I found out yesterday that my therapist of almost a year is having to retire because of her health. This has been an interesting turn of fate. Especially since this therapist was there when I faced my biggest demons this past year. Because of her support and the safe space she gave me, I finally found the courage to change my name and fully step into ME.
I will miss this therapist. She wasn’t the one I would have chosen from the list I was given, she was chosen for me, and she was perfect for me. She gave me the strength to listen to myself and stand up for my dreams and desires and needs. I have learned how to navigate the bizarre and twisted paths of my memories and have learned to not be afraid of my younger self. During our session yesterday, I mentioned how much more aware and awake I am now. And I have a fair amount of regret for the me that existed when my oldest was born and for the first two years of his life. I was so numb and traumatized from his birth that I can’t remember what it felt like being handed my firstborn and holding him for the first time. I can’t remember what it was like for the first year of his life. He is an incredibly strong and independent and stubborn being. He is not cuddly and not very affectionate, and I feel like I am to blame for that at times. On the other hand, I’m like that – because of my past trauma. My youngest is my cuddly child and I’m so okay with that.
I regret not being present during the first half of my oldest’s years old life. I wish I could have been where I am now. But I also know that I wouldn’t have been able to handle learning the truth about my past living only minutes away from the man who abused me. It was already killing me living that close not even knowing about those missing memories.
My therapist pointed out that from my oldest’s age and on he will only now really be able to remember what happens from this point forward. I’m in such a different [better] mental space now and I feel like I am present for my children’s lives.
One week ago I was in the ER. I went in because on my pain scale (I don’t fit the normal 0-10 pain scale…I have at least 0-13…thanks chronic pain.) my pain was easily 11 or 12. I was shaking, felt like maybe I had a kidney infection, and I was having a hard time staying mentally aware. I have never been to the ER. But I have felt that kind of pain before…many times. Just not that bad. I grew up being told my pain was in my head. The only reason I went in to the ER was because when I called the on call obgyn she said go in, it sure sounds like I had a kidney infection. But the entire time I drove to the ER, then as I sat there, I kept questioning myself. Even though my hands were shaking, I couldn’t focus, and in fact me, the detail oriented person who rarely misses a thing, completely missed that they had screwed up my last name and didn’t know until Phil came to be with me and they couldn’t find my name in the system. On the plus side I had an awesome nurse; he was tall and had a full head of shaggy red hair and an amazing beard and he was so laid back it helped calm me down.
I kept waiting for the doctor to laugh me out of the room and tell me that it was all in my head. Even as she stood there, taking me seriously, and expressing grave concern that I was either dealing with appendicitis, or an ovarian cyst. She said with no hesitation that she was going to send me for a CT scan. The nurse came to get for the scan and as I was wheeled down to the CT scanner, I continued to second guess myself. Nah, I really don’t feel all that bad (as I held up my shaking hands in front of my face). As I had seen my youngest get a CT scan I knew mostly what to expect. But getting injected with contrast dye was so weird. I was wheeled back to my room, and sat there to wait for my doctor to come back in. While I waited, the pain in my side suddenly intensified even more and I felt a burning sensation spread across my stomach. Then most of the intense pain was gone. I almost called my nurse in, but my body oddly no longer felt “sick.” I didn’t feel like I had a bad case of the flu or like my body was wracked with a high fever.
The ER doctor came in and said I had a large cyst on my right ovary. She ordered an ultrasound as she was really concerned that it was twisting my ovary. Once I had the ultrasound, she came back and said well it looks like it ruptured! I’m certain the burning sensation was it rupturing. I was sent home with orders to follow up with my regular obgyn in two months. But I’m seeing my OB next week. I’m not going to wait that long. This year I have promised myself that I’m going to get the answers and help my body needs. My body has been sick for most of my remembered life and it’s time to try to heal it.
Every medical interaction I’ve had with doctors related to my care out here has been some of the best I’ve ever experienced. I don’t have parents privately pulling aside doctors and telling them all that I was feeling was just in my head. I don’t have parents who refuse to advocate for me or take me seriously. I have learned how to advocate for myself. And if there’s anything the past year with my youngest had taught me, I have a strong and loud mama bear voice when it comes to health and I know how to research, I know how to ask the right questions, and I sure as hell know when not to take “you’re fine” as an answer.
Did you know that I can’t remember what it’s like to wake up in the morning and actually feel good? My supply of daily spoons has been lacking for a long time. After getting my gallbladder out two years ago this month, I was able to heal to a certain extent. But having that removed only showed that there is something else significantly wrong with my body. I’m 26 years old, I shouldn’t feel like someone 3 times my age. I know that most of my physical issues are directly related to my childhood and the trauma and physical abuse I endured. I’ve wrestled a lot feeling like it was my fault, like I should have done something different, that I was just lazy, and weak. I’ve felt for a long time that maybe it was all just in my head and I have become numb to how much pain I’m in all the time. But having a medical professional not only take me seriously, but become more concerned than I was about my own health’s condition, made me do a double take. Maybe my health really is as bad as I should think it is?
Mentally, I am finally feeling less trapped and numb and guarded. But that’s only serving to highlight how I’m barely surviving most days physically. I am very specific about what I spend my carefully guarded limited amount of spoons on. This one simple line of text has continued to stick with me;
I don’t know what my personality is. Not only am I deeply affected by this, it’s making me aware of how much my physical health has inhibited so much. I’m itching to break the pain cycles. I once again am allowing myself to have hope that maybe one day I’ll actually feel good and not only good, but my health will no longer being the first thing on my mind.