It has been an interesting couple of months, to say the least.
For the entire duration of my life up until recently, I have been a very healthy person. As a child I remember having few colds–other than the occasional tummy-aches and sniffles that come along with a burgeoning immune system, I wasn’t the type of child who could easily be confined to bed. Even in the second grade when the flu hit me and I had to stay home from school for a week, I was up and around to the best of my ability, and was happy when my mother went to school and got my class work so I could have something to do (I remember it was in February, Black History Month, and some of my work involved learning about some Black historical figures, a topic I have always loved). I have NEVER had a serious single illness, nothing consistent, nothing that affected my ability to work or go about my daily life.
It started off with symptoms that I easily dismissed. I opined that certain things just come with age. I was exhausted all the time-not the type of sleep-deprived exhaustion, but a tired-muscle-type exhaustion. My muscles felt like they were getting weaker. I started getting headaches-occasionally at first. I was leaking urine and having bowel problems. I know, TMI, but it’s life, and it happened. Despite my expansive vocabulary and love of language, I often had difficulty finding simple words to interject into sentences, and stumbled over others. The final straw occurred during one Monday at work, when I found my head SPINNING, and was having a hard time explaining new patient paperwork that I have presented to hundreds of patients. I scheduled an appointment with my doctor, who ordered an MRI. The MRI came back clear.
Yet the problems persisted and got worse. Now my headache is constant. It feels like there is a weight in my head ALL the time. I stumble almost every time I try to stand or walk. My hands and arms feel weak. My grip is not tight. I have occasional pain in my extremities–right now there is a slight pain in my lower right leg. My brain always feels foggy. Someone can tell me something multiple times and I still need reminders. I am forgetting things I should have firmly etched in my mind.
Now the symptoms differ from one day to the next with two exceptions–the headache/feeling of a weight in my head and the balance problems. Some times I might have difficulty smelling or tasting. Some times my extremities ache or feel weak. I keep veering to the left. There are other symptoms that are too personal for me to put on this blog, but they are devastating. My short-term memory is a joke. As of now I am being treated for chronic intractable migraines and have a couple of medications I have to take–which I detest, I do not care much for having to take meds regularly to sustain my quality of life, but I am willing to give it a shot–and have just been informed that it may take three weeks before I see any positive effect.
In the meantime my family is concerned and I feel like I can’t even truly, fully explain to any of them what I feel like on a regular basis. How can one say “I just don’t feel like myself” and expect people to understand? Do I really want to run down a laundry list of problems to everyone and then say it is migraines? Nah. I have been referred to a couple of different specialists, and for the sake of identifying or ruling out other problems, I will go, but my major focus is on how I’m supposed to live my daily life with these myriad symptoms.
In the midst of it all, God is good. I am lucky to have health insurance that covers the tests and appointments I have. I am lucky to have a supporting family that is pushing me (sometimes to my chagrin) to take care of myself. I am happy that I will be protected by FMLA laws while I try to work this out. I still have the (sometimes limited) movement of my limbs and correct state of mind regardless, and until I can no longer I will always praise God in the middle of it.
(Image from http://www.masterfile.com)