Retiring My Wheelchair

Retiring My Wheelchair

For those of you that are new to my blog, I have been chronically ill for 18 years.  I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, endometriosis, and degenerative disc disease.

When I was first diagnosed my doctors never warned me that I might end up having to rely on mobility aids to get around.  Nor was I told to emotionally prepare for the possibility of becoming dependent on my family and friends in order to leave the house.  Yet 7 years into my chronic life that is exactly what happened.

Long story short

How far or long I could walk without experiencing excruciating pain decreased as each year passed by.  By 2007 I required the use of a wheelchair for all major outings like a day at Disneyland or the zoo.  At the same time, I had to also begin using a walker to maintain balance and to have a place to sit and rest my feet often for all other outings.

Then in 2012, my dependence on mobility aids reached a new level.  My walker began gathering dust because my body required that I use my wheelchair for every outing.  This meant that my family and friends had to push me around our church, the grocery store, and restaurants.

The daily pain I was experiencing in the bones and muscles of my feet, hips, sacrum, and spine was horrific.  My doctors were of no help.  They said that I would never improve and the only thing they could do was to continue addressing each symptom with another pill.

*Disclosure: I am not a medical professional. I am NOT issuing medical advice. I am only sharing my experience. This post includes affiliate links. Meaning that at no additional cost to you, I receive a commission when you make a purchase through my links.

Not giving up without a fight

My doctor’s plan was the same as it had been for 12 years, more pills.  Not once during that period did I ever experience any kind of relief.  Although I accepted my body’s needs and did everything I could to meet its demands, I refused to continue treating my chronic illnesses and pain the way I had been which was obviously NOT working.

Step one of my plan was to stop all of my pharmaceutical treatments and to give my body time to completely rid them from my system.  My second step was to begin treating my diseases with MMJ (medical marijuana).  This included a combination of THC and CBD.  The rest of my treatment plan included but was not limited to using ice packs, heating pads, and massage therapy.

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While not all of my friends or family were supportive, I had enough support to give it a try.  Looking back over the past few years,  it is clear that I would have been missing out on a better life if I had allowed the opinions of others and the stigma of using MMJ to prevent me from trying it.

Strange things are happening

Two major improvements occurred immediately.

The first was regaining the use of my pointer finger and thumb on my right hand.  In the years prior I had lost full use of those digits because of joint inflammation.  Within months of using MMJ daily, I not only regained usage, but I could also make a loose fist without pain! A year later, I was able to make a tight fist.

The second extraordinary improvement was in regards to sleep.  Before MMJ I was lucky to get 4 hours of sleep per night and that was only when I could sleep.  It became normal for me to experience 2-4 sleepless nights per week.

As soon as I began medicating with marijuana I began experiencing what is known as restorative sleep.  I was sleeping 8-10 hours per night and my sleepless nights decreased to 1 or 2 per month. Reaching a restorative sleep level resulted in my having more energy during the day.  But that’s not all!

By the time I entered my 5th year of medicating with marijuana my body surprised me by allowing me to go grocery shopping at least once a week without having to use a mobility aid.  However, that wasn’t good enough for me, I wanted MORE!

The Game Changer

In December of 2016, I was asked to try Oska Pulse, an electronic and wearable device that uses pulsed electromagnetic fields to reduce pain and promote healing.

I was skeptical because let’s face it if this type of therapy could really work my doctors would have surely suggested it, right?  While hesitant to believe that this device could improve my life and health, I figured I had nothing to lose by trying it.

I began by only using it for a couple of hours a day, a few days a week.  After two months I noticed that it was doing more than reducing inflammation and pain in my knee.

My stamina was increasing and my daily pain levels were dropping.  This combination allowed me to begin exercising more frequently.

I began using it for 10 hours a day, every day, in March of 2017 and that was when I discovered how amazing this device really is.  I wasn’t the only one, friends and family who have witnessed most or all of my chronic life were equally astonished.

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Within the first month of using it daily, I experienced relief from abdominal pain due to adhesions from endometriosis and surgical scarring.  This was after 14 years of living with horrific pain as the adhesions pulled and ripped from my abdominal sidewall and internal organs. Today that pain feels like a distant memory. That relief alone was enough to make a believer out of me.  But there was more!

A few months later the pain that had consumed my feet since 1999 had disappeared.  The next improvement was one that not one of my doctors thought would ever improve.  Yet after 3 months of daily PEMF treatments with Oska Pulse, the non-stop agonizing pain that had invaded my spine, sacrum, and hips in 2011 were gone!!!

Since then PEMF therapy along with MMJ, ice, heat, massage, dietary changes, and exercising has made it possible to heal a torn abdominal muscle without surgery and is why………. Wait for it………… As of January 2018, I am no longer dependent on my wheelchair or need to be pushed around!!!

Let’s get real

Have I been healed? NO! I still have flares, just not as many and the duration of them has also drastically decreased.  I still experience pain, but my daily pain levels are significantly lower than they have ever been.

Before MMJ my daily pain level was stuck between 8-10.  After I began medicating with marijuana it lowered to 6-9.  Since adding daily PEMF treatments my daily pain level fluctuates between zero and 5.  That’s right, I actually experience pain-free days!

In the past month my family and I began going on daily power walks and last week I did something that I never thought I would ever be able to do again.

Last Wednesday my daughter and I started our morning by driving to Newport Beach.  While there we walked up and down the boardwalk and pier.  After we strolled through the streets dreaming about which beach house we would live in if we won the lottery.

A year ago that would have been the end of my day and I would have paid for it with days of bed rest. While extraordinary compared to where I was in the months leading up to where I was a year ago, it was nothing compared to what happened next.

From the beach, we drove to Disneyland where we spent a couple of hours riding our favorite thrill rides, Space Mountain and Thunder Mountain.  The remarkable thing is that I did this all on foot!!! No wheelchair!

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While I needed my walker for our second adventure of the day, it was the first time since 2006 that I was able to spend more than 30 minutes on my feet at Disneyland.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would ever be possible.

While waiting in line for Thunder Mountain, my daughter expressed how strange it felt to be with me in the standard queue versus the handicapped queue (I left my walker at the exit of the ride).  Tears welled up in my eyes because while it felt fantastic to be in the “normal” queue, after so many years of having to use the handicap entrances it felt odd to me too.

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