About one year ago, I started an alternative therapy treatment for chronic pain. I was unsure if this would work, but a year on I feel so much better. I am 64, and live in Scotland. For over 20 years I have suffered considerable pain, in both eyes and in my head. My eyes were so painful that it was like seeing through a thick fog; I went from consultant to consultant to find the cause. The pain continued to get worse over time, and I noticed that it was especially bad when it rained or snowed: when it snowed, with every turn in bed the pain moved with me and I was shaken awake. I went on to develop further pain in my left leg, not one GP knew what this was.
I went for a second opinion and was diagnosed with cardiovascular disease: I needed vein surgery on my leg. This could not be done immediately as my leg was swollen and red with inflammation. When I eventually had the operation, I thought 'this is it I am on the mend', but six weeks later I was screaming with pain. I was sent to a pain clinic; they said that I still had inflammation, and diagnosed me with nerve pain. I was prescribed various medication, and eventually morphine.
My sleep patterns were awful; I had basically no sleep for five years, could not sit down, lie down, or walk for more than five minutes at a time.
It was recommended that I visit a consultant in the north who specialised in alternative therapies. He diagnosed inflammation of my metabolism, in both my eyes, in my legs and neck, and told me that my spine was not aligned properly. He also told me that my kidneys were not working properly, that I have an underactive thyroid and also cardiovascular disease. The reason my leg was so painful was that the operation had caused webbing. Webbing is a complication that can occur four-six weeks after surgery; muscles tighten, and movement becomes limited and restricted. You get a pulling sensation whenever you move which is excruciating, and causes anxiety and stress.
He told me that my thyroid is the cause of the 'fog', amongst other problems.
The consultant gave me acupuncture, and also various supplements, eight bottles in all, these included vitamin B which helps to heal nerve pain and spirulina (a cyanobacterium that can be consumed by humans and other animals) to help with cell damage repair. My entire diet had to change too, as what I was eating contained toxic chemicals, from crop spraying and the pollution in the atmosphere. I now eat organic food.
These days I am very careful about what I eat: I have a lot of fish, fresh vegetables and the right fruits, and I do not eat wheat.
One thing for certain this consultant said is that I certainly was not making anything up or lying. He said that although I had been treated badly by other doctors, they just do not know how to deal with conditions like mine. When I had visited my previous eye consultant and asked about the cause of the eye pain and headaches he shouted 'I don't know!'; after that episode I will never go into a hospital or see a doctor again.
These days when I stiffen up I try to walk it off; my Labrador Retriever gives me strength to do this. I have good days and bad days. I get pain at times in my legs and arms, and my neck and back can become extremely stiff. There are times when I sleep ok, and times when I get no sleep at all. I took myself off morphine, and now I take grape pips for any pain. Grape pips are an extract from grape seeds, and is a raw material that provides anti-oxidant activity from free radicals.
I signed up to Cloudy with a Chance of Pain because I thought I was going mad. I can actually predict the weather by the effects of pressure on my pain; my other half says I am better than the weather forecaster.
I consider myself to be lucky as one year ago I was told I would lose a leg and possibly my life, but I am still here and smiling. On my good days, I live my life to the fullest, but still feel so sad that the medical profession cannot support people in pain.
Thank you for listening.