Mary Ann Coplin
I am 62 yrs. old, married, and have an adorable 6 yr. old baby girl, named Brie Marie, my mini schnauzer. My battle with EM began in my late 30’s, when I started to experience intermittent symptoms of burning pain, and swelling in my hands. At the time, little did I know just how much my normal life was about to change.
My symptoms gradually became more chronic with a constant burning pain in my feet, especially on my heels. My hands started to exhibit Raynaud-like symptoms. I have learned that I have autonomic dysfunction, which causes me to be extremely reactive to pain in general, and a very low tolerance to cool and warm temperatures.
I finally received my EM diagnosis and small fiber/peripheral neuropathy by Dr. Mark Davis at the Mayo Clinic. I attended a 3-week Chronic Pain Program there, which was somewhat beneficial, but also overwhelming. In 2013, I was genetically tested, indicating that I carry the primary gene and other unknown variant genes. I also have facial EM.
I have tried every treatment offered to me, from oral and compounding medications, to infusions, nerve blocks, and even a spinal cord stimulator implant. Unfortunately, they have all been unsuccessful because I either could not tolerate the side effects, or they were ineffective.
I have found that the best therapies for me in easing my stress and calming my mind and body are Viniyoga, deep breathing, meditation, an online support group, and striving to accomplish something positive every day. I find that distractions of any kind are effective because they engage me to become involved and to concentrate on something other than myself. I also enjoy collecting inspirational articles and sharing them with others, as well as random acts of kindness. My husband is my rock, and my ultimate goal is to be able to hold hands with him again.
I would encourage every member to consider becoming a volunteer for TEA. The need is great, and I, personally, have found it to be a very rewarding experience. We are a unique group of people who have the ability to reach out and touch each other by lending a helping hand in any way that we can. What better way to add value and purpose to your life than to make a positive difference by contributing to the cause of TEA and your fellow members.