On Thursday, July 7th 2016, I woke up and took two gummy vitamins. I laid back down and did my morning Italian lesson, still wiping the sleep from my eyes. Eventually, as per my routine, I scrambled out of bed, packed my oatmeal breakfast and pb&j lunch, had a wardrobe change that would give the Sims a run for their money, and left for work.
On Thursday, July 7th 2016, I only took two gummy vitamins.
Back in April of 2014, I started to get pretty sick. I didn’t know what was going on. The doctors didn’t know what was going on. It was stressful and scary and in a way life-altering. I had taken this “can’t stop / won’t stop” attitude and been reduced to “have to stop because moving is a lot of effort right now.”
I remember relaying symptoms to my mom. “I can’t explain it, and I know it sounds crazy, but it feels like all my bones are broken.”
My summer turned into a whirlwind of doctors, specialists, tests and the dreaded – medication.
For almost two and a half years, I was consistently on some form of medication. At one point, I was taking over a dozen pills or vitamins each day. I had to buy a calendar so I could keep track of which pill needed refrigerated and which pill couldn’t be taken in conjunction with another and which pill had to be taken with food but which pill could not be taken with dairy.
After a while, I was leveled out on one particular medication that I became quite dependent on. Functioning was a little bit easier with my pill-in-the-morning, pill-at-night crutch.
In the spring of 2015, the doctors gave me permission to wean off the medication – slowly of course. I tried and everything around me crashed. It took only a couple weeks of a slightly lowered dosage for me to admit that I couldn’t do it. I simply wasn’t healthy.
On April 29th 2016, I began decreasing my medicine once more, even more slowly than before. And I counted out the days and the pills, realizing that July 9th would be my first medicine free day in over two years.
(Then somehow I lost two pills meaning July 7th was my first medicine free day but the sentiment was there).
In my planner under today’s “BLOG” instruction, I pre-wrote “health + no medicine + don’t give up.”
Today is July 13th 2016. I haven’t slept through the night in a week. I don’t feel well. At 6.30 pm my body thinks it’s midnight. Waking up is a struggle. My head hurts. My heart aches. Nothing feels right.
I was walking upstairs at work today and for some reason, was thinking about media bias and sensationalism. How some news outlets will enhance a story to make it more exciting or sellable. I splashed some water on my face. “I never want to do that.”
Then I remembered that I don’t write journalistically so it shouldn’t be a problem. But then I thought about something else. I had been debating all day whether or not I was ready to write the “health + no medicine + don’t give up” blog. I didn’t feel healthy enough or positive enough or confident enough to put that out.
But maybe that’s okay. Maybe I should write about it while it still hurts. Maybe I should write about it while I’m still weak. Maybe I should write about the struggle when I am smack in the middle of it instead of waiting until I can sensationalize the incredible feeling of success.
Maybe I want to write about the struggle – how I felt so triumphant to go without a single pill on Thursday and yet how today it took everything in me to make my ten minute walk to work.
Things aren’t perfect yet. And part of that is my body getting used to this new chemical balance without medication. There’s an adjustment period and I realize that and I am trying so hard to be patient.
But this blog shouldn’t have to wait for that.
This blog can be about “health.” It can talk about my struggles with it and it can talk about how I’m no longer taking “medicine.” And maybe it can be the perfect thing reminding me how I “don’t give up.”
I don’t want to fluff anything with The Smile Project. I don’t want to pretend something is okay when it isn’t. So here’s to a raw blog. Here’s my honest thoughts about where I am in this very moment.
And in this very moment, I do not feel well at all. But I will get there. And for tonight, that’s all I need to hold on to.