Kristin has lived with pain since she was 9 years old, a journey that has taken her through chronic migraines, celiac disease, covid complications and remaining medical mysteries. As a child she would experience tingling pain in her head, often accompanied by visual disturbances, nausea and vomiting. Shortly after these painful episodes were diagnosed as migraines, Kristin’s mother received her own diagnosis of celiac disease. This is an autoimmune condition characterized by an immune reaction to gluten. Kristin underwent an endoscopy to learn if she shared her mother’s diagnosis, and was told her test results showed no signs of celiac disease. However, in high school Kristin started experiencing intense stomach pain after eating, often falling to the floor in pain. She was re-evaluated for celiac disease and learned that she had been living with it all along, initially misdiagnosed due to changing standards in testing interpretation.
In this episode of the Major Pain podcast, Kristin talks us through her complicated health journey. After being diagnosed with celiac disease and eating gluten-free, she became concerned during her college years when widespread chronic pain and exhaustion became constant issues for her. Turning to doctors for help, she was told she likely had an additional autoimmune condition due to a positive ANA test. However, these doctors could not narrow down which disease they believed she had, so they diagnosed her with fibromyalgia. Kristin discusses the frustration of living with chronic pain while being unsure if her diagnosis represents the complete picture, or if additional diagnoses are yet to be uncovered. Matters were complicated by two bouts of covid that exacerbated pre-existing asthma symptoms. She shares her experience trying different medications, treatments and procedures to manage her many painful conditions, and anger over the constant medical gaslighting she has lived through. She also discusses the difficulty of having family and friends who don’t understand what she’s going through, and how finding community around chronic illness online has been deeply reassuring.
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