Starting at age 23, my low back has been a major health issue for me . I bent over to feed my dogs and could not stand back up so I had to crawl into my house. I was alone at the time and had to call in to work . When Andy got home, he drove me to the doctor where they did an X-ray and I was told I had “mild scoliosis “ and given pain meds and a muscle relaxer . 17 years later after seeing slew of chiropractors who told me I had to stop crossing my legs, stop wearing certain shoes, or that it was my posture and basically being made to feel it was MY fault. I was in such severe pain almost daily, I found a chiropractor that ordered an MRI and found a bulging disc. Mind you on my x-ray, this chiropractor saw a mass in my lower right back area and was concerned. I told him oh that’s just my fibroid. My Gynecologist told me it was a watch and wait thing even though I had asked for my uterus to be removed at age 38 because I knew I was not intending to have another baby. Needless to say, I did physical therapy and steroids in an attempt to avoid surgery. My physical therapist was insistent that I avoid surgery and told me to “live on pain pills for a year and do PT and I would be fine”. The pain became disabling and was affecting my work and family life . I became quite depressed and was prescribed anti-depressants. Living in chronic, severe pain made it difficult for me to want to get out of bed every day. I opted for microdisectomy back surgery. I spent 8 weeks out of work recovering and returned to work feeling decent for the first time in a very long time . 4 months later, the pain was back ! So, I have spent the last 4 years in pain management taking opioids among other drugs just to get through my days. I’ve had concerns about safety as well as addiction, but felt I had no other options. I had what the medical community has labeled as “failed back surgery “. My pain management dr finally ordered an x-Ray after I hounded him at every appointment. He reviewed it and said well at least you don’t have spondylitis. I looked at my X-ray report and saw that my fibroid was larger and calcified. So, I call my gynecologist and he ordered a pelvic sonogram. The report comes back and his nurse calls me and says “it hasn’t grown since your last sonogram 5 years ago”. I put my foot down and told her that I want a hysterectomy. She said ok well come in for an appointment. My doctor tells me it’s not necessary. I said I understand that but I want one. So, he reluctantly agreed and scheduled my surgery. I ended up in surgery for 2 & 1/2 hours instead of the normal hour and a half . Afterwards, he explains that my fibroid was the size of a large lemon and as hard as my knee cap. He also found multiple other fibroids that never showed up on a sonogram. He admits that this was more than likely the cause of my severe back pain as the mass was pushing on my nerves in my back . I am changing doctors by the way as I feel he caused me to have an unnecessary surgery and remain in pain management for way too long. I share my story to show how bad our current health care system is and also to emphasize that you have to be your own advocate! I am returning to work after another 8 weeks of recovering from a surgery. I always felt in my gut something was not right and then I started to convince myself that my pain was in my head or it was hyperalgesia from being on pain meds too long. Once again , feeling this was somehow my fault . I’ve always been an avid exerciser and used to run so I thought I had done this to myself . Our Healthcare system is in a sad state of affairs. I hope you find my story helpful and inspiring. I am hopeful that I will continue to heal and be able to stop all pain meds as taking them comes with a stigma in and of itself . I don’t want to continue to put harmful chemicals in my body. I will keep you all posted on my progress ! I reiterated: Be your own advocate !!!!