Do you ever have those weeks where you think- “How did I survive it all and stay sane (or relatively so)?”
This has been such a week for me. I feel like I’ve been collecting medical diagnosis’- like a stamp collector but with doctors! It reminds me of a carnival barker yelling “come one, come all- get your diagnosis while they are still hot!’
The thing is I don’t feel like anyone has given me much of anything. I am the health detective on the case of ‘Rachel’s Body 2011’ and while I’m deeply grateful for my doctors, none of them would have gotten to this weeks conclusions without my copious notes, my obnoxious questions and my stubborn insistence on finding a result.
You see, the problem is many of my symptoms for both the diabetes and the eyes can and have been explained in a variety of other ways. Over the years I’ve heard everything from chronic fatigue to fibermyalgia, to dyslexia and the common cold.
My favorite diagnosis is when the doctor says ‘Just the lose the weight and you will feel better!’ As if I can waive a magic wand and ‘oh the weight is gone!’. If reading this blog over the last 14 months has taught you anything, you should be well aware weight loss is not an easy thing for me.
The most frustrating aspect to such a flimsy diagnosis is it made me feel like my lack of health was my fault, that somehow I was misusing, neglecting or hurting my body. For years I subtly bought into this idea but felt there was nothing I could do to solve the problem. For some reason 14 months ago I decided I was tired of the low energy and the fatigue and that I was going to do all in my power to fix things.
Naturally I started on the obvious route- watch what I eat and exercise. While this had some marginal results for weight loss it was not what everyone had told me would happen. In 14 months of exercising I never once felt energized, excited or good about working out. My body was constantly tired and worn out- even more so then when I had started. I expected such results for a few weeks but after nearly a year it didn’t make sense. The weight loss was also slow, slow, slow.
Let’s just say it certainly wasn’t the simple solution to a new me that everyone promised. Knowing I had done the traditional route and it still wasn’t working I began seeing my endocrinologist in January. He has been amazing and his entire office has been great at listening to how I actually feel.
In January things started to move with my PCOS diagnosis and treatment. I still believe in this diagnosis and feel strongly it is something I was born with. If you look at the symptoms they match up perfectly with the story of my life. Early maturation, unexplained weight gain, inability to lose weight, energy problems, hormone problems etc.
While this was a significant piece of the puzzle I still felt like something was missing. I still didn’t feel good. A side of me said ‘well, maybe that’s just how my body is- tired, haggard, weak?’ . However, I was not willing to give up just yet. I continued to keep track of my blood sugars and be super strict on my diet. After 3 more visits with my endocrinologist we finally had the revelation of diabetes on Monday. Like I said, the doctor may look at it as his diagnosis but I look at it as mine- my victory for my body.
The same story can be told with the eye problems. I always wondered if there was something wrong with the way I saw things but when you see a certain way since you were born its hard to doubt it. For some reason this year I asked the questions and have figured out the answers.
If you can learn anything from me don’t accept the lame answers like ‘just lose weight and you will feel better’. How lame can doctors be! Be your own health detective and don’t give up!
I can’t tell you what a comfort it is to know that this behemoth of a trial in my life was not solely my fault. I’m not saying I was perfect in my food and lifestyle but NOTHING I could have done would have solved the problem without this week of diagnosis. It really is a 20 year burden removed from my shoulders.
A burden I have felt since the first time my parents sat me down at around the age of 9 and told me I needed to lose weight and that I ‘weighed as much as some grown men’. I will never forget that moment as long as I live- immediately I went from a floating little girl to someone who was unwillingly inflicting an evil on her body.
It seemed out of my control, yet somehow the world told me it should be in my control? I will also never forget the jabs, mockery and frustrations that came in each year that followed. Eventually I worked out a self-confidence I wish all big girls had but I still deep down thought the weight and the fatigue was my fault.
Ahhh! It wasn’t. I can’t explain how much that means. I feel like shouting for joy and wish I could tell the whole world. (thank you blog for allowing me to do that!).
I still have a long road ahead of me but today I am focusing on having the most calming relaxing day I can have. After the chaos and emotions of this week I could use it! I am listening to my Enya cd and enjoying the beautiful spring day (while working of course!). I feel like I’m in the ‘vacant and pensive mood’ described by Wordsworth in his poem Daffodils. I did it! As crazy as this week has been I know it is monumental in my life and I did it! Wow! Thank you to everyone who believed in and loved me regardless of my size, energy level or other problems. You will always be my treasures.
I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o’er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of dancing Daffodils;
Along the Lake, beneath the trees,
Ten thousand dancing in the breeze.
The waves beside them danced, but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee: —
A poet could not but be gay
In such a laughing company:
I gazed — and gazed — but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.