chronic pain

‘At 12 years old, symptoms began to manifest. I had joint pain in my knees and mouth sores on my gums. Food gave me belly aches. Aside from winter colds, I never was sick.’

“My parents were concerned. I had lost weight and they could see changes in me. I was 13 now, in the hospital to stabilize my 80-pound body. My parents were frustrated I followed ‘the rules.’ ‘If I thought the day of my diagnosis was life-shattering, this day would change the whole trajectory of how I lived my life.”

‘My daughter started bawling and wouldn’t let go of me. ‘All you do is sleep!’ My friends would say, ‘You’re a single mom. It’s normal to be tired.’ I knew something was wrong.’

‘It was happening at home, at work, at the grocery store. When I got home, I would give my daughter a snack and immediately go to sleep. Every time I got up to use the restroom, my heart rate would shoot up. I started teaching my 8-year-old how to call 911 if I couldn’t make it to the phone.”

‘When I was 19 I woke up screaming in pain, as if I was in labor. A million knives were stabbing my stomach. I tried to get to the bathroom, but I couldn’t stand. It became a regular occurrence.’

“I was told it was ‘just the pill’ or ‘just a bad period’ and it was ‘nothing to worry about.’ One doctor told me it was ‘just arthritis’ in my back from being a dancer. I’d never have another boyfriend because one guy had already gotten angry at me for bleeding on his bed sheets.”

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