A Battle Not Easily Won: Part 1

This is going to be posted in 4 parts because honestly, it’s not going to hold anyone’s interest that long. lol. This is part 1.

autoimmune disease

And depression, that’s in there too.

Part I: Exciting Backstory 

IIt started when I was twenty years old. Or at least, the pain did. Everything else just seemed to pile on in the midst of life drama and worsen in an abusive workplace, and it would be passed off as stress and anxiety and depression for years before nearly destroying my ability to get through the day without needing to pop some pain killers. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

When I was twenty years old, I woke up one morning and my knee hurt. I thought I must have pulled it while working or that I’d been too lazy and needed to start working out more. I never thought to see a doctor about it. It didn’t seem serious enough. Over the summer, I began jogging on a daily basis and I started lifting weights. I was sore a lot, as one would expect, but I felt more energetic and happier with my body overall, and even though my knee still hurt, I just ignored it because the pain wasn’t that bad, and it came and went whether I worked out or took a few days off to rest.

When winter rolled around, I started getting a tightness in my chest that I couldn’t really explain. It was difficult to breathe. I’ve had issues with pleurisy my whole life (if you’re not familiar with it, it’s where your pleura, or the lining of your lungs, inflame and rub against one another, making it feel like someone is stabbing you with a knife every time you try to breathe), but this was different. It was like someone had reached into my chest, grabbed a hold of my sternum, and squeezed as hard as possible–and never let go. After a while, I began to become concerned that something was wrong. I was winded when I shouldn’t have been. I worked out on a nearly daily basis. It wasn’t normal, and I finally decided to go in to a walk-in clinic and see if I had an infection.

When I went to the doctor, they made me blow into this tube that measured the force of the air exiting your lungs. Mine was not great. They just shrugged and said I had “cold- and exercise-induced asthma”, gave me an inhaler, and sent me on my merry way. It did help a bit, but it seemed like eventually, the pain just went away on its own. I never went back for a refill.

Fuck Uteri and Fuck Ovaries

I’d always suffered with really bad periods, too. I’m talking full-on depression, horrible back pain, cramps, bleeding heavily, and getting fevers and breakouts. I kept dealing with it all by just taking ibuprofen, and trying birth control pill after birth control pill until I finally found something that didn’t make me want to throw people out of windows. Or myself, for that matter.

Then I went to grad school and the migraines started. I don’t think it helped that I was in a bad relationship and probably drank more than I should have. I felt so small and insignificant. Something changed inside of me that year. I started getting worse lower back pain than I’d had in the past, and my headaches got worse, but I chalked it up to stress and my quickly downward-spiraling quality of life.

When the economy crashed and I wasn’t able to get a job, I figured my issues were caused by depression and anxiety. Pain was a normal part of my day, but I was sleeping on a friend’s couch, so I ignored it. After a nasty breakup, I moved to California. And that’s when it all started to get worse.

And Then I Joined the Circus.

Not really. But the job I started required 70+ hours a week for weeks on end, heavy lifting, and dealing with sexual harassment regularly, along with healthy doses of drama. I didn’t mind, to be honest. I made a lot of money and could support myself on my own. I had an idea that I could accomplish everything I wanted to, if I just tried hard enough, and my positive attitude did help me fit in after a bumpy start. Then, only two months later, in the summer of 2009, after another messy personal situation, several bad–no, traumatizing–things happened to me in a very short period of time. I won’t go into detail here. But suffice it to say, it broke me mentally. I went back to things I’d relied upon in the past. I thought it’d be different, given the gravity of the situation. It wasn’t.

It was about this time that my periods got pretty much out of control. One day, while leaning up against a wall on a long and physically difficult set up day for work, my left leg buckled and I felt pain shoot down my back like I’d never felt before. I sort of played it off like I was just sliding down to have a seat; it worked, because no one noticed. After that, it started happening regularly. My hips started to hurt. I dreaded my menstrual cycle more than I ever had. After a year of this, in August 2010 shortly after my wedding, a stabbing pain in my right side lingered for over a month and started traveling down my leg. I finally went in to see a doctor. But I didn’t mention the joint pain–I assumed it was the difficult work I did. I found out I had a cyst. The doctor just told me it was normal, but that I had the option to try to quell my body with a new birth control pill designed to help with migraines and endometriosis (at this time, it was just a hunch that the doctor had–I hadn’t been diagnosed.)

I cried for 18 hours straight two months later. Unable to stop myself, unable to stop thinking of horrible ways to end the crippling depression and the pain (which was still there, constantly), I went of the pill and told my doctor I wanted surgery to find out if I had endometriosis once and for all. I agreed to have a surgery in March of 2011.

Well, of course I did. I took down that story, but someday I might put it up again. It’s graphic and at the time I was contributing to some other professional site, and I realized people who are into advertising might not want to read about my crappy uterus.

Part 2 up next.


3 thoughts on “A Battle Not Easily Won: Part 1

  1. Pingback: A Battle Not Easily Won: Part 4 | Inferno of Cool

  2. Pingback: A Battle Not Easily Won: Part 3 | Inferno of Cool

  3. Pingback: A Battle Not Easily Won: Part 2 | Inferno of Cool

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