Where the hell have I been?! That is the question I’ve gotten most often since my last post. Online acquaintances, family, friends, and classmates. At times I stop and for a moment get lost in my memories while asking myself that same question. I’m left with the feeling of uncertainty and usually shrug my shoulders.
I knew this year was going to be important in my life. Although there have been many changes, some bad, but most good, I’ve come to see this as my year for life changes. For the first time in my 43 years I was able to fully embrace myself this year. I was able to put down my walls and trash my fears so that I could be the person I really am and show it without anxiety. The summer, although insanely busy with two intensive semesters, proved the perfect time for me to step out from underneath my rock and test some of the boundaries I’d previously been afraid to acknowledge concerning my gender. The first week I began binding in public, I was quite nervous and my anxiety levels were through the roof. Now, it doesn’t phase me at all. I really don’t pay much attention to whether my classmates or my professors look at me and wonder — it that a man or a woman?! I don’t think twice about how fat I am, or how my body doesn’t feel right. Once I began binding most of those fears simply disappeared.
I’ve had bouts of the blahs since I was sick with swine flu a few years ago. My immune system took a terrible hit and my body hasn’t been the same. I have been dealing with periods of intense joint and muscle pain at least once or twice a month since then. It usually goes away in a few days and I feel fine. It’s almost as if I can feel it coming on and know that my body is trying to tell me something, which I interpreted as “slow down”. I would rest a few days and all was back to “normal”.
A week before the fall semester started, these same symptoms started. I was glad it was happening before classes started back, but when the symptoms stuck around much longer than usual and the pain/discomfort elevated to levels that left me in a lot of pain and with little sleep, I decided to go to the doctor.
I am an Internet junkie. I love the Internet. I’m online a lot normally. When I started feeling so bad that I was not able to get online, and then was in so much pain that I had no desire to get online, that was a big red flag for me. Fatigue set in and the simplest tasks became unbearable…including lying down.
After the first set of tests came back showing that some levels were elevated that pertained to inflammation, I was given a whole slew of meds. Painkillers to help me sleep and alleviate pain and anti-inflammatory pills to help with inflammation. I am not a fan of taking medication in the first place, but when you’re in so much pain that you begin questioning whether you’ve actually gone insane or what might be the best way to saw you own leg off to get some comfort, you will take anything!
The second set of tests came back to indicate that I have fibromyalgia. All this time I thought I was having joint pain, it was really nerve and muscle pain. My meds were changed once again and I was scheduled to see a rheumatologist the first week of October. The medicine they gave me to control the nerve pain is actually a seizure medication. It helps take the edge off the pain, but doesn’t take it completely away. I’ve been left to deal with high levels of fatigue, nerve pain that affects most of my body, and other symptoms.
Earlier this year I visited a audiologist who informed me that I had low-frequency hearing loss. While not quite ready for hearing aids yet, it’s something I have to look forward to in the next few years I’m sure. I was certain I had screwed my hearing by listing to heavy metal blasting in headphone or at rock concerts most of my life, but to my relief, the doctor informed me that aspect of my hearing was perfectly normal. Either way, I was given a nice talk about how to manage with a hearing disability.
I can’t help but think that now I’ve finally come to a place where I am ok with my body and ok with my gender that now my body starts to fall apart! WTH?!
So, now you know where I’ve been. I’m hoping to be back in the swing of things soon and thus bugging the shit out of everyone again!