My name is Stacy Schmidt, I am 30 years old and live in St. Michael, Minnesota. I began struggling with chronic pain during my senior year of high school. I ended up being diagnosed with Fibromylagia at the age of 18. At that point I began many rounds of physical therapy for the different joints that were affected and the low back. It wasn’t until about 5 years ago and after my first pregnancy, when my health took a turn for the worst, we knew there was something more going on. I began getting fevers, the pain in my SI joints became unbearable at times and the overall pain was debilitating some days. I ended up seeing a few specialists, including an infectious disease doctor before I was finally referred to a Rheumatologist. This is when they took images of my SI and found the abnormalities there and tested my HLA B27 gene, which came back positive. The diagnosis was a relief and devastating all at the same time. We finally had an answer, but I now had this chronic, progressive disease with no cure. I used to be a very active person, with softball being my favorite sport to play. I had to give that up a couple years ago and struggle daily with accepting my limitations. I am a stay-at-home mom of 3 kids, ages 6, 3 and 2. On my bad days, it is hard to play with them, hold them and even hug them. The emotional pain of that surpasses all of my physical pain. I believe I still have a lot of grieving to do with this diagnosis, still accepting that my life is not that of a “normal” 30 year old. I also realize that if I allow myself to see the blessings in this, I can see my strengths and know that some day my suffering will allow me to help someone else, and that makes it all worth it to me. It saddens me to know others suffer from this cruel, unforgiving disease, but feel better knowing I am not alone.
God bless you all and keep up the good fight!!
Know my prayers are with you all.
Minnesota United States of America