I don’t often talk about it because truthfully I hate seeing the look in people’s eyes when they are trying to decide if I am telling the truth.
By all appearances, I am a healthy, strong 35-year-old woman.
It began in my early twenties. Some days I just couldn’t focus, which wouldn’t be so alarming except on most days I was a Type A with a crazy amount of ambition and a to-do list to match.
Most of the time I was perfectly fine. And then one day I would find it almost impossible to sleep. The dull, throbbing ache that just wouldn’t go away slowly wore me down day after day.
I figured I just needed to eat better, exercise more, and get more sleep.
I changed my diet. I began to exercise regularly, although it only seemed to make my body hurt more. And I was sleeping a LOT, yet I felt like a zombie most days.
Then one morning I woke up full of renewed energy, completely back to normal. So, I spent the next several days playing catch up on everything I had let fall to the waist side during my time of being out of it. I was thrilled that whatever had been going on seemed to have passed. I continued to live life like normal and resumed my previous schedule.
I’m not sure how much time passed before I found myself once again barely able to get out of bed in the morning. Try as I might, sleep just couldn’t find it’s a way through the pain at night and I resorted this time to taking Tylenol PM in order to get some sort of rest which only made the zombie feeling worse the next day.
I went to the doctor and he told me I needed to exercise, so we joined a family gym and went almost every single day. Some days were fine, but most were worse and I felt like I was trapped in an 80-year-old body at just under 30 years old.
I’ve done my own research and know the possibilities (some of which can be quite grim). I’ve also watched my body closer to see if there are any triggers. Exercise does not help, but I did find something that did. I began stretching and doing yoga often. In fact, you can catch me stretching all throughout the day whenever I begin to feel the tight, painful sensations.
The thing about this that bothers me the most is that although the pain is VERY real to me, it’s hard to explain to others without having a name for it.
I admit I hate feeling weak.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I hate feeling like I’m making excuses when I see others my age who have no trouble with regular daily activities. And MOST DAYS I’m just fine, which makes the days that I am not fine even more difficult to explain. So I have gone a long time not talking about it. My husband and children know. My mom and sister also know.
But the truth is that there is only ONE who really knows,
and I trust that He will carry me through this.
After pretending to be fine for the last couple of years, I found myself tired and short-fused with everyone. Living in pain almost all the time makes me a miserable person that even I don’t like.
I finally went to the doctor a while back when I had a breast cancer scare and we have begun down the road of finding out the culprit. I’ve actually gotten used to feeling like this and have learned to cope. But the possibility of having more painless days would be a dream come true.
I never planned to share this story here, but after reading this post titled Chronic Pain on Keeping it Real I knew I needed to get this out.
It is so funny how God works because as I was writing this post I read a status from a friend of mine talking about how she was feeling achy all over after eating pizza the day before. She said something about how much better her body has felt since being gluten-free and my ears perked right up.
The idea that the good food I was eating could be a problem that had never even occurred to me. She sent me this article on how eating gluten free could help arthritis and other chronic pain disorders.
So now I am attempting to figure out how to put together a realistic plan to help me determine if a gluten intolerance can be the problem. If you are familiar with eating gluten-free I would love to hear any tips or tricks you have for making the transition.
I am currently using this article as a guide and will share over the next several weeks how it goes for me.