Monday, June 26, 2017

It is my Own Fault ... an awakening !

Without fail, every chronically ill person is asked “But you don’t look sick” and every cancer patient universally knows they have cancer before the diagnosis.  I seem to have filled my head with inconsequential things. Is sick supposed to look like these downcast people begging at the robots or walk around with a sour face all day.  It is those who are sick that really live and those who have health, forget to live.
People don’t like to hear negative things and most want to only view the good things like what restaurants, coffee shops and general good pics of braai’s and weddings.  Who would want to see what it is really like for thousands of people who have cancer or another misunderstood, little-known about rare disease with no cure?  It makes sense that these rare diseases are called orphan diseases by the medical profession.  No one will fund research for a disease that affects only 1 in a million.  We just become the cadavers that will have autopsies to see if that adds anything to the science of medicine.  But despite this all, the only outlet I have to communicate with the outside world is through social media. 
 I had an awakening when I realized that it is my own fault that no one understands why I am not well.  It is because I fake being well so well that I could win an Oscar.  I fake being well so that I cover up a shameful illness – shameful because it is so rare that only 1 in 10 million have it and no one knows anything about it. Discovery told me that out of their 3 million clients, I am the only one with this dreaded disease.   I know more about it because I am a participating patient.  I do not just lie there being a patient and allowing the doctor to shrug his shoulders or send me off with a prescription and telling me that he will pray for me.  Every event, whether it is being pushed in a wheelchair (which I call my wheelbarrow) through Woolworths food market, or going out to an outdoor coffee shop where there won’t be many people so I don’t have to wear a mask, or to visit my mother but before I do I have to make sure I do nothing else beforehand so that I don’t turn that one visit into a vomiting sick event.   I also want to be out there in the coffee shops, out there in the sunshine mixing with friends and associates.  I too want to be able to plan something, knowing that I will be well enough on that day to do whatever I have planned.  I too want to wake up just one day feeling good.  Just one day!  I fight every day – to just get through the day, sometimes taking it moment to moment and other times when I am lucky taking it one hour at a time.  There are some things that make it even harder to bear living with a condition that is life-threatening:
·        A cold for you is a nuisance.  A cold for me is life-threatening
·        Every infection I get I wonder if this is the one that will kill me
·        People tell me “But you look so good, you can’t be ill” as though I am making a mountain of a molehill.  Don’t people know what steroids do to one’s body?   We are no longer skinny and slim but the product of Mr Michelin and Mrs Oros
·        I can’t plan anything in advance because I don’t know how ill I will feel in an hour from now let alone in a week’s time so friends forget about me – the person me and not the social media me.
·        I have very few people I see because the circle of friends moved on and left me behind
·        Every moment I am in the company of someone else I put on a show of being normal that could easily win me an Oscar Nomination
·        No one knows that my every word, my every action and sometimes my thoughts drain me of life-giving energy
·        I have spent more time in hospital over the last 7 years than I have spent at home
·        My body has changed so much that I do not recognise myself.  My hair went grey overnight and a vertical hernia down my abdomen makes me look 12 months pregnant.  So other people see me as a fat, grey-haired old woman when inside of me the fire of living still burns bright.   My body no longer fits my spirit
·        I feel guilty because my mother at 84 looks after me when I get bad.  It should be the other way around.
·        I am so tired of pretending I am well that I am withdrawing into myself and becoming a hermit.  I live alone inside my head and what goes on in my head I share on FB or I blog.
·        I am tired of people telling me to get well soon – I want to scream at them and tell them I will never get well but I don’t.  They mean well.
·        I am tired of doctors that don’t care – who brush me off with a prescription for the new symptom I have.   I want a physician who is interested in this rare disease. I have been everywhere in this country and we don’t even have an immunologist.
·        I want people to know that I have overwhelming fatigue – not just tired, but overwhelming that sometimes it takes too much energy to talk or even to breathe.
·        One reason I write about my illness is because so many others are in life-threatening conditions and they need a buddy too; so I run support groups for others so they don’t feel like they are paddling up shit creek without a paddle – that there is someone in the boat with them.

·        I see a world that needs love – a reflection of me.