My struggles with health started at an early age. I can trace things back to around 12 years old or a little before. As a child, I was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome. Even though it is not seen as a chronic illness it is and can be very painful to deal with. As a young adult, I noticed some weird patterns and issues with my health. Doctors just chalked a lot of it up to growing up, maturing, diet, exercise, stress, and just about everything else. So, for years I hid what I was going thru. I gave up on going to doctors. And just tried to be as normal as I could.
Finally, when I was around 30, I could not take it anymore. I worked with doctor after doctor until I finally found one that was willing to listen and help. This started the process of vigorous testing, trials on medications, and documentation that has led me to now have multiple chronic conditions as well as multiple doctors now involved in my health.
What started out as Tourette’s soon became Fibromyalgia, Trigeminal Neuralgia, Occipital Neuralgia, Small Fiber Neuropathy, Neurological Bladder, Sacroiliitis, Scoliosis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and more. With all of this came more medication. Then came medication to battle the side effects of medication. This has taken a toll on my body and the issues from meds were no longer worth the benefits. In fact, one medication caused me to have liver and kidney function issues, memory problems and amped up my movement disorders to a whole new level. I have worked with my docs to eliminate about 80% of my meds so I could function even though I was living with chronic pain. Thankfully my state is one of the many who have allowed medical cannabis. This has been huge in providing me with a way to combat my health issues without having all the unwanted effects from Pharmaceuticals.
Living with chronic pain and illness and the time it took for me to get answers helped me to become my own advocate. In doing so I realized that many people suffering with invisible chronic issues were in the same boat. I decided to start a support group for all chronic illness and pain instead of focusing on just one diagnosis. I felt this opened the door to many who suffered instead of a targeted few. This has become my passion. I am wanting to make a change for myself and others who suffer with advocacy, bettering healthcare relations for patients, and being a voice for change.
Coordinator/ Founder of Aint’t no shame in chronic pain
PA Ambassador for US Pain Foundation
Board member of 2018 im-patient Conference
WEBE Warrior at Healthbeme
Breakthrough Crew Member at Clara Health