The Agony of Chronic Pain

On February 25, 2011, I was in a horrific car wreck that left me with a T11/12 spinal cord injury and a hip and pelvis that were as shattered as the windshield I flew 75 feet out of.  A metal plate and screws were put in place to stabilize the hip and pelvis. Over time the pain has increased despite numerous surgeries, epidurals, injections, and medicines (not to mention a huge bill). But with no relief.  

Despite the pain, I continue to teach full-time, be a wife and help raise two children. People wonder how I manage it all and the pain. Staying busy is actually a diversion for me. I try to stay focused on what I’m doing at the moment  

Nights and rainy or cold weather are always the worst. The pain gets so bad sometimes during the night that I will literally get up and go sit in my driveway at 2 a.m. to keep from waking my family up with my moaning. It has been so bad that I get physically sick and throw up. It’s pain bad enough to bring a grown man to his knees. 

Last year my neurologist was very optimistic that if we removed some of the hardware from my back it might give me some relief in my hip and joint. I went in cautiously optimistic that after nearly eight years of agonizing pain that this would be the fix.  

The hardware was removed. The surgery was a fail. 

I had asked the doctor to let me have the metal he removed. I used the metal to spell the words “Hope” and “Faith” and had it mounted for display. After all, these are two things that still remain in me.

I am still in pain. At this time, I am trying a more homeopathic route by starting an anti-inflammatory diet. And I am going to see a professional to help me cope with the pain emotionally and mentally.   

I have kept silent about most of my pain. But I have decided to open up and share my experience with others. I will continue on this journey with the love and support of family and friends. 

This is a quote my dear friend Caroline shared with me. I think it speaks volumes about what pain can do to your mind, body and spirit. 

“Sharing your stories of unbearable pain and the difficult and dark places it’s taken you at times, yet you’ve continued to press on and search for ways to cope. This will not only help people feel less alone in their suffering, but just might save a life. Really. Maria, the visual picture I got when you talked about going outside to puke so you did not disturb your family is hard to even put into words.” 

Don’t be afraid or ashamed to share your pain because, like Caroline said, it just might save a life.  Reach out to your family and friends and your doctors.  They are there to help you and support you through this time.


Editor's Note: Maria was awarded the 2013 Teacher of the Year Award for the School District she teaches in.

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