Childhood Chronic Pain
August 29, 2020

Childhood Chronic Pain

In seventh grade, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I had chronic pain, but I believed that it was only one of the ailments I was experiencing. They couldn’t believe someone so young would be in such a predicament. Prior to that, I had appendicitis. My parents did not believe me that I was in such acute pain. By the time they took me to the hospital and had surgery, the appendix was in the process of rupturing. I remember resenting my parents for not believing me for a very long time. This is something that came back to haunt me years later.

Intense Emotional Pain

After I was married in 2000, my mental stability began to crash. Eventually, it became so bad that I would be crying in the corner of my room at three o'clock in the morning. My husband would wake up and ask me, "What's wrong?" I did not know what to tell him. I didn’t know exactly why I was crying except I felt so deeply depressed. So, we tried moving and different things to alleviate my depression, but it kept progressing. That’s when the suicidal feelings began to surface.

I knew I loved my husband so much. I was torn between the pain I felt and being a burden to my husband. There was something still keeping me here. So, I asked for help. I went into psychiatric hospitals, twice in one year, where I was sedated with medications to the point that I could not feel any emotion. However, the medications kept me alive for as long as I needed to find other treatments. They neutralized me and for that I am grateful. While I was at psychiatric hospitals, they diagnosed me with bipolar, manic depression. I had anxiety, insomnia, and I was mostly non-functional. I was just existing.

My name is Amy Rogan and this is my Kintsugi story.

I finally found the right combination of medical treatments that helped me greatly. Throughout the years of pain with all the different types of test results coming back normal, the depression and frustration grew. There was no reason the doctors could pinpoint for me to be in that much pain. They made me feel that it was all in my head. Finally, one showed that I had a brain chemical imbalance 

An integrative medicine doctor, who practiced Eastern and Western medicine, was finally able to help me. He knew of a company that did testing for the neurotransmitters that traditional doctors don't explore. They also carry a line of natural supplements that assist in rewiring the brain. While I worked with this doctor and took the recommended supplements, I found a chiropractor who does a neuro-emotional release technique. It was like I was having therapy without having to talk about it. It goes directly into the subconscious to neutralize your mind.

I wish I had kept recordings for people to see the difference in how I was then and how I am now; it is truly an incredible transformation. I was working both on the chemical and the emotional sides concurrently. Surprisingly, it was helping the pain as well; up to 80 to 90 percent improvement. Eventually, I was able to wean off the prescription medications, and then come off the supplements as well. It was a three-year process to properly and safely transition under medical supervision. I have not had any prescriptions or any of those supplements since. It has been over 15 years now and I feel an amazing abundance of positivity in my life! I continue to do the neural emotional release technique as needed but not on a regular basis. It’s like fine-tuning a well-oiled machine now.

Fashion Forward

I want to share some more of the journey, as it was not simple by any means. Workwise, I had a big gap in my resume since I hadn’t worked for many years since graduating college. I wanted to get back into the fashion world and my dream career. I found a company in Philadelphia that had an apprentice program. They gave me a chance.

On those first three days of work, I was in the worst pain of my life. I didn't know it at the time, but I had destroyed my gallbladder. My manager couldn't believe that I was still coming in to work in my condition. This place had given me a chance, I couldn’t fathom disappointing them or losing that job. So, I did everything I could to push through.

After vomiting daily for two and a half weeks straight in terrible pain and 3 ER visits, they finally kept me at the hospital to have surgery removing my gallbladder. Because my recovery took so long, I lost that job and was absolutely devastated. In holistic medicine, the gallbladder is an organ where you store resentment. This connected how I was feeling towards my parents for not taking me to the hospital when I had appendicitis. It was such a lesson for me to let go of these bad feelings, not keep them buried inside. Our bodies have a way to deal with unreleased emotional pain. If you don’t address that emotional pain, your body will figure out a way to deal with it, usually in unhealthy ways.

Second Chances & New Beginnings

A year later, the same company posted another position for a technical fashion designer. Because my manager remembered what I went through, I was hired back immediately. The new position was actually better than what I had before. This launched my career in fashion. I was there for four and a half years, surviving a layoff and moving up in the company. Then, I went to work for QVC and later Disney.

After moving to Florida and working for Disney, I had a cancer scare. They found a tumor in my thyroid. I felt that it was God smacking me upside the head, telling me that I was not supposed to be sitting in a cubicle anymore. I had been through so much already. In reality, it was the best thing that could have happened. It was time for a drastic change.

I went through my surgery to remove the tumor, turned out it wasn't cancer. Emotionally, it was a difficult period. After we overcame that, my husband and I decided that we had an entrepreneurial spirit. We would start our own business.

We began a thriving business in Florida in the catering field after we had also created a global boutique yoyo business that had gone viral. We lost passion for our catering business just as COVID hit. This turned out to be just the right time to close down that catering business when all our events were canceled for the year. We needed to follow a calling we were being pulled toward.

On the Road

We love building and creating, so we bought an empty cargo van and built the entire interior into an RV. Since October 2019, we've pretty much been on the road full-time. We are not attached to anything anymore, and it just feels amazing. We're exploring and living life. Shedding all of that stuff, downsizing into a tiny space, is so freeing. I'm less stressed. Even though there are different stressors with this type of lifestyle, there is no comparison. Nature is my living room.

This lifestyle is perfect for writing a book, which has been a goal of ours for many years. My husband and I are co-writing it. Our book is a two-sided book with two stories in it. My husband tells his side of the story: how he had to support me and what he was dealing with during that journey. I tell my story of how I had to deal with everything and how I went through my personal healing process.

I've learned to live in faith. There have been times when we had a few hundred dollars left and suddenly an unexpected job or business opportunity landed on our laps. We see miracles all the time. However, we do have big focused goals and dreams. We have a big financial goal to hit and we are working steadily towards that. It's not like we're just floating around without purpose, wandering lost in the world. We are very focused, and this lifestyle affords us the flexibility to follow where we need to be. 

When I was suicidal, we lived in New Jersey. My family lived in Wisconsin. My mom still has a lot of regrets about not being there for me. I've told her countless times that I'm glad I was where I was by myself, going through it with my husband because that made me stronger and made us stronger together. I love who I am now. If I had assistance from them, I don't know if I would have had the same outcome. Even though there were challenges, many ups and downs, I wouldn't change anything. I've told her that many times.

As a young child, I remember a strange wanting and need for attention. I remember wishing I was sick so I would get that attention. How backward is that? I don't even remember why I needed it so much. Be careful what you wish for! Now, I have made the choice to turn that attention to a good and positive way, in a way that will help others with our story.

Sharing Our Story Together

My husband’s side of the story is one that needs to be told. You see, we met in art school during our freshman year. When I fell sick, he abandoned his art career to care for me. He needed a steady job with good insurance, so he worked for UPS for almost 10 years. I could see how this was destroying him. An artist cannot be deprived of an outlet for creativity. Since I was better and succeeding in my career, we started transitioning him out of that job and into bartending. When he finally left, his creativity exploded. He designed a yoyo that looked like a jigger. It became the highest-rated super-wide yoyo in the world. I couldn’t have survived that time without him. His story is very much part of my own. I am so excited to see him enjoy life and thrive after he gave up so much to take care of me.

We call ourselves the Rolling Rogan's because we just keep on going. We roll with the punches, all the challenges life throws at us. We create, make art, and we are stronger than ever. We value the present moments and at the same time plan for a bright future. We understand that there will be ups and downs, but we also know that we have survived so much together.

One of the new projects we are developing, we have titled "Creative Life Designers." Personal development and mindset are very important to us so we do a lot of visualization and affirmations. Because of Joe’s drawing and creativity, we call it “drawing yourself into existence.” Every morning, he'll draw something that he/we wants to manifest. We've actually seen proof of things he drew before and how it became concrete, including when we sold our house. I had forgotten that I had drawn the picture of how much we sold it before the sale. I went back and found it. The price in cash is exactly how much we had drawn on our manifestation board. 

We are living life. We have healed. I have made a complete emotional transformation. My goal is to bring hope to those who read this story, that it is possible. I am living proof of it.

My name is Amy and I am Kintsugi.

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