My Story

I am a follower of Jesus and am confident that God is in control of all things and has a purpose for my life. If I weren't I don't know  if I could endure the chronic pain, disappointment, and frustration that has become my new normal. There is much suffering in this world, but I hope that by sharing some of my experiences and the truths of  the Bible others might find hope and encouragement. Leave comments or email me at purposeofpain@gmail.com and I'd be happy to talk with you. So here's my story...

In November 2008, about the time I got pregnant with my first and only child, I began having some pain with intercourse. It began 2 weeks after discontinuing the hormonal contraceptive, which I had used for 2 years.  It literally came out of the blue! Six months into my pregnancy, I was diagnosed by a specialist with generalized vulvodynia thought to be due to pregnancy hormonal changes and increased blood flow. The specialist thought that after childbirth I would return to normal. I worried that this was not correct because my symptoms began right at conception or maybe even before so it seemed unlikely to me that hormonal changes and increased blood flow would have caused such rare pain. My pregnancy was pretty miserable I had a lot of burning and swelling, but by God’s grace I made it through!

In August 2009 I delivered a healthy baby girl and had a 2nd degree tear. Post childbirth I had pain from the tear site, but like the specialist said most of my vulvodynia symptoms were better. However, about 6 months postpartum I was still having a lot of pain with intercourse, running/jumping (I was trying to get back into exercising again), occasionally wearing jeans was uncomfortable for me, and I just didn't feel like my tear site had healed properly. I went back to my OBGYN who "burned" off excess scar tissue with silver nitrate that remained from my tear and I was referred to physical therapy because a lot of my pelvic floor muscles were really "tight". I often wish I had not gone back to my OB because the pain I was experiencing then was nothing compared to the pain I experience now. This PT specialized in pelvic floor dysfunction and felt like my pelvic floor muscles were very tight. She also said that my pelvis was "out of alignment" and I had sacroiliac joint dysfunction (SIJD). She thought that might be contributing to my pelvic floor pain (even though my pain wasn’t in the sacroiliac area). She aligned my SI joint with a manipulation and 36 hours later I woke up with intense sacral area burning and pain with sitting (to the point I couldn't sit for very long). I began having some vulvodynia symptoms similar to pregnancy, but I thought the vaginal pain might be related to my hormones changing again because I had recently weaned my daughter from nursing. Unfortunately that was not the case.

Thus began the journey I am on today to find a diagnosis and effective treatment for my pain. I have seen so many doctors and physical therapists it's embarrassing! Unfortunately due to the complex nature of my pain I've had to research my symptoms and be my own advocate. I’ve been told my pain is all related to SIJD, that I have central sensitization (when the nervous system becomes hypersensitive to pain), that I have myofascial pain syndrome, that I have widespread joint hypermobility, that I have pudendal neuralgia with pelvic floor dysfunction, and most recently that I have a labral hip tear and femoroacetabular & ischiofemoral impingement. I think it's likely a combination of several of these things, unfortunately fixing pain that has become chronic is not so easy.  I have tried lots of different treatments - you name it I've probably tried it - including nerve blocks/injections, pelvic floor botox, extracorporeal shockwave therapy, thousands of dollars of physical therapy, and  FAI/labral repair hip surgery. So far nothing has helped very much and some treatments have actually mad me worse.

My symptoms are: pain with sitting (as in I can't sit even a minute without pain), burning in my pelvic floor and sacral area, pain with bending/squatting/lifting/pushing/pulling, pain with static standing, pain with walking more than a few blocks (and sometimes even just a few feet), burning in my feet and sometimes other joints, and burning/hypersensitivity in my legs. My muscles all over my body are often so tight they feel more like guitar strings. Most recently I've had debilitating headaches and neck pain due to widespread weakness and muscle compensation.  I can only sit for a few minutes on a donut cushion before my pain begins to quickly escalate, and even lying down is uncomfortable as I have burning in my hips and sacrum. 

In September 2011 (after my botox injections which seem to have worsened my pain and set me on a continual decline) I quit working the 4-8 hours a week I was working as a nurse and began the application for disability which I was finally awarded by God's grace in June 2013.  I struggle to care for my husband and daughter and our life looks much different than we ever hoped as we had planned to return to overseas missionary service by now (my husband and I met while serving in Africa).

I continue looking for treatment options in hopes of gaining a better quality of life. I do not know that I will ever be pain free again this side of Heaven, but I am striving to find my joy and peace in God alone. I am confident that He will fulfill His purpose for me (Psalm 138:8) with or without chronic pain. No matter what this life holds for me I rest knowing that he is working all things together for my good and His glory. My hope is that you will find your rest in Him as well.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:28,31-32