By, Pati Norman

In 2014 after being in crippling pain and suffering from anxiety from it, I ‘demanded’ answers from my PCP. She drew blood. Sent samples to Mayo in Rochester. Came back a month later with “high risk potential for Fibromyalgia and Lyme’s disease. I have both. Along with POTS, degenerated disc disease, a back fusion, and carpal tunnel, OA in hands feet neck spine and knees.

For years I was treated like a drug seeking junkie. So I quit trying to find relief from the pain. DOs were rude to me because they didn’t know what to do with me. Prescribed medications that are a bandage on a hemorrhaging wound. I stopped the useless meds, stopped going to doctors and stayed home isolating in pain anxiety depression and angst. I barely ate at all.

My husband would get angry because he thought I was starving myself. I just had zero appetite. I went up to 232 pounds isolating. Even w/o eating. I chose to do bariatric surgery at the suggestion of my pcp. It went wrong. Nicked my spleen. I was bleeding out. My blood clotted to stop the bleed. ER tech gave me a blood thinner, it killed me. I came back and then every organ failed 1 at a time. 18 days in ICU. for over the past 1.5 years of recovery from that ordeal, I’m still having trouble. I lost over 100 pounds. At the expense of my total health due to a mistake made in a routine surgery, and a ER tech.

I’ve come a very long way in my mental health journey too. I’ve taken this year to begin self-care. It is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. My pain is chronic and not going to ever go away. I accept that.

After 2 years of intense work for PTSD, anxiety and depression with a therapist, my mental health is in the best shape it’s ever been. If I maintain that, I’ll be in good shape from here on out.