Amber's Story: We Are Healing
I’d like to start by saying that if we had the ability to look up the meaning of “Beautiful Disaster,” it would simply show my photo.
Although my trauma stems back to my childhood, with an abusive father who tried to kill my mom while she was 8 months pregnant with me, my spiral began in 2007. But, I will come back to that piece later.
In 2014, I was rear ended in my little Hyundai Sonata, by a half ton truck on the highway. Typical speed is between 70-80mph and everyone had come to a complete stop in all lanes. I didn’t hear any screeching or anything, when I was slammed into from behind. All I can tell you is that I was in pain.
X-rays showed multi-level disc herniations in the neck, mid and low back. I also had bruising on my chest and pelvis from the seatbelt locking tight. I began getting migraines that lasted 3 days in length, followed with neck and back pain that prevented me from doing almost anything. About a week after the accident the pain in my left breast from the locked seatbelt, began shooting and stabbing through my entire breast.
Within a month I noticed a visual change in my left breast. I had my breasts augmented in my early twenties, and it was now apparent that my left breast was also impacted in the accident. Within a month, my left breast was hanging 3-4 inches below my right, and could be pushed into my armpit/side boob area.
The follow up appointment with my plastic surgeon revealed that when the seatbelt locked, it caused enough pressure to force the implant to break through the surgically created pocket, and the implant was now outside of the breast tissue and was in my abdominal cavity. I was able to get the necessary corrective surgery to put my breast back in place, however physically, I would never be the same.
I continued to get up and push myself every day, because I still had to take care of my husband, four children and three pups. I continued to struggle through day by day, and was going through the ringer of doctors, specialists and testing to determine what was causing all of my pain. Finally, after living with a 7-8 out of 10 on the pain scale, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia with migraines in early 2015.
I then did my research on fibromyalgia, to make sure I fully understood the disorder and what I can do to manage my pain and symptoms. Knowing this is a lifelong disorder, I did everything I could to remain a functional member of society. However, in early 2020, my symptoms went off the charts.
I began walking with a cane and I couldn’t get out of bed regularly. I soon got to the point where I was exhausted shortly after waking for the day, and I was falling asleep sitting straight up in my office chair. I went back in, still chalking it up to my fibromyalgia, but I was thinking I had begun menopause.
I also requested to have an old scar removed from my belly button area. This scar was initially a chickenpox scar from age five. But, it’s changed a lot over the years, growing in size and changing color. Again, chalking the pain this scar created to my fibro, I just wanted it removed because it was now to the point that it hurt when my clothes brushed over it. For whatever reason, everyone poopoo’d it away, when I complained about the discomfort this scar created.
Two weeks later I received the call telling me that I had a rare form of cancer called Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans. Additionally, I’m told this is a 1 in 1 million case of cancer, and I’m also now going to be 95% more likely to get other cancers.
I mentally cracked, and began to panic thinking I needed to get my affairs in order for my family. Four days later I get another call telling me that I’m not in menopause, but that I have dual anemias, iron deficiency and pernicious. And I’m so anemic, that I need to go in immediately for a transfusion or infusion.
I went in as directed and had my procedure done. I met with the hematologist/oncologist who then diagnosed me with Meneire’s disease as well, but stated I needed to get an ENTs confirmation of it. Now, Meneire’s is not life threatening, so that went to the back burner until it was confirmed in January of 2021. Please note, that I have Misophonia and Misokinesia, so I’m already extremely sensitive to sound and motion. So, now I’m spiraling off the rails.
I started seeing my therapist every week at this point because I was unable to manage my emotional distress, which was causing my other ailments to flare up. In August of 2021, I finally disclosed to my therapist that I had been drugged and raped September of 2007; I had started having nightmares again, and I was acting out in my sleep. He then tested and diagnosed me with PTSD.
Because my physical symptoms were flaring horribly at this point due to all of the stress, my primary doc sent to a specialist who did a battery of physical testing on me. In September 2021, I was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlo’s Syndrome (EDS), which unfortunately is a big umbrella for many other ailments, due to the lack of collagen production and its affects on every part of the body.
Additionally, because of certain specific symptoms that I’m having, and my new EDS diagnosis, my therapist also scheduled me for ADHD testing. So, in January 2022, I tested positive for ADHD with cognitive impairment. But, all of this said, I now have the answers to my health issues, and I am getting the appropriate help now. I’m actually functioning again.
Telling you my story is not only humbling, but was quite a bit cathartic. The pure insanity that has befallen this family over the last two years, drives me to tears. This is not only because of my personal drama, but because we lost my husband’s brother to a very aggressive battle with Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) in February of 2021. He was only 52.
As if this was not hard enough, we lost our English Bulldog, Daisy, on my birthday. Then just under two months later, we lost other English Bulldog, Bentley on my husband’s birthday. Bentley was Brian’s surprise birthday gift back in 2013. And the one thing you should know about us, is that our bulldogs are our everything. Life felt like it had come to an end over the last 2 years.
All that said, we have adopted a new English Bulldog, named Ozzy Pawsborn Prince of Barkness, to help us through our healing process. Ozzy is a Certified/Registered Psychiatric Service Dog, and is my emotional strength. With Ozzy by our side we’ll continue to heal.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell you my story.