I’ve been seeking a venue to post some life updates and this seems like just the place.
I graduated college. WOW. I’m going to sound like a broken record but let me tell you I never imagined this would happen. Just two short years ago I was finishing up my 3rd year at community college and was considering accepting a banker position where I worked full-time as a teller. The salary started at $60,000 and it already seemed like a dream bigger than I could imagine. A dear family friend of mine was giving me a ride after the battery of my car died and she pulled over, locked the doors, turn to me and said “you need to pursue a 4 year degree Willow”.
I was baffled. I didn’t know that was an option. Her daughter, my best friend, was applying to colleges and they were tapped into the potential financial aid packages that low income families could receive. Sort of on a hail mary I visited Beloit College with said dear friend and just fell in love. I applied, let my lease end, kept working feverishly at the bank in an effort to save up money and just like that I was accepted and packing my belongings in a car before I could even process what had happened.
Two years went by so fast, and so slow. I had some of the hardest, and some of the most rewarding endeavors to date. All of those are a story for another time (and perhaps, for my therapists ears first)
My health got considerably worse at Beloit. My mobility declined, my pain increased, and the medical bills continued to grow. Last fall I was diagnosed with Hypermobile-EDS and that lead to a whole slew of tests (genetics, heart echo-gram, blood work, rheumatology appointments, tests after tests) and I finally wound up at the UW-Madison Pain Clinic per the recommendation of a dear spoonie friend. I’d never had an experience where a doctor had really spent time familiarizing himself with my pages and pages and pages of medical issues and history. The doctor I saw was so amazing, I was there for over 2 and 1/2 hours. He explained to me how folks with chronic pain have receptors that create stuff similar to opioids and pump it through the body when experiencing extreme levels of pain, which means that those receptors are clogged when traditional opioid-medicine is entered into the system. He did a comprehensive exam to see how and where I was hypermobile, and validated my extreme pain by verbalizing how out of wack my bones and joints were.
He explained how science isn’t caught up to a lot of chronic pain disorders, and that hypermobile-eds and hypermobility diagnosis sort of depend on the doctor looking at you (they’re considered in some circles to be the same thing). Also, centralized sensitization is another all encapsulating term for folks who’s systems are over processing and sending out faulty signals that result in widespread health issues and pain. I was prescribed Lyrica, a handicap placard, OT and PT. It was such a validating experience.
Flash-forward to the walgreens drive-up where they informed me the month supply of Lyrica would be $780. I’m heartbroken, currently fighting with my insurance and will post updates as they come.