Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Be Your Own Advocate

For months I was gaining weight. I was trying to eat right, and exercise, but nothing helped. I started getting migraines, vision problems, low blood pressure, confusion, tired all the time, suffering from depression. I was absolutely miserable, and losing from an attack from an opponent no one could see. I really worried I would never be "me" again and this was a new normal. Maybe it was because I was getting older, I did look a lot older recently.

I went to see doctors. More doctors then I have seen my whole adult life till now. I went to an eye doctor, who found nothing. I went to my general practitioner, who did blood work, found nothing, then sent me to another eye doctor. The other eye doctor found nothing. after that I was sent to a neurologist. She gave me medication for the migraines (with crazy side effects), did an MRI, found nothing. She was really nice, and caring, but blamed the migraines on my hormones. She said I would probably be on the medication till menopause. No one seemed concerned about the other symptoms, or why my hormones were messed up.

While all this time consuming, and expensive doctor stuff was happening, I was getting worse. I'm pretty sure people at my job thought I was on drugs. I could not think clearly, focus, listen to people when they talked, remember anything. I work in a prison as a correctional officer. It was not a place you wanted to be disorientated. It was scary, even scarier then usual.

My daily walk/run slowed down to a crawl, on the days I could motivate myself to do it at all. 

I didn't know what to do. I would tell people about it, but it just seemed like complaining. On top of not wanting to be whiny, when you tell people for months that you are sick, and the doctors don't find anything, people don't believe you. Especially when you're gaining weight. They blame stress (which obviously didn't help), PMS, hormones, and just being a wimp. Sometimes I did too. Part of me thought maybe I was going crazy, and it was all in my head.

Don't get me wrong, I am very loved. My family was as supportive as they could be, but if the doctors couldn't help, what could they do? Sometimes even I thought I was just a crazy wimp.

Then one night my husband voiced concerns that I was falling out of love with him. I wasn't myself, I was depressed, not as loving, basically a sad blob (my words, not his). We were both very upset, and I told him that I was sick, I couldn't help it, I didn't want to be this way, and no matter how much I loved him, I couldn't shake it.Which was even more depressing, because I tried really hard to ignore it, or will it away. Not just for him, but I have kids. No one should see their mom like that. I asked for help, and understanding, and he delivered. We discussed the symptoms. He thought that it sounded a lot like what his mother had. We looked up hypothyroidism on the phone, and it could not have match what was happening to me better if I had written it about me. 

A couple of days later I was feeling short of breath. I started crying to my mom because I couldn't go to the restroom without getting short of breath, and just broken from the whole situation. It was a new low. My husband stopped at the store on his way home from work and got an over the counter herbal supplement for thyroid health.

The next day my blood pressure had gone up, which doesn't sound good, but it was good for me. I was feeling better. Not long after that I stopped the migraine medication. It's been over a month now and I feel physically, and mentally better than I have felt in years. I still have a lot of stress, but I feel like I can handle it now that I am myself again.

There is no way to show everyone how much it has helped me mentally, but this should give you an idea about how it has helped me physically.

                                                             Me is September
                                                              With some makeup

                                                               Me in October 
                                                          Without makeup

The light is different, but I'm not nearly as puffy. My grades are going up, the homework and test are easier for me. My 2 mile walks are taking less time. People have even commented on how my skin looks tanner, even though I'm spending less time outside.

I wanted to write this to tell people, please, don't judge people harshly, people are sick in ways you cannot see, and ways they might not even know. Also, if you are sick, don't give up. Your life could turn around faster then you ever thought possible. The doctors could be wrong. Be your (and your family's) health advocate.

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