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"The Pain is in Your Head." For those of you who live in pain, especially when no one [View All]

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Mike 03 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-24-09 08:44 PM
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"The Pain is in Your Head." For those of you who live in pain, especially when no one
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Edited on Tue Mar-24-09 09:33 PM by Mike 03
believes you. Keep up the hope. It took my sister twenty years of fighting.

Finally, a victory for my sister!

I have a story to share about my sister, who finally won a twenty year victory against the pain in her pelvis and low back.

At first I thought this was more suitable for the lounge, but pain is something many of us experience, and it's not a superficial issue. It can destroy your life--every moment of your life, for some people.

I'm very close to my sister and we both attended the same university, and both pursued degrees in the creative arts. When she was a senior she began to experience intense, crippling pain in her back and legs. She had loved to play tennis and do things, but this pain changed her life. In a sense it ruined it.

She went to doctor after doctor, and received diagnosis after diagnosis. She had all sorts of injections, biopsies. She experienced spinal headaches and became addicted to painkillers and other substances that ruined her life and made her terribly unhappy.

I am skipping some parts, because they would be too personal, but suffice it to say, improperly diagnosed pain ruined her life and by her own admission made her a terrible mother.

To add insult to injury, her condition was misdiagnosed for almost twenty years.

She was told she had arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, a pinched nerve, tendonitis, swelling. She was told that the pain was in her head,imagination, back, her butt, her knee, her leg.

Over the past five years, the pain localized in her hip, grew worse and worse and worse, to the point she could barely walk.

The last doctor she visited told her: It's a bit of bursitis. (Twenty years of bursitis?)

FINALLY, she got admitted to the Mayo Clinic. They did a complete workup on her and within six hours she had a doctor telling her:

"It's your hip." It was so bad that the tissue was beginning to die (a conditon called "necrosis") and he ordered a complete hip replacement in two weeks.

ON EDIT: I forgot to write what he said to her: "You must hurt like hell all the time. How would you like to go 24 hours without even thinking of your hip?"

What he meant was he could see what was wrong and fix it. He realized that someone with her hip condition must hurt all the time, and think about that pain all the time: and he could make it so that she could get through a day without suffering. I call that a miracle.

She got to see her own X-rays and imaging studies with her own eyes. And this wonderful doctor validated that her pain was not in her imagination, or some trivial issue. Her hip looked like a war zone.

The operation took four hours, which is long for a hip replacement, because he had to really fish out all the damage to her bones.

Interestingly, the surgeon things her defect might be from birth. We don't entirely understand the implications of this yet, but my sister has an identical twin who has mild but not severe hip pain in the mirror opposite hip.

Okay, so she had her operation yesterday, and I visited her today.

I've never seen her so happy in my life. I'm practically in tears telling you this. She is so excited. Yes, she is still in pain, but she knows there is a light at the end of the tunnel. She is looking forward to getting off so many drugs, to being there with her precious daughter, being alert and aware. She's looking forward to doing yoga, walking, being able to bend over and tie her own shoes....

For the first time since college, she is looking forward to the future.

I'm so happy for her. Today brought streams of tears to my eyes.

To all of you who suffer from chronic pain, it is not "in your head." Please never give up and keep searching for the answer, keep searching for a doctor who believes and is willing to help you.

Pain kills people. It kills the spirit. It robs people of decades.

If you love someone who is always in pain, take them seriously.


I wish that I had done more earlier, but I relied on the doctors to explain what my sister was feeling. But doctors sometimes are wrong, and I wish I done more.

But I'm so happy today. And thank you all for listening!

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