I know I’ve been very quiet. I won’t apologise for it since my life was basically turned upside-down at the beginning of this year.
You may remember my other posts about being chronically ill. Well, I finally had to admit that my pain and fatigue, and the sleep problems, and yes, even problems focusing and concentrating, won’t go away if I ignore them, if I try to push myself through rough days, or if I just have enough time to rest.
I had three weeks without work or university. Three weeks to rest, to regain my strength. I was motivated. I was looking forward to university and work again.
Cue one night without finding any sleep, and everything going downhill from there. Pain flaring up, exhaustion and concentration problems spiking, and trouble sleeping for the next couple days as well (even though I was/am exhausted). I’ve always been a fighter, going to work sick, pushing through pain, somehow, even though in the past few months, I’ve come home on more than one occasion braking down crying in the elevator up to my flat when I was finally able to let go of that mask of “I’m fine”. But now I had to stop and finally admit that no, my chronic problems won’t go away if I keep ignoring them, on the contrary. They seem to take more and more control of my life.
It’s been a very hard decision, one that cost me lots of tears, to give up teaching for the time being. I realised that I finally need to push to get a diagnosis and get my problems treated if I ever want to have any kind of semblance of a normal life again.
My GP listened to me and then gave me a referral to a specialist to have the suspected diagnosis fibormyalgia checked out further. He also sent me home without anything to deal with the problems I’m having at the moment, maybe because he didn’t know how to treat me.
I’m still waiting to hear back with an appointment from the specialist, after spending days researching doctors who have any kind of experience with fibro since I don’t want to end up with someone who doesn’t believe it’s “a real illness”.
I’ve also had to deal with the very idea of having a chronic pain issue, and that many of the other things I’m experiencing on and off are not normal, but probably part of this illness, or of some other chronic condition. I mean, yes, I’ve known that I’ve had these issues, in varying degrees, for years and years, but somehow if you don’t say it out loud, you don’t have a chronic illness. You dismiss it because doctors don’t find anything wrong with you, you start doubting yourself, you may even start believing that this is kind of normal and you’re just being whiny.
So yeah, my body forced me to accept the fact that I can’t push my body to fit my life and my dreams, but that instead, I need to fit my life and my dreams around my body and abilities. And that’s hard to accept. I’ve been uprooted and I’m still kind of floating around while I try to come to terms with this realisation, while I try to finally get a diagnosis, and while I try to get the treatment I deserve and need in order to feel better.
In order to not drown in self-pity completely, I’m not quitting my university degree (a HUGE shout-out to my professors who are willing to work with me to somehow see me through), and I’ve started writing again (I need some kind of income, after all, and I can’t yet say when I’ll be able to return to teaching, and how much I’ll be able to teach then).
Still, it’s sometimes hard to shut down the voices inside telling me that I’m a lazy fraud, that I’m not really sick because I don’t have a final diagnosis to proof it, that I’m just making it up. *sigh* I guess this will be a long road I’m on, and not one I chose for myself.