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After Years With Functional Neurological Disorder, I Have a New Path Forward

Often, I refer to myself as a person in their 40s with a body of a 75-year-old. Since my 20s, I’ve been in pain and had some form of treatment to remedy it — with only small periods of respite over the past 22 years. It all started when I was working in a nursing home. I was showering someone, and unfortunately, they passed away. I went against the manual handling policy and not knowing they had passed, I tried to catch them to prevent an injury or fall.

My back injury was my first interaction with a multidisciplinary team. I spent six months off work working on my recovery. As a newly married couple, we survived on Weetabix and noodles. I had weekly physical therapy, biweekly hydrotherapy, and a visit with a personal trainer three times a week at a gym. This time, I made good progress and although I was still in pain, I lived a relatively busy life.

It wasn’t long after my youngest son was born that things started going downhill for me physically — with the comical but harrowing experience of dislocating my hip while getting up from the toilet. This event started the endless cycle of doctors trying to explain the “why” behind my medical struggles.

That was in 2008, but I’ve had so many diagnoses over the years that it’s laughable. Muscle strain, muscle spasms, cramping, bursitis, partial dislocations of the hip, ataxia of unknown origin, arthritis in the hips, knees, and back, deferred pain in the stomach, chronic pain, lower back pain, slipped disc, disc bulges, neurological disorders, and many more that I can’t even remember. I have had numerous MRIs, psychological assessments, CT scans, ultrasounds, nerve conduction studies, blood tests, and neurologist appointments. I had radiofrequency ablation (RFA) over three

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