In May 1999 I barely remember the fight I was having with my live in boyfriend, err fiancé, I wanted badly to marry me, but there was no way in hell I was EVER going to marry his abusive ass. The fight turned violent as many times it had, due to him coming home drunk and me wanting him to leave. What I do remember from the fight was picking up the phone, a home phone, cell phones weren’t too popular that time, to call his mother to come get his drunk ass. His sister in law answered and I was telling her to come get him because I was scared he was going to beat me up AGAIN. Next thing I know I felt this intense, severe pain on top of my head.
After the pain I woke up, I had been beaten in the head unconscious. I woke up hearing a baby screaming. I was like, “what the fuck?!??” I couldn’t remember ANYTHING. I did not even recognize the baby in the crib was my 4 month old daughter. There was a banging on the door. I answered the door and it was one of the popular police officers that would frequent the neighborhood. I just know I had to have appeared dazed and confused. He asked me if I was okay. I said, “I don’t know I think so.” He then asked me if he was still here, my abuser. I replied, “uhh no I don’t think so.” And I don’t remember anything for the rest of the night after that. I never got medical treatment.
After that TBI (traumatic brain injury) I began having difficulty sleeping, severe sleeping problems. I was taking large amounts of Benadryl to sleep. Little did I know, that was the start of my problems and my brain would never be the same again.
Well here comes TBI #2. Me and the kids were at my abuser’s mother’s home one evening. I can’t remember if were already living there or just visiting. But it occurred in less than a year from my previous TBI. He started fighting with me again. Drunk as fucking usual. His mother has a split floor living room, meaning half of the room is higher than the other half, by two steps. There was a single step in the middle of the floor to connect the two levels. I hope this isn’t too confusing to understand as right now I have no way to draw it out. But next thing I remember, he pushed me as hard as he could, from the top level. I mean HARD. I feel straight backward and banged the back of my head on the lower level floor. The pain, once again, was intense and severe. The only thing I remember was my abuser holding my head in his lap and him screaming in my face, twice, “DON’T GO TO SLEEP, VALORA [my name has been changed] DON’T GO TO SLEEP!!” That was it. I don’t remember a damn thing from the rest of the night. I am pretty sure once again I was knocked unconscious.
I continued to have sleeping problems, I was irritable all the time, frequent headaches, migraines, occasionally I would have weird electric shock sensations in my feet. I would feel pain for no reason. I finally sought out mental health treatment. I was felt non-stop anxiety. The anxiety caused panic attacks and chest pain. I would feel like I was having a heart attack. when I went to see the mental health professional I was embarrassed, I have never had mental health issues. This man done made me crazy as hell. The psychiatrist immediately knew what was wrong with me. I was honest in telling him about the abuse, but left out parts of severe abuse like the TBIs. I wish I hadn’t though. If I was honest about the brain injuries I probably could have gotten early on medical care.
Fast forward to 2001. I began having some issues feeling sick and nauseous at times and just overall yucky. I had diabetes when I was pregnant with child 2 and 3 and that was how I was feeling. I fought with doctors about getting tested for diabetes for TWO YEARS. Finally, a doctor listened to me and in February 2003, I was diagnosed with diabetes after failing a 3 hour glucose tolerance test. In July 2003 I was diagnosed with diabetic neuropathy after seeing a neurologist for this crazy electric shock type pain in my feet. I began to have difficulty walking as well. It was very painful and I could not walk without a cane. I was put on a drug called Neurontin. That shit was an absolute nightmare. The side effects from the drug made me feel worse than the disease. I was taking 3,800 mg a day. Yeah after a couple years I couldn’t tolerate it anymore and I still continued to have the neurological pain.
Fast forward to 2016. Now I am having these relentless, excruciating cramps in feet. My toes will contort in different directions and cramp up. Never had I felt such intense cramps in my life. They have progressively gotten worse. And as I write this today, these cramps are now daily, every night. I have been to several doctors and have spent hundreds of dollars the last few years trying to find out what is wrong. Nothing no answer. I am in the process of discovering I have developed and autoimmune disease. Jesus fuck as if I don’t have enough problems right? My current doctor believes my diabetes diagnosis was false as my HbA1c test results have been normal since 2005! He stated it is impossible for someone to have developed neuropathy within 5 months of a diabetes diagnosis at such a young age, I was 29. Since 2003 I have been diagnosed with asthma, type II diabetes, diabetic neuropathy, kidney disease, post traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, insomnia, and atherosclerosis. I’m currently in a battle with trying to figure out WHAT is causing all of this if it is not diabetes.
So now I have begun my own research into chronic pain and dystonia resulting from traumatic brain injuries. What I haven discovered is it in entirely possible the root of my neurological disease could be related to TBI. Both the electric shock style pain and the dystonia. I cannot get an official diagnosis of dystonia for whatever reason, I don’t know. I still haven’t found the right doctor. I refuse to take any pain medication except for Ibuprofen and Tylenol. I always tell doctors up front I want answers, not drugs. I have tried everything, including Lyrica, amitriptyline, Neurontin, and Cymbala. Nothing helps the neurological pain.
Now I suffer with chronic pain daily. But the best part is, it may slow me down, but it sure as hell doesn’t stop me! It motivates me to keep on going. I to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios quite often and have been known to walk 12 miles on those days! Am I hurting like hell? YES! But I am loving and enjoying life and nothing will stop me from what I love. I have a goal, a goal that will be difficult but I know I can do it. I want to run, well mostly walk, a Disney Star Wars 5K run. Star Wars is life for me and this accomplishment can prove Valora can do ANYTHING.
“Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can come together.”-Marilyn Monroe