"Where there is creativity, there is hope." ~ Donna Karan

Monday, September 12, 2011

I'm not lazy, I'm just a little unwell

"You're a very healthy young lady".

Oh how I wish this statement were true.

Yet here I was attending another doctors appointment, pain shooting down my spine, fighting unrelenting fatigue; hearing about how well I looked.

Me, healthy? Ha!

The pain that this doctor had thought to be a symptom of endometriosis was still causing me incredible pain following my fourth laparoscopic surgery and my attempts at explaining my lack of living life proved futile.

Shocked to hear that I still hadn't returned to work and "normal" life since surgery invited interrogation.

"So what are you going to do today"?

I humbled myself and gave an honest answer.

I wished I hadn't.

I explained that despite relief of endometriosis symptoms since surgery, that I was still struggling with back pain that seemed to have no source or end in sight.

I mentioned that I was still needing to rely on strong pain killers and that I was going home to rest as the anesthetic from surgery had aggravated my chronic fatigue.

"Well, can't you go for a walk?"

"Sure, when I'm not having a bad day with back pain I'll go for a walk, but today is not a good day".

Cue but you look so good judgemental look.

It was like everything I had explained had no relevance because I appeared "healthy". I felt inadequate, worthless and lazy; the least I could do was go for a walk and that day I felt I couldn't even achieve that activity without paying the high price of pain.

Fighting fit, you say?


As much as I wish it were true, I am not well. Sure, I have all the hallmarks of a healthy person- I look extremely well and appear capable of holding down a job. 

Although my endometriosis symptoms may now be alleviated, you should become acquainted with my medical history before you assume that I am a fully fledged, functioning, healthy young woman .

Had you read my file properly, you would know that I don't just live with endometriosis, I live with multiple chronic illnesses which cause symptoms of which I have no control over.

Living with multiple chronic illnesses means that while one ailment may be alleviated, another one will suddenly require attention. It's a daily battle that seems never ending.

Following surgery I have noticed an increase in pain and fatigue. I am finding this setback a significant struggle; an uphill battle. For the love of cheese, it doesn't take a doctor to know that anesthetic can contribute to a worsening of symptoms in CFS and fibromyalgia patients.

I am trying my best but some days I lose the battle; this doesn't mean that I am lazy and I will not feel guilty for something that isn't my fault.

I don't sit at home and succumb to being a sloth for the heck of it. I push myself harder than you'll ever know and just because I feel weary and choose to rest instead of get out for a walk doesn't mean that I am lazy, it just means that I'm a little unwell.

Believe me, I'd much rather be working than dealing with less than understanding doctors.

Waking up with pain in the night is not a symptom of the healthy. Fighting overwhelming, bone crushing, unrelenting fatigue every single day isn't the definition of healthy. Struggling with a sore throat and aching in your legs isn't the epitome of healthy.

I am a healthy young lady? Yes, in my dreams I am; and one day those dreams are going to come true. But right now I'm not lazy, I'm just a little unwell.


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NIXNAX said...

I really understand. I have an invisable illness which makes me look lazy, if only they knew what we go through. Your amazing to go through the struggles that you go through. Nicola

Reatha said...

My heart goes out to you. It's hard enough to explain to people who don't know better, you shouldn't have to explain it to your doctor.

I feel your frustration and disbelief.

I wanted to let you know that I love the name chronically creative, when I first saw it I thought, that's genius! And finding your blog prompted me to start a photography project around my illness which I have been wanting to do for ages. Your blog is truly inspirational.

In NZ we say Kia Kaha, it means stay strong.

Kia Kaha my friend.

Anonymous said...

You are incredibly creative with a strength of will I admire. The medical profession needs to go back to doctor school with a revised ciriculum (spelling) that stresses the issues around invisible illness.
I hope someday you will be able to take that walk without pain, fatigue, and stress.

Kat said...

Keep on going, you are strong :). I don't have nearly as much going on medically as you do but there are days where the answer is no I can't go for a walk. Yes I'm up and doing homework/on the net/at work, and I look just like any other 22 y/o college kid.

Cass said...

I cringe inside every time people say "but you look so good". Inside, I feel like a dying 90 year old. I used to just smile and move on to the next topic until a doctor said it to me and almost sent me home from the ER when I was in dire need of emergency medical attention (which he finally realized after a blood test).

Thinking back before I felt so crappy though, I bet I was the same way. Nobody will ever truly know what it's like until they go through something similar.

Miss Chronically Creative said...

@Nicola: you're amazing too! You are super talented! x

@Reatha: Aw, thank you! I'm so glad that you've started a blog, go you! I love photography blogs, especially because I'm really bad at taking photos so I like to look at amazing photos in awe. I shall stop by and check it out! ♥

@phylor: I couldn't agree with you more! I will be able to walk without pain and fatigue one day, in fact, I'll go one better- I'll run!

@Kat: I'm sorry you struggle too. It's sad that some people can't understand what we sacrifice to be able to work, study or hang out with friends and look "normal". Appearing well takes a lot of energy and just because we manage something one day, it doesn't mean we can manage it the next. It's so great to know that there are people that understand this concept. Bless you!

@Cass: Same! Most days I feel like an 80 year old trapped in a 23 year old body, so I can relate really well. That is so shocking, it's really sad when doctors don't believe that our pain is real. They of all people should know that we don't look how we feel. I've had a similar expereince- I was sent home from hospital in urinary retention because they didn't believe me. It needs to stop. Nobody will truly understand, but it makes the world of difference if they at least try.


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