Living With Chronic Pain – Part 2

This is the second post in my series explaining my ongoing chronic condition, you can read part 1 here.

So I last left off at 15 years old.

I was pretty miserable.

I couldn’t enjoy my teenage life as before and as such, I developed some issues.

However life moves on. Sometimes you just can’t let things get in the way of living.

And so I took my exams and did quite well. I moved to Sixth Form (for you Americans out there, school age 16 to 18). I didn’t have an amazing time but I learnt a lot and made some brilliant friends.

And we continued the long search for a diagnosis and, we hoped, a cure.

I’ve had so many x-rays of my lower back and hips that the consultant felt that I shouldn’t have any more for a few years because of the risk of becoming infertile. I’ve had two MRI scans (with another one in a couple of weeks), an ultrasound scan, numerous physical examinations and three blood tests.

Still no definite diagnosis.

My consultant thinks there is a chance it may be some kind of arthritis which is just not yet showing up in scans. People have also thrown out conditions like ankylosing spondylitis and fibromyalgia. So I got sent to the pain clinic.

It’s a slightly odd place. I was signed up for group sessions and although I was somewhat cynical, I went along with an open mind. Unfortunately, I was right to be cynical. The group was made up of nine over 40s and me. So whilst the session was full of advice, it wasn’t really aimed for 18 year olds!

I knew it would not really possible to pace yourself at university. I couldn’t decide that in order to not push myself I just won’t attend my classes that day. I couldn’t just stay home every night to make sure I don’t exhaust myself, I wouldn’t make any friends.

Since around January of this year my symptoms have gradually increased and my condition degenerated. I suffer from a degree of chronic fatigue, made severely worse when I’m in a lot of pain. The pain itself has spread. For something that started in my hips, it has now spread up my back, often up to my shoulders and neck, as well as down my legs. My wrists, knees and ankles are increasingly weak and aching.

I did well in my A-Level exams (taken at 18) however, not as well as I’d wanted and I firmly believe this was as a result of the pain I was in whilst revising. I’m still proud of myself though because at the end of the day, I got an offer from my favourite university and I got through my year without too many setbacks.

And now I’m here. I’m at university. I’m living in a hall of residence and I’m self-catered.

And it is difficult; I’m not going to lie. There are times when I wonder what I’m doing, why I’m here. I miss the support I get from my family and from Tom my boyfriend. But then I remember that I love my English course. I remember how exciting all of the experiences on offer. I remember that I’m here because I want a degree, I want to meet lots of new people and I want to try new things.

So (despite how dark this post may sound) I’m staying positive. It’s the only thing you can do really isn’t it?

And I want to say a huge thank you for all of your support, your comments mean the world to me and I really appreciate all of your kind words of advice and encouragement. You are all such wonderful people 🙂

So I hope that isn’t too depressing to read! I know for me it’s been an incredibly cathartic experience to write it.

I hope you’ve all had a good Friday 🙂

Sophie x

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13 comments

  1. Wow Sophie – I can’t believe you are able to stay so positive! It must be so draining, but I admire you for keeping your chin up and focusing on good things. I hope you figure things out, but if you don’t I’m really happy you’re making the most of things the way they are!

  2. Aww it’s wonderful that you look on the bright side and also that you have such supportive people in your life. Your positive attitude is admirable!

  3. Oh you are amazing girly! So much courage and despite how you feel, you are REALLY strong. I just know you’re gonna do amazing in your degree due to how positive you are and how much you’ve been through – I bet lots of girls wouldn’t have come as far. Have a lovely weekend at halls 😉 x

  4. Staying positive is the way to go! So glad you can see this and continue to persevere 🙂 This post is so encouraging Sophie!
    You mentioned above that you went to a pain clinic. A few years back after I was diagnosed with osteoporosis the specialist was trying to find medication that I could take. But unfortunately no such luck because of my age I would become infertile. A lot of the stuff out there was for older people 60+.

  5. So brave of you to share these posts with the world and I think it is SO awesome that however scary, you’re not letting your life be derailed. Hugs!

  6. Sophie as a daughter of someone who suffers from severe rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia I feel for you. You are so young too. I can’t believe what a positive outlook you have on life 🙂 as of late I am finding I’m becoming very humble in my “old” age there isn’t much I have to be sad about. I should hold my head up high and be thankful. You are so awesome 😀

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