This time last year, I decided drinking alcohol was no longer serving me. I spent July 4th of 2016 numbing myself with mixed drinks, and woke up on July 5th realizing I needed to make a change in my life.
Now, this wasn't just a decision I made based off of one day and a bad hangover. It was a decision that had about a 2 year history leading up to it. This will be a multi-part blog series as there was a lot of background information that brought me to where I am today.
As with sharing anything so raw and honest, I am extremely nervous. I have started writing this story many times, only to delete it or table it for many weeks at a time. And then I came across this story from Erin Outdoors, that inspired me. About how too many people talk about the highlight reel in life, and never about the struggles. They post pictures of the mountaintops but not the sweaty climb. The peaceful sailing trips, and not the violent puking off the side of the boat (her words, not mine). And then it hit me. I have an untold story, that needs to be told. In hopes of it helping others heal and move forward.
So here it goes...my 3 part story.
So here it goes...my 3 part story.
To be honest, 2015 and 2016 were ROUGH years for me. 2015 started with a bad breakup that absolutely destroyed me and rocked me to my core. I'm not going to touch too much on this subject as I don't think it's fair to disclose details about a personal relationship without both people's consent. However I can say, thankfully that breakup led me on a whole new journey in life, and even a once in a lifetime trip to Mongolia. Yep, you heard me...Mongolia.
I came back from that trip completely changed. I met so many great people and truly felt stronger mentally and emotionally. I felt as if I could conquer anything that came my way. And I did for a bit...until I started experiencing some weird symptoms. I was noticing I was gaining a lot of weight in a short amount of time. My hair started falling out, I was experiencing extreme stomach aches, and worst of all my monthly cycle disappeared all together. For months at a time.
After about 3 months of this I decided it was time to go to my OB/GYN to see what was up. After one visit, and a few tests later she diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. She followed up by telling me that I had about 15 cysts on my ovaries, and was more than likely not going to be able to have children in the future, unless it was with IVF treatments and even then it was unlikely. She then referred me to an Endocrinologist to get more blood work done as PCOS usually comes with a handful of other symptoms such as diabetes and high cholesterol. And that was that. She told me this horrifying news and then sent me on my way. I remember sitting in my car after the appointment just sobbing, thinking "I will never be able to have children". I got home that night and called my friends and family for some much needed love and support.
A few weeks went by, and my sister drove me to get some blood work done for my next round of appointments. Little did I know they were collecting close to 14 viles of blood after I had done a 12 hour fast. Sure enough I fainted and came in and out of it while my nurse was telling me a story about her road rage in Austin and how she throws tennis balls at cars that get in her way. In all honesty I have no idea how we got on this topic, but she also told me she will throw a moldy orange at a car if she needs to. So if you live in Austin and someone throws a tennis ball at your windshield or some old produce...you know who the culprit is.
Once the test came back in I was called into the Endocrinologist's office to discuss my results. Sure enough as my OB/GYN thought, I was pre-diabetic, and had high cholesterol. Cool. Just keep the good news coming, right?
For the next 6 months I bounced around from Doctor to Doctor in hopes that someone would just help me. I wanted to find a doctor that would understand me as a person, and not just look at my symptoms. I wanted to approach PCOS in a way that was going to help eliminate my symptoms all together rather than just put a band-aid on it and temporarily fix everything. Needless to say, I was diagnosed and misdiagnosed many times. Whether it was Hypoglycemia, Insulin Resistance, Parasite Diagnosis, the list goes on and on. There was even one point where I was taking up to 45 pills a day. I continued to take 45 pills a day for 3 months until I just couldn't handle it any longer. My body was tired. My mind was tired. I was tired. I spent the last year being diagnosed with one thing after another while my friends were out having fun and living life.
I couldn't do it anymore. My body was deteriorating right in front of me, and I had no idea how to fix it.
Then Father's Day rolled around, and I was in the Hospital with my family after experiencing a panic attack. If you have never had a panic attack, be thankful! This was my first one, hence ending up in the hospital, but it felt as if I was dying. I couldn't make sense of anything. I couldn't talk, I couldn't breathe.
Thankfully my Sister was an absolute boss and calmly dealt with me in my crazed state. I remember looking around once I calmed down and seeing a sign in the hospital that said only 1 guest per room. You can bet your bottom dollar my entire family showed up to the hospital and bunched their way into my tiny room. They had my favorite snacks and drinks in tote, and went on with their day as if it was normal for me to be in the Hospital with EKG monitors all over my chest.
Now this is only the start of the journey, so don't worry things DO start to look up. I am not telling any of this story to ask for pity, I am simply sharing in hopes that it resonates with someone else in this position. And if I can tell you one thing, it's that your medical issues/anxiety/depression do not define you. You may be going through a tough time but as with all things "this too shall pass". So buckle up, and stay tuned for my Part 2 series. Say hello to my not so little friend...anxiety.