Something that is likely difficult for people to understand is the tremendous amount of guilt that people with chronic pain have to deal with regularly. Guilt is an awful feeling. It makes you feel like you should be better, you should try harder, you should do more, like you're not enough. Feeling like you are not enough is such a terrible and damaging way to feel. But it is a feeling that is extremely common in my life.
That is not something that I want to admit. Although, it is something that I feel I need to admit in order to deal with my emotions in a healthy way. I do not feel like I am "enough".
Our society puts so much pressure on young adults to know what they want out of life. Kids are expected at the age of 15 to have a clear idea of what they want to pursue in life. And hey, don't get me wrong, I fully support anyone who knows what they want to do from a young age; I think that is an amazing thing to find and stick with your passion. But many people are not lucky enough to experience that. I have never known what I wanted to do as a career or what areas I was skilled in. For years, I let other's tell me that I would just have to settle for being a mom. It became a common joke in my friend-group. This joke of me popping out babies and marrying rich because really, in their eye's, I had no prospects of my own. And I bought it. I began to believe that I had nothing to offer and I would never make anything of myself. I even became content with that perspective; content to the point of laziness because I truly and honestly believed that I would never be able to have a career or make something of myself.
This past year, especially these past few weeks, I have realized how harmful that thinking was to me. How harmful some of my past friendships were for encouraging those thoughts. Over the past year I have started and am almost finished my studies in Small Business Management. I have learned that I have an eye for design, marketing and encouraging others. I have learned that I do have smarts that can be useful in so many situations, and I never knew this about myself before. I was the 'dumb' one, the one that was just 'cute' and the one that was just around. I came to resent myself for being the friend that was just there, but brought nothing to the table. So I decided to stop being that person, because I wasn't embracing my natural skills and abilities and unique qualities that make me who I am.
This past year provided me with a deeper look into myself and what I might want and could have out of life. And for that, I am thankful.
Unfortunately, like in any story, there are ups and downs. Sometimes they are sky high up's and sometimes they are ocean-deep downs. And the last week has felt ocean-deep. In the course of about two days I went from feeling like I could conquer my disease and kick-ass and be a hard-working, bad-ass, creative business woman to feeling like a worthless piece of crap.
After receiving word about my new diagnosis (endosalpingiosis) I wasn't all that upset. I already knew I had a disease of the gynaecological nature. I knew that the pain wouldn't change, because it was still the same pain I had already experienced. I knew that treatment plans would be similar. And overall, I thought that all I had really found out was that the tissue was made of something else. And that once in a while, cancer can be found. And removed. But, I wasn't upset.
That all changed drastically fast after my last doctor's appointment. My post-surgery pain had continued and wasn't striking me as normal. My ultrasound showed that within the last month I have developed a very large cyst on my left ovary, along with multiple smaller cysts. My doctor explained to me that either the cyst would cause me more and more pain and burst eventually (maybe soon) or it would cause me more and more pain as it kept growing, and get so big that it would need to be surgically removed (soon). Also, that is was very likely that I would continue producing cysts and growths of the endosalpingiosis type continually for the rest of my life. And even in hearing this my break down was not immediate. It was when I went to explain it all after to my mother when I realized what this all meant.
This meant that going back to work was going to be very hard for me. This meant that if I wanted to look for an extra job or some more work (like I had been planning to do), there would be no point because no one wants to hire an employee that may pass out or have to leave at a moment's notice or have to call in sick for three weeks for an emergency surgery. Which leads to me feeling like a worthless piece of crap.
Honestly, that's about as far as I have gotten. I know that deep down these feelings of guilt mostly stem from the people in my life. And I don't like saying that because I like to think that I am loved and supported. I know that I am loved, but I do not know that I am supported. There are a lot of things that need to be figured out when chronic illness comes into someone's life. It not only affects the one who is suffering, but all those around them. I need to learn how to cope with my disease and learn what I am able to do, and not able to do. And I need to learn how to talk to my loved ones in a healthy manner that shows them that sometimes the things they say to me are very hurtful. And I know that sometimes the way I act and speak to them is also hurtful. I need to learn to live with these limitations in a way that is still fulfilling and happy. And that's where I am at. I am deciding to explore what that means and how to go about living the best life that I can physically and emotionally.