I have been incorrectly diagnosed numerous times with serious, sometimes life altering conditions:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Meniere’s Disease
- Fractured Spine
- Kidney stones
- I’ve been told it could be: a brain tumor, breast cancer, bladder cancer, cervical cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s, a stroke
I have endured numerous doubters or all out accusations of being a liar:
- “How sick can she really be”?
- “Fibro is that “fake disease” that people use to get Disability”
- “Have you considered this may be mental?”
- “Patient claims that Fibro has changed her entire life”
- Yeah, your Mom’s so “ill”
- “Oh my God, now she’s claiming to be on Chemo? They don’t use Chemo for Rheumatoid Arthritis”
I have endured the following symptoms, some without ever finding a root cause:
- Spent close to 18 months in bed (or on the couch)
- Lost my ability to walk unaided
- Had my fingernails come off
- Watched for gangrene in my foot
- Lost my hearing in one ear
- Woken up with completely blurred vision
I have lived through the following medication side effects:
- Lost so much weight, I weighed less than I did when I was 12
- Became suddenly (and thankfully, temporarily) suicidal due to a high dose steroid blast
- Had my entire personality change and endured horrendous mood swings
- Urinated blood
- Had my hair break off, come out by the handful and completely thin out
As a result of becoming chronically ill, I have:
- Lost my career
- Gone bankrupt
- Nearly lost my house
- Lost countless colleagues, family and friends
- Had to give up any hope of having a child with my Husband
I have reached my breaking point so many times, I:
- Begged Jesus to stop the pain or let me die
- Screamed for so long, my Husband cried
- Decided I could not go on this way forever
And so let me now get this straight, I:
- Have lost trust in myself, not the Doctors?
- Lost faith in myself, instead of others?
- Have allowed others to insinuate I am weak or making bad choices because I take Opiods to live
- Have doubted that it’s that bad, considered it’s all in my head, that I don’t try hard enough or that I could do better
- Have had to give up on many hopes, plans and dreams
- Shouldn’t enduring all I’ve just listed and still getting out of bed every day, instill me with pride?
- Shouldn’t I be angry, instead of grateful?
- Shouldn’t I be despondent, instead of hopeful?
- Shouldn’t I trust, that with all the mistakes made, that *I* know what is best for my body and mind?
Why do we allow what others project to be put upon ourselves? Why do we question our sanity, when we know all we live with? Why do we doubt our strength, tenacity or experiences. Why do we allow our suffering to be questioned?
Often, the true complexities of living with chronic illness are overlooked or never addressed. Sometimes, the way it all affects our mind, body and soul is underestimated. But just because that happens, doesn’t mean it should.
- Have faith in yourself, instead of placing it in others
- Remember to trust yourself, above all others
- Validate how much getting sick and staying sick sucks
- Be as good to yourself as you are to the person in the checkout line
- Have hope
Because you’re worth it. <3