Day 6: If you could have told yourself something when you first remember these symptoms arising, what would you have said?
I would have told myself to not brush it off, that something was really wrong. And to trust what my body was trying to tell me.
Instead, I did what I wish I could change. I brushed it off, figuring it was just from me working a lot and not sleeping very well. I tried to ‘walk off’ the pain and soreness I was experiencing. Until one day I just couldn’t anymore.
I woke up one morning to get ready for work but as soon as I woke up, I curled into the fetal position and started bawling. It felt like the whole lower half of my body was on fire. Then came the muscle cramps, spasms, and severe shooting pain.
I knew then that I couldn’t push it away anymore. That something was really wrong.
I ended up at the doctor’s just a few days later to try and figure out what was going on. Many months later (and dozens of blood draws, medications, hospital visits, worsening symptoms, test after test) I got my first diagnosis, Interstitial Cystitis (IC). Then came Endometriosis and, more recently, Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD)
I’ve encountered many doctors who either don’t understand how truly bad it is, or they don’t believe that I have had some of the more ‘rare’ symptoms of my illnesses because they haven’t seen it happen.
April 2020 will make 7 years on my ‘journey’ with Chronic Pain. One of the biggest lessons I have learned in those years is I have to be my own advocate. I have to stand up for myself. Not let doctors belittle me. And not explain myself or my actions to others.
I constantly feel like I have to justify my actions and symptoms to others who don’t understand. Because, in my mind, if they can understand, maybe it would help.
It usually ends up being the opposite, with them having more questions than answers and me getting flustered and irritated as I try to explain it all to them in a way they would understand.
Now I just try and live as normal a life as one can with multiple invisible chronic illnesses. I shouldn’t have to justify everything I do or don’t do while living with these illnesses. It’s still a struggle though, as I want others to understand.