Here it goes: my continuing effort to keep it real. (Do people even use that phrase anymore? If not, we should bring it back.)
I hate being sick. I hate talking about being sick. I hate staying home and wallowing in my supreme sickness whenever it hits. I hate having to explain myself and feeling like I have to justify everything I do. I don’t like sounding like a hypochondriac every time I look for help or try to talk to someone. But here’s the thing: I am sick – more often than some people, which is why I often feel so bad about it all. What a thing to feel terrible about, hey?
At the risk of TMI-ing the entire internet, here’s the Cliff’s Notes (or I guess that since I live in Canada now I should get used to calling them Coles Notes) version of what’s been going on with me.
- I’ve been dealing with extreme, nearly constant pain for quite a few years now. It started as “normal” menstrual cramps – or so I thought. Turns out, it’s not supposed to hurt badly enough that you’re spending your day on the bathroom floor praying to fall asleep so you can’t feel it anymore. After a few years passed (about a decade), these pains became more and more frequent, and it got to the point where at least three weeks out of the month, I’m in enough pain to keep me from wanting to walk anywhere or sometimes even leave the bed or the couch. I’ve mentioned it to doctors in the past, most of whom told me what kind of over-the-counter meds I could take to help ease the pain, and one went so far as to tell me that my weight was the problem and that I needed to eat better and work out more, and all my problems would be solved. However…
- This past spring, I visited my doctor to renew my prescription for my anxiety medication, and mentioned in passing that I was concerned – I was on day 28 of my period. Not of my cycle, but of my actual period. His eyes went a bit wide and he looked into what could help stop the bleeding and the pain. As it turns out, migraines with neurological symptoms (I get a strange blue aura when I’m going to get a migraine most of the time) are dangerous with birth control pills and can cause a stroke, so that was out of the question. He put in a referral to the Women’s clinic in the city and I went through the rest of my semester missing most of my classes and even withdrawing from one after the professor said that he would not give me credit since I was not there for the lectures.
- After my first appointment with the clinic, they sent me for blood tests and scheduled an ultrasound. The main possibilities on the table were Endometriosis or a bleeding disorder. The blood tests ruled out any bleeding difficulties and actually showed me to be quite healthy other than the pain issue, so now I’m waiting on the ultrasound for further information.
- In the meantime, the best option for my pain and suffering was to have a Mirena inserted to try to lessen the symptoms and issues associated with what should be normal female bodily processes. Let me tell you – that was a nightmare (though I don’t regret it in the least!). While I know the procedure isn’t supposed to be a piece of cake (though some say it is and that they leave the doctor and head straight for the gym, making me wonder if they’re even human), I took a week off of classes to stay on the couch and put my faith in Advil and Aleve. Three weeks later, I’m still in pain – I’m waiting for my ultrasound to have everything looked into, and treating the issue as it comes.
- Fast forward to now. I’ve missed a week and a half of classes in total, out of a total of three weeks. I’ve kept up on my coursework and I’m studying as much as I can, and I’m genuinely sick and in pain, but I feel guilty every single time I’m lying on the couch when I should be across town in a classroom. I’m terrified that I’ll randomly fail all my courses and be unable to graduate, ruining all of the hard work I’ve put in over the past three years. Yes, I realize this is an exaggeration of what might happen, but welcome to the world of anxiety disorders!
- So of course, what a time to come down with a crazy mystery flu. I’m dreading sending the email to my professor to say “Hey, I didn’t sleep last night because I had a fever and chills, a migraine, heartburn, and a throat so sore I’m convinced my cat tried to climb it, so I won’t be in class. Again. Don’t fail me, please.” My professors have been super nice and helpful thus far (with well-wishes in every email that I’ve sent and even asking how I’m feeling on the days I’ve gone in to class!) but I’m waiting for the day when that drops away and they decide I’m a slacker.
So I guess that’s what’s going on inside my head, and inside my body. Not that anyone asked, but it feels better to put it all out in writing somewhere, even if it creeps people out. Hey, I aim to please!