Five Steps Forward, Ten Steps Back


You don’t have to be chronically ill to appreciate this post.  Everyone one in life faces setbacks of some sort.  Setbacks come in the form of health, finances, employment, relationships, pretty much in every aspect of our lives.  I am currently experiencing a health setback that was not expected.  However, this isn’t the first setback I have had to deal with in my life nor will it be the last.  In a way I am thankful for my past setbacks as they have prepared me to deal with my current situation.


Free falling

When my chronic illnesses first presented themselves I followed my doctor’s pharmaceutical protocol.  I did this for 12 years without ever experiencing any improvements or relief.  My pain and symptoms did nothing but increase and progress as the years passed.  Before giving up on pharmaceutical treatments I was unable to sit, stand, or walk for more than 5 minutes.

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A new lease on life

I went completely medication free for 9 months after quitting my pharmaceutical protocol.  Although my pain didn’t increase, it didn’t decrease either.  The only good thing about that period was that I was no longer dealing with the nasty side effects I had been suffering from with prescription medication.  Something needed to change so I took the plunge and began treating my conditions; fibromyalgia, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and endometriosis with CBD and THC.  The improvements I experienced with all my chronic illness with the exception of endometriosis was amazing.  Some improvements occurred quickly, like regaining use of a finger and thumb that were so swollen that I hadn’t been able to use them for over a year and being able to sit up for long periods of time.  I began experiencing restorative sleep immediately! I hadn’t slept for more than 2-4 hours at time in over a decade!!!  But right from the start I began sleeping 8-10 hours a night!! After a few years I was able to walk farther and stand longer without pain than I had in the 15 years prior!!

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Not so fast!!

I was thrilled with my improvements.  Finally, after all those years I had found something that actually helped!  While I was enjoying my newfound independence an ugly beast was lying still waiting for the right moment to strike. 

As my pain was decreasing and my abilities were growing I began living again.  I stopped fearing my body and began making commitments to go out, volunteer, etc.. Then just as I thought I found my new groove the beast otherwise known as abdominal adhesions (from endometriosis and surgical scarring) launched an attack that I was not ready for. 

Abdominal adhesions (click here to read more about my issues with adhesions) began attacking my bowels and bladder.  I couldn’t eat without pain and swelling, everything I put into my mouth gave me diarrhea, I was pissing myself, and I couldn’t sit up straight without excruciating pain.  I was miserable. My doctors refused to perform surgery even though it would be the only thing (in their words) that would stop the attack on my bowels.  Their reasoning was that the adhesions would come back and not one of them wanted to be the surgeon who performed what would be my 9th abdominal surgery.  They gave up and told me that pain management, heavy doses of morphine, was my only answer.

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Back on the ladder of life

On March 24th of 2017, I began treating my abdomen with PEMF therapy. To my surprise, it worked!! PEMF therapy with Oska Pulse did what my doctors said couldn’t be done.  It loosened the hold adhesions had on my bowels and bladder.  I was no longer wetting or crapping myself, I could eat without pain or swelling, and was no longer experiencing any abdominal pain. 

This was and still is amazing considering that I have had pain from adhesions and endometriosis since 2003.  The funny thing is I had asked my HMO about this type of therapy months prior and was told that they wouldn’t approve it as it wasn’t a known therapy within their network.  But this wasn’t the only improvement (click here to read my series on PEMF therapy) I experienced with PEMF therapy!  The physical pain from fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, and degenerative disc disease decreased dramatically!!

My daily pain level from those conditions is now between zero and three!!! I had been living at 6-10 for my entire chronic life.  The daily non-stop pain in my L5 and S1 joints is gone!  The only times they bother me is when we are experiencing a storm or heatwave or if have been on my feet most of the day.  My feet have hurt since 1999 and are now pain-free.  I no longer flare without a reason and the cause of  most of my flares since March 24th has been from the weather. 

How often I need to use a wheelchair or walker has decreased drastically.  I was doing so well that I told my family that I wanted to start working up my endurance and train for a future Disneyland Marathon.  My plan was to walk not run, but to be able to walk in a marathon would have been monumental.


And the other shoe drops

What happened next threw me for a loop.  On Aug. 2nd I experienced a tear in the muscle on the left side of my ribcage and then another more severe tear on Sept. 17th.  Since then the muscles and tendons surrounding my ribcage have suffered more tears.  They are minor compared to the tear on the left side, but still painful.  I am currently on doctor’s ordered bedrest in hopes that the muscles/tendons will heal themselves.  My doctor and I both agree that my abdominal wall has been damaged from years of having adhesions pulling and ripping from it.  When I began feeling better in regards to my other illnesses I increased the intensity of my workouts which put more strain on that area.

Exercising my arms while lying on my back.


The waiting game

And now I wait…….  Because of past setbacks I was already emotionally prepared for this one.  My world is not ending, my life just needs to be modified. I have had to put some projects on the back burner and have been focusing on what I can do from bed.  To be honest I have been through worse and if it takes months for this to heal so be it.  I won’t lie, it is absolutely frustrating to be stuck in bed when I finally after 17 years have all of my chronic conditions so well managed.  If my current predicament has taught me anything it is that I need to enjoy life no matter how many steps I am taking forward or backward.  I could be completely healed tomorrow and still face some kind of setback the following week.  For now I am doing what I can, when I can, and will start taking more steps forward as my body allows.

Remember, a reduction in pain or healing won’t guarantee a life without setbacks, it’s how we face them that makes it possible to survive.

Published by Cynthia Covert

Diagnosed in 2001 with psoriasis, followed by fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, endometriosis, and later a botched hysterectomy turned her world upside down. Cynthia shares her experience, advice, and tips for how to make life with chronic pain easier and less painful.

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