TODAY’S BREW: Starbucks with Kristen
“I’m so sick of having something wrong with me. I don’t even want to talk to anyone, I feel like it’s all they see.”
This was my text to Kristen this morning, and the real reason why I haven’t been blogging. Yes, a vacation to enjoy the holidays with my family–which I did, I really, really did. Despite All The Things Wrong With Me.
You don’t see it here much. And I try not to talk about it much, because even though every woman on the planet has a period, I still feel like it’s something we hide. And of course we feel that way, but that’s another blog post.
This one is about how I forever have some weird goddamn thing wrong with me, often related, sometimes not, nobody knows and it keeps getting worse. And now it’s just plain crippling. Let’s give you the December Weirdness which brought it to a whole new level.
The week before Christmas I had a hairy-feeling throat. Like someone had waxed their legs and somehow that wax strip ended up in my throat and I had the sniffles. Didn’t hurt, I could swallow, eat, but my tongue was white and it felt like Chewbacca throat. Weird enough that I went to the clinic, afraid it was a thing I could give to my kids. My throat was all red, but my tonsils were good, I didn’t have strep, no fever, was hydrated, taking allllllll my vitamins (of which there are many), and had a good temp and blood pressure. That lasted for two days. Then gone, like none of it ever happened. Throat all better, nose clear.
The next two days I had such physical soreness on both sides that I couldn’t be touched. The kids couldn’t hug me, it hurt to wear clothes. I had the occasional stabbing pain in my left side. Figuring kidney infection? Though I had none of the other symptoms at all, I called the doctor who insisted I go to urgent care. The lovely, wonderful doctor there (who said something to me I’m not likely to forget: “you’re minimizing your pain. Don’t minimize your pain.”), tried so hard to figure out what was wrong. I had the best blood pressure I’ve ever had, no temp, no other pain, same as before. But because of my shortness of breath the two days earlier, he ordered me to immediately go to the hospital and get a chest x-ray, bloodwork, and a kidney ultrasound. Made me an appointment for an hour after, and boy that was fun, getting the kids from school and finding someone to watch them through that. By the time I got to the hospital the stabbing pains in my side had me crying out in pain while waiting for my stuff to get done.
And guess what? Everything was normal. Yaaaaaaay, right?
Then I figure out that it all happened with the timing of when I usually suffer PMDD. This is a Feels Like It’s Made Up premenstrual disorder that I am the absolute poster girl for, right down to the occasional thoughts of suicide coinciding with my period. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premenstrual_dysphoric_disorder
My symptoms generally start about 10 days before my period and disappear like magic after it. But this? Pain that lands me in the hospital for 5 hours the day before Christmas eve? And this time, the emotional symptoms didn’t go away, when surprise, two days after they started, the kidney thing did go away.
Every month like clockwork I suffer debilitating anxiety and depression for two days at the start of my period or the two days before. It causes me to villainize the people I love most for the most minor thing, which then convinces me they don’t love me, and then I tell them to go away and find someone better to spend their time with. Often this leads to suicidal thoughts, it always leads to utter hopelessness, where everything contributes to my sadness from the washing machine leaking to getting a rejection letter. All of it adds up to not having a life worth living except for that people depend on me. It’s not how I feel any other time of the month generally, and even though I see it coming, I can do nothing to stop it. I guess that happens when you have “an unhealthy amount of bleeding” monthly that just plain comes with having a fibroid in your uterus that nobody wants to remove.
If it seems like I’m rambling, it’s because the anxiety still has not dissipated and I can’t focus on anything at all. Making me more anxious. Usually getting out of the house helps, but this month it made me a disaster. I was twitchy, nervous, kept dropping things, couldn’t concentrate. Still feel that way. I had an actual dream of dropping the peanut butter jar and woke myself jumping up to grab it. I can’t slow my head down. And to this minute I’m taking the 800mg ibuprofen prescribed to me for the kidney pain to deal with the breast tenderness that is worse than the kidney pain was.
This all can be attributed to my hormones, maybe? But then I start thinking of the extensive list of other things that have gone wrong with me that have doctors rubbing their hands with experimental delight when I enter the office. Things I’ve never gotten answers to. High prolactin levels that had me getting brain scans and taking tumor shrinking meds–when I didn’t have a tumor. The sudden appearance of an uber rare fibroid tumor that had to be removed immediately. A sickening burning pain under my ribs that we inspected with tubes in every part of my body, to find nothing. Rectocoele, which happens during childbirth, not to be discovered often for months or years later–except I had my kids by C-section.
Emotionally, this has left me feeling like The Girl Who Never Shuts Up, The Girl Who Never Has Good News, The Girl Who Cries Medical Problem, and The Girl Who Feels Really, Really Happy Just Being Who I Am, But Is Constantly Kicked In The Lady Parts.
I’m finally now getting to a point where the illness is my life, not just part of it. I’ve always been very proud that I can smile through sickness, of which I’ve had plenty not even listed here, and that it doesn’t stop me. Now, it’s stopping me. Stopping me from feeling like a worthwhile human. Stopping me from being unstoppable. I can deal with any amount of pain if I can see the end in sight, if I know it’s being solved. Now, I just wait to see what will happen next. It’s making me a sad person. I get sad, like all people do, but I’ve never been a sad person. I don’t want to be.
There’s no uplifting message to this blog, guys. There’s not a moral or a joke at the end. I’m feeling defeated, and the only thing holding me down is that I don’t want to live like a wounded person. I want to be strong. And I can’t. Hopefully for the next year on this blog you’ll see that disappear and see the old Julie come back. But fighting is something we all have to do, and this is my fight.