Living with chronic pain herself, she wants others to have grit
By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
Elizabeth Fadling, Little Falls, has been dealing with pain her entire life. But through her journey she has learned to live with grace.
She would like to share with others the tricks she has learned to live a better life, even though in pain.
“There are 116 million people in the U.S. who are partially disabled due to pain,” she said. “I have 16 ingredients I want to share with others that deals with chronic pain.”
In first grade, Fadling was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. When other children were out enjoying recess, she would be in physical therapy.
Over the years, she has had several unexplained medical issues and some explained, such as Lyme disease. The doctors she saw for the most part were unable to explain her pain, the ulcers, the skin problems.
Today, she deals with very rare systematic mast cell disease, something most doctors will never see in their careers.
Mast cells are normal, everyone has them. They are located in connective tissues which include the skin, stomach and intestine and are part of the immune system, helping defend tissue from disease. They release chemicals which activates the immune defense system to the area around an injury or illness.
When there are too many of these mast cells, the added chemicals being released can cause allergic reactions.
Fadling’s mast cells are not stable and when they are activated, her entire body is affected.
She said it’s like someone yelling fire and everyone reacts, even when there isn’t a fire. All the mast cells are reacting throughout her body and it is difficult to find the source of the problem.
“It is very painful, and while I am no longer in a wheelchair, it’s not been an easy journey,” she said. “I have worked to gain my mobility without the aid of physical therapy. But I cannot have visitors, go out in public, have plants in the home or any stimuli that may set off the cells. Even odors set off reactions. I am in quarantine.”
Fadling said that if someone in the neighborhood has a bonfire, it may send her to the emergency room.
Her reactions include swelling and anaphylaxis. She always has an epi pen nearby which delivers a measured dose of epinephrine to treat her allergic reactions. Sometimes, she must be rushed to the hospital to be intubated to open airways or reduce liquid in her lungs.
There are risks to her life if she leaves her home, yet there are risks to her life if she doesn’t get to the hospital in time.
There are doctors who are afraid to treat her, afraid of the liability issues. But, she said that the Little Falls hospital is supportive and willing to learn more
“St. Gabriel’s Hospital is amazing. They have a special emergency room just for me and they know the protocol. I have a hospital bag ready to go with my own sheets, soaps and clothing. There are special bandages for me, too,” she said.
A paper bandage left on her skin for just a second once caused blistering and bruising.
“One medical mistake can take my life,” she said. It’s not uncommon for her to be rushed to the hospital three times in one week.
But, Fadling said she has grit and grit is what is getting her though this life.
“I have a desire to make a difference. People may fear disappointment and my class deals with that,” she said. “I will offer tricks to achieve a better life living with pain.”
She said people have to invest in themselves because no one else will.
“The class won’t make the pain leave, but it will make life easier,” she said. “I know now why the ‘caged bird’ sings. It knows that it’s confined, but it still can have an amazing song.”
A lot of information will be given during the teleclass, so Fadling said to have a note pad handy.
To join in on the teleclass, dial 1 (862) 902-0100 then enter the conference code 709336.