Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I isn't love that's a battlefield, it's me.

I remember being in eighth grade and going to the nurse. I'd never been a healthy kid and, frankly, junior high was a hard place for me, so I was a semi-regular visitor. I don't recall why I went, but the nurse took me in a side room to have my pull up my shirt so she could see my back. She then sent me back to class. I came back a while later of my own accors...she hadn't asked me to come. The nurse said my mom was on her way. I was very confused since she hadn't said a word.

It turns out my back was covered in welts. This was the first appearance of hives that have plagued me ever since...they've been better in some periods (they seem to stay away more in the South) but they've always been around. We chased them down for a while with some medical experts, including a UPenn guy who was a hives guru. The end diagnosis was essentially that it was an autoimmune issue. So I wasn't allergic to anything external (okay, I'm allergic to LOTS, but that doesn't cause the hives), it was "just" my body attacking itself.

Many years later, I spent months doubled over with abdominal pain. I'd denied that I had painful periods for a long time (my mom told me we were lucky that we didn't have pain...I guess I felt like I was "wrong" because I did and I never told) and they'd gotten worse over time. After quite a bit of searching (and a very patient boyfriend, thanks j), they diagnosed endometriosis. No one knows what the real cause of endo is, but many lump it in as an autoimmune disorder.

And, now, the saga of the glute/hip/back pain. The verdict is a spinal issue that ends up being compounded b/c spinal substances end up outside the spine and my immune system goes after them. At least that my layman's interpretation.

In a way, it probably makes sense that someone with one autoimmune-related issue would develop several. My immune system is probably always in overdrive. Which is also probably why sometimes it struggles to defeat colds (I catch everything...) and why even the sniffles knock me on my ass since they lead to everything else flaring up.

Really, that's all just context. The issue on my mind is mental and emotional.

There's a peculiar challenge to knowing that your physical problems are all your body versus itself. I can't quite explain it. The enemy is within. And that's just hard to cope with in a different way. I use the word "condition" a lot, not "disease," because disease implies an other. It's all me. And it makes it hard to accept and swallow some days.

(I have another post I'll eventually write on the body-battleground thing...more ED and exercise related. not today though).

No comments: