Thursday, July 14, 2011

confessions of a sick person -- rambling post

Have you ever had doctors fighting over you? Talk about a strange feeling.

One doc thinks I had Lyme disease. The other doc thinks I had Rocky Mountain spotted fever or human Parvo. I know, I thought only dogs got Parvo, too.

Makes me feel special, and not in a good way.

I just want to get rid of the random joint pain and fatigue, so that my so-called life may continue. And I want to lose the eye floaters that are spiraling around my vision like orbiting planets. And the migraines. I’ve had migraines since I was 12, but nowadays they are way too frequent. Menopause and its myriad of symptoms is not helping with any of this.

My advice: stay away from ticks and just say “no” to Menopause.

I’m so tired of being tired, I’m tired of thinking so much about my mental and physical health. I know everyone around me is tired of my list of symptoms. When they very kindly ask how I’m doing, I just say fine. Who wants to hear about my latest bit of weirdness?

Bear with me—I promise this isn’t just me calling for the “wha”mbulance, as Schmutzie at would say. What a fab site, by the way.

One “positive” (that doesn’t seem like the correct word) note is the number of blogs I’ve discovered about people with similar health problems. Dozens of people blog about migraine, for instance. I’m comforted when I read about the therapies migraineurs have used. I can try some of the suggestions they have for coping with headaches. 

The women who write about menopause are truly brave. My favorite is on -- Virginia at the Home-Reared Chef. Hi, Virginia! You rock! You have mad writing skills, lady!

I don’t care what anyone says, it’s still taboo in most circles to bring up menopause. It’s the elephant in the room that we menopausal women are supposed to pretend doesn’t impact our lives. Even other women can be quite judgmental. Just because they breezed through menopause without a tremor doesn’t mean that some of us aren’t experiencing a daily earthquake. For years at a time.

These health blogs about menopause, migraine, depression, and more, help put my troubles in perspective. Help keep me going. I’m not happy that they are sick, but I appreciate that these bloggers share how they manage. Makes me feel less alone. Like maybe I can get through this, one day at a time.

Some people count themselves lucky for a few hours a month that are free from migraine. I’m not in that bad of a place, even though the place I’m in does stink. Some people can’t get out of bed because of depression. I cried my way to work more days than I can count in the last year, but thanks to 4 prescription meds I was able to get out of bed and go to work. 

Some people would be appalled if they knew that I’m taking a lot of prescription drugs. I haven’t told more than a couple friends just how many I’m taking. Sometimes I feel very defensive about my drug therapies, but someone who has not experienced clinical depression has NO right to judge us. 

Before this bout with depression (menopause related) I had no idea of the physical, crushing sensation in one’s chest that is possible with depression. The debilitating nature of insomnia. Or how the tears could just start flowing apropos of nothing. How you can’t just “get a grip” or “snap out of it.” I’ve learned that positive self-talk is good, I have little mantras to use when it’s a particularly bad moment, can drop my mind into guided imagery, but I know in my heart without the drugs I might not (almost certainly would not) be making it. How sweet it would be if a little exercise, sunlight, and St. John’s wort would make it all better, but this depression did not respond to milder remedies.

I’ve learned a lot from being depressed. I was never that much of a believer in “better living through chemistry.” But NOW: if a chemical cocktail can keep me functioning, out of a psych ward, and spare me from Electro Convulsive Therapy, then get out of my way as I head to the CVS. 

I have a lot of students who are struggling with depression, PTSD, and a laundry list of other health problems. Some students are very upfront about their battles, some, like me, try to fly under the radar. I understand them all a little better since I’ve had these health battles over the past years. 

When someone I meet, perhaps a checker in a store, seems to be having a bad day, I try to understand that she/he might REALLY BE HAVING A HORRIBLE DAY AND JUST TRYING TO SURVIVE ONE MINUTE AT A TIME. She might be battling depression, menopause, some critical illness, OR have a loved one who is battling one or more of those issues.

I try to remember to offer a kind word. From time-to-time a stranger says something particularly kind to me, out of the blue. It helps. For a minute, the world brightens. Maybe that’s one of the not-so-little reasons we’re here on this planet?

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Melanie, I LOVED this post-wonderful1-and how I feel your pain...but you also made me laugh reading your blog (rare moments for us, lol!). Thank you!

    I so agree that menopause is not really something most people want to hear us talk about, not even the ones afflicted. And certainly many think we should just be able to turn it off. Riight!

    Funny, I've experienced the same feeling at the store. I see a sour face and feel for them too. No one knows what troubles they are facing. So, regardless, I offer a smile and kind words at any opportunity.

    Have your doctors suggested the possibility of Fibromyalgia? I was just wondering about your joint pains. My mother suffers with that everyday. Often, I, too, have loads of joint pains, but after I've done some heavy weight training it seems to help a lot. Yes, I do feel sore muscles the next day from my workouts, but it is very different to a brutal joint pain. Sigh!

    Thank you for your post today. Please, do keep writing.