I’ve been majorly busy playing host to a various omnibus of illnesses and consequently, I have seriously neglected my artwork. The last Work of Art assignment was to create a street art (of which I’m a HUGE fan) inspired piece. I managed to work out a raw sketch for what I wanted to paint before my immune system took an unapproved vacation from my body. And where I’m finally starting to feel better and get my schedule somewhat on track, I haven’t quite found the energy to put this down on canvas. But maybe posting it here on the blog to be all up in my face will give me the push I need to finish this piece. Because I have a feeling I’m going to fall madly in love with this one. I’m already smitten with the raw sketch.
When most college students are stressing over how to put themselves through school or (after the fact) pay off their college loans, I was dropping tens of thousands of dollars on medical bills. After three-and-a-half years of extensive medical testing, on top of about five trips to the ER per year (and a couple more years for good measure), I paid off the last of my medical debt. Most people upon such a feat have something to show for years of responsible budgeting like a diploma or a car. I got a diagnosis.
Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome has no cure, so I’ll be spending the rest of my life managing the symptoms, managing my lifestyle to prevent the symptoms, and treating the affects the illness has on my body. Even after finally getting a diagnosis, it took me many more years to assemble a team of doctors capable of keeping up with what my body goes through on a daily basis. Now that they’re assembled I have to see them fairly regularly to keep my body functioning. Or at the very least, keep my body functioning from a pain free point of view. I keep myself functioning on my own pretty damn well, but it comes with daily aches and pains. If I want to live a life without those aches and pains, I have to stick to a strict regimen of weekly appointments with a Chiropractor and Acupuncturist. As well as monthly appointments with a Psychiatrist and regular check-ups with my GP (this does not include check-ups with my Gastroenterologist, trips to the Dentist or exams and contacts from my Ophthalmologist).
I have incredible health insurance coverage which is a major blessing. But even so, the regularity of my appointments coupled with the fact that some of these doctors aren’t covered by insurance is causing the medical costs to add up again. And this time rather rapidly. I’d finally gotten to a point in my life where I wasn’t spending every penny I owned on living and I was able to start saving again. But now. Now I’m having to dip into my savings to pay for an 85% pain free lifestyle and I’m wondering if it’s worth it. I’m running out of money and I’m stressed about my own personal finances again in a way I haven’t been since college. Stress is an aggravator of my illness. So here I am in this vicious cycle of, yeah, where I’ve been experiencing far less pain and discomfort than what I’ve been through in the last nine years, I’m also creating a constant stress that deeply impacts my body’s overall well being. So is it really worth it?
What would you do? Would you spend $520 and nine hours every month to live in a relatively pain free existence? Or would you rock out your management on your own as you’ve been doing for years and actually spare yourself a lot of stress and financial loss, albeit with the daily aches and pains? And if your answer happens to be in favor of the former, would you like to give me a job that makes me a shit-ton of money? Thatbegreatthanks.
Yeah… I know. I have this blog thing that I’ve been neglecting. It’s not so much that I don’t have anything to write about because, BOY HOWDY do I have all kinds of material. My life is anything but boring. I’ve simply had no motivation to be here. Where I am going about my regular, crazy-hectic life per usual, I’m really having to push myself through it. My health has been taking a nose dive as of the last couple of months and I’ve been putting everything I have into fixing it. I’m seeing new doctors, not the least of whom is a Psychiatrist. My first time ever dabbling in the mental health maintenance.
Without getting too involved: I’m a straight-up bad-ass when it comes to battling what it’s like to live with a chronic illness. It’s in my nature to be so determined to have a life around it. But the last few months or so, the instinct to do so has lessened and I’m now having to make a daily conscious decision to push my body through each day. It’s mentally and emotionally exhausting. Hence, throwing in the white towel and visiting with a Psychiatrist. I really don’t have anything to say about him yet as we’ve only met once so far. And long story short, the medication we’re trying isn’t helping so much as it’s making me more sick. Really sick. So yeah… that’s where I’m at right now: Somewhat frustrated and generally feeling like I’ve been run over by a dump truck.
On the positive though, we are working toward a solution (or multiple solutions for that matter). It’s just a long battle with few to no immediate results. It’s not leaving me with much time to update here. But I am here. I’m still kicking. Illness(es) aside, life is most excellent.
Exactly one week ago yesterday, I was sitting across from my latest doctor as he dropped the bomb on me that I was to give up drinking coffee. For at least a few weeks. And when he, along with a handful of disaster relief workers were finally able to talk me off the ledge from which I was precariously dangling, I managed to oblige the asshole sweet doctor. I recall responding to him firmly, and with confidence saying, “If you tell me that I need to give up coffee for this treatment to be effective, I’ll do it.” When internally I was actually experiencing something comparable to the movies Armageddon and Titanic meeting up for drinks, which in turn ended with Armageddon following Titanic up to her hotel room and nine months later Titanic pops out a baby comprised of nothing but absolute terror and panic and death, with the voice of Celine Dion. That baby is what I went through in my sweet doctor’s office that day. Minus Liv Tyler’s lips and Kate Winslet’s boobs. IT WAS THAT AWFUL.
Cut to the next day, my first without coffee, and DEAR GOD did I want to die. There are no words to accurately express what my body went through. Not to mention, what my brain went through. For example, I give you one of my many effed up text messages from that day:
“I think I’m dying. Unless the bright light I’m seeing is an alien unicorn ship attempting to make contact with me. In which case, please disregard this message. But seriously, I’m pretty sure it’s the first one. Caffeine withdrawals are a bitch.”
They just kept getting worse. And poor Rhonda. Poor, poor, wonderful Rhonda. I should buy her a Disney Princess or something equally as magical for putting up with me that day.
But, hey! It’s been a whole week without coffee and I’m surviving! Turns out, one caffeine pill each morning and copious amounts of hot tea will do the trick. And dare I say it: I feel better. I HATE (am seriously and with all of the conviction in my body, using the word HATE) to admit things like, I’m sleeping better. And I have more energy. And I feel a little less exhausted. And my tummy is happier. That asshole sweet, SWEET doctor of mine was right, which means I now have to buy him a Disney Princess, too (this process is getting rather expensive). And now that I’ve seen what the grass is like on both sides of the fence, I’m tempted to stay off the coffee for good.
I KNOW. Pack for the apocalypse people, it’s coming.