How A Chronic Pain Condition Unexpectedly Led To Self-Love

How A Chronic Pain Condition Unexpectedly Led To Self-Love

By Melissa Coley

Like a lot of millennial women, I spent most of my twenties striving for perfection (P90X + Pinterest + grad school + multiple jobs + the Whole 30 + the lob = a hangry, sleep-deprived perfectionist with an iron deficiency and a Master’s degree). But at thirty-one, a chronic pain condition has knocked the snot out of me and not left much room for any semblance of perfection (I rarely wear makeup, my six pack hasn’t come in, I didn’t see Beauty and the Beast in the theater, and I need a haircut badly).

In March of 2016 I injured an ankle, and what should have been your run of the mill sprain, led to a neuro-inflammatory condition that spread from the location of my injury, up that leg and into the next. When my neurologist diagnosed me with CRPS 1, she sat across from me on her roll-y stool and said I’d be on nerve regulators and pain killers for the rest of my life and that what I needed now was a “really strong support system”. I sat there next to my knee cart I’d named Wallace, feet cold-burning, rubbery, and swollen thinking, wait, what? Say that again? I’d never heard of CRPS, didn’t know anybody with it, and I was terrified. All I knew was that I couldn’t walk, my husband couldn’t touch my legs without getting kicked, and that showers, which required the sort of plastic white chair that grandmas use, felt more like water torture than relief. Continue reading