It’s OUTober, now what?!
I haven’t given a whole lot of info out publicly about what it’s been like for me so this is like its own coming out process. I feel vulnerable because of my appearance– since being sick I have lost a lot of weight rapidly, am losing my hair from nutrient deficiencies, and am always hot flashing and sweaty. I experience the most uncomfortable digestive happenings, have some odd dietary options, and get so exhausted I can no longer function, making socializing awkward. Many people have pointed out that I don’t look sick, or that I don’t act sick, or that since I smile so much that this experience can’t be that bad. I am reminded often that the squeaky wheel gets the grease so I should just fight harder, demand better, and be more vocal about what I am going through in order to get the support I need. And then there are the choice few who are so fixated on my physical differences that they become painfully oblivious to how deeply hurtful their inconsiderate opinions are.
My number one priority is staying nourished. Having a feeding tube or J-Tube, gastric bypass, or stomach stapling are not options I want in order to stay nourished so I have to get what solid foods I can in me (which is about 9 items mainly), supplement with liquid nutrition / IV therapy / herbs + vitamins, and keep hydrated. Managing my pain levels is my second priority. Between the constant stomach pain, frequent bouts of nausea, always feeling bloated and full though I am usually starving and empty, hurt back + neck coupled with Fibromyalgia, I have very hard moments through out each and every day. I don’t use pharmaceuticals, I medicate with medical marijuana, and engage in complimentary therapies that relax and refuel my mind / body/ soul. Keeping moving is my third focus, especially with exercise now restricted to only walking and biking (though I am still too scared to ride a bike in the city and am working up to it!!) but I have to be careful to not over exert myself because of my low caloric intake and depleted nutrients. I definitely miss yoga and having an active fitness lifestyle!!! My last priority is to find the balance of it all, allowing myself to process and feel each part of this journey, letting go of whatever thoughts and actions distract me from being the happiest and healthiest me, and reminding myself that I have enough, I do enough, and I am enough, just as I am, even in this experience.
But the road ahead is long and, even if I wasn’t already exhausted from the adventures of this Summer, there are still brutal conditions ahead where finding the balance will be the only key to surviving. There are at least 22 Veterans a day that can’t find that balance though and I believe that giving Veterans the option to seek treatment outside of the VA through the marketplace can make a huge impact on finding that balance.
This was a rough Summer. There are many more details and behind the scenes happening and lots of others I owe gratitudes to, but so far the Fall has brought some focus that the previous season lacked. With a new month beginning next week, promises of new adventures also wait ahead. And all I can do is smile through it all.