Denial Ninjas and the Road to accepting my life with Chronic Illness


"You were BORN sick" my mother said to me over the phone a few years ago now. Id been telling her of my illness saga and that was all she could really say. My birth parents lost custody of me right before my 5th birthday so she was mostly clueless as to what my life had been and yet there was no surprise in her hearing of what I was going through and with that phrase "You were born sick" I suddenly realized something about my life that id hidden even from myself, Id been in denial about being a lifetime sick person.
Like how does that even happen? In hindsight I can say, How does a person not notice they have been sick for nearly 30 years? Ninjas!!! Ok maybe not Ninja's but that would make this whole story easier to explain. So how do I give you a bit of history without boring you to tears?



The cliff notes (But still a lot) version goes a little something like this:
At 18 months I was hospitalized with a near deadly case of the measles, while visiting my grand parents. I lived in New York with my birth parents, both severely mentally ill and unknown to me until recently my mother was also suffering from chronic illness's as well. Various types of abuse came to light and I was placed in foster care.. I spent roughly 9 months in foster care where I can recall being sick numerous times in different foster homes.

At 5 I moved to South Carolina where my amazing Grandparents on my fathers side adopted me.
I did fairly well until I started my period at the age of 10, after that I was sick regularly and began missing lots of school.  I was 12 when my birth father tried to commit suicide and I was also dealing with more then one #metoo moment at that time and I broke. I had a full mental breakdown in school that landed me in a medical leave home school situation where a teacher would teach me independently outside of the school environment. It was just what I needed physically and I had to do this medically a number of times during my school years.

As I started into my teens id wake up dizzy and nauseous almost every morning, Id have to miss the first half of school most days, My poor mom (grandma) was being put thru the ringer with the school system about my absentees , she and I went to Drs sometimes 3 out of 5 days of the week for months on end. Periods were a problem, eating was a problem, medications were a problem heck, Living was a problem (not all that unlike now), I started having migraines, I ended up with severe back pain and could barely walk and went thru physical therapy and more Drs, ended up in the ER when we went on vacation as a family, had surgery , and more ER visits..
At 16 I  finally quit school because I just couldn't take it anymore. My mental and physical health were in decline and we had been to therapists, GP's ,specialists and everything in between.  Id had Mono, Scoliosis , Muscle instability, Ulcers, PTSD ,Behavioral and Social Problems, Allergies and the list literally goes on and on.
So how come when I looked back on my life I couldn't see it?? If you said that river in Egypt, you'd be right. Though I'm still onboard with blaming ninjas.



By 18 my health had vastly improved, though id had a stroke from birth control pills and was struggling with that whole birth control thing that lots of young women struggle with, nothing terribly out of the ordinary. The relative good health lasted into my early 20's and as far as I was concerned all those things of my youth were just a thing of the past MORE DENIAL . I mean come on that was just kid stuff and I was better now.....mostly.... right?


Nope! At 24 in the best shape of my life, doing a job I loved, and thinking about building a future with the love of my life I started getting severely sick after eating once again, along with pain, nausea and the projectiles from both ends. After a bad night in the ER the Drs decided it was Gallstones and that id need to have my gallbladder removed, so in 2007 I had the removal.. I woke up after the surgery and as dramatic as it sounds was never the same again. The change in the way I felt was so dramatic that in my mind THIS was the start of my health issues. Though it really wasn't, I just couldn't understand how I could come out feeling worse then when I went in. Everyone had told me how much better I would feel after surgery, but I didn't. I was devastated and fixated on the "Good" life id had before the surgery.


It's been 11 years since that surgery , my health situation has continued to decline since then, more Drs and more Diagnosis's. Best of all more growth here are a few things ive come to understand during the last few years:
Just as my birth mom said, I WAS born sick and I couldn't hide from that forever.
Remission can coexist alongside denial, Id spent roughly 6 years of my life in remission and didn't recognize it for what it was. 
Bitterness can coexist alongside acceptance. I can accept the hard stuff but I don't have to like it.
You still have to grieve even if the life you thought you had never really existed.
Struggling to not let your illness become your identity is normal , its such a pervasive part of your life but the people you love will be your best resource to keep you grounded.
There is no such thing as being too young, too beautiful, too thin or too tall to be sick, even if you've been told that along with the bevy of other ridiculous things people say to the sick.
Being a sick person doesn't make you weak, though it'll make you feel that way plenty.
Being chronically ill isn't something to be ashamed of even if it makes the able bodied world uncomfortable. This is me, in my body on the good days and the bad.

In truth, I'm not yet past the grief.  I feel like I can go thru all 5 stages in a single bad day. But the denial part is over and I'm moving forward.



I guess maybe I've been the ninja in my story all along , never giving up & always fighting. I must admit I'm pretty ok with that.

til next time
How's your spoons?






Comments

EdWoodV2 said…
Absolutely loved it. What a wonderful post. Keep up the great work, my love.
mrs noname said…
I had the same realization, tracing sprains and muscle spasms back to childhood. Keep fighting lady. Love you.
beachdriven said…
I know that this post took a long time to write. But let me say that it was worth the time it took. This is an absolutely amazing post.

I for one have a hard time in telling people about myself...you know that all too well about me. And that's just telling people the good things! You have opened yourself up here and I for one think of the strength it took.

This post inspires me to be a stronger person. I am sure that many many people will also feel that way. You have taken your courage and strength and warrior spirit and through this post have inspired me to not let things bother me but to pull through no matter what life throws at me.

So not only is this an amazing wonderful read, it is a supportive, strengthing, inspiration article that I take much away from.

Thank you for sharing your past experiences. Love you and waiting anxiously for the next post.

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