Thursday, November 8, 2012

Letter to my illness-day 8


Dear Fibromyalgia,

I've started to view you as an alien life form who for whatever reason-low immune system shields-availability of bases & posts around my body-unguarded chose me to invade & live inside. After using me for many, many years, you busted out of me to let yourself finally be identified (like the being in the fantastic film Alien) close to a decade ago. Funny-you had been using me as a vacation home for years, & in those times I would get really sick with random illnesses & symptoms.

Some years you would go skiing in my throat & glands...I would get strep throat yearly during your trips, & when you committed to buying the ski condo & all of your financing came through I became a carrier of strep throat, & you then started really almost annexing my mother. She kept getting strep, taking antibiotics, getting better, then starting all over until her doctor realized a carrier was afoot. He asked her to bring in the entire family to be tested & of course her gut told her it was me. She had been getting postcards from you since I was a few years old. You took a long winter holiday when I got mono, this time touring my entire body, taking time to really see the sights. After that visit I never really was the same. Deep down I feel there is some connection to that illness trip & fibro-after that my body never seemed to recover. After that you came to visit much more frequently, as if you lived part-time on your planet & the rest on me. I never even got a t-shirt! No hostess gift? Really bad manners!

You set up a permanent vacation home in my uterus & started visiting monthly when I was in 6th grade. You had starting getting serious with endometriosis & that little dalliance cost me untold surgeries, insane medication treatments like birth control at age 12 which never helped & only kept me nauseated for months & did the opposite of what it was supposed to. Instead of stopping my periods you & endo revolted & I was having 2-3 periods a month. My doctor was such a prick too-saying 'oh no, you're just spotting'-so I made my poor mom take me back in to make him examine me to which he said 'well, you aren't spotting-this is a very heavy flow' which gave me a bit of temporary delight! He would later go on to gift me with such gems as 'if you have a hysterectomy you will fall in love & no man will ever love or marry you' which is MAYBE why I married someone I shouldn't have & of course ended up divorcing...I think you were up in my brain by that point. Why else would I do such a foolish thing just to get back at said doctor? I found another doctor who indeed did the hysterectomy, only after 3 others refused to do the surgery. They didn't want your theoretical blood on their hands.

After endo split I seemed to be better. Your hiking trips in my vascular brain systems would leave me with migraines, & your float trips in my stomach left my bladder & colon in quite a state-I never did get my security deposits back by the way-but you did seem to retreat a bit. Maybe you got depressed after I seemed to defeat endo. You guys hooked back up for a little while & I had 2-3 more laser surgeries, & endo had been left behind & continued to grow in my sciatic nerve notch, & almost perforated my colon. By that time you had started drilling in my left sciatic region & I spent so much time having my periformis muscle cut & that major surgery, going & fighting with a pain clinic who ultimately (after you evaded them) couldn't figure me out & thought I was just crazy & that it was all in my head (little did they know you actually were!) & various nerve tests, more treatments, etc.

You built a beach house in my bladder when you met interstitial cystitis (IC). Not having insurance then was such a treat! My defense team spent so much money fighting too! Poor team had no clue what they were up against! You & IC still see each other & I think you always will. Kind of one of those see each other every 6 months kind of deal, huh? You finally declared yourself & opened up Area 51 about 8 years ago. I fell & had boxes containing reams of typing paper (100 or more pounds) on top of me, pining me to the floor while in graduate school, & after a local clinic sent me to an ortho, having MRIs, bloodwork, you know he usual suspects he ruled out lupus & found you. You cost me friends, which still stings, lost me jobs, dignity, grace, humanity sometimes. Instead of going out to dinner, the movies, weddings, births, etc I stay in with you & let me just say you are a shitty companion. You've dated depression, anxiety, flirted with MS a get more action than I ever will! I would ask to live vicariously through you but...gross. You've immigrated to me 100% now. You aren't going anywhere, are you? Do you ever feel guilty? You must really be the scary kind of alien, not the ET variety. If only I could disguise you. Dress you up & hide you among Chai bunny's stuffed friends. I feel like (in the little painting above) after you came out, I just had to surrender my life & old world to you without being able to really fight-I will always continue to fight, but that battle in graduate school, lying on the thin, dirty carpet I lost. I started just weeping, which my old friend interpreted as my frustration with my job & thesis trouble, not knowing I saw the real face of you-in your terrifying strength, & knew I would never be the same. I saw my future in your eyes, & my tears were more for that than pain streaking through my body.

So maybe you could throw me a bone & bring me a GOOD souvenir one day? A snow globe at least? Even a map of your adventures could be used to study, maybe even make breakthroughs. I know we will never, ever get along, but maybe you could think about a ceasefire every once in a while?

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