I’ve talked about many stages of illness before, but now as I face this one again, I realize just how traumatizing the waiting and pain are when you have no idea what’s wrong with you. Now I’m stuck in a gray area, waiting for another diagnosis. Holding my breath, wishing for the best but halfway expecting the worst.
A while back I thought I had just gotten the stomach flu and I did my best to ride it out, but instead of getting better, it continued to get worse. To the point where the pain was so bad that I went to the Emergency Room.
It was a long drawn out wait and my parents sat with me. Distracting me from the pain long enough until I could get a bed. I got a shot and some medications and after the CAT scan I was waiting to be told that it was in fact just the stomach flu. I had overreacted and it was just the stomach flu.
That was what I wanted to be told.
But I wasn’t.
Instead I was told it wasn’t my appendix at least or a cyst, but something was very wrong. The doctor threw out names like Crohn’s disease, celiac, a stomach ulcer, or irritable bowel syndrome and referred me to a gastroenterologist doctor. He also gave me a diet for irritable bowel syndrome in an attempt to ease the pain while I wait. Along with some antacids and nausea medications.
The truth is I’m scared of food, every eating experience is a guessing game. You would think a banana wouldn’t cause excruciating pain and nausea, but it did. An apple also kept me up all night holding my stomach in pain, while in smoothie form they’re much easier for me to digest.
I have to keep a food diary of what I eat and how I feel afterwards. Even more alarming than my current health state is the fact that I don’t know what’s wrong.
There’s always a bit of relief with a diagnosis, a certain agreement in the fact that I am not crazy. My pain is real. What also follows the diagnosis is a wave of emotions that I don’t know if I’m ready to handle right now. I felt like I was finally getting a grip and pulling myself up out of depression. Now, I’m back at the start again and feel pretty helpless.
It’s hard to write these words, but as always, it’s for everyone else out there like me who suffers quietly. The one who rides the ups and downs of chronic illness. For all of us, I will keep record of my journey. And as we always do, I will find a way to pull through.
Just give me some time.