What was most pathetic is I almost always had to open doors with the handicap button, as the big glass and metal doors of a college campus were beyond my strength and pain tolerance. Then I'd have to limp into class, feeling about a hundred curious eyes, and fall into my seat. About fifteen minutes in, I'd have to take some sort of medication, usually for pain. My boyfriend says my pill box looks like something for an AIDS patient, and my friends joke I could open up my own pharmacy. I've sometimes have had people tell me, those close to me but who still have often failed to understand I actually have a few serious diseases, that I "should stop taking so many pills". I of course agree, but there is a little problem--I need them to live normally. As a biology nerd, I am pretty obsessed with nutrition and know that medications affect your body in many ways besides that intended; however, when medications change your quality life, lengthen it, and make it possible to do things you otherwise could not, you have to make a sacrifice and take a little poison. Yet, I digress, and I should save that opinion vat for another post! My point was simply to illustrate that even attending class was a struggle.
I sat, tried to take notes, but focus was hard. I hurt. I missed a class my first week, both times, because my first class took too much out of me. And as I was taking anatomy, I was expected to memorize endless body parts, which is taxing under normal circumstances, but impossible on pain medications. I studied for nine hours for my first anatomy quiz, and got a C. I never get a C. I wanted to stop taking the medications, and I weaned myself off them, but I ran into a barrier: I'm still in a ton of pain. On my knees, gasping, gagging, pain. And on top of that, I have started Lupron therapy and have been suffering bouts of extreme nausea and fevers. I've had days where I couldn't stomach a single thing.
Finally, it became clear. A week into my courses, I knew it was impossible. I couldn't do school right now, what was I thinking? I talked to my parents, and they agreed. They were fine with me being back in my college town, amongst friends and gaining strength to take care of myself and take care of my incompletes eventually. But doing school? Pretty much everyone who had been rooting for my recovery were frustrated by my determination to return. My doctor especially said he wasn't comfortable with me putting my body under so much strain.
So I've dropped all my classes, dropped out for the second time this year due to health problems. Problem is, sickness doesn't just suddenly stop. It takes time. My surgery recovery is going to be slow, because I was so incredibly inflamed by the time the doctors got in there. It's going to be awhile. Anyone who has an inflammatory disease knows what it's like, how long these things can take.
But on the bright side, because this crippling pain and severe bouts of sickness come and go so irregularly, I can't really engage in work or school, but I can occasionally really enjoy myself. I've camped, I swam at the water park, and I even drove go-karts. Of course I'm in a lot of pain after I do stuff like this, but the point is that if I pace myself, I can do these things. I've got to do things that are fun and social because it keeps me a little optimistic and happy.
It can be really easy to use sickness as a crutch and keep yourself secluded because you're tired. It could be so easy to sleep all the time and to stay in bed. I am tired. I'm still fighting this stuff and it makes me tired. But surprisingly, I just really want to look for the positive in this and use the 'free time' to my advantage. Maybe it sounds crazy, but I haven't had time to really bake in months and it was really fun to do that the other day. Even if I have to pace myself.
Really, if I had to complain about anything, it's that I'm tired of doctors telling me I'll feel better soon. I've heard that for years. Stop lying.