I never thought I’d do this. But I have nowhere else to turn.
My name is Julia and I’m a 22-year old girl from Sweden. For the past years I’ve been struggling with both my physical and mental health, but mostly on the physical part. I am diagnosed with something called Tietzes Syndrome which can be explained as an inflammation in the tissue around your ribs and lungs, and something called Modic type 1, which is vertebral endplate changes which leaves me in constant pain.
When I was around 13 years old, I started getting extreme pains in my chest, mostly on the left side which often radiated out to my left arm. Me and my family did take it lightly, and just considered it to be “growing pains” you get when you go through puberty and your body changes fast, and much for that matter. Deep inside I think I already know that something was wrong, but many of the people around me told me that I was probably just “making it up” and that it would settle soon.
It didn’t. Fast forward a year and the what I would call “cramps” hadn’t gotten any better at all. I’m 14 years old and supposed to love life. Before I started getting these pains I was an active, loving and healthy teenager, but being in constant pain changed me. I started getting more and more introverted and depressed, sadly.
The change came when me and my mother was at the hospital because of my pains. The doctors did an ECG and discovered some changes in my heart rhyth. From the beginning when my pains arrived I’ve always said that it feels like I’m having a heartattack. The doctors ordered me and my mother to go to another bigger hospital in another city to really check if my heart was ok. Said and done. Me and my mother got into the car and went to the hospital.
What they found wasn’t any problems with my heart, but they told me I had something called Tietzes Syndrome, which is an inflammation in the tissue which surrounds your ribs and lungs. This is nothing out of the ordinary really, it hurts but it’s not dangerous and the doctors told me to take some anti-inflammatory and that it would settle. Newsflash, it didn’t.
Next year I turn 24, and I’ve dealt with this since then.
Fast forward a couple of years. I started getting tingles in my hands and feet, extreme pain in my lower back which made me unable to lie down properly, and nonetheless stand. It came in waves, intensity wise, but the constant feeling of pain was always there. My feet and hands would get swollen from time to time, and my neck would hurt so badly I would throw up. The pain in my left arm and chest was worse than ever.
I got rushed to the ER a couple of times, they checked my heart, once again they found nothing and sent me home.
Until I found a doctor who really listened to what I had to say. He decided to do a full check-up. He checked my blood, my heart, my whole body and found nothing, until he decided to do an MRI.
What you see on the picture is what they found. It’s called Modic 1 and it’s vertebral endplate changes which causes me to be in constant pain, especially in my lower back. There’s not much information on this, so I can’t really tell you more than that it’s from what I’ve understood, fluid in my spine (?) which can develop to Modic type 2 and get hardened. There’s nothing the doctors can do, no surgery or medication except for painkillers have been discussed and so here I stand.
I got my diagnoses when I was still in school. I crashed completely and got released from school for a year to “piece my life together” again. I returned one year later and graduated with great grades.
This year, September actually, I’ll start studying at the university. I’ve been applying and hoping to get accepted since last year, and now I’m happily able to say that I’ll be studying full time.
The last two years I’ve been struggling with work, I really have. I worked at a callcenter for the first 6 months after I left school. I sat down for 8-hours a day and I’d cry when I got home because of pain. I promised myself that I would try and find something else, and I did.
I got a job in a store. I loved it! My colleagues was great, my boss was great and the job itself was fun. Problem was, when the goods arrived in the morning to be unpacked, my back couldn’t cope. I can’t lift anything heavy, and I can’t bend over for more than a minute before I have to sit down and rest.
I worked at the store for three months, and since last summer I’ve been unemployed, besided for working as a substitute teacher by the hour between November last year, and March this year.
Due to this, I’ve had practicly zero income. My fantastic fiance has been supporting me with all he can, but I just can’t stand being a burden. So I took some loans. Not big, nor many, but some. I’ve gotten no help from the government here in Sweden. We have something called Arbetsförmedlingen, which is a government owned “agency” which helpes unemployed people to find a job. They wanted to put me into the industrial field, which is heavy, and I have absolutely zero experience from it, or at another callcenter, which obviously didn’t work.
My debt today is around 2,500$ and this month I won’t be able to afford to pay back what I owe. I start studying the 3rd of September, and just the books for the education has cost me 350$ this month.
I am extremely grateful for every penny, every cent. I understand fully how it looks asking for money to pay off debt, but the money I owe today has been my lifeline the last year, due to something I have absolutely zero control over.
Thank you. From the bottom of my heart.