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Thursday
Jan072016

Roll Over! I'm Crowded! So They All Rolled Over and One Fell Out...

Once again it's a new year, and once again I find myself vowing to write more, which I never accomplish. I've been told recently that I put too much pressure on myself. Probably. Because I'm alive and a mother and trying to survive and heal my body and have a good time and contribute and have a clean home and show up for my child and be a good wife and be reliable to help others and... well, it all piles up pretty quickly. Hopes and dreams are easy to elbow out when you have a small child who needs your attention and guidance, but even without the kiddo there is always a distraction, always a compelling issue begging for attention outside my personal goals. Sometimes I procrastinate. I work to keep a cool exterior amidst all the chaos, but I’ve noticed that, with rare exception, I feel overwhelmed on a daily basis. In the last year, I've taken up yoga, I have continued attending personal counseling sessions for help with anxiety, and I am now working on meditation and healthy eating. (Dude, healthy eating is SO hard. I *might* have just eaten a max roast beef from Arby’s. With cheese sauce. #Oops!) I have learned (and am still learning) to prioritize my “to do” list, and I’m working on accepting where I am right now instead of measuring my worth by where I think I should be. I feel much better about my life and my journey at the moment. Even with all the overwhelm, I am beginning to feel the calm step in a little. I’m cutting myself some slack, as all those Facebook memes written over a beach scene tell me to do. I just hope I can keep my mind from going gonzo and maintain a little of the calm coolness I’ve built. A lot happened in 2015 to destroy my cool. And 2016 may think it’s going to run me over, but I’m not willing to lie down for that. Come and get me, bitch!  

So… Over the last weekend, I noticed a lump in my breast. I nearly freaked out having to wait until Monday to call the doctor. Actually, I shouldn't say that I "nearly freaked out." …I freaked out. I began the process of mourning my own life, even before I knew if there was any real danger. As it turned out, Doc doesn't believe there is anything to worry about, and my mammogram came back normal. While I tried to keep my mind from going straight to the worst-case scenario before I saw the doc, I reminded myself that I need to be realistic, and that I need to remain calm no matter what happens. My life flashed before my eyes, and I didn't like what I saw. I saw a person who has lived in fear and has hidden herself, a person who has cried beneath the covers too many times. These last several years, almost a decade, have been difficult. Things have gone wrong. I have compared myself to others and decided that I was not a good person or worthy enough to expect happiness. I am now on the road to recovery from living inside such a negative bubble of self-doubt, but I’m not 100% healthy yet. The forces of negativity are strong. 

One major source of this negativity is that I am sick. Doctors used to tell me that I had fibromyalgia, which is bullshit, I've decided. That's code for "We don't know what's wrong with you, and we're tired of your whining." I even had one doctor tell me, "Look, you seem like a nice lady, but you are never going to get better. You need to accept the fact that the rest of your life is going to be hard, and no one can help you. Stop making doctor appointments. Get used to this." After that particular appointment, I stayed in bed and cried for three days. Another doctor accused me of drug-seeking, even though I didn't ask her for any drugs. I don't like drugs. I believe she was frustrated that I expected and answer and wouldn't just go away. But I needed help! Another doctor told me to start running for 30 minutes a day, even though I was having to walk with a cane. Another called me "Little lady," and said, "You're not sick. Someone must have put these ideas in your head." Because he’s still living in the 1920s when women “needed” men to put ideas in their heads, maybe? Yet another doctor refused to refer me when he couldn't come up with an answer and told me I would "just have to get sicker" so that he could figure it out. Another doctor broke up with me, saying he felt he had "completed" his "original mission" with me. One stopped returning my calls. One doctor closed her practice. One went to jail. And that's not all. I've had over a decade of rejections from medical professionals, and I was never rude or pushy. In fact, I felt embarrassed to list all my symptoms. The general procedure of these doctors was to tell me there was nothing wrong with me, offer no solution toward my medical problem, schedule a return appointment for me in a month, and show disbelief that I wasn’t better when I returned… as if I had done something wrong or was lying. At each ridiculous rejection, I remained polite – that was probably a mistake. I felt helpless, and I didn’t realize how important it was to speak up. After all, these were doctors; weren’t they supposed to know everything? Well, they don’t. Finally, after years of searching, I found a doctor who listened and made a valiant effort to help me. And things have begun to improve. I have been diagnosed with Lyme Disease and Chronic Active Epstein Barr. It took more than ten years to arrive at a real diagnosis. With some research, I feel confident that this diagnosis is correct. And guess what? These things can't be cured entirely. They also may be linked to rare forms of cancer, hence the freak out over the breast lump. So I am forced to accept that I now have limitations, I am at risk for some bad stuff if I don’t take care of myself (and still at risk even if I do take care of myself), and I have to get reacquainted with my body and its limited capabilities. I have no choice but to "listen to" my body, as they say. As a person who is used to pushing her limits, it is more difficult to listen and look after myself than I would have expected. But again, it's a journey. It's a journey I didn't mean to take, but nonetheless, it's where I am. And I finally have the support of a medical physician who believes me and wants to help. And he hugs me after each appointment and says, “Everything is going to be ok.”

So basically, I’m having to re-learn how to do life. It’s super upsetting. But I can do it. I think. 

Ok, now screw all this sad medical crap! Happy 2016! Party time!

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Mood: I hope this doesn't sound like whining. 

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