My Personal Story
I am sharing my story in an effort to encourage and inspire someone else who may have walked or be walking a similar journey…
When I first embarked upon the journey of starting my first business, Temple Body Fitness, I had a business partner and a lot of dreams. We had the common goal of helping people lose weight and live healthier lives. We struggled through the first few months building our clientele and our reputation. We grew through word of mouth from our satisfied clients. It was a great feeling, unlike any I had ever experienced before. I knew that I was doing what I was created to do, help people and make an impact on their lives. I was pursuing my degree, and had started my women’s group Hadassah’s Retreat. I was finding myself on my own personal spiritual journey and was beginning to feel as if my life was good and going in the direction I wanted… I was finding my purpose.
At first it felt like I started down this spiral…
- I found out my partner was being “unprofessional” and having a personal relationship with a client.
- I dissolved the partnership & set out to rebuild my business.
- I was in two car accidents two weeks apart, neither one was my fault, go figure, lol!
Then one day, it seemed as if my whole world began to crash, literally. Initially after the accidents I had the customary aches and pains but assumed that they would go away after a few weeks. I began seeing a chiropractor the week after the accident and thought that soon enough I would be back up and at it again, being the strong woman I was used to being.
That was not been the case. After the first few weeks of treatment I was relieved of some of the pain, but that was short lived. My Chiropractor began questioning why I would experience relief for a few days and then spiral back into a pattern of pain. I experienced excruciating neck and back pain, indescribable migraines, intense aches in my joints, my ribs kept popping out of place, and numbness in my hands and feet just to list a few things. I kept trying to push forward thinking that I would be okay and it would go away after my body adjusted and bounced back from the trauma of the car accidents.
Again, this was not the case. Instead of getting better I kept getting worse. By March 2006 I had an upset stomach all the time and migraines everyday. I started experiencing mood swings that I couldn’t explain. I had a hard time remembering things. I was lucky if I got four hours of sleep a night. The numbness and tingling in my hands and feet got worse. I started struggling with depression and anxiety.
The joy of finding my purpose was gone, replaced by anger at what was happening…
By June 2006 I was struggling to sit through classes for a few hours a day. By this point i had done an MRI that showed damage to my vertebrae in my neck and lower back and diagnosed me with Degenerative Disk Disease. Then, in August 24, 2006, my body crashed because it couldn’t take anymore.
I went to class one day and everyone kept asking if I was okay because I was walking sideways and looked as if I were in pain. I kept saying yes, trying to keep up a good front. I thought after class was over I would go home, lie down and rest. Again, this was not the case. I was in the middle of a conversation with a fellow classmate when all of a sudden I felt as if I were in a tunnel. His voice started fading out and getting farther and farther away. I was looking at him but it seemed as if this black cloud was moving in front of my face and blocking out everything else.
Next thing I knew, they were picking me up of the floor.
I had collapsed and my entire body had begun to convulse. Because God is so awesome, a friend of mine at the time was a former Nurse, Fire Fighter/Paramedic and Army Medic and was able to help me during that situation. After about 45 minutes the spasms stopped and I thought wow I must really be tired and went home to lay down… I thought maybe I just needed a few days rest. This was on a Thursday so I figured Id just sit still that weekend and my body would find its balance. I thought by Monday Id be back in class and feeling better.
LOL!!! How wrong I was?!
By that Sunday night I was feeling even worse, and finally had to go to the emergency room that Monday. I had a constant headache, was having constant spasms and convulsions and my hands and feet kept going numb and I was starting to have nerve irritation. I had the unfortunate experience of being assigned to an ER doctor that had never seen a case like mine and he tried to convince me that I was crazy and needed to have a psych evaluation. I left the hospital feeling even worse mentally and physically than I had before I’d gotten there. All they had done was to tell me it might be a neurological problem and given me morphine to stop the constant spasms and ease the pain.
Over the next few weeks I continued to get progressively worse:
- I had constant muscle spasms in my back, chest, neck and right arm (the longer they lasted, they spread to my whole body)
- Every time the barometric pressure (atmospheric pressure) changed I would get an excruciating migraine
- Frequent numbness and tingling sensations in my arm, hands, legs and feet
- Constant joint pain
- Extreme sensitivity to any sensory input (light, sound, touch, etc.)
- My nervous system was totally confused and there were times when I couldn’t go to sleep for 3-4 days at a time, then other days when I couldn’t stay awake
- Constant mood swings and panic/anxiety attacks
Finally a diagnosis…
“It was good to have a diagnosis, but having a diagnosis doesn’t help fix the problem”
Finally in September 2006 I saw a Neurologist who diagnosed me with Post Traumatic Cervical Spasmodic Dystonia (Movement Disorder). But all he wanted to do was shoot me full of Botox and hope that it effectively paralyzed the muscles in my arm, back, chest, and neck and allowed me to function normally. He gave me a multitude of prescriptions to try and help the pain, spasms and sleeplessness.
My chiropractic doctor helped me to finally locate someone who might be able to help me who had experience with Movement Disorders. I went to him in October 2006 and after he saw me in person and realized how extreme my case was, he referred me to his mentor. I then traveled to South Carolina in November 2006 and was seen at a clinic that specialized in Movement Disorders. The lead doctor there was actually a Chiropractic Neurologist and was really great with how he handled my case.
He hooked me up to all these really cool machines, lol, and then after the testing was done explained all the results and my near and possible distant future to me. He agreed with the initial diagnosis of Movement Disorder, however he added a little more. He informed me that based on the tests I had damage to the Basil Ganglia and Cerebellum areas of my brain. This explained the hypersensitivity to light, sound and touch, as well as the mood swings and constant emotional struggle I was having.
He explained that my case was the rock and the hard place.
It was good to have a diagnosis, but having a diagnosis doesn’t help fix the problem.
Movement Disorders are not really understood and are still fairly new in the medical community because of the fact that only a small percentage of the population experiences them.
Most doctors have never experienced or treated anyone with a Movement Disorder and don’t know how to handle them. As a result, they shun the patients or mislabel them. He also informed me that Movement Disorders are normally progressive. They seem to work in one of two ways. A person can progress over time and eventually plateau and stay at the level it is, or, a person’s case can progress, plateau then progress, back and forth. Currently I experience the later.
Then to put the icing on the cake he informed me that a lot patients diagnosed with Movement Disorders, especially if the neck is affected, can progress to such a point that they began to also suffer from Torticollis as a permanent condition (the head is tilted toward one side, and the chin is elevated and turned toward the opposite side).
I was also told that in some extreme cases like mine, the spasms can snap the neck.
Needless to say, my outlook for my situation was not very positive at that point.
I continued to get progressively worse over the next year and needed 24 hour help from November 2006 until around February 2008. I needed help brushing my teeth, combing my hair, bathing, using the bathroom, basically everything. It was a scary, nightmare that never seemed to end and has been one of the most trying times in my life…
I felt that slippery slope I was on going deeper & deeper… “I wanted to scream because no one was listening”
As I experienced this phase of my life, I went through the rejection of people not understanding. I experienced the criticism of “what’s wrong with you, why aren’t you getting better” from my family. I heard the “there’s nothing wrong with you, it’s all in your head” from family and doctors. I wanted to give up many, many, many times. I felt isolated and alone. I had a heartache so deep that I thought it would never heal. every time I sought therapy, to have a safe place to talk, all I heard was, “you’re depressed, let me prescribe something for that”. I couldn’t get anyone around me to understand that “HECK YEAH I’m depressed, I’m sad my body has betrayed me & my life seems to have crashed”. It wasn’t a depression that would be fixed by drugs. It was a depression because my soul/spirit was sad & missing the person I used to be. I was mourning myself!!!
I wanted to scream because no one was listening. My business was dead because the person I had turned it over to had run it into the ground. I had no insurance since I could no longer work, which meant I couldn’t afford regular Dr apt every two or three weeks. When I did get a chance to see a doctor, I was always seeing the most horrid bed side manner and blatant lack of respect that a doctor could give. I obviously was struggling financially and the constant weight of trying to pay bills, get medicine and survive was always heavy on my shoulder. I fought for disability and was turned down as most people are. Finally making it all the way to the judge, I lost. And in the explanation I received I was told that they knew SOMETHING was wrong with me, just not WHAT, because none of the doctors could agree on the severity of my case… WHAT??!?!?! I was ready to just throw in the towel.
How do you improve your health with no money, very little to no support and the constant struggle of surviving day to day, wondering when your body will betray you..? I had my breaking point and went over the edge… and that day I decided I was going to rehab myself however I could. I was going to speak LIFE & HEALING into my own body. If I couldn’t afford modern medicine, then I was going to use what I know works, TRADITIONAL/HOLISTIC medicine. HOLISTIC medicine works hugely in part with what you eat, what you do (activity) and what you think. I begin to go back to my own personal knowledge as a fitness trainer and massage therapist. I also asked questions to anyone that I could. I begin to slowly change my life and heal my mind, body and spirit, one day at a time, with my mind and whatever resources I had available at any given time.
I found the light at the end of the tunnel… “I came out brighter!”
It has been a long and often scary journey… me fearing what I didn’t understand and not liking the uncomfortable place of change. It was difficult at times to keep pushing forward, to keep trusting in the goodness in me, to keep trusting in God. It was especially difficult going through much of this process alone. I had very few people that were there consistent in friendship and even fewer that understood the ups and downs of chronic pain and tried to be supportive.
However it has been worth it to change my life and to share my journey, story and faith with others to help encourage and empower others in their own journey. I made it through one of the darkest times in my life and I came out brighter! I’m thankful every day that God keeps me and helps me to continue discovering the greatness that life offers me to receive and that I have to contribute and give.
I’ve shared my story with more intimate details with some and as God/Life presents the opportunities, I will continue to share more… obviously as you can see,
I MADE IT!
Not only did I make it, I grew, learned and matured into my faith, my purpose, my passion.
I will continue to update this page and add the rest of my journey of recovery as God (Universe) works within me and allows me to share.
Blessings and may my sharing encourage you to fight through your storm, to rise back up in your greatness and BE HEALED!!!