Thursday, March 31, 2011
Baby steps, Hollie. Baby steps.
I've been beaten down, battered, bruised, broken, exhausted, convinced I was dying and yet I've never just given up before. I've always pushed myself through things. I've made choices that considered others over me. I've stayed at jobs far longer than I should have. I've kept people in my life that don't really deserve my friendship. It's mostly because I don't give up.
Most people love that tenacity. I mean it’s a blessing and a curse.
Last night I set out with my friend in tow to her fitness center in her housing complex. I wasn’t feeling great but I figured I would see how I could do. After thirty-two minutes I gave up. I was losing my breath, my head was pounding more than I wanted, and the last straw was the moment when I felt the urge to faint.
I wasn’t pushing too hard, I was running regular, and it wasn’t an extraordinary amount of time that I had run. Yet there was a reason why I had to quit.
It was funny because yesterday I got my yearly reminder to fill out my survey as part of the Intracranial Hypertension Registry. When I say funny, I mean a bitter reminder. I had gone a full year without any relapse. Tuesday I had my first battle in over a year.
In October of 2008 I came back from a conference in Cleveland for work. I knew something was different. I had a numb leg and terrible headaches. I couldn’t concentrate of reading a computer screen or reading any books for school. I thought maybe it’s my eye sight and got an eye doctor appointment. One picture of the back of my retinas and I was off to a Neuro-Opthamologist and a Neurologist. It was confirmed that I had some papilledema which indicated swelling of the brain. Well a whole mess of MRI, CT Scans, and Spinal Taps confirmed that I had nothing wrong with me. Yet the pain had gotten worse. It was no longer a 5 on the pain scale occurring every other day; it was an 8 or 9, occurring daily for hours – with small episodes that were like shocks stopping my entire system.
I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension – which means swelling of the brain, for no apparent reason, with no underlying cause. It was known to be prevalent in young obese women. By August of 2008 I couldn’t stand the pain anymore. I was on major seizuremedicine and Botox for pain management. My life had drastically changed. I decided to fight back, get a personal trainer, and take on weight, pain, and life all at the same time.
I did really well with it. I lost weight. I managed my medicine. I had my own apartment. I met someone who took care of me when I was riddled with pain. I did really well with all of that. But my pain wasn’t going away with the use of all this medicine. I also knew I was going to leave my job and its associated health benefits. I weaned myself off of the medicine, I started going to an acupuncturist, and I put in my notice at work and found a part time job on a cupcake bus that I loved.
Then there was the accident. I was injured and forced to rest for three months. Then I was jobless for six months more.
I’ve been at my new job for about forty-five days. If you are my friend on facebook or twitter you’ve seen small posts about my frustration. So job was/is causing stress due to wanting to work but not having any major projects. There was a girl, who is the coolest, and I got my hopes up – so there was change within two weeks of friends, going on dates, back to friends. Then a work conference where my panic attacks came back, then a game night where I talked about my past and wondered when the hell I gave up and took the easy route of being back in the Capital District when I fought so hard to leave. All of those things piled into one with no real release for me because at times I refuse to cry; well you can say I was stressed out.
My body noticed.
Tuesday I was at home and I had an occurrence. A shock riddled through my head, causing everything to stop. No one was home and I was alone when it happened. It's terrifying. I try to hide it as best as I can. Some of my close friends have seen this happen. Once it happens it makes me nervous.
I knew it could affect how I felt when I was running. When I ran, I could feel every vein pumping in my head. I could hear every throb in my ears and when I cooled down to walk I could still hear it all. Then it felt like I would faint and I gave up.
I posted to my facebook that last night was the first night I ever gave up. Instantly my soulfriend posted that it’s happens to everyone and to take note and then move forward. I love her for that. I love her for much more but for that last night it was good to know she was there.
So I’m nervous and I am taking it slow and I am looking for ways to not be stressed at my work situation. I am reaching out to more people about my life and my feelings. I am asking friends to support me so I don’t go back to negative outlets and the girl I have a crush on, well I am pretty sure that she’s one of the healthiest people to enter my life in awhile, so I dig having her around in the friend capacity.
I’m going to try week 4 day 3 again on Friday and i'm trying to manage the pain. Baby steps, Hollie. Baby steps.