pain

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Life is really good. I am so grateful. I feel so blessed. I am so happy to be here and be healthy.

Three years ago today I started my healing journey by asking for help. I was at the bottom of the deepest darkest pit and I could barely see a sliver a light shining down on me and I took that as my sign to walk through the doors of a hospital and express the turmoil I was in. It wasn’t easy. It was ugly, uncomfortable, scary, traumatizing, and it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life but I am here to tell you it was the best thing I ever did for myself. I learned more about myself from that week in the hospital than I had learned in my 34 years at the time.

It was a crash course in all things mental illness for me. I learned about medication, side effects, advocating for myself, and balance. I learned that trauma is the root cause of most mental challenges. I learned that no doctor has all the answers. That medicine isn’t a perfect cure-all. That every body is different and requires different individualized care. I was reminded of my faith. I learned to fight for myself.

It was clear that I lacked the tools I needed to cope and so I began working hard to sort it all out the best I could and I wished that I had made the effort sooner. That sentiment might resonate with some of you because you are here and reading this. You may be searching for answers and hoping to find help. I am happy to be part of your journey to find healing and I hope you have found my space here to be safe,  helpful, and honest.

On that note…I have a new resource to share with you. It’s an article and PTSD self-test by Safe Harbor House. You can take the screening which is based on the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It’s the standard reference used by healthcare providers to diagnose mental health and behavioral conditions. The article also offers information about signs, symptoms, risk factors, treatment, and self-care. It’s a very thorough resource and I was glad to have found it. Please share it with anyone who you feel might be suffering from PTSD!

Three years ago, I could have used this resource myself. Now I am just blessed to be able to share it with all of you.

 

I'm Iron Woman

I haven’t written in a while.

We got home from the Cape and life took off. School started and all the busyness that comes with this time of year has taken over our house. Everyone is off to a good start but me – I'm on the struggle bus.

Before we left I was dealing with some unidentified health issues but I managed the month of July pretty well and thought the worst was behind me. Until the day after we came home.  Severe abdominal pain, turned to nausea and dizziness, and soon terrible heart palpitations where keeping me from sleep.  I spent August jumping from doctor to specialist after specialist. I saw a urologist, had a CT scan and a cystoscopy, and even took a field trip to the emergency room after some issues with my heart became difficult to ignore. That prompted a visit to a cardiologist. In the middle of waiting for answers I went to my naturopath’s office for a full blood work-up and anxiously waited two weeks to get the results. Last week I got them – Hemochromatosis. I have too much iron in my blood and though I am not happy about this new challenge I face I have to say I am relived it’s something. I was beginning to worry that my bestie, PTSD, had conjured all these ailments up in my mind and I’d be left with no explanation for the pain I’ve been through.

Now before you open a new search window and type in “Hemochromatosis” and read through all the scary things that Dr. Google has to say, I want you to know that no matter what my diagnosis was going to be I was going to fight through it with grace and faith. Though I’m not sure how God is using this in my life I am sure that He’s already paved the way for me to grow through this – I just have to let Him lead me.

In the meantime I am working on getting my iron levels back to a healthy place. How does one do that you ask? Bloodletting. I know it sounds medieval and visions of leeches are dancing through your heads but it’s the only way to remove iron from my body.

My sisters and I have been brainstorming better ways to refer to my treatment because bloodletting sounds gross to us and after many contenders we’ve found a winner – Vamping! I also have a new nickname that seems fitting. Iron Woman. Move over Robert Downey Jr. I am stronger than you because I literally have too much iron inside my body and I really know how to fight!

MexiCAN

There has been a long running sentiment in my family and I’ve been reminded of it lately as I face changes, challenges, and fear that I can’t make it through either.

My dad is a proud Mexican-American. He grew up with deep pride in his roots and passed that along to each of his children. Whenever one of us faced something hard and we would utter the words, “I can’t”, my dad would chime in with his usual uplifting speech that ended with the question, “Are you a MexiCAN or a MexiCAN’T?”

I laugh about those moments now when I’d roll my eyes at him and walk away. All those times when what I had before me was easier than what I face today. Those were the days let me tell you.

I have been thinking lately about how I wish I could go through life more easily. Without less pain and void of mental challenges and physical ailments. I remember what it was like when all my days kind of blended into one because they were so easy to get through. Damn that was a good time!

Now life is a bit harder. Some days are really challenging. In fact there are days that I wish would end because they suck so badly and then I don’t sleep so there’s no relief. It’s like playing an endless game of tag and there’s no base. Which will tag me next – my PTSD or my new found friend Hemochromatosis? And just when I think I can’t get through it I hear my dad asking me that aforementioned question and I smile.

I am a MexiCAN. I will do this and be stronger for it.