Chaotic Cycle

This summer I had my first Costochondritis episode, I thought I was going to die because the pains were so bad. A few days after my ER visit, my doctor diagnosed me as she had suspected my pains we were chasing were due to costo. I learned to figure out a way to keep the pains down without medications. We thought we had it under control, then on Saturday 15 DEC I had another flare up that landed me in an ambulance and in the ER again.

My breathing was labored and it caused my muscles to seize up, it was one of the most single scariest moment of my family’s lives as they watched me fall to my knees as the pain intensified. The amazing staff at Womack Army Medical Center took care of me and because of some scary numbers ran CTs, Xrays and EKGs to be sure there was not another underlying issues that caused the costo to be so bad. Thankfully it was just costo.


I rested for the week, in bed or on the couch and did nothing but read or rest. By Friday I was feeling well enough to fix my hair and actually get out of the house. It was so nice to feel independent again. Sadly, that day of freedom cost me another costo episode.

That evening as the family was winding down after cleaning up from dinner and snacks, the pains started. Off I went to lay down and get into comfy clothes so that I can control the pains before they ramped up. The episode intensified within minutes and the family was scrambling to get me settled enough so that I can get ready for another ER visit.

Describing the pain that just starts as a twinge then turns into a chest crushing pain is hard. In less than five minutes of the first pain I was unable to take full breaths and just panting for air. I have never had severe costo episodes within a week of each other than intensified so fast. My coping to extreme pain is nausea, once that hits I know the pains are more than I can take. Of course, the fact I can’t take full breaths also brings on panic attacks so I have to work twice as hard to keep all those issues in control.


We got my to go bag ready, hubby was dressed and I was almost able to walk to get into the car for the trip to the ER. This was all within a 30 minute time frame, the first pain to ready for ER.

I really did not want to go to the ER, we know what this is. The ER staff has to go through the steps for chest pains to rule out other issues. It is at least a 6 hour visit because of it all. We (and by we I mean ME lol) decided to see if we could control the pains once we could get the breathing under control. It took another 30 minutes for me to get from panting breaths to a more half breath. I just wanted to lay in bed until I could take full breaths again.

This was an intense hour, we went from shutting down for the night to ready for ER. If we can find a way to manage the pains without medications, then that is what I will do. I can take the pains, but my family does not like to see me doubled over and puking because of it.  When I decided to take a no pain management route with my issues, I forced my family to tag along. They know there are pain meds that can be administered at home for things like this and sometimes do not understand why I would put myself through this type of situations. The hubby understands but he is left feeling helpless during episodes like this. No one likes to see their loved ones in such pain.

We were trying to figure out what brought on this lastest episode. Was it the driving? The walking? Doing house chores I wasn’t doing all week? I was frustrated if it was because that is called living.  If I wanted to get up and sweep or mop, why shouldn’t I? If a drive to get some gifts for visiting family is what I wanted to do then I should do it. These kinds of medical issues frustrate me to no end.

I will have to get some emergency pain meds, if not for myself then so my family does not feel helpless when episodes come on. I can take the pains, can close myself off and deal with it. Sometimes that is a bit selfish because I force my caregivers to watch me suffer through it and it isn’t fair to them.

What is the point of all this? I looked and felt better yesterday, was ready to enjoy family and have some time to do things I haven’t been able to for a week. My body was not ready for it. I have no idea how fast or slow I am suppose to take it after episodes. Sounds stupid right? It is the truth. I can have a small episode of fibro flare up or costo flare up and within an hour feel better. Larger flare ups like last Saturday take me out for a week. Today I feel tired but not as painful, feels like I slept wrong that’s it. I feel like I can do my normal morning chores and routines, with less energy that’s all. Do I want to rest on the couch or in bed? Will that help? I honestly have no idea. If I was on a pain management routine I would be zoned out by the pain medications and the decision would be made for me. This is all so frustrating to figure out. It is a damn if you do and damn if you don’t situation.

Often times people forget I have so many issues, only remember the PTSD but I tend to keep pushing past the auto immune issues that I battle daily. So many ask why, and the simple answer is I will not let it control my life. There are times like last week and last night it knocks me on my ass but I get back up and say screw you! My family now watches me more, asks more about how I am feeling but it’s because it rocks them to see me in pain. I  have to remember that they fight this with me too and my choices in treatment affect them just as much as it affects me.


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