I write a lot about chronic illness on my blog because it is something I am passionate about.
After writing many articles that contained parts of my personal story, I thought it may be easier to add a page with my story that I could refer back to in my writing.
So without further unnecessary rambling, here is a recap of my personal journey with chronic illness.
Fall of 2016 was the beginning of my senior year of high-school and my journey with chronic illness. I got a virus that was similar to the flu that October. After 3 weeks of experiencing extreme fatigue and muscle pain,I knew something wasn’t right.
This began a months long process of many tests and doctor’s appointments to try to find a diagnosis. Thankfully, the fact that I was homeschooled allowed me to continue my education from home. My most prominent symptoms were fatigue and muscle pain.
In January of 2017, I was misdiagnosed with Lupus by my PCP, an autoimmune disease. The stress of the diagnosis flared my symptoms greatly, to the point that it was debilitating. My symptoms remained characterized by fatigue and muscle pain.
In March of 2017, I was diagnosed with amplified muskulo-skeletal pain syndrome (AMPS) by a children’s rheumatologist. AMPS is a nervous system disorder that causes my nerves to feel real yet unnecessary pain. My symptoms began to revolve around digestive issues and widespread body pain.
I began the treatment program suggested by my rheumatologist. I began physical therapy and saw improvement in my strength, but no relief from my pain. I was still hurting, but my energy levels began to slowly climb over the summer of 2017. I was consistent with a work out plan that was very intense on my body, and was seeing a chiropractor regularly.
Freshman Year 2017-2018
I was feeling ambitious in the fall of 2017 and decided to go to college. I was skeptical, but my symptoms seemed controlled. Fall semester went very well from a physical standpoint. Spring semester was more difficult, but I remained optimistic.
I was feeling a lot better going into summer 2018. I was a counselor at camp and my function was good. Pain levels were high but manageable. My energy was close to 100%.
Sophomore Year 2018-2019
Sophomore year was a slippery slope to disaster. I struggled to get to class from the beginning of the fall semester. I was struggling to keep up at my job and was cancelling all of my social functions. My main symptoms were severe widespread pain and digestive issues that made eating really difficult. I also began experiencing debilitating pelvic pain and migraines. I came home at Christmas break hoping to recharge for the next semester. My body had other ideas for what I could handle. I dropped out of spring semester about 4 weeks in. I returned home completely debilitated by fatigue and extreme pain.
After returning home from school, I began scheduling dozens of doctors appointments in an attempt to find a way to stabilize my health. I began seeing a chiropractor regularly, started seeing a pain management doctor, found a new primary care provider and got connected with a really good chronic pain therapist. I was eventually diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I tried multiple therapies and medications without much luck. In the summer months, my function was generally better. I still struggled greatly with widespread pain and food sensitivity.
With a healthier diet, helpful regimen of supplements, regular chiropractic care and massage therapy, I finally gained some stability with my health. My pain was still bad but manageable. Thanks to the stability I had worked so hard for, I was able to get a part time job in October.
Winter months are always tough. The cold weather makes my joints and muscles ache more than usual. I was able to continue working part time but my pain levels were hard to manage. The warm days made me hopeful for the spring. I continued chiropractic care and massage therapy until covid-19 made it hard for me to get to those appointments.