Paula Abdul is most well known, at least to the most recent generation, for formerly being a host on the hit TV show “American Idol”.
On the show, she gained a reputation for being the nice judge, especially in comparison to other judges on the show who often delivered harsh words of criticism to the contestants.
But what many people don’t know is that, behind the scenes, Abdul has dealt with a nearly lifelong battle against chronic pain.
A few of the diseases that she has been diagnosed with are also very rare.
For example, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is a very rare neuropathic disorder that results in very sporadic pain at unexpected times.
There are also very strong rumors that Abdul has fibromyalgia as well.
She has opened up much recently to the public about her battles with medical illnesses and diseases, and many of the symptoms that she has reported are shockingly similar to fibromyalgia as well.
Currently, whether or not she has been officially diagnosed with fibromyalgia by doctors is unknown, but the stories of her medical struggles throughout her life may show that she has been.
Causes of the Chronic Pain
Abdul has a cheerleading accident when she was seventeen years old. It resulted in a badly injured disc in her neck and caused her to be dropped from the team, against her wishes.
But the physical trauma that Abdul encountered in her life didn’t end there. Only a few years after her cheerleading accident, Abdul was also involved in a couple of car accidents that caused even more damage to her neck.
She confessed that she felt stiffness in her neck that eventually resulted in chronic neck pain. She was forced to wear a metal brace even while she was becoming famous and recording her first songs in the studio.
Incredibly enough, Abdul continued to have bad luck when it came to psychical trauma. While on a plane ride during a tour, she hit her head on a flight when one of the plane’s engines caught fire and had to make an emergency landing in a cornfield. It didn’t stop Abdul from continuing her tour, and the next day she performed in Denver, Colorado.
Fibromyalgia can either occur naturally, or it can be the result of physical trauma, much like the kind that Abdul suffered from.
Fibromyalgia is still a very mysterious disease even in the advanced medical world we’re in today, and it is believed that we have many years to go before we can have an accurate view of fibromyalgia, its causes, and the proper treatment for it.
The chronic pain that Abdul suffered only continued to get worse. She suffered a series of miniature seizures, and took every different kind of treatment she could get, from professional medical treatments even to traditional Chinese medicine. Throughout it all, Abdul kept the chronic pain she felt secret from the world and form her fans.
But the worse had yet to come. In 1998, Abdul suffered a temporary paralysis where entire right side was completely paralyzed and couldn’t move.
She was found by her housekeeper and immediately rushed to the hospital, where she was given an injection that gave her the ability to move again. But it was a very frightening experience. Even people who suffer from fibromyalgia will very rarely suffer from that kind of paralysis.
As one could imagine, it would be hard to be in a positive mood while suffering from chronic pain on a musical tour as well. Abdul took numerous pain management pills and sought the help of multiple doctors on her tours at the turn of the century.
She was exhausted while performing on stage, because she always felt very fatigued and couldn’t get the proper sleep at night. Yet again, it seems to be a sure sign of fibromyalgia.
Things didn’t seem to get very much better during the first few season of “American Idol.” She became a judge on the show only three months after a very serious surgery (her eleventh one overall). No one on or watching the show was aware of the pain that she was in either.
Abdul has credited “American Idol” with giving her a new sense of hope, however. She has reported that working as a judge on the show helped distract her from all of the pain that she felt. She also received new medication, called Enbrel, which she has also called as being a huge pain reliever.
Advice for Others
Abdul has sound advice for others who deal with their own chronic pain, even if it’s not the same kind that she did. She has openly said about how she felt like an outside going through the pain, so that the most important thing to do is to either find a support group or at least someone else going through the same things that you are.
Going to a support group of some kind may be intimidating at first, but without it, who else are you going to talk and relate to who is going through the same issues that you are?
The best thing about heading to support groups is that you can also not feel so depressed by being alone in your struggles.
Abdul also encourages sufferers of chronic pain to seek the help of modern medicine, and that ultimately, miracles do happen and there will be a happy ending.
Abdul has admitted that she is still bewildered today at how she managed to get through the pain that she did.
Nonetheless, she is passionate about music and singing, and she never let all the pain she felt get the best of her. Even if you’re not a fan of Abdul as a judge on “American Idol,” no one can deny that she has handled herself admirably.