he does this test with these probes. Hmm, we may have something here. The doctor is talking about symptoms I have and had said anything about yet. It’s showing problems in specific areas that I’m having problems in that I didn’t say anything about yet. Hmm, maybe, just maybe there is something to this guy…this doctor. We get X-rays and we’re gone. OK, I tell John. We’ll see what he has to say.
He calls John and tells him I have definite problems with my spine. RELIEF!! I’m not going crazy there really is something wrong! OK, I’m really going to give this guy a chance. I come back the next day and get my first adjustment…SSSCCCAARRRYYY!!! (yes, say that in a sing-song voice) I hadn’t had an adjustment in 14 years!
I come for this workshop. I see my X-rays. My cervical spine has a reverse curve. -17 Dr. Josh says. My lower back is curved and my hips are rotated. He explains the next step and the program we are going to follow. OK, I’m game. Everything he said makes complete sense. I think I like this guy. After 5 adjustments, my neurological symptoms had eased. My fibromyalgia seemed better, I can move, I can walk on my treadmill for over a mile now!
It has now been over a month since I had been coming regularly. All my neurological symptoms are gone. I have some eye twitching but that’s it. My heartburn is significantly less and my lactose intolerance is much, much better. I have no numbness in my limbs. I am not fatigued or lethargic any more. I am exercising in my pool almost every day. I can tell I am losing inches. YES! That’s the best part. 😉 I no longer have any pain like before. I do not need my wheelchair. I can be active with my kids for the first time in years. My younger daughters didn’t know I could ride a bike or swing on a swing. I can move! My leg doesn’t drag or anything!
I’m on the road to recovery! I can begin getting my life back! I know it’s going to take some time but I will soon be able to be as active as I want to be. I can dance again one day. I can run again one day. All of this isn’t a dream but now a reality!
Thank you Exodus for your kindness and compassion and love. I am so grateful to you and to Rachael and Christa (hope I spelled that right). You make us feel so welcome. You have given me hope. Hope to dream dreams I never thought would be possible. And now you are helping with my family. We love you all. You are a miracle to our family. A true answer to prayer. Words will NEVER be able to express the joy and gratitude for what you have done for us. You are an inspiration. Truly an instrument in the Lord’s hands. THANK YOU!
By the way, John was diagnosed with hypertension a number of years ago. He would have heart palpitations, etc. Since coming to you, he no longer feels the heart palpitations. He is no longer taking any blood pressure meds. If he has a cough and gets adjusted, the coughing stops. I know he feels a difference too. As well as all our kids.
Sending you all much love,
Cheryl, John, Cassie, Alicia, Kelly, Makenna, Emily and Josh Solis