I ignored it for a long time, I learned to push past it, rest when I couldn't take it anymore, move when my body erupted in shorting pain followed by a numbness that just took over, because well moving made me feel slightly better.
Stress seemed to add to the pain, making it grow, making it take over and since at this point in my life; 2006 and 2007 were kicking my ass. Then more things just kept going wrong and I just lost it one day. When I say lost it, what really happened was, I walked up a flight of stairs pushing once again past the pain in my body, the migraine that had been attached to me for days, and I passed out cold on the floor, in front of an entire class at my GED study and my instructors. One second I was standing, next thing they were shaking me awake and I was told to get myself to the doctor.
That was it, the doctor sent me for all these tests that cut into my time looking for a job so I could support my sons. I had spinals and nerve tests, brain scans and bone scans. At first they found nothing. They said cancer, then they said Fibromyalgia... then nothing, nothing at all. One doctor said, "Maybe... maybe its something worse." I was poked and prodded and looked over more times in that single month then I had been through both pregnancies!
Finally they said I had Neuropathy, which was still unclear, because the doctor believed it was mainly Chronic Pain but there wasn't much they could do. They could give me pain medications, medications for my anxiety and depression, stuff to help me sleep, but I wouldn't take them. I told them, I couldn't, addiction runs in my family! I won't! So they sent me on my way, with caffeine pills for my migraines and a list of what I could do to make it easier to deal with. "It's Chronic Pain." the doctor said, "It never goes away, it just gets worse. Some days are better then others. You'll figure out what works for you!"
I did too, I learned how to deny it, pretend it didn't exist. Wake up everyday, work hard, move on. Do what I had to do for my boys, that was my life, and the pain was there always. Some days were good days, some were bad!
I can deny a lot of things. I can deny that I pushed myself a little too hard and worked a little too long. I can deny that the numbness in the tips of my fingers didn't last an entire month, even though it made picking things up difficult! I was in straight up denial over the fact that when my arms twitched and a full coffee cup would just splatter everywhere, I was just clumsy. Nothing was wrong.
I live with this strange form of pain followed by numbness every day and yet I still deny that there is a problem. I fight the issue down because all I ever hear is take this pill for this, there is a pill for that! I am working really hard to manage my pain and my fatigue and my insomnia that brings on the fatigue and the stress and the anxiety and the depression all by myself! My husband helps; he massages my legs and feet, back and arms, but after a while that either causes more pain or numbing, so I make him stop. I take multi-vitamins, I stopped eating meat, since flare ups seemed to happen when I would eat anything from an animal. I check all the ingredients in everything I buy. Ibuprofen has become my friend, even if it doesn't do much, it helps a little. I walk when I feel that I need to move, sit when I know I can't do that anymore. I nap when my body tells me I have too. I learned how to lift my children with the minimal amount of pain and that when the tingling starts it is best to avoid that all together, because reality is, the last thing I want to do is have a spasm and drop my baby.
I make it work. I find that the cold or anything cold makes it ten times worse. I won't even notice how cold my feet are because they are numb now, which is probably how frost bite happens. I spent a few nights in a tent in October a few years back and it took almost a week to get the pain to stop. I then did training for Cub Scouts in freezing rain and I thought I was dying. Which makes it difficult when your child really wants to play with you in the snow, or you get nominated for a ice bucket challenge. I have found if I sit for too long I can't stand and the only way to sit comfortably is to have one or both legs tucked under me. My last pregnancy was ten times worse because of it and of course then I had other issues added on that made turning over in bed a nightmare, walking to the bathroom took at least 20 minutes and I was in tears the whole time.
I can't stand still, but if I don't sit down I might trip or fall or who knows what. Yeah, I deny it, I follow my own rules to manage it. However, the denial is still there. Sometimes I just call it an off day, so I don't have to explain myself. Why I won't participate in things that will only make it worse, because I have to make choices. I have to save the good days that are followed by bad days for my children.
Denial. It's a bitter pill. You know why, because too many people want to know why and reality is I don't want them to pity me or see me as a invalid. I just don't want them to know. There are also a lot of people who say, "Well, you don't look sick!" As if by saying that it will make me realize that I am not in fact in any pain at all and it is all in my mind. So I push past the pain, I ignore the numbness, I cry alone in the shadow of this illness that is on the inside, just below the surface. It's easier to deny it to others then it is to do it to myself, but I will continue to, because it is easier! Because I need too.