Living With Adhesion Related Disorder

I opened the door and felt the warm summer air hit my face.  I felt strangely numb as I walked to my car.  I put the key in the ignition, heard the music begin and the cool air circulate.  I was consumed by my thoughts, a mixture of excited and total sadness.

I had just left my appointment and finally had a diagnosis.

Adhesion Related Disorder.

This medical path I'm on began four years ago.  I accepted my journey almost as soon as it began, knowing it was a path God had chosen me to walk.  I know that He has a perfectly perfect plan through this.  It has been full of so many overwhelming blessings, I can trace His hand through it all!

I thought accepting this journey as His plan would make it easy.

He reminded me through lots of prayer and bucket loads of tears that this life isn't promised to be easy, but it is going to be worth it.

I'm in pain every day, as these adhesions twist and turn inside me.  I imagine them as octopus tentacles, grabbing onto different points every day.  Pulling them in directions they aren't meant to go.   Weaving their way around my intestines, attaching to my ribs and most recently wrapping around my sciatic nerve. Some days are easier than others.  But make no mistake, each day is full of pain.

ARD {Adhesion Related Disorder} is something that isn't heard or spoken of very often.  To be honest, before my diagnosis I hadn't heard of it.  Adhesions are basically the bodies repair system gone haywire. They are essentially the healing process after trauma or inflammation which has been afflicted on a part of the body.
Adhesions are an almost inevitable outcome of surgery, and the problems that they cause are widespread and sometimes severe. It has been said by some that adhesions are the single most common and costly problem related to surgery, and yet most people have not even heard the term. This lack of awareness means that, excluding infertility, many doctors are unable or unwilling to tackle the problems of adhesions.  Dr. David Wiseman
Healing of course is required to help stop bleeding, repair tissue and to get the body working again. Unfortunately it is the same repair system which leads to ARD, as the equilibrium goes into overdrive and creates far too much scar tissue (Adhesions).

Once adhesions take hold inside the body (especially in the pelvis and abdomen, where all my surgeries have been) they can cause major issues including:

The hardest part has been overcoming the stigma that comes with chronic pain.  When people hear those words, some of them assume it's in your head and your being over-dramatic.  To be completely honest, it embarrasses me.  I constantly feel I need to prove myself and my condition to others.  I don't want people to automatically think that of me.  For that reason, I've kept it private with only close family knowing.  

Until today.

So I thought the best way to combat that stigma is through education.

Having chronic pain means many things change, and a lot of the changes are invisible.

Unlike having cancer or being hurt in a car accident, most people do not understand chronic pain and its effects.  Those that think they know, many are actually misinformed. These are the things that I would like you to understand about me.

Please understand that being sick doesn't mean I'm not still a human being. I have to spend most of my days in pain. And pain is exhausting. But I'm still me, stuck inside this body. I still worry about work, my family and my friends.

Please understand the difference between happy and healthy. When you've got the flu you probably feel miserable with it, but I've been sick for years. I can't be miserable all the time. In fact, I work hard at not being miserable. So, if you're talking to me and I sound happy, it means I'm happy. That's all. It doesn't mean that I'm not in a lot of pain, not extremely tired or that I'm getting better. I've learned over the years how to cope. I am sounding happy and trying to look normal. 

Please understand that I know my body.  If I say I have to sit down, lie down, stay in bed, or take medication now, that probably means that I do have to do it right now.  It can't be put off or forgotten just because I'm somewhere, or I'm right in the middle of doing something. Chronic pain does not forgive, nor does it wait for anyone.

Please understand that I would like nothing more than being normal.  I would love to wake up each morning and know the new day ahead wouldn't include pain.  I would love to plan shopping days with my Mama without fear of being sick.  And more than anything else, I would love my husband to have a healthy wife and a normal marriage.

My sickness has, as I've said for years, been filled with blessings directly from God.  Throughout it all I've learned if we turn toward God in our pain, He can use our suffering to mature our faith.

Information on Adhesion Related Disorder.