Just a "zebra" trying my best to live life to the fullest with EDS and POTS...and loving the ride.

Find a Place Inside Where There\’s Joy, and the Joy Will Burn out the Pain. ~Campbell

Written by Katie. Posted in Memorable Experiences, Prolotherapy

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I thought this was a fitting quote for prolotherapy.  Whenever I lay on that table, I try to concentrate on the happy things that help me forget the burning, the crunching sounds, and the pain from the needles.  Sometimes I think about the beach, which is definitely one of my top three happy places.  Other times, I chat about all different topics with Brad and Dr. Cantieri, which usually helps keep my mind off of the pain. 

This time around, finding my “joy” was more difficult than usual.  I kept saying, “I feel like a wimp today.”  I was just not handling the treatment as courageously as I usually do.  I ended up having to tell Dr. Cantieri that I needed a break a couple of times, which is something I have never had to do before.  It seemed that this time around, I was already spent going into my 9th treatment, which did not help matters.  Chalk it up to hormones, or fatigue, or the stomach problems I was experiencing, or the stress that I was feeling, but this round was a hard one for me to get through.

But I did.

Backing up, I had a 9 am appointment on Friday.  Brad and I decided to go to Indiana after school on Thursday and stay the night.  We got into Mishawaka at about 7.  We did the usual: Life is Good Store, Fat Tire Beer, dinner, and check into the hotel.  I oohed and ahhed at the many cozy “Life is Good” sweatshirts, but when I looked at the price tags ($70ish bucks) I decided I could definitely wait for a good clearance sale.  From there it was on to Meijer’s to fill the Fat Tire orders we were sent with from our family and friends.  Then it was on to Papa Vino’s.  Oh, how I love that place.  I really wish the Lansing area would get one.  After filling our bellys, we checked into our hotel.  Brad was in heaven right away, finding out we got the NFL channel.  Me, not so much.  The Jets and the Patriots put me to sleep real fast.

Morning came fast.  Brad got up and brought me my liquid courage: a soy, sugar-free vanilla latte from Starbucks as I got ready.  Mmm, that is some heaven in my mouth.

Then it was off to the appointment.  Dr. Cantieri went over a few things with me; my struggle lately with increasing headaches and with feeling less stability in my scaps and neck.  He took me through some strengthening exercises and then mapped out the areas for prolo.  From there, he injected the top of my neck to my mid-back, along with my jaw.

After about an hour I was finished.  I sat up and the pain hit me like usual…but then the freaking out began.

I was having such a hard time opening my right eye.  I was not thinking straight from the pain, and just kept saying, “There is something wrong with my eye!  There is something wrong with my eye!  Help, please help…”

I was feeling a full-fledged panic attack coming on.  I was pulling at my eye, while Dr. Cantieri was standing in front of me trying to calm me down in order to examine my eye.  I came to my senses enough to hear what he was telling me.  He agreed that my right eye was drooping, and explained that when he injected the right side of my neck/jaw area, some of the lidocaine must have gotten to the optic nerve and numbed it.  He compared it to going to the dentist when you leave with your mouth numb, and it gradually regains its feeling.  He promised me that it would go away within an hour.  I remember that all I kept saying is, “Promise? Promise, it will get better!? Promise?”

He kept reassuring me and then let me get dressed,  I was already feeling emotional and in pain.  My droopy, weird feeling eye, was enough to put me over the edge.  I just lost it as I got dressed.

You see, I have not blogged much about this, but when I was 17, I had a major “oops” surgery that left me with no median nerve from my hand to my elbow in my left arm.  This accidental surgery led to 4 reconstructive surgeries and 6 years of occupational therapy to retrain my brain to learn how to use my hand and arm again.

I knew that this was where the majority of my panic was coming from.  I was having major flashbacks from that day when I woke up from my elbow surgery, and I kept telling people over and over again that something was really wrong.

I kept praying in my head, “Please God, not again.”

After I got dressed, Dr. Cantieri met me outside of the door.  He knew how beside myself I was.  He must have reassured me 10 more times that it would go away.  I wanted to believe him, but my baggage from the past surfaced with a vengeance, and I immediately felt my trust issues coming back.

As he reassured me, I just kept saying, “Promise?”

We were in the car shortly thereafter.  I took my Tylenol, drank my apple juice, and was able to relax to a point where I was able to doze off.  When I woke up about 45 minutes later, my eye was completely back to normal.  Dr. Cantieri had been right.  I can not even explain the relief I felt.

The rest of the day was spent normally for a day of prolo: Propped up on a pillow fort, with a heating pad, taking on and off naps, with trips to the bathroom here and there to throw up.  Like I have said before, I just think the throwing up is my body’s way of saying it has had enough.

I woke up this morning feeling pretty sore, but much better.  I even dusted, vacuumed, and did school work.  I no longer felt like a wimp.  I was thankful for my eyes, my eyesight, and for another learning experience that I can add to my “résumé of life” that will help me get through whatever else lies ahead of me in the future.

With every hurdle I get through, I find that it is important for me to regroup and reflect in order to find that so-called inner-joy to help ME try and burn out MY pain.

It’s a process.


From every wound there is a scar, and every scar tells a story. A story that says, ‘I survived.'”~Unknown

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