“It’s just a T-shirt”

I’m not proud of this moment. In fact, I cringe when I think about it. There’s no eloquent way to tell this story, in fact I was told not to tell it because it’s ‘irrelevant’. But I disagree. So I’m going to give it a crack.

Pictured with my sister-in-law and my other brother’s girlfriend, having the best time at the South Coast Food & Wine Festival. I’d been very ill on the Thursday night and Friday morning leading up to it, with a flare up of intense migraine, body pain, muscle weakness and nausea. But despite that, I was determined to make the best of my time at this festival that my family and myself had been so looking forward to.

The day started well, with a quick 2 minute drive to Berry Showgrounds. We all piled into my brother’s car, and with 6 of us we had to stuff my poor boyfriend, Aiden in the boot. At 6ft something, it wasn’t easy or comfortable for the poor bugger, but it made for some real giggles for all of us and my favourite memory of the day. The look on three girls’ faces when we opened the boot and Aiden (not realising that there were people behind the car) had his ass out while yelling out “help me!”… Absolutely priceless! (Where’s a laughing emoji when you need one?!)

As the day went by, I genuinely had a great time. I like to think there’s nothing a glass of wine or seven can’t fix, if only temporarily…

Lingering in the back of my mind was the fatigue that was trying to draw my attention to it. Annoying, but bearable at this point. Until we got back to the house…

I could feel it, my body practically screaming at me to rest. That migraine starting up as a pressure building in my head. My irritation building. That’s when it happened.

My drunk brother chewed on one of those Allen’s pineapple lollies and threw it at my boyfriend (who’s lap I was sitting on.) Aiden then proceeded to grab the lolly and wipe his fingers off on my new t-shirt. *Insert gasp here*

Now while that’s pretty gross, it definitely doesn’t warrant a full on hissy fit. As I type I picture Aiden’s confused face (because I basically never go off at him,) and I think of how ‘crazy’ I sounded. “You owe me $24!!!” Yep… *Face palm*

I’m fully aware that sudden mood change is quite common with an oncoming migraine, and that irritation and mood swings are also common with chronic pain, but I wasn’t exactly feeling rational at the time to be able to put that into perspective. Now, however, I do feel just a tad bit silly, to say the least.

However, humour at my reaction aside, I think these changes are important to note in a person suffering from chronic pain. They may need a little understanding at that moment, a little bit of patience. Basically, both their body and mind are done pushing through for the day.

I share this, so that if you’ve experienced something similar, you don’t stress over it. We’ve all been there, chronically ill or not. It’s not crazy, it’s perfectly normal (albeit embarrassing.) Let us bask in our embarrassing reactions, own it, and move on.

She Looks Well

I wasn’t really sure where to start with my first post, but this is something that has played on my mind since it happened. I’m aware of so many people who have to deal with this from health professionals, so I figured this was a good place to start.

Now, let me start by saying that I have nothing against health professionals. My mum was a nurse, my sister-in-law is a nurse, and I have utmost respect for them. There are some amazing doctors out there too…

However, there is sometimes a huge lack of understanding still in this day and age about complicated illnesses. I myself suffer from complicated Endometriosis, as well as a mystery undiagnosed illness that is most likely an autoimmune condition.

My Rheumatologist has been very empathetic and understanding thus far with my mystery illness, and I will continue to seek her health advice despite this slip of the pen. But one statement really stood out in her last letter to my GP…

“She looks well.”

OK… Well gee, if I look well, I must be well. Right? Those migraines that have been making my life hell every single night for the last few months… Irrelevant because I ‘look’ well. Those general muscle aches and joint pain that has been plaguing me for almost two years… Not an issue because I ‘look’ well. Oh, don’t even get me started on the heart palpitations so bad that I was suffering AT LEAST six panic attacks a day. They most certainly must be nothing to worry about because, yep you guessed it, I ‘look’ well!

This particular doctor has done a decent job of managing my symptoms so far, but I have to say, that final “I hope your migraines sort themselves out” on the way out the door was an extra kick in the butt! I do too Dr Obvious, I do too!

Now this is just one person, one health professional. But she’s definitely not the only culprit. I get it all the time. The “are you better yet?” comments are one of my favourite. Yes, after almost two years of constant illness, I magically got better today! It was a miracle! Or as I walk out the door of work because I can’t push through anymore… “Feel better!” *face palm*

That being said, I probably would have done and said the exact same things 2 years ago. I am just as guilty, if not more so. That lack of understanding is not their fault in the slightest, but doctors most definitely should know better.

Now for the life lesson. It doesn’t actually take understanding to be compassionate or to support someone. Shocking, I know! If someone close to you says something as simple as “I’m struggling,” then be there to listen, even if you don’t understand enough to have an opinion. Be kind peeps, that’s all it takes.