*EDITED TO REPLACE LANGUAGE THAT WAS NOT FDA COMPLIANT
Where it all started.
During the summer of 2016, I was enjoying my career as a Licensed Associate Professional Counselor in group practice, and embarking on a new career as a therapist in a Christian Children’s Home & Family Ministry. I spent a lot of time with family, I was investing in friendships, and I was serving at my church. Life was good.
On July 25, 2016, I reported for jury duty. I had no idea how significantly this would change my life. As the days wore on, a previous back injury, sustained when we were rear-ended by a young woman texting while driving, became exceedingly aggravated. Toward the end of the week, I had to wear *a device that stimulated my body to protect itself, to get through each day.
With jury duty behind me, I expected to get back to life as usual. Unfortunately, that was not to be the case. Rather than improving, the *excruciating discomfort in my back continued to escalate. Over the next few months, I had to keep cutting my hours until it reached the point that I was no longer working at all.
Not only was I having to face the fact that I could not work, I was also having to come to grips with the fact that I could not move. Just getting from my bed to the master bathroom was a monumental undertaking. If I happened to make it from the bed, down to the sofa – which often required crawling – there I would remain until it was time to go back up to bed.
Leaving the house to go to numerous doctor’s appointments for examinations, tests, and [ineffective] procedures, required a wheelchair. Other than those appointments, I was home-bound. Bed-bound. I was absent from my life.
Finally, spine surgery was scheduled for January, 2017. As frightening as it was to think of surgeons operating on my back and spine, I was anxious for relief. I could not wait for the day to come when I could walk again. I could not wait to be off *things I was told to ingest to supposedly help me. I could not wait to rejoin my life.
Once again, things did not go the way I expected. Yes, eventually, over time, I was able to stand up a little straighter than a question mark. I could walk, gingerly. I could stand, briefly. I could sit, sparingly. But there was still **excruciating discomfort. There was also new *type of excruciating discomfort and different sensations, or the loss thereof. And, there was the *flare-up of my body attacking itself causing severe discomfort, severe exhaustion and the inability to function.
I have struggled with *my body attacking itself causing severe discomfort, severe exhaustion and the inability to function, for as long as I can remember. It was not until after my back surgery, and the fourth and fifth specialists giving the same diagnosis, that I finally accepted *what they were telling me. Not only that, but the surgery threw me into a flare-up that had become my new normal.
My new normal still required *me to ingest things that made me feel worse. It demanded hours and hours of sleep. So much sleep, that I slept through our 25th wedding anniversary. Literally, the entire day and night. Additionally, it prolonged the seemingly endless isolation. The loneliness, *severe discomfort, exhaustion, and *things that were supposed to help, were ushering me into a dark place. What I did not yet know, was this was just the beginning of one of the most difficult seasons in my life, and the lives of my loved ones.
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