To say that this journey began on the 23rd of January, would be incorrect. I’ve been on an unknown journey for the past year. Only on the 23rd did I begin to get an idea of what type of journey this was. I’ve been battling something in my body. I had no idea what was going on. I just knew that I didn’t feel right, and that my body was a little “off”. I was experiencing SEVERAL symptoms.
Throughout my entire life I have been an extremely healthy person. Very active and fit. No broken bones. No major surgeries. I’ve only earned a few points from getting my wisdom teeth removed! I’m a vegetarian, so I really don’t eat too much junk. The biggest thing I’ve fought has been something nearly every woman fights… weight. I’m not overweight. I’ve never been obese. But in my mind, there’s always room for improvement. Hence, why I often work out 3-4 times a week. Many people say we’re disciplined because my husband and I wake up at 5:30 in the mornings to get a workout in before the day. Discipline? I call that lack of any other available time in our busy schedule!!
Like I said, my symptoms began about a year ago. It didn’t all just start at once, but was rather a slow progression. I was getting more and more tired. I never felt like I could get enough sleep. But, even if I slept for 10 hours, I would still be fatigued the next day. It truly didn’t matter how many hours I slept, or even if I took naps. Pretty soon, I noticed that no matter how hard I was working out and eating healthy, I could not lose any weight. In fact, I just slowly kept tacking it on. My hair, as you most know, matters a LOT to me, so when I started noticing that it too was changing, I became more and more concerned. I’m a hair stylist, so I am aware that it is completely normal to shed hair. Your hair is always going through growth stages, and one of them is a shedding phase. What’s not normal, is to be losing hair in chunks. For it to be coming out in the shower in handfuls. I’m not over exaggerating. In fact, there were days when I would ask my husband to come in and see the amount that was coming out. He, too, agreed that it didn’t seem normal. I was having weird cramping. For you women, I can describe it as period cramps. I’ve been on the birth control pill for the last 6 years, and only until the last year, did I realize it wasn’t “working”. I switched to 3 different birth controls in the last 12 months. By not “working”, I mean, there was no way to predict when I would start my period. It would start 4 days early, 5 days late; it would last anywhere from 3-7 days. No regularity.
Because I was having all of these symptoms, I needed to figure out what was happening to me. Thus began a separate adventure through numerous doctors. I’ve been to 2 separate family doctors (several times), an Endocrinologist, and Gynecologist. None of which could identify anything suspicious. In fact, I was told by one of them that I just needed to take more vitamin D. Another said that changing my diet would cure all of my symptoms. Are you kidding me?! Needless to say, I left all of those appointments discouraged, concerned, and confused. Appointment after appointment, I began rehearsing what they would tell me… “All of your tests came back completely normal!”…”It’s great news, nothing is wrong!”…”Maybe, if you don’t eat that bagel, you wouldn’t be feeling this way.”…”Perhaps you should do a handstand every morning for 45 minutes. I bet that’ll help!” Well, you get the point.
I was given multiple tests. Urine and blood tests became a routine at every appointment. In fact, there had been many moments where I wanted them to take 100 vials of my blood and pass them out to the best doctors in the area. I was willing to reward whichever doctor could identify something wrong, with our whole life’s savings! At one appointment, I had to practically beg the doctor to allow me to get an ultrasound. Because of all these seemingly “female” problems, I felt that maybe something would show up in an ultrasound. After much prodding, she relented and sent me to an imaging center, where I received an internal and external ultrasound. Want to guess what the results were? Yep, NORMAL! I grew to hate that word. I’ve also had my thyroid checked, my kidneys (because of 3 UTI’s in 3 months), and practically every other organ tested. All of my levels continued to come back normal.
Last month, I ended up in the emergency room. I went to bed one night with minor abdominal pain that worsened overnight. So much that I didn’t sleep more than an hour. Once the alarm clocks went off to alert my husband and I that we needed to go work out, I filled him in on the previous night. It became apparent that I needed to go to the hospital. During my 6 hour stay, I was hooked up to IV’s, and had multiple pain meds to keep the pain at bay. I received another external ultrasound. They examined all of my abdominal organs. Nothing was found, nothing was determined.
Until I discovered my current Gynecologist, I was trying to convince myself that I might just be making my symptoms up. Only problem with that is, I knew something was wrong. Those thoughts of, “am I just having a crisis?” and “are these things really happening?”, soon were shot down with the recurring gut feeling that something wasn’t right. They say to trust your gut. Seriously, do. You know when something is off. You know when something isn’t right.
My advice for the day- TRUST YOUR GUT! Keep hounding the doctors if they don’t know what’s going on with you. If one doctor doesn’t give you an answer, find one that will! My “gut” is the Holy Spirit. I truly believe that God kept the desire and urge inside of me to discover what was ailing me. He kept feeding me strength and hope even when I was weak and hopeless. Had it not been for the following bible verse, I may have lost hope, and who knows where I would be today.
Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”