Mystery Pain Clues
If there is one thing the chronically ill CAN expect from their unpredictable diseases is that a new pain or symptom is always waiting around the corner. Some are caused by the medications we take, others appear as our conditions progress, and then there is the fallout from the damage our illnesses have inflicted on our bodies. The latter is what I am dealing with in regards to abdominal adhesions from endometriosis and internal scarring.
Two weeks ago while vacationing in New Mexico I experienced a pain like no other I have ever had. I woke up feeling overly fatigued with extreme muscle soreness. This wasn’t a surprise as we were experiencing rain storms everywhere we went. Before attempting to sit up I made a mental note; never travel through the southwest during monsoon season! Accepting that I would have to use my wheelchair to get around that day I slowly began rising from the bed.
As I was sitting up I felt a sharp pain on my left side. This pain was unfamiliar, it wasn’t a muscle spasm or cramp, it was more like what I imagine it would feel to have someone slash my body with a sharp knife. I made my way to the bathroom where I put my hand up my shirt to massage the area. You can imagine my shock when after removing my hand I discovered it was covered in blood.
After cleaning up the blood I was able to see the source or what I thought was the source. A mole, one that I have had since birth and that has never been a problem, had ripped!!!! Yes, ripped. It looked like someone had attempted to cut it in half but stopped 75% of the way down. The bleeding stopped quickly but oh heck did it hurt!!! However my mole wasn’t the actual source of pain. From the moment I felt my mole rip, I began experiencing what felt like muscle ripping and swelling underneath the same area. This in addition to my weather related flare knocked me out for the day. Instead of site seeing with family I spent my day in bed.
Looking back now I realize that I probably should have gone straight to the emergency room. But you know how it is, your on vacation and while frustrating when our own plans fall apart the last thing we want to do is to ruin the day for everyone else. The next day the pain had decreased enough for me to feel okay about waiting to see a doctor until I returned home, because when you live with chronic pain what’s another pain? From that point on, which included a few more days of traveling, and since being home I have yet to improve. I take that back, my mole has improved, but that is it. From the moment I discovered the rip I began treating my mole with CBD oil. It no longer hurts and the oil has kept it soft and prevented anymore ripping. The pain beneath the surface is another story.
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The day after the initial rip I didn’t do much other than sit in the car. The next day while I was still experiencing abdominal muscle pain and swelling I managed to site see on foot for a bit in the morning. The next day was spent resting in the car while experiencing an excruciating amount of pain. The following day was a bit better and I felt up to running to the grocery store after sitting in the car all day. MISTAKE!! That night I experienced more ripping. This has become a pattern since its arrival. The pain is ridiculous, but I am used to pain. What makes this pain even more miserable than other pains is that each time I experience an intense rip my body runs a low grade fever. Once I noticed this I called my provider to make a doctor appointment. You may be wondering why I didn’t go to the emergency room and to be honest I have come close to doing so. However, when I went to the ER last summer because of pain caused from abdominal adhesions attacking my bowels I was told all they could do was give me pain medication and tell me to follow up with my doctor. Since I do not treat my pain pharmaceutically, I am just skipping one step and going straight to my doctor.
My appointment is on Tuesday the 22nd, it was the soonest my HMO could get me in to see someone. Frustrating? Yes and no. And here is why, it’s frustrating because I want answers and a solution NOW! But it isn’t, because it has given me time to see what helps, what makes it worse, and to fully log and track all of my symptoms. This will help my doctor better understand what is going on.
What do I think is going on? Glad you asked! After observing and tracking my pain for 2 weeks I am 99.9% sure that I either severely tore or ruptured one or more abdominal muscles. I am actually looking forward to my appointment next week to see if I am right, not because I want to be right but because I know my body so well that I usually am correct in knowing what is going on with it. Everybody’s first question is what the heck did I do for this to happen. The answer is NOTHING.
Looking back at my battle with adhesions from endometriosis and internal scarring what happened actually makes sense. Since 2003 my abdomen has taken a beating. It started with a large ovarian cyst that was attached not only to my left ovary, fallopian tube, and uterus it and the fallopian tube had adhered to my sidewall as well. The cyst was removed and the fallopian tube was released from the sidewall in 2004. A couple of months later I began experiencing ripping pain from my sidewall. The following surgery, my hysterectomy which everything was to be removed except for my cervix, revealed adhesions and multiple cysts. The adhesions had pulled my bladder and rectum towards my sidewall as well. Three months later and the pain returned and this time it included my bowels. It took two very long, pain-filled years to get a surgeon to listen to and help me. His surgery revealed that the surgeon who performed my hysterectomy had left a large portion of my left fallopian tube behind. It was covered in adhesions, infected, and embedded into my sidewall. He also noted that adhesions were strangling my bowels and that he could see scarring along my sidewall that showed where it had attached and ripped from during the past two years. The ripping pain resumed 3 weeks after that surgery. The next surgeon detected ovarian remnants and his plan was to remove my cervix and sidewall lining stating they were hotbeds for ovarian remnants. This was in addition to cleaning up the new spider web of adhesions that formed immediately after the prior surgery. There was one more surgery to follow but that was to remedy an error that was made when my cervix was removed. Since my last abdominal surgery in 2008, I resigned to the fact that ripping pain from adhesions was just going to be a part of my life. Nothing helped and there was nothing my doctors could do. The only good part of living with that pain is that it didn’t last long, sometimes a few hours and at the most a few days, and I always had periods of relief. That was until they began attacking my bowels again! I had two spells in which I only had to suffer for a few months before the adhesions would rip from my sidewall loosening their hold on my bowels. It resumed and remained full-time in January of 2016. I was so sick last year; the hold adhesions had on my bowels were literally killing me. By November I had seen multiple surgeons who all agreed with what was happening inside of me, but no one was willing to be the surgeon who performed my 9th abdominal surgery (there were other surgeries for other reasons besides what I am sharing here). I experienced a little relief after riding more thrill rides than I normally did at Disneyland one weekend. The rides caused a major ripping from my sidewall but the pain only lasted two days. Then in March, the adhesions resumed their attack on my bowels until I began using Oska Pulse to combat them.
As you can see my abdominal muscles, especially those on my left side have experienced many years of damage. With and without the sidewall lining, my abdominal muscles have been pulled, tugged, and ripped from since 2003. That is 14 years!!!! Factor in that my other conditions have improved allowing me to be more physical, my history, and fact that my symptoms align perfectly with those of torn and ruptured muscles and I think I am on target.
Next step is to see what the doctor says. Who knows I may be wrong, but I doubt it. Again not saying this out of arrogance, just that I know my body all too well. Once I have a diagnosis I will work with my doctor to figure out how to fix or deal with what has happened. In the meantime I am doing everything possible to not damage my muscles more than they have been. And while nobody wants a new pain, I am so thankful that since I began using Oska Pulse four months ago and that my other conditions are no longer making my life miserable on a daily basis. I can’t imagine dealing with this if my other chronic illnesses weren’t being managed so well.
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