I went through my fifth surgery yesterday morning. When I had another ovarian cyst a few weeks ago, I decided it was time to take a drastic measure; I went in for an endometrial ablation. Which means that the lining of my uterus was completely burned away, and my iud could be removed. My strong suspicion was that my iud was causing the cysts, especially since one of the biggest potential side effects of the iud I had was cysts. I had never had any issues with my first iud several years ago. And I really only had the iud for period management. So the only way I was okay with getting the iud removed was doing something (the ablation) that would manage periods. I wasn’t willing to keep risking my only remaining ovary with getting more cysts.
This was the third surgery I’ve been put under general anesthesia. The second one I didn’t wake up extremely nauseated from or in a lot of pain. I am hoping hoping this ablation will work and I won’t bleed during periods.
A week and a half ago, I hit a really really bad place. It was the closest I’ve come to being suicidal in years. The thing with having multiple interconnected chronic illnesses is that what may work for calming one illness down may cause another one of the illnesses to flare back up. It’s a battle of finding some sort of balance with managing all of my illnesses. I deeply hope that now that my iud is out, my body will have one less thing to deal with that contains foreign matter.
Hitting that low low place was really hard for me. Namely because I felt so alone and defeated. It was that feeling of rushing down a slide, knowing there’s a huge pit of mud at the bottom, and desperately trying to find something to grab on to to stop the falling. I could see what was coming, I knew how I had gotten to such a bad place, but I also didn’t feel like any of my catching mechanisms were kicking in.
Dealing with a singular chronic illness is hard, it’s seriously sucks. Dealing with multiple chronic illnesses is excruciating. Chronic means long term, long lasting, and even in some definitions, something that lasts for longer than 6 months (which, hahahaha, I’ve been dealing with chronic illnesses for over a decade now). Depression and anxiety are constant bedfellows with chronic illness. Not only that, there aren’t many people who can even relate or understand what it’s like to fight to get out of bed every morning, and dread going to bed at night knowing there’s a pretty high chance you won’t fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning. Oh and what about flare ups?! Battling chronic illnesses means that was may have been previously dependable is no longer reliable.
I hate making plans and then having to cancel last minute because of a damn flare up. This happens more than I’d like to admit. For those who are on the receiving end of the cancellations, understand it isn’t our fault, it’s our bodies deciding to take over and make our day hellish. This doesn’t mean we, those with chronic illnesses, don’t want to be invited or asked out for a girls’ (friends’) day out. Fighting with chronic illnesses is not something we can take a break from. We are literally at war with and for our bodies. Having people come alongside us and give us a boost on the bad days really does help.
Friendships falter and shift and end when chronic illnesses rear their ugly heads. Not a lot of people can handle hearing someone say over and over “no, I’m not okay.” It’s easier to leave the ill person in the dust and try to forget them. Those of us with chronic illnesses stop even answering the “how are you” questions. It is easier for us to tell lies than tell the truth and risk losing that friendship. That’s the thing with invisible illnesses – it’s hard for people to believe there is anything even wrong when the illness is not “visible.”
Coming out of my fifth surgery yesterday felt like my normal. I know that’s not how it should be. Having surgeries should not be normal. But I am hoping that this surgery will mean one more step towards getting my body to a manageable and mostly healthy place. I am waiting for labs to come back too, as I got 8 vials of blood drawn a week ago. I may have inadvertently messed those labs up. Whenever I’m getting labs done, I usually try to stop taking all of my supplements a few days before, and then stop using my progesterone cream the evening before getting labs done. This time, well, I forgot to stop taking my meds/supplements, and even put on progesterone cream the morning of getting labs done. I really really hope that doesn’t screw up the results.
The past 6 months has consisted of very careful counting of my spoons every day. Even still, that hasn’t been enough to keep me from falling down. My therapist mentioned a month ago that she felt like I was just maintaining and wasn’t feeling normal life ups and downs. Maintaining is my way of coping when things are really bad. Having four more chronic illnesses added to my list in the past two months has been absolutely hellish. I’ve faced a lot of anger because I’ve been dealing with these things for years, and my parents did nothing, and in fact, they sabotaged any doctor’s visits I had. I’ve been allowing myself to feel more, and I think that’s part of what hit me down so low the other week. I was finally letting myself feel the suffocating heaviness of my illnesses. Since then I’ve been up to high highs and down to low lows. Which yay? I’m feeling? I found my childhood medical records and found a lot of evidence that backs up why I’m so sick in present day. It was validating but also made me feel really sad.
Anyway, sorry this is a heavy post. My mind hasn’t been in the best place lately and I just needed to get these things out. Thanks for reading.