So, as millions of other people across Canada can relate to, I have been waiting for a doctor’s appointment. We all know the drill- show up at an office with your life in shambles streaming incoherent sentences out of your blubbering face, have an encounter with a medical professional of some sort, get a slip of paper, and enroll in a strange religion which involves praying for cancellations of other people who probably need that appointment just as much as you do. I ran through that drill last September, and this week I got the appointment I waited so much for.
Appointments are great things, and specialists can work all kinds of wonders. As much as I believe that your health is your business, and to that extent something you should have power over, no matter how perfectly your symptoms match webmd it’s always a good idea to eliminate the possibility that it is something else before you go around fixing the symptoms on your own. So I am grateful for my appointment, and grateful for the many wonderful doctors (who trump the bad doctors, even though the bad doctors are hard to forget) who have helped me throughout the years. No matter how many suspicions people have of conventional medicine, there is no chiropractor in the world I would have wanted to do my heart surgeries (unless she/he doubled up as a cardiologist).
That being said, I’ve noticed that I’ve been leaning on this future appointment as a crutch in the last four months. Because I was stuck with not knowing exactly what’s going on, I carried on like getting a diagnosis was going to give me magical insight on what to do. That was wishful thinking- even if I showed up at the door and left with a slip of paper that said “you have endometriosis, don’t worry, it’s not in your head and you aren’t going crazy and making all this shit up even though you sometimes wonder because it gets so bad you start to question every feeling you have”, besides having a lot of validation, what was I going to get out of it? I know that no matter what I have, getting plenty of sleep is good for me. Eating nutritious food, avoiding foods that I know cause inflammation, that is good for me. Moving when I can and avoiding sitting for any length of time at all costs (death to my pelvis, whoever invented the chair did not have endo) is good for me. Paying attention to my body, recording triggers, getting a baseline, that is good for me.
The one thing I did line up for myself is going part time for school. That saved my sanity and gave me the wiggle room I needed to take some stress off my body. It allowed me to start volunteering with an organization I love, read more books related to my health, pick up hobbies, take a yoga class, and cook food from scratch. Sure, sometimes I watched Game of Thrones marathons and wondered what had become of my life- but I needed the chance to do that. To just chill out and spend a few hours wrapped in a heating pad drinking tea. I’ve always packed my schedule, which I appreciate because I still believe that the more you do the more you can do, but taking just one course off the table was exactly what needed to give.
School was a pretty easy change though- it just meant ticking off one less course and finding a volunteer gig to inspire me. The other things- paying attention to my body and recording what is happening with it- is a bit harder to implement. It takes time and attention. Sometimes you just want to ignore that stuff- if I don’t face the fact that sitting all day makes it really hard to walk the next day and making my weird stiff-right-leg limp worse, then I get to continue sitting all day. That’s easy to do, even if it makes things harder in the long run.
Even though I know a lot of things that would improve the way I feel, there are still lots of things I haven’t explored that may be very useful. I’ve had a really hard time getting good information on endometriosis- a lot of the advice out there lumps poly cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) in with endo, even though they are very different. Most of the medical interventions are pretty heavy-duty hormonal drugs and most of the alternative interventions are poorly studied. Though it would be completely anecdotal, I would like to try out a few promising management tools or interventions to see if they have any affect on my pain- who knows, other folks may find it useful too.
So there’s going to be a bit more blogging about me and my lifestyle going on- for accountability and community I suppose. It just seems like a good idea to have other people on board and reading, especially if they have tried any of these things or have any advice for me. I need to take a bit more responsibility for my health, to give myself some room to heal, or even room to drink a bottle of wine and stay up half the night every once in a while (because hey, I’m still barely in my 20’s, I should be able to do irresponsible things without being crippled).
My appointment did go really well- had a wonderfully respectful gynecologist with a very adorably novice overly-serious medical student. I am waiting for a laparoscopy because I decided that a diagnosis is important for me. In the meantime though, it’s time to take this on.