My Health Story

Sarah Meder, Fish Bowl Life, Oil on Canvas, 2014.

Everyone has a story, and often many little stories make up their greater story. My health is a little piece of my big story. A part of me I have kept to myself. Sharing my health struggles has always been hard for me. Maybe, it has something to do with the doctor that told me "It's all in your head." or the other doctor, who told me "Oh, you are just depressed!". Next were the initial people I told my diagnosis to and how they reacted. "Oh I had a friend who had the same thing, and he ran and ran and ran, till he felt better." or, "You are just lazy!". Then came "Your using fatigue as an excuse to not get a real job, I don't believe you will ever get a job." And finally, "That's not a real illness." In this moment, I am putting the blame on the other people, as to why I haven't shared my health struggle, and that is not fair. Their voices may still echo in my head, but I made the easy choice to stop talking about it. 

So, let's talk about it.  I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 2002, while still in college. I finished college and went off to Graduate school, where I then got my second diagnosis of Fibromyalgia in 2006. I almost didn't finish my MFA, if not for my professor, John Walker and the important life lesson he taught me. I was exhausted, in pain, and I had one more semester to go. I went to John and told him I wanted to stop. I couldn't keep going. He sat me down and told me it was my choice, but I did have another option. I really needed to start asking people for help. Asking for help wasn't something I was accustomed to. However, I decided I would give it a go and as a result, I ended up finishing my MFA.

After, Graduate school is when things became dicey. My health gradually and slowly slipped through my fingers. I had pain in my pelvic floor that wouldn't go away, standing and sitting without pain became difficult to the point standing wasn't an option. I found myself looking for the nearest chair, praying that chair was comfortable, and knowing the most luxurious chair in the world would still mean a tremendous amount of pain while sitting. This was really my only option (and let me tell you there are not may comfortable chairs made in this world). Several doctors and a diagnosis later, in 2015 I found a doctor who could help.  In 2016 I received some pelvic floor pain relief, but nothing significant, when you consider my tailbone started to hurt.

Now, I still have health struggles and I have accepted them as a part of my life. I don't let them stop me from living a normal life, except when they do. However, let me ask you. What is a normal life? And who do you know that lives a normal life?  Maybe the better thought would be, I don't let my health struggles stop me from living my life, except when they do. Then I dust myself off and keep going. I am all of this little story wrapped up in a big story; me!