I Am Who I Am
Just about anyone you talk to with a chronic disease will stress to you the importance of listening to your body. Your body was designed to let you know when something is amiss. Therefore, if you listen well enough you can usually figure out what’s going on and if it warrants a trip to the doctor.
My problem is that it’s not as simple as just listening. I at any one given time I’ve got a minimum of two issues to contend with. Monitoring my blood pressure and pulse rate is an all the time thing and there’s not one day that goes by that I don’t have at least one part of my abdomen hurting. So then I have to figure out what part of my abdomen is hurting and why. What disease is causing it? What can I do to alleviate the pain? On days that my blood pressure/pulse is out of whack, I have to figure out what’s causing it. Is it because I’m in pain? Is it because I tried to do too much? Is it because I’m stressed about something and if so what? These are just a few of the questions I ask myself on a daily basis. To write all of them out would probably begin to bore you so, I’ll leave it at the condensed version.
My point is that I am constantly listening to my body and trying to figure it out. It’s not easy. It’s frustrating and aggravating and there are times I cry over it. But I constantly do it. I do it for two main reasons. The first being, I don’t like being in pain and I will keep trying things until it is at more of a tolerable level. The second reason is I have to, plain and simple. I don’t have health insurance. I fall into that middle category of not being able to afford it out of pocket but according to the government, my husband makes too much money. It’s ridiculous and infuriating but, it is what it is.
My only option is to play the never ending game of “what’s wrong with me now”. If my answers point toward something I can wait out, then I do. It’s not fun. At times, it’s downright miserable but I do it. The majority of the time I deal with it in silence. I learned rather quickly that when I talk about what’s going on with my health, people around me get mad. They make snide comments, both to my face and not. They call me a hypochondriac. I’ve heard it all at some point throughout my 19 years of this nonsense.
I don’t tell anyone what’s on my mind until it starts to really concern me. Even then, I ease my way into it saying something like “it’s kind of odd that X is pretty normal but X is giving me problems.” I then judge what I say next based on their response. If they are receptive then I continue on as why I think X is giving me so many problems. If they’re not or get mad, I drop it and don’t bring it up again. The only exception I make is when the issue at hand gets unbearable and I’m asking to go to the emergency room. I understand, by that juncture, whatever is ailing me is usually to the point I have to be admitted. Again, I don’t have the luxury of popping up at the doctor’s office whenever I like to keep a tab on things. My only choice is to wait and see.
I write all this not to sound woe is me. I write this because I know that I am not alone in this. I know other chronic sufferers have had to endure the same judgments and harsh words. I write this to let those people know that they are not alone. I also hope that maybe it will provide some understanding to the loved ones of people like me. We don’t choose this life. It’s the hand we’re dealt and we each cope in our own way. We deserve a little respect, if only because you say that you love us.
I am who I am. Don’t judge me.
**Listening to Apocalyptica**