Friday, June 8, 2018

I Finally Have a Diagnosis... and a New Adventure

After 11 years of subpar medical attention...

... 11 years of bouncing from one doctor to another...

... 11 years of my body slowly losing energy and being plagued with new symptoms, year after year...

... 1 year and 3 months after the fatigue began overwhelming me...

... 7 months after St. Giuseppe Moscati appeared in my life and wouldn't stop popping up into my life...

... 6 months after I changed my entire medical team (doctors and hospital)...

... 5.5 months after I made the decision not to return to the SLP field...

... 3 months of waiting between rheumatology appointments...

... 3 weeks after my last E.R. visit and consequent Anointing of the Sick...

... One week after my Jesus Year began...

... 2 extra days of waiting for the doctor to call me back with an official diagnosis...

... Countless years, months, and weeks of collective prayer and we have an official diagnosis: fibromyalgia. I found out yesterday but I wanted to wait at least a day before I wrote about it to process everything.

Suddenly, everything leading up to the diagnosis makes sense.

Now I understand why God didn't want me to continue down the SLP path. It's a high-stress field... which exacerbates the physical and mental fatigue and brain fog for someone with fibromyalgia. That's why I fought hard and was always falling asleep while I was trying to finish the program; the stress was incompatible with the condition. If I had continued until I finished the degree, I would've been several more thousands of dollars in debt for a career that I wouldn't have had the energy to continue. (side note: I'm already up to my eyeballs in student loan debt for all I did manage to do.)

Now I understand why St. Giuseppe Moscati kept popping into my life. It was shortly after I asked for his intercession that I was able to transfer to my current PCP who then sent me to the rheumatologist who gave me the official diagnosis. I'm also seeing a hematologist for my low platelets and now I'm wondering if there's a connection between the two.

Now I understand why I've been having so many stomach problems... why I've suddenly developed allergies and intolerances to foods I had previously been able to eat without problems... why I need 9-10 hours of sleep per day to not feel so fatigued... why I feel every worse the day after I exercise... why my body randomly aches and why I have trouble simply standing for more than 5 minutes or even walking on some days.

Everything makes sense! Cue the sense of relief and even of happiness that we finally have an answer to our prayers!

What does this diagnosis mean for me? It means figuring out how much physical activity I can do without overexerting myself to point of physical exhaustion that will take at least a day to recover from. It means paying close attention to which foods make my fatigue worse and which I can no longer eat. It means a lot of rest and being okay with it. It means finding ways to bring and keep my stress levels down since that seems to be my biggest foe and the thing that will physically and mentally debilitate me most. It also means that I have to full rule out the SLP path and seek another career path... or find more work in the writing field since it's what I seem to do best (according to others). I want to pay back my student loans so I need to find a way to do so.

What it doesn't mean? It doesn't mean I'm broken. It doesn't mean I will always be bedridden. It doesn't mean that I can't eventually get married and have children if it's God's will for me. It doesn't mean that I can't explore other career paths. It doesn't mean that I'm forever doomed to a life confined in the house. It doesn't mean that I can't enjoy the same things I've always enjoyed; I'll just need to figure out how to do it with some energy limitations. Most importantly: it doesn't mean that I can't have a "normal" life. 

There will be an adjustment period which actually began when my doctor order that I rest as much as possible. What she suggested back in December of last year is what I have to continue doing: resting BUT not being physically inactive. In fact, it's recommended that I stay active but to figure out what my limits are and rest when I feel like I've overdone it. I also have to continue to keep my stress levels down. Doing all of that -- and eating and sleeping well -- should help tremendously.

I don't feel sorry for myself. I'm excited! Yes, I will have to change a lot of things. I can no longer Lindy Hop or hike for extended periods of time but I will still be able to do other things I've always enjoyed. I'm not seeing it as a loss of opportunities but an opportunity to explore the other gifts God has given me (and us out in the world). I'm seeing it as a brand new adventure that will enrich my life so much more than when I was "healthy."

So, whoop, there it is!

Thank you all so much for the countless prayers every time I would feel under the weather and had off days. I know all of your prayers helped me finally get my diagnosis and continued to give me the courage to keep going when I felt physically, mentally, and emotionally unable to continue. And, thank you, St. Giuseppe Moscati, for interceding for me. I'm sure our Blessed Mother also played a massive part in all of this since it happened during my consecration to Jesus through her (tomorrow is consecration day!).

Now, to quote one of my favorite soon-to-be saints, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati: Verso l'alto! To the heights! Let this new, exciting chapter of my life begin! :D

That's it for now. I hope you all had a lovely week!

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D

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