Christi Thomas is a 30-something mother from Indiana who’s been suffering from a chronic case of “shingles without the rash” since November 2009. We first met Christi in November 2012 when she was selflessly volunteering at an Inheritance of Hope retreat in New York City with her sister and her aunt. Despite her unrelenting pain, Christi spent an entire 4-day weekend tirelessly serving families with a parent suffering from a terminal illness. Now, “shingles without the rash” may sound somewhat more bearable than “shingles with the rash”, but we assure you, this is not remotely the case.
Over the next couple of days, Christi will share her story with us and hopefully inspire us to fight through the pain in our lives as she has done, and continues to do, in hers.
Tell us about your condition. How long have you had it? How has it affected your life, in small and/or big ways?
When I was 32, out of nowhere, I began experiencing a horrible pain under my right ribs. At the time the pain started, I also had a rash on my chin. Three weeks went by, and the rash eventually disappeared. Unfortunately, the pain did not go away, and it eventually led me straight to the ER. The doctors had no concrete answers sending me home with a diagnosis of either a muscle issue, a kidney stone they could not see, or Shingles. That was November of 2009. Over 12 doctors and 16 months later, following alternative treatments, injections, medicines, scans, etc., a doctor at Indiana University Hospital finally diagnosed me with nerve problems caused by “Shingles without the rash”. In June of 2011, I underwent a surgery in which I had a spinal cord stimulator implanted. Now, almost two years later, I continue to live with chronic pain which is well managed through the use of the stimulator along with low dose medicine, emotional and physical health, and the help of God!
This experience has certainly changed my life, but mostly for the better. Although I still work too much and at times fail to focus on the most important things in my life, God’s blunt way of saying “Hey- YOU-focus” has made all the difference. We often say in our home that God will either tap you on the shoulder or use a two by four to get your attention, and it all depends whether or not you are listening. Until recently, I had not been listening. I still fail, more often than not; but when I fall, I keep getting up and working to please Him.
To read Part 2, read our “Life Goes On” blog here in the Pain Resource Community!