April's Story: Overcoming Chronic Pain


The title? I am glad you asked! I am happy to explain.

Yes, that was me in the gym all the time. Love it and still do. From Insanity, CrossFit, spin classes and weightlifting…I did it all. Of course, I was invincible! Little did I know, no one is invincible.

In 2010, Christmas Eve Eve I was driving home on I-264 (I never went that way) with a yummy Starbucks in hand. Christmas presents in the truck of my Mazda, I was headed home to be the wrap queen.  As I was traveling along a car spun out in the lane next to me. That car caused a 10-car pileup on the expressway. I got slammed, and I mean slammed, in the rear end and hit a sign that said, “HOSPITAL NEXT RIGHT”. Really? “Here’s your sign!” And that is exactly where I went. I will never forget telling the firefighters to please get my presents out of the trunk. Remember those? I only lost one bag! After several x-rays, tears and a totaled car, I was told I had whiplash. The doctor did ask about my hips. I thought they were fine. I got better and continued to work out consistently. It was in my blood.

In 2014, a cold January day, I was running on the treadmill. I felt a burning fire down my right hip and leg. Something was wrong! I went to an amazing orthopedic surgeon and he gave me the news that my labrum was torn. What? I did not even know what a labrum was. I had surgery in April and I was on crutches for 5 weeks. My abs looked awesome from all the crutching. I still say I am going to make a crutch DVD for an abdominal workout. Lots of physical therapy to rehab my hip so I could get back to what I love. I still will have hip pain due to the lovely muscles that flare up around the hip.

In 2016, I was walking Zoe, my precious rat terrier mix. From my waist down to my feet was tingling. It must be my hip, right? No! After several cling, bang, clangs of an MRI I was told I had a spinal cord lesion at T1-T2. You know when people hug you and they do that pat thing on your back? I felt as though I was being electrocuted when I was being hugged. I could never get comfortable. I was sad! Life was changing. I went to a neurosurgeon who diagnosed me with Transverse Mylelitis. Say that 3 times fast! That is an inflammation of the spinal cord. He then sent me to a neurologist who misdiagnosed me with Multiple Sclerosis. I was sheet white when those words came out of her mouth. My caring and firm husband said, “She is not taking that medicine”. We left, and I lost my religion in the stairwell. God, are you here?  We scheduled an appointment with Cleveland Clinic, the most well-oiled machine in the medical world.

Let me stop right here...I am sure you are wondering about my title. For Christmas, the year of the spinal cord lesion, my rock of a man wrote a crazy, funny poem that I had to read in front of the family. There were 2 gift bags and a box for me to open. The poem said to grab the bags with the granny panties and wrestling belt and put them on. The box was a Joyce Meyer book and tickets to go to an upcoming Joyce Meyer conference. The end of the poem said, “You can do anything with your granny panties, wrestling belt and God. There I stood all empowered in my new gear. I have been to Cleveland Clinic 3 times now and I do not have MS. Praise God! He is faithful and SO good. I have no symptoms. I revisit Cleveland in 2020 for my 5-year checkup. If all is good, I will then be fired from there and that journey is complete. I wear my granny panties; wrestling belt and God is always with me at every appointment. We share many laughs with the doctor and even take a photo with the doctor.

Currently, I am working on an SI joint issue and lower back pain. It took 8 doctors to diagnose this. I have the best bull dog of a doctor who will fight tooth and nail to help me get better. He sent me to a physical therapist who gets me and the way that I like to work out. I am finally starting to feel like myself. I can breathe and enjoy life. I was in such a dark place of tears and questioning my faith. I am not ashamed to admit that I do take anxiety medicine which has been a saving grace for me. My head is above water and I look forward to this healing path. I have met some precious folks along the way and I pray that I have been able to bless them as much as they have blessed me.

I hope you are still reading this because I have a few words for you. As my sweet Dad says, “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up!” Life can get dark sometimes, but the sun will come out again. Keep fighting for yourself. You will learn and grow from your journey. There are blessings along the way. Don’t miss the blessings. You are so loved and worth it! Keep praying. God never leaves you. Remember, When you can’t, God can. Much love to you my friends! Happy healing. You’ve got this!