Monday, February 08, 2016

An Unexpected Turn in My Health

I suppose I am a bit of a control freak. Normally I wouldn't say that about myself. Actually I would say that I'm a fairly calm person who deals with what comes, but truthfully when it comes to certain things I want full control over the outcome and the process.

That is particularly true with my health.

I feel that for the most part that I am a fairly healthy person, and I'm deeply grateful for that.

But for the past year and a half I haven't felt myself. And so I finally dragged myself into the doctor for a check-up. And after a long chat with my doctor, she helped me identify what was wrong and what we needed to address. Thankfully it is nothing life-threatening but it is something that I can't heal myself.

Here's another thing about myself: I hate taking medicine. I'd rather "wait out" a headache than take a pill. I even struggle taking vitamins (which frankly I should be taking). I have nothing against medicine. For some reason, I'm just fight taking it. I'm a "wait and see" kind of a person.

So when it was determined that medication might need to be part of the process to feel healthy again, I was not very thrilled. But recently I did a little exercise in which I created a mental list of what I am like when I'm healthy: engaged in social activities, spending time outdoors doing things, sleeping, having energy. And I wasn't checking many of those things off the list. I knew it was time to get the help I needed to feel better.

But here's the naive part. I just assumed that I would take the medicine and over time it would address my health issues, and I would begin to feel better. Little did I realize that my journey back to good health would involve a rather unexpected turn of events.

Just a few short days into taking the medicine, I became very ill. Bed-ridden, counting the minutes, non-stop praying for relief sick. It scared me. And the symptoms continued for days. My sweet husband on one particularly bad day where I could barely talk I was so ill made the call into my doctor to see what she could do for me. But she assured him that this is often a part of this medicine's process, and that with time the symptoms would abate and I would reach that healthy state we were aiming for.

I wasn't prepared. My schedule was full of work commitments, church commitments, being a mother, being a wife, and so much more. The anxiety of my list made me even more sick. I couldn't stay asleep for more than 20 minutes and would wake with such panic at either being ill or knowing I had something on my plate and I couldn't stop worrying about what the next minute would bring.

I became exhausted. I couldn't eat. I began losing weight. I lost energy.

Every once in a while, I am starting to feel more like myself. But here's where the control freak in me comes out. The moment I feel the symptoms pass, I charge right back in full speed. And then I pay for it. Recently I tried to run an errand after having nothing to eat for 18 hours. I was purposely trying to keep my stomach empty to combat the symptoms until I could be back at home again and "be sick." But as I sat waiting at my errand, I felt myself slipping into a faint.

I'm a professional at fainting. I have low blood pressure and am easily susceptible to fainting. And I don't just faint. The minute I come to I am beyond ill and it typically lasts for a full 24 hours. So I recognize it. I avoid it. And I try to manage it as much as possible. I had to leave. I sat in my car until the symptoms passed. And then I came home exhausted.

Clearly I have no idea how to take the necessary time for my body to heal and get better. I'm not a patient patient. But I'm working on it. So I'm going to take the 4-6 weeks my doctor warned me it would take to feel like myself again and really try to cut back and rest. I'm emptying my plate of extra things. I'm not charging ahead even when I do have good days. I'll just happily accept that it's a good day and do what I can but nothing extra.

I forget sometimes to take care of myself. It's ok to say "Hey, I need some help." It's good that I sought out my doctor and am taking charge of feeling better again. It's ok that I need some time to do that. And I'm telling myself this more than anyone. I am NOT weak. I am human. And while I have so many things I'd much rather be doing right now than being sick, it is what it is and I must accept that.

Thank you for your patience, prayers, kind words of support as I work through this. I know it will be worth it when I am feeling well again. I am worth it. We're all worth the time it takes to be as healthy as we can be.

I will continue to post as I feel well and hopefully within the next few weeks I will feel well enough to do all the things I love to do--including being creative.

24 comments:

  1. Oh, Darlin! I can relate to you better than I ever imagined. I, too, resist taking medicine, including vitamins. I have been fighting cancer for nearly 5 years. The chemo is hard enough, but then it takes a lot of self talk to also take the meds for nausea, assorted digestive problems, pain meds, antibiotics, etc. I understand that they will help me feel better, but I don't easily reach for them. I also relate to pushing hard on the good days then recovering for the next 3. Take the necessary time to recover. Focus on your health above all else. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers for the best recovery possible.

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    1. Oh, Anne! You are going through SO much. You have so much courage. Please know I'm thinking about you!

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  2. You have been in my thoughts and prayers, and will continue to be. It's funny isn't it how we continue to re-define our normal as we slip further and further until we are forced to closely examine what is really going on. I wonder if that's a mom/woman thing. Take all the time you need, and know that we will all still be here.

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    1. Tamara, that is so true. I wish we could realize sooner that things aren't "right."

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  3. We are so used to be able to do what we usually do and then something happens and we need to rest and take care of ourselves, but it feels helpless I guess. Trying to control everything doesn't help too.
    I hope you will get better and feel more like yourself.

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  4. I'm so sorry to hear all that you have been going through. I found myself feeling less and less like myself a couple years ago too and later found out I had Hashimoto's disease where my antibodies fight my thyroid. I am frequently tired and have started taking a mountain of pills and supplements each day, but I give myself permission to take a nap each day when I need one and I'm feeling better than I did a year ago. Hope the nausea passes soon--That sounds so stressful on top of just being awful to live through. I'm praying for ya! Big Hugs! :)

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    1. Mendi, It's hard when live forces us to slow down. But ultimately I'm learning that is' a much healthier lifestyle.

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  5. Oh no Jen! Thank you for sharing with us. I will be thinking of you and praying for you. Your faithful readers and fans will be here when you're better. Your health is the most important thing -we can wait!

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  6. Yep, we can wait! You feel better! Don't push yourself, take time and heal! Sending prayers and hugs!

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  7. I understand the want and need to want to take care of everything and charge ahead at full speed but you're a mom Jen and if you want to be around to be there for them you have got to take care of yourself! Glad you've gotten some medical help and are taking control of the situation and getting some much needed rest. Be well!

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    1. You're right, Celeste. We can't afford not to take care of ourselves. Thank you!

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  8. Praying for better days ahead. Take care.

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  9. Take care of yourself! So often we put our own needs, wants and even health aside in our quest to take care of everyone else and do everything that needs doing. So....take care of yourself and get well. It's the best gift you can give everyone else in your life. xx

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  10. Take care of you:) Sending wishes for healthy days ahead!

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  11. Jen,

    I'm so sorry to hear that you have been dealing with health issues - no fun!

    Like you I am a go-getter who will rarely stop, even if I don't feel well. It's not until my body simply totally breaks down that I stop and pay attention to it. And this is even after my mom reminding me, again and again, that my body is telling me to take some time off, to slow down. (Yup, Moms are often right!)

    I do hope you start to feel healthier after taking some time to let the meds work and your body recover.

    And just in case you are tempted to "come back too soon," we'll be keeping en eye on you! ;)

    Steph

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  12. I think that it is especially hard for mothers to put themselves first but as a lot of us find out, we have to sometimes. Take the time you need to become well again and be kind to yourself. You deserve it! And it will give your family and friends the opportunity to pamper you a bit!

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  13. Praying for you to have healing as well as patience with the process. Take care and let others help you so you can get back to everything sooner. I can only imagine how hard this is to do. (((hugs)))

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  14. Please take care of yourself Jen! You're my favourite designer and I need you! (Selfish of me I know...lol) But seriously I will pray for your speedy recovery and that you're back to yourself in no time. Take care!!

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  15. Take care of you. :)

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