Sunday, April 17, 2011

PFAM: Diagnosiversary

Patients For A Moment (PFAM) is a patient-centered blog carnival to build connections within the community of people who blog about illness, disease, and disability. Rachel, at Tales of Rachel, is hosting the April edition of the PFAM blog carnival. This month's topic is: "Diagnosiversary: Explore what living another year as a patient means to you. Is a diagnosiversary or birthday something to celebrate, or more of a sad thing, or both?"

Rachel writes:
"Some look to their diagnosis with relief that their symptoms have an answer. Others lament another year with a condition that saps their physical and/or emotional strength, hoping for a cure to materialize. Still others were diagnosed soon after birth or as young children and know nothing of life without their conditions. And, of course, there are some of use for which a diagnosis still lingers."
I've had pain for such a long time, that it's actually nearly impossible to remember a time that I didn't hurt. While I don't know when exactly all of my pain and diagnoses began, there are a few dates that are instilled in my memory.

April 6, 2001 - I experienced an intense hip pain at a track meet, which ended up being tendinitis bursitis. I thought this was an end to my running and softball careers; but I worked hard through physical therapy and retraining, so I could compete my senior year of high school (I had to sit out my junior year).

August 2002 - I had worked hard to heal and retrain after my hip injury. We were just about to begin cross country training... I woke up one morning, unable to move. My low back hurt so badly. I did physical therapy, but never figured out the cause of the pain. I had some back pain before this injury, but it was pretty well-controlled by chiropractic visits. I've had chronic low back pain (with ups and downs), since the injury.

October 10, 2008 - I was in a car accident. I hurt my neck and right shoulder. I also suffered a concussion. I've had chronic, debilitating migraines, since the accident. I've had numerous tests done, visited a lot of doctors, taken more meds than I care to think about, done physical therapy a few times, etc... The accident has also resulted in depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

I had some headaches and migraines before the accident, but they were infrequent and controllable... not even close to the same kind of pain that I have now. I also had some struggles with depression and anxiety before the accident, but I was on antidepressants and had been doing well. Then, after the accident, I suddenly couldn't handle stress anymore. The depression became worse - both the highs and lows became lower. I'm still trying to work through these things, but I think it's going to be an ongoing process.

Photo by Kaptain Kobold

I had a hard time for years following my April 2001 injury. The injury ended me being able to play softball and run - things that were major parts of my life, and helped me express all of my emotions (positive and negative)... without them, I was lost.

Since my October 2008 accident, I find myself having a difficult time dealing with it... especially around every 6 month mark. Whenever I cross over to the next half year, I struggle with the reality that I'm still in so much pain, we still don't understand why I'm still hurting so much, and all the changes that the accident/pain have made in my life.

So each year that goes by has mixed emotions. I don't have answers for why I have a lot of the chronic pain I have. It's another year of unanswered questions, numerous doctor visits, and unsuccessful treatments. But, it's another year of being grateful for my family and having access to medical care.


  1. I think "mixed emotions" is what the consensus seems to be on the topic.

  2. I've just caught up on reading all your wonderful posts as I was off the internet after my surgery. I wish I were well enough to participate in the prompts, but I absolutely love reading your responses! :)

    I find it so interesting that we have such similar histories as far as chronic pain goes. I may write my own blog on it. But, I wanted to say that my chronic Migraines became disabling in October 2005, so when I think of your accident being in October 2008, I think that is when I was counting 3 years...and at that time was still upset once every year passed. The farther out, the less I'm upset by the anniversary, I think because I'm more accepting that this is my reality and it is a bit easier to let go of things that I was so mad had been ripped from me...when early on, I was shocked that it had lasted 1 year, 1 1/2 years, 2 years, 2 1/2 years ect. I kept expecting it would stop. So, I really understand where you are at with that.

    Actually, the day it all started for me debilitating Migraine-wise was October 26,2005. I got married July 2006, and officially changed my name with the SS and driver's license on October 26, 2006, so I made it "Kelly Lynn Wahle" day! Instead of it just being the anniversary of the start of this mess, it became the anniversary of celebrating being one with my husband.

    I hope you don't mind my long comment. I really enjoy your writing and glad when you feel up to it.


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