I have to admit, writing out those first two posts was very therapeutic. I think there are things I’ve held inside for so long that just writing them down and putting them out there really lifted a weight off my chest that I didn’t realize had been crushing me all these years. I have no idea how many people chose to read it, and honestly, it doesn’t even matter. The mere act of putting my story out into the world was exactly what I needed.
So, it’s been a while since my last post because I wasn’t anticipating how good I’d feel after the first two – but also because I’ve been rather busy. I’ve been dealing with a lot of medical things and finally getting answers to a lot of things that I’ve struggled with for a long time, which I’m so grateful for.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with constant sinus infections/head colds. I get them at least once a month, on average, and for the last few years they’ve been happening more often and more intensely. Last year I got sick for over a month and there were numerous occasions where I was so congested I actually fell over when I sneezed or coughed from dizziness.
Now, as hilarious as that was for me to tell people at the time, it’s something I’ve carried a lot of shame around because it makes me an unreliable worker and person. I am utterly devastated at the thought of letting people down and I absolutely hate having to tell someone I can’t attend/do something because I am sick (again). I know it’s something people have been frustrated with me for, and understandably so, but it was always so hard for me because I truly was horribly sick and wasn’t trying to be flaky.
One thing people may not know about me is how much I center my self-worth around my work ethic. I have worked my entire life towards creating a professional identity for myself and become a contributing employee to whatever place I work for. I’m incredibly driven and will spend every minute trying to ensure that I am making things more efficient, putting out the best quality work I can possibly do, while also adding value in some way. I’ve put myself into situations where I chose to focus more on school and work than my friendships or spending time with my family. To me, my career has always been most important to me. When I get sick all the time, I know that negates that work I’ve put in, in that it makes me appear unreliable and flaky. Calling in absolutely destroys me and I am so hard on myself when I must do it to rest and get better.
The problem with all of that, is that I really DO get sick enough that I need to call in or I won’t actually get any better. Unfortunately, there are typically consequences associated with that and it’s something I’ve always been worried about as an employee no matter where I’ve worked. No one likes when their co-worker comes in super sick and coughing everywhere but if I called in every time that happened, I’d probably get fired within a month. I’ve always been thankful for bosses who understood that I was dedicated despite constantly getting sick and seemed to understand. I’ve had my fair share of bosses who didn’t believe me, however, and they’ve only perpetuated my fear of letting others down as I’ve gone on. Thankfully, I finally have an answer that may help this problem.
About three weeks ago, I got a sore throat like I usually do, and didn’t really think much of it. After three days, however, I woke up with neck pain so horrible I couldn’t move – I mean like, full swelling in my neck and pain so bad that showering almost made me pass out. I went to the doctor and they weren’t sure what was going on so they ordered a CT and X-Ray (I had had a migraine two days before with vision obstruction). They sent me home and told me to go to the hospital if things got worse. The next day, I woke up with swelling so bad in my tonsils I was choking on them. I have never experienced swelling so bad in my life. I went to the hospital and was sent home with no more answers and was feeling very discouraged.
Thankfully, I went back to the doctor and they referred me to an Ear Nose and Throat doctor to try and get some answers since I’ve been on 4 antibiotics in the last three months due to sickness. My X-Rays showed no acute issues but did show that I have reverse lordosis in my neck that was likely irritated due to the inflammation in my glands from the sickness.
The ENT was an expensive but beneficial trip and I found out that I have a deviated septum that has been causing drainage issues and inflammation because of a spur in my left side. This is something seemingly simple but has made all the difference for me. To just know that I’m not crazy and that I have an actual diagnosis has helped me immensely. It explains so much of the things I’ve struggled with – why it happens so frequently, despite the seasons – why others weren’t getting sick when I was – why medicines weren’t working, and steroids were the only thing that would provide relief.
So now that I know that, I’m at the point where I am waiting on some blood work and go back in a month to determine if I will need surgery to correct the problem, which is likely. That is a bit scary, but for now I’m going to revel in the relief of having some answers after so many years struggling with this problem. Especially being a singer, having constant sicknesses that take away my voice has been so difficult. I hate having to stop singing because of sore throats and missing work because I’m exhausted from not being able to sleep due to coughing.
I also saw a chiropractor for the reverse lordosis and after just one treatment I am feeling so much less pain in my back and neck. I’ve felt pain so long that I honestly didn’t even remember how it felt to feel normal. I have two appointments a week for the next month to get myself into full alignment and I’m really looking forward to feeling my best after this is all done.
This has all really inspired me to continue to work towards finding the answers and correct treatments I need for the other things I struggle with. My PCOS and Thyroid issues are my next big things to tackle and I’m hoping that I will be able to come to a place where I feel like I have a handle on them. I really want to lose weight for health reasons and I am so scared I’ll have to get surgery soon if I can’t get a handle on all these things that make me gain weight and keep weight on. I’m looking into some anti-inflammatory diets right now and plan on working with a dietitian soon, but I know this will be the biggest battle I face when it comes to my health. I hope that I can make some small changes, if nothing else, and start to feel a little better.
After watching my aunt go through cancer and battle so many health challenges, I am really scared I am going to face the same struggles she did as I get older because I have a lot of the same medical issues she had, and I have the same problems with weight she did. I don’t want to keep putting off these lifestyle changes anymore, but I’m also scared that I’m not mentally prepared to do it all. Food has always been my source of comfort and giving up the things I love is not going to be easy for me to do at all. Not to mention the fact that I hate like, everything good for you. It makes it very hard for me to eat better when I barely like 4 or 5 foods. And when I say I don’t like them, I mean like once I tried to eat salad for 5 days in a row and literally gagged while consuming it. That’s how much I hate a lot of foods.
So right now, I’m focused on doing some research and trying to motivate myself to find a way to get to the gym every week, even if its just to walk for a while. If I can do that, I’ll move to the next phase and see where it takes me.
But since my last post, I’ve made a lot of progress in my 30 things in my 30th year list and I’m pretty proud of that. Here’s a recap of what I’ve done so far:
- Do something that scares me
- I posted these blog posts for everyone to read some pretty personal things about me.
- I told a boy that I liked him, flat out, even though it terrified me. He didn’t want to pursue a relationship, but that’s okay because honestly it felt great to just say how I felt for a change instead of wondering where things were going to go.
- Make a concerted effort to be more financially responsible
- Try a little harder at my appearance (i.e. style my hair, maybe wear makeup)
- I wore makeup to work on Friday and everyone was so shocked haha
- Read ALL THE BOOKS (or at least 50)
- Currently halfway through my first book of the year and I’ve joined two book clubs!
- Write more often – feelings, fiction, prose, doesn’t matter – just do it
- Counting these blogs as part of this because it’s felt great to write these.
- Pay off a student loan
- Paid off my first one yesterday! It felt so great and now I just want to pay off even more!
I’m thinking that for my next post, I’m going to start a series on diving into relationships that have defined me in some way. I’ve been thinking a lot about my love life and future and the road blocks I face, and I think that exploring my past relationships with boyfriends, friends, family and others will help me work through those. I guess we’ll see how I feel and where that will go but, in the meantime, I just want to say thank you to all of you out there for taking the time to read these things and talk to me about the posts I’ve shared. It means a lot to me. I hope they help you as much as they’re helping me.