At this point, I had been dealing with my issues for nearly 14 months. I had been to countless doctors appointments, had two MRI’s, ultra sounds, blood tests, been prescribed to do a sleep study (I never went), had been told that I was perfectly fine, yet had been prescribed five medications. If it was up to the doctors I would have been taking Zoloft, Welbutrin, Fioricet, Lyrica, and off of the migraine medication. The thing, looking back, that scares the hell out of me is that while I was searching for answers to address the way that I was feeling, I went to many different doctors. In an attempt to try to find an answer. Each time I went, someone would prescribe me the same medication or a different medication. I would get the same diagnoses or a different diagnoses, all the while none of them were communicating with each other. Also, I was still nursing my son during this whole time. There was never a holistic approach to my issues. There was never someone who sat down and looked at the whole picture of my life leading up to this time to try and figure out how I had become that way, it was just medication after medication prescribed.
I didn’t tell anyone about the Fibromyalgia diagnoses and I didn’t fill the prescription. Even though I felt as though my world was in crisis and that I wasn’t meeting even my own expectations, I had a large desire to figure out WHY I had all of these symptoms. Why did I have migraines, why was I depressed, why was I in pain all of the time? What had gone wrong in my body that created all of this dis-ease? No one could answer these question for me, I felt like everytime I went into see a doctor they just wrote me another prescription and shooed me out the door. They couldn’t tell me why I felt the way that I did, just that it was common especially in women and especially in mothers. Too much stress, not enough sleep yada. yada. yada.
Fibromyalgia could have been my out. It could have been my excuse to all of my worries and I could have just stopped it there and found a way to live with all of my issues. But I couldn’t….I just couldn’t. My mom used to tell me at a very young age. “Figure out what’s wrong or quit your whining.” I used to think it harsh but as an adult I am grateful for those words. Because if she hadn’t told me that numerous times, I probably would have chosen the latter and just quit my whining. Just taken all of the medicines, succumb to the diagnoses, and done what the doctors wanted me to. Just take the pills, and shut up about it. Gratefully there was something in me that couldn’t be satisfied with that. Something told me that there was really something wrong but it wasn’t all of these diagnoses that had been thrown at me.
This was around November of 2009. I stayed on the two anti-depressants and did fill the Fioricet to see if I could get some relief from the migraines. And I did get some relief because Fioricet is a muscle relaxant, pain reliever and sleeping pill all mixed into one. This is the one that makes me super annoyed when I think back on it. At the time I was in a lot of pain and I was an emotional mess. I have children and I am a stay at home mom. All of these, were things that I told the doctor that gave me this prescription. Fioricet is first of all very addictive especially to people who are in a lot of pain because it makes the pain go away. You do feel relief for the first time in many times. But Fioricet is a downer…you don’t get high off of it, you go completely numb. Can’t move, can’t drive, can’t function… numb, at least that’s what it did to me. It can also cause liver damage, which of course they don’t tell you. I took Fioricet handfuls of times over a month and loved that I didn’t feel anything. No pain and no emotion...just nothing.
After my husband had to physically put me into bed three or four times because he couldn’t get me to wake up and be coherent enough to walk myself to bed, we had a conversation about not taking Fioricet anymore. Luckily I listened and luckily I was able to stop taking it because prescription pain relievers are dangerous. The rate at which they are prescribed has skyrocket and prescription drug overdoses, just in the U.S., has tripled in the last twenty years. 100 people per day die from prescription drug overdoses*. This is crazy to me, yet I see why it’s happening. When you are a person who has been through a lot and then compound that with a person who has emotional and physical pain, it is much easier for that person to pop a pill and make it all go away, rather than to deal with the issues that have gotten that person to this pivotal point. And let's face it, the world is a dysfunctional place therefore many of our lives are also dysfunctional. Life is stressful and demanding yet we are preconditioned to somehow think that if you admit and deal with this dysfunction something is wrong with you. So instead of dealing with our dysfunction we medicate our dysfunction. Spiraling most people deeper and deeper into unconsciousness.
Fortunately, around this same time I was able to let go of the feeling of numbness in exchange for the feeling of anticipation. I still wasn't dealing with what had gotten me to this point. I just swapped one feeling for another. I was very distracted with the task of packing and getting my family ready to go to Kenya for the first time. My husband and I decided that we would use that time to regroup and figure out a game plan for my health, I was going to use the time away from my environment to figure it out against all odds of medical professionals wanting me to just stop whining about it.
Kaya and I after a 35+ hour flight to Kenya for the first time...this took exhausted to a whole.nother.level.
Check in next week for another installment of My Journey. If you’ve missed previous installments catch up on them here!
* CDC report on prescription painkiller overdoses