Listen to Managing Chronic Illness Through Trial And Error – Why My Mistakes Give Hope or scroll to read.
Managing my chronic illness is nothing short of a lifelong experiment of trial and error. With fibromyalgia, psoriasis, and psoriatic arthritis being incurable, all that is left is the hope of something making life a little less painful.
Without trying new things, I would never know if what I had been treating my chronic diseases with was really working or not. In some cases, it proved that one treatment was only slightly effective while others reinforced my need for a particular treatment.
It took close to two years for me to realize just how well one of my treatments had been at reducing pain, inflammation, and fatigue.
Today I will share what it was, why it took so long, what prompted a change, and why it gives me hope.
2020 was filled with many lessons, but not one of them was as important the one I am sharing with you today.
Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my coffee drinking habit if you use these links to make a purchase. You will not be charged extra, and you’ll keep me supplied with caffeine. It’s a win for everyone. I am not a medical professional and nothing stated in this article is to be mistaken for medical advice.
A Little Managing Chronic Illness History
I was failed by pharmaceutical medications. While admittedly there was little available to treat fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis when I was diagnosed, everything my doctors and I tried failed to bring any relief. I could have put up with feeling emotionally numb like some made me feel, had the medications addressed the pain, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, I had either an allergic reaction or suffered a severe side-effect from each prescription.
After years of trial and error, my doctor admitted that with my falling into the .01% of people who either do not respond to medication, are allergic to it, suffer the worst side-effects, or experience the opposite result, it would be very unlikely that pain and symptom relief would ever come from his prescription pad. And after a sleeping pill left me unable to sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time and basically awake for four very long days, I was in complete agreement.
With seven years of failed treatments behind me I swore off medications. No longer suffering from side-effects my pain improved. Unfortunately the honeymoon didn’t last for long.
At my wit’s end, I tried cannabis. It notably reduced some inflammation and pain. Most importantly, it made it possible to sleep again. Painsomnia had made it impossible to reach a restorative level of sleep for over 10 years. Being able to sleep made a world of difference.
Although it wasn’t the cure I had hoped it would be, it had improved my life enough that I came to accept what pain I did have to endure. It was also when I was given the opportunity to try PEMF therapy.
You can read about how I experimented with PEMF therapy and how long it took to reach various results regarding pain and symptom relief here. But to keep this post from turning into a novel, I will sum up 2017-2018 as the best years of my chronic life!
I went from wheelchair bound to walking 4+ miles a day! No more living life by the terms set by chronic illnesses, I was breaking boundaries and redefining my life. PEMF therapy was truly the best treatment I had ever tried.
What Went Wrong
I suffered a few injuries from a car accident and a fall in 2018 but was able to pick right back up from where I was after giving my body time to heal. Then in February of 2019, I broke my ribs. I will never forget the moment of feeling pain shoot through me like a bullet and hearing a loud crack. The funny thing is that although I heard the bone crack, it didn’t click that the sound had come from within me at the time. I tried everything I could to relieve the pain. PEMF therapy made it worse and nothing else seemed to help. By April the pain was so bad that I couldn’t stand or sit. It was then verified that I had broken my ribs and was put on bed rest for 10-12 weeks.
Because PEMF therapy made my rib pain worse, my spine went without treatment for 12 weeks. However, because I had treated my body daily for over two years, the relief I enjoyed from my fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis symptoms continued.
While I felt better at week 12 than I did at the first, I knew my ribs weren’t fully healed. However, after missing out on a quarter of the year, I refused to spend any more time in bed. With PEMF therapy continuing to increase pain throughout my rib cage, I limited treatments to whenever I was willing to put up with the pain. This led to a severe psoriatic arthritis flare in my knees, which put me back in a wheelchair for most outings.
Then came 2020!
Right Back Where I Was
I began noticing the return of old symptoms and pain areas early on in 2020, with my lower back being the worst. Not realizing that my ribs were still broken I tried exercising since it was so beneficial during 2017-2018. However, exercise without PEMF therapy was not a good mix and the inflammation throughout my abdomen increased.
Then COVID hit the country and there wasn’t much I could do about it other than cater to my body’s needs. It wasn’t until a few months ago after suffering from a severe weather-related flare that I realized just how much daily PEMF treatments had made in my life. I had forgotten how horrific those flares could be. For weeks I felt like my bones were crumbling, my skin on fire, while my blood was replaced with ice. It was when I felt my spine throbbing that I realized I needed to make a change.
Back to Managing My Chronic Illness Versus Injuries
I stopped PEMF treatments because they seemed to increase the pain from my broken ribs. However, returning to pre-PEMF pain levels and flares in addition to rib pain was worse.
Cannabis alone does nothing for the rib pain, but it does relax the rest of my body and allows me to follow a restorative sleep schedule.
As the third week of December comes to an end, it marks the beginning of the return of daily PEMF treatments. Today, December 19, 2020, is the fourth day of 8-11 hour-long treatments, and I have already begun to feel a difference.
What I can tell from just a few short days is that my treatment wasn’t enhancing the rib pain, but instead showcasing it by relieving other pain and inflammation.
I will continue to address my injury, but it will no longer take precedence over managing my chronic illness.
With the relief I have already experienced in my spine, I have hope of returning to how great I felt before stopping daily PEMF treatments. Because that relief came so quickly, I also have hope that I won’t have to wait as long as I did when I first began PEMF treatments for full spinal relief.
As I shared my experience when I first began my PEMF journey in 2017, I will share the progress of my return here on the blog.
I am realistic and understand that with a rogue rib roaming about, a torn rotator cuff, and a torn meniscus in both knees, I won’t be participating in any walk-a-thons or hiking any mountains any time soon. But after experiencing the pain of all those things along with full-blown fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis flares, I am ready to utilize the tools I have to work around those injuries until it is safe to have them fixed. With ICU capacity in my county currently at 0%, surgeries that are not for life-threatening reasons are being canceled. And with my awful experiences with hospitals, I won’t step foot into one until patients are able to have someone with them at all times.
There were times when I wondered just how much of my relief was from my PEMF device. Especially during the months when I experienced little to no discomfort after discontinuing treatments. What these past two years have shown me is that in the same way it took time to experience relief, it also took time for the effects to wear off.
Being that it took almost a year of not running daily treatments to return to my pre-PEMF pain gives me the peace of mind of knowing that after I reach my full level of relief again, if ever needed I can go a few weeks or months without treatment or suffering a serious setback.
Have you ever ended a treatment to only realize how much it had been helping you?