“The good news is it’s curable. It will take a year and a half to two to fully heal but you will feel better than you did when you were a teenager,” said the 72-year-old cellular biologist and nutritionist on the other end of the phone.
These words came just after I put a time limit on how much longer I was willing to endure the symptoms I was experiencing. Allow me to paint you a picture to which, sadly, many of you can relate. Brain fog like I took a sleeping pill that doesn’t wear off. Thoughts get stuck in the mud that is my brain. The mud creates a heavy pressure against the front of my head and atop my eyelids. Sometimes it feels like a vice is squeezing my head. Fluid constantly drips from my nose. So much so my partner says “you have a puppy dog nose.” At least, some cuteness is attributed to my snot faucet.
The neurons in my muscles feel like they need wheel chair assistance to get from one synapse to the next. Often times, they just stop midway to take a nap – bonk. The evenings bring an increase of flu-like symptoms. Aches creep into my shoulders and neck. I can’t get comfortable. In bed, I start to understand what restless leg syndrome must feel like. Maybe it’s that feeling I would describe as my nerves short circuiting or zingers shooting up my leg? Eye floaters, you mean everyone doesn’t have eye floaters?
On an okay day, I muster the energy to put on clothes that aren’t laying by the side of the bed. On a good day, I wash my hair. On a super frisky day, I shave my legs. Oh, what a treat for my boyfriend! To gauge how well I feel he asks “Did you shave your entire leg?”
Fortunately, the bad days I am about to explain are disappearing or have disappeared. Having the flu-like feeling where I don’t have the energy to stand. Getting out of bed feels like a monumental task and upright activity, if I am so lucky, is punctuated with naps. To add insult to injury, when I am bed ridden and can’t sleep (which was and still is often in the wee hours, but, hey, why not make my blogging debut at 3:45 a.m.?!) I am stuck in bed with biochemistry so out of whack from a malfunctioning gut that doubles me over in pain, burns, bloats, whirls, and farts that I feel crazy. Crazy mad, crazy sad, crazy over-it-all, crazy stressed no matter how positive I try to be. Even with years of mindfulness and life-coaching study, I describe it to friends as what I would imagine trying to meditate on a bad acid trip would feel like. Maybe I just wasn’t good enough at meditation or maybe the etiology of my symptoms began at such an early age meditation was too subtle to overcome the decades of physical detriment? Maybe, I just had not learned my lessons – yet.
Please stop you may be asking. It’s torture just listening to this. I agree. Let’s try something else. How about this doctor or that one or that PhD? Nope. How about that healer? This has got to work – nope. Maybe a month-long trip to India for panchakarma, yoga and meditation is the trick? I seem better – nope. Maybe this diet, that herb, this mental toughness technique – phew, that’s exhausting! After some rest, what about trying… dammit, I am out of money. Now what?
Okay, I’m sure you get the picture so let’s leave that in the “the best lessons are the hardest lessons” bank. I am collecting a ton of interest! For those of you who have had similar experiences, I have compassion for your plight and wish you the strength to find the knowledge you need to heal, and, when you find it, the fortitude to follow through. You are not crazy and you are not alone. For people who cannot relate, I encourage you to practice compassion. Remember a time you had the flu or experienced many wakeful nights with a newborn baby. How would you react and what would you do if you were told your symptoms are all in your head and your symptoms may never end?
It is exhausting living through a seemingly unexplained illness and it can be difficult to be around someone living through it. I have suggestions and sympathy for both sides. For now, I leave you with this food for thought.