I’ll Die Trying

Every year between about the middle of September to the middle of October, I have a flare that comes from the pits of hell. The pain that comes with it was the reason for beginning our 3 year search for an end to the madness.

Burning ball of fire in my stomach.

Stabbing in my sides and underneath my ribs, sometimes migrating to my pelvis.

My entire body shakes – it feels as if I can feel my bones shaking inside of my hands.

I want to throw up. But I won’t allow myself to.

My head, it’s splitting open.

Nothing is comfortable. Water hurts my skin, as well as my clothing.

I toss and turn – ending up in the fetal position no matter the side I’m laying on – and even that doesn’t ease any of the pain away.

Hot flashes – I need my heating pad – but oh the hot flashes.

I’ve gone to the ER for this in the past.

Twice was a kidney stone.

Twice was was an ovarian cyst.

The rest of the times – nothing. The doctors found nothing. Fibromyalgia.

(We began searching for an answer about 5-6 years ago. I’ve had these symptoms for much longer. It took 3 years for the doctors to find a diagnosis. In case you were wondering why the ER visits add up differently than the number previously mentioned. 😊)

Triggered by stress, loss of sleep, change of daily routine.

And now that I know what my options are, I take my tramadol and I wait until the pain subsides from stabbing my abdomen, leaving me breathless. (“Breathe.” I have to remind myself. It’s the kind of pain where I could probably turn blue from lack of oxygen and not know for one second since my body is just crawling with overactive nerves.) That’s what the ER would give me anyways. The last several times: “we can’t do anything for you-you have enough tramadol right?”. So I take it into my own hands. And I lay in bed with my heating pad. With my fan. With my flare kit. And wait for the meds to kick in – and I set a timer to take the next pill so the pain does not get out of control like before the first pill.

I can barely eat. Only certain things. Usually sugary or carbs – soak up the acid in my stomach…

I drink cranberry juice, just in case it is a kidney stone.

I have 3 drinks by my bedside table.

My border collie paws and paws at me until I put my hand somewhere on her. My emotional support dog for pain.

My chiweenie crawls underneath the blanket and attaches herself to my hip. My emotional support dog for stress.

I can do this.

“We’re in over our heads.

We’re holding our breath.

Will we ever get to the other side before there’s nothing left?

Our bodies are weak;

We’re tired of hurting.

Will we ever get to the other side – don’t know but I swear I’ll die trying.

– “Die Trying” by Mich

You’re going to be ok. Breathe and  remember that you’ve been in this place before. You’ve been this uncomfortable and anxious and scared, and you’ve survived. Breathe and know that you can survive this too. These feelings can’t break you. They’re painful and debilitating, but you can sit with them, and eventually they will pass. Maybe not immediately, but sometime soon they are going to fade – and when they do, you’ll look back at this moment and laugh for having doubted your resilience. I know it feels unbearable right now, but keep breathing. Again and again. This will pass. I promise, this will pass.
-Danielle Koepke


I would say that those are pretty good odds, wouldn’t you? 😉😙



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