Reclaiming My Health Again
Hey all! This is a new experience for me as I'm a very private person. But I’m going to finally be open about my health issues because it has been extremely freeing. This huge weight of emotions has been lifted off my shoulder because I no longer have to suffer alone. Today, with the internet, I’ve been able to connect with so many people with similar experiences to mine without having to leave the comforts of my home. It would have been nice to have had all this love and support from others when I initially got sick 15 years ago. I realized that if I had shared my story beforehand, I may have helped others get through a tough time and for myself received the proper diagnosis more quickly.
So I guess it’s better late than never! With this blog, I hope to inspire others living with an invisible chronic illness that you can live a fulfilled life. That your life isn’t over because you can’t do everything you used to. I want you to know that you aren't alone. Please join me on this journey together as we live as healthy as we can and our best life!
What prompted me to start this now? About 3 weeks ago, without any warning, I collapsed and was gasping for air when I was working out at the gym. The staff called 911 and waited with me until help arrived. Frightening, right? No doubt it was since I hadn't had a major attack in over 5 years. Even through I felt like I was dying, I told the firemen calmly that I didn’t want to go to the ER. I’m sure they all thought I was crazy, but when you’ve had symptoms with no known cause for 15 years, you learn to just live with it.
I'll give a quick summary for now, but plan to write more details in subsequent posts. Way back, when I was newly college grad with no health issues (except PCOS, though I found out later I was likely misdiagnosed --- but that's another story), I planned to travel the world for a year. But that year became the sickest year of my entire life. About 1-2 months after graduating, I was walking home from the gym as l normally did (there’s something about the gym that is recurring). As I was walking up the stairs to my room, I literally fainted and passed out with shortness of breath, chest pains, and throat tightness. I was rushed to the hospital for possible lung clot since I was on birth control pills. But they couldn’t find anything wrong with me so I was sent home.
For months, I was bedridden, had difficulty swallowing, lots of stomach issues, fatigue, extreme brain fog, headaches, odd tingling and numbing sensations, couldn't regulate my temperature, and random aches/pain all over. I saw many doctors who would only look at one symptom at a time instead of me as a whole. After doing many tests, I would not meet any diagnostic criteria for anything, but doctors would just tell me I had anxiety. Let's say I was livid and just quit seeing doctors.
Now, fast forward to today. This recent flare up does not compare to my first attack that left me bedridden, but it’s definitely knocked me down to the point I can’t even drive or work. I will be giving doctors a second chance (more so at my husband's request) as I honestly don't know if I will have the strength to survive these major relapses as I get older.…
Wish me luck and hopefully something will come out of it! Maybe it will help you find your answers too. So far, it’s been more promising as the doctors are telling me this doesn’t sound like anxiety or panic attacks. It was nice to be validated that there was more going on.
I’d love to hear your stories of struggle and how you picked yourself up again!
I will get stronger again!