Single Mom living w/ Fibromyalgia

My name is Amy Olsen-Caldwell and this is my story. It is a long story and I apologize but it needs to be told. If you make it to the end I will be very greatful. My goal is to raise about $3000 to replace my kitchen ceiling and flooring that has water damage from a leak in the roof and $7000 to pay for medical bills. Anything I raise over the $3000 I will donate half to the National Fibromyalgia Awareness Association and half to the family's medical bills.
     I used to think my life was pretty close to perfect. I got married to the man I loved.

We bought a house in 2008. In 2009 we had our first child Jerrek.


Thats when the symptoms of Fibromyalgia started and the downward spiral of symtoms, medical bills and home repairs.  I started having sciatic nerve pain with my 1st pregnancy which I though was normal. At 12 weeks I started bleeding and went to the Dr. Everything turned out fine with the baby but I had bleeding for the next 5 weeks and I was always worried if he was ok. At 32 weeks we did an ultra sound and the baby was Frank Breech and I had low amniotic fuild. I had to go to the hospital 2 times a week to be monitored and make sure the baby was ok. Before the baby was born my 2 year old kitten got sick, he had a bladder infection so we took him to the vet. A week after we brought him home he suddenly got very sick, He wouldn't eat or drink and got to a point he wouldn't move. I took him back to the vet and he got so sick that we had no choice but to put him to sleep. The vet did an autopsy after he died and said he had Pancreatitis and was Septic and there was nothing we could have done. The vet bill was $1000 and I lost my one of the most wonderful cats the world has ever had.
In Memory of Leo.

At 37 1/2 weeks they did a C-section. Jerrek was born healthy but my symptoms only began. I soon developed tingling and numbness in my legs and feet. The nurse told me it was probably just from the Epidural. 
     A few years went by a we decided to try for another baby. After about 6 months I got frustrated and went to see my OB. It didn't take that long with my 1st pregnancy. We started with testing both me and my husband for signs of infertility. After that I began 6 months of taking fertility medication. 
    During the 6 months of Fertlity drugs I had alot of ups and downs. My husband wasn't spending enough time with me. I started working mostly nights. Between my husband having school in the morning and my night schedule we almost never spent time together. He started tutoring students to help make some extra money. Of course I got jealous at first then one day I did ask if he was having an affair. He assured me he was not, but deep down I new something was not right and became very depressed. That night I took a few anxiety and pain medications and went for a very long drive. I didn't want to go home and thought about crashing my car and wishing for death. I went straight to my Dr the next day and asked for help and was given an anti-depressant.    After the 6th month on fertlity drugs I stopped taking them and .....guess what....I got pregnant that very month! Finally after 1 1/2 years of trying to get pregnant. I was excited but my husband didn't attend very many of my Dr visits like he did during my 1st pregnancy. During this time the sciatic pain was almost unbearbale. It was constant almost every day in the 2nd and 3rd trimester. One day during my last month of pregnacy I came home from work. My husband was standing in the kitchen. The first thing he says to me is "I want a divorce." I kinda just laughed and thought he was joking and I told him " No you don't, stop kidding." He looked so serious and said it again. Of course I broke down crying. I was 9 months pregnant with a 4 year old child and my husband wants a divorce. He finally told me he had be having an affair for 2 years with a woman he started out tutoring but became her best friend. Suddenly I felt as if I had lost my best friend. My world started to crumble. I couldn't go to work the next day. I couldn't eat a thing for days. I just wanted to stay in bed and cry. I thought for sure I was going to stress myself into labor. I told my husband to stay, I wanted to work things out. I needed him here to help with the baby.  My baby girl was born at 38 weeks and was very healthy. We named her Vivianna. The hospital bill came to about $5000 for the both of us. I had to arange for small payments to be made.
We went to counseling for the next 6 months, but the whole time in the mind of my husband he wanted to leave me. Each councling appt was $150...seems like such a waste of money now.
     During the next year everything went downhill. I had Depression and Anxiety. I still had the tingling in my legs and feet but it also moved to my hands. I was noticing I was having memory problems, my back always hurt, I was dropping things at work more often. I talked to my Dr and of course he just said it was all due to the depression. During this time I also went to the ER for abdominal pain and had my O2 stats drop low enough I had to come home with an oxygen tank for 2 weeks. My Dr did lots of Pulminary tests but they were all normal.
        In July I finally got to a point with my husband that I asked him if he even still loved me. He said No, he wasn't in love with me anymore. I became so overwhelmed with emotion I took all his stuff and threw it in the kitchen. I locked myself in my room with a box cutter and thought about suicide. The knife ended up being very dull and all it did was scratch my skin. I then thought about my kids and realized I could never leave them behind. My husband moved out the next day. Now I am a single MOM of 2 kids and have a full time job to pay all the bills.     After that day my symptoms started spiraling out of control. I was constanly moody, going from one extreme to the other. I was forgetting everything. I had to start making lists, writing myself notes. I was never this forgetful before. I would walk into a room and open a drawer and instantly I would forget why I was there. I was always tired during the day. I had little energy to do anything. Going to work was hard, playing with the kids, excersize, even simple things like grocery shopping became too hard to do and painful. Then the big symptoms hit all at once. I had a Migraine one day while at work. I have never had one before but after working in a Pharmacy for 8 years I knew what it was. Just like when I got Shingles back in May. After the 3rd day of pain and blisters slowly appearing I knew what it was. Next came another case of pneumonia only this time with a twist. I had urinary incontinance. I had absolutley no control over my bladder for a few days before I went to see a Dr about it. Once again I also complained about my tingling limbs, fatigue, back pain , ect and I got the usual well your sick and depressed and the back pain and urianary incontinance is a sign of a kidney infection, lets test for that.....yet again negative....just like the last 2 times they made me take a UTI test.  So yet again I got more drugs for the pneumonia, incontinance and Restless Legs. Oh I didn't mention that I suddenly got Restless Leg Sydrome around the same time. Out of the blue one night. It was so bad that I was thrashing my legs in my sleep and got tangled in the sheets. I had to get out of bed and walk around. That happened for a few nights in a row before I went to the Dr yet again and...yup...more meds. Next came the daytime fatigue. It became so bad that I was falling asleep driving to and from work. Remember I work nights so I drive to work around 1pm and leave around 9pm. Can you imagine being so tired that you fall asleep at 1pm...while driving a car. After a few weeks of that I couldn't take it anymore so I went to my Dr.....yup you got it...more meds. Stimulants this time but after 3 months I was still falling asleep in the middle of the day.
     Finally we come to Dec. The back pain was getting worse. The tingling in my shoulders, arms, legs, feet, hands, everywhere had gotten worse. I went to the Dr and demanded some xrays and a MRI. I thought for sure it was going to be MS. The MRI came back with no signs of MS. It did show degenerative disk disease in C5 of my spine in my neck area and they xrays showed DDD in L5 of my lower back. That was an answer to my back pain but what about all my other symptoms I thought were MS.  
     One day I went to turn on my kitchen light. I have one of those crappy flourecent light fixtures. I've been meaning to replace it. Well it wouldn't turn on. I could hear the noise that all flourecent lights make, but no lights came on. I had my ex-husband come over and help. He took the light cover off and it was so full of water that it slipped out of his hands and spilled all over my kitchen floor.  The water went underneath of my laminate flooring and caused damage to that as well so some of it needs to be replaced also.  Great.....I have a leak in my roof. Good thing I live in a Condo and the HOA owns the roof so they need to fix that, but I have to fix my own ceiling. Yes, I have homeowners insurance which is great. But I am so tight on money that I recentley changed my deductible to $1000 so that means the insurance only pays for about half of the repairs. Notice the water stains and slight bowing in the ceiling. It has been going on for years and we never noticed until we took the light cover off. My portion on the cost to fix the celing is about $2000.

The day after Christmas I finally had another appt with my Dr. I once again gave him my list of symptoms. He checked all my blood work he had me do this year ( about 3 different times he checked my thyroid levels ). He held my wrist and looked down at my hand and said.....I'm going to diagnose you with Fibromyalgia. Well that diagnosis came with more meds. yippie! So far the Tramadol and Ibuprofen have helped alot with the pain. I went in for an upper GI endoscope on Dec 30th 2014. After I woke up they found I had esophogial erosion and I can no longer any NSAIDs. goodbye Ibuprofen, Celebrex, Aleve, Asparin, So now with just the Tramadol twice a day ( that is all my Dr would give me for pain! ) I was having the worst pain of my life. Back pain, nerve pain, even my sciatic nerve pain in the left leg and hip had come back. Yet again I went to the Dr. This time it was the instacare Dr since my Primary Care Dr was on vacation due to the New Year. I sat in that office waiting for 2 hours with all the sick flu people. I gave the Dr my list of symptoms and the diagnosis from my GI. He finally gave me Gabapentin...OMG that drug was a life saver. First time I took it the nerve pain was gone!! But what about the other pain ? He sat for 5 minutes staring at my chart, my list of symptoms, my drug list, my history and with much regret in his voice gave my Norco. Holy Cow!! Now I can sleep on the really bad days of being a single mom, hauling 2 kids around then going to work and standing on my feet for 8 hours.
     Symptoms of Fibromyalgia include :
Deep muscle pain and soreness
Morning stiffness
Flu-like aching
Joint Stiffness
Radiating pain 
Nerve Pain
Numbness and Tingling
Muscle Spams including Restless Leg Sydrome
Sensitivity to touch
Bowel and Bladder Problems
Trouble sleeping
Fatigue
Difficulty thinking clearly, also known as "fibro fog"
Memory Problems
Difficulty performing everyday tasks
Stress and anxiety
Depression
Migraine headaches.
     This is what my daily meds look like for my Fibromyalgia. The top 3 bottles are 1st thing in the morning before food. The big box is the rest of my morning pills ( some are vitamins and supplements I was told by other Fibro sufferers that they would help ) and the small box is my nighttime pills.  Any one with any type of chronic condition can understand how expensive all the medications can be.
     

I still have many days of pain but it is more managable now. I still forget everything! I have trouble concetrating and I can't multi-task anymore. I am still searching for a Dr that is more compasstionate and can understand my pain and help me be able to be more functional. My Son also had surgery for a small birth defect in his thumb and my daughter may have a allergy to peanuts, so she needs to be tested. For me it seems the medical bills will never end. 
     If you have read this entire post I thank you for reading about my journey with Fibromyalgia.  If you have been in my shoes, or know someone that has, please help out a single mother of 2 young children, that has a home that needs repair and works a full time job to keep the roof over our heads and food in our bellies. I have been overwhelmed with medical expenses and home repair bills that I am asking for help now. 
This photo was taken November 2014. Just look how cute these kids are ! Again Thank you !
Amy, Jerrek and Vivianna

Donations

  • Suzanne Hoyt 
    • $50 
    • 66 mos
  • Anonymous Neighbor 
    • $250 (Offline)
    • 66 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $200 
    • 66 mos
  • Harold and Leslie Scilley 
    • $50 
    • 66 mos
  • Kim Krey 
    • $25 
    • 66 mos
See all

Organizer

Amy Olsen-Caldwell 
Organizer
Ogden, UT
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