warning: this blog post talks about vomit.
It’s hard to believe that we are only two months in 2018. Honestly? So far, it has been pretty shit. I’m jokingly referring to 2018 as the year that I just get sicker. Only it’s not a joke, it’s true. I’ve spent more time in hospital or in bed than I have done anything else.
The year didn’t start off particularly well, somewhere around the second week of January, I slipped back into a mental health crisis. It’s not something that I have spoken about very much, mainly because my physical health has since taken over. But I was very depressed, looking back I don’t think I had been that unwell since my final year of uni, which was a pretty turbulent time, for me and everyone around me. This time round, the depression, anxiety and OCD turned me into a not very nice person. I became very anti-social, withdrawn, isolated…you get the picture. I hid in my room because the real world was just too scary to be part of. I missed birthdays, nights out and I wasn’t around when some of my friends needed me. The crisis seemed never ending. I didn’t have anything to work towards and everything just seemed pointless. I should have invested shares in dry shampoo because I used so much; why would I want to shower and wash my hair when it felt like the world was collapsing and likely to end, imminently.
And then there is the mess that is my physical health. Over Christmas, I started struggling with sickness. I think the point that I realised something was wrong was during a family mean in that limbo-time between Christmas and New Year. I. Was. So. Sick. Prior to that, I had struggled off and on with unexplained sickness, but this time, my body really has been taking the piss. Fast forward two months and I am still being sick. I’ve been in and out of hospital, to be pumped with fluids and anti sickness medication, had an endoscopy, been referred for a colonoscopy and after an urgent referral to gastroenterology, we are slightly closer to getting answers, although, yep, you guessed it, I’m still being sick. That gastroenterology appointment is a bit of a blur, I was being sick every 10 minutes (I was there about 5 hours in total…that’s a lot of vomit) and I really lived up to my nickname of Vomit Queen. No-one steal my crown because that’s all I’m good at right now. I need to have an gastric emptying study and that should, finally, give a definitive answer about what the hell my body is playing at. The news that I need to eat a radioactive egg sandwich for this hasn’t filled me with joy. Egg sandwiches are bad enough without adding a radioactive substance to them.
It’s all been pretty horrific and scary. When I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, almost three years ago, no one explained the condition well to me. I thought it was just a case of having unstable and wonky joints. How wrong was I?! EDS has taken over my life. It feels like I have a monster inside me, which is taking over every part of my body. Wonky joints are now the least of my worries: plummeting blood pressure, constantly being tachycardic, orally evacuating everything that I try and eat and drink is much more scary. Never in all my life did I think that I would be praying for food/drink to head south and be poo-ed out, instead of shooting north again via my mouth. Today I made the choice to formally withdraw from college. It was that or be kicked off my course (counselling skills) for poor attendance. I’m devastated, because this is yet another thing that my [lack of] health has taken away from me.
It’s been hard going for my mum as well and I think that is what I am finding hardest. When I first started to become unwell, around Christmas, I was having symptoms that closely mimicked irritable bowel disease, in particular colitis. My dad and various other members of his family have/had colitis and in my dad’s case, this resulted in him getting bowel cancer and passing away at the age of 38. So, seeing me having the same symptoms as him has been hard going for my mum. I feel so guilty seeing how exhausted and wrecked this is making her. We both share a level of relief that this is unlikely to be IBD, although the likely diagnosis isn’t any less scary.
Whilst I don’t want to make the end of this blog post sound like an Oscar acceptance speech, I do want to quickly thank everyone who has supported me through this hellish period. Because it’s been hard. I miss my old life: I miss dancing, playing netball, trampolining, not being exhausted 24/7, having a social life, being able to work, having freedom and aspirations. Thanks for sticking by me, normal service will resume at some point…hopefully.