Guest Blogger: Growing Pains by Kathy Page

I was raised to regard family as truly important. When I was growing up we always spent Sunday at Grandma’s house visiting with aunts, uncl...

I was raised to regard family as truly important. When I was growing up we always spent Sunday at Grandma’s house visiting with aunts, uncles and assorted cousins. When someone asked how you were, they really wanted to know. I had horrible “growing pains” when I was little and I remember my Aunt Virginia massaging my legs with rubbing alcohol. I remember she kept it up for a long time and it did eventually help. This same aunt asked me last weekend if I was still having “trouble” with my legs. She knows there is a medical name for it but doesn’t remember what it is; she just knows I’ve had it for a long time.

Two of our daughters also had “growing pains” in their teens. The doctors went into a long explanation about bones outgrowing muscles and that they would soon go away. Somehow I didn’t link my daughters’ pains with the ones I had growing up. I was just learning about Willis-Ekbom disease, also known as restless legs syndrome or WED/RLS, and the connection between it and growing pains wasn’t apparent then. So they suffered and complained, just as I had. The pains did go away but just like with me, they were replaced with something worse.

I’ve only known that I have WED/RLS for the past 20 years or so. That seems like a long time but we all know that reliable information and medications that really work has NOT been available until fairly recently. I have tried many, many different medications (that did not work) and many more doctors (that also did not work). But I have suffered with this for most of my life. I also know now that my WED/RLS is hereditary. The day I realized that I was probably passing this on to my daughters was a truly horrible one. Not only is the disease horrible, but we are still having to deal with doctors who don’t care or who aren’t qualified to help, family and friends who don’t understand, and a lack of medications to choose from.

We have been blessed with three daughters who are strong, intelligent women. We have two beautiful grand-daughters with another due shortly. I am determined that although I may have passed this on to them, they will never suffer as I have. All the help I can give to the WED Foundation or to others by fundraising, sending donations, monitoring Facebook, being a support group leader, or just talking to others about it will also help my family. They may still suffer with the symptoms of WED/RLS but they will be educated about it and know what control they can have over it. They will have family that knows what they are going through and will stand by them with whatever help they can give. My aunt did that years ago when this didn’t even have a name that we knew of. All she knew was that she could help a little in stopping the pain. My goal is the same; I just have a little more at stake in it now.

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