Wednesday, May 18, 2011

#74 - Trauma from Illness

I replied by email to a new blog friend today about the emotional trauma of falling very ill, especially at such a young age. As I told her, our bodies are not expected to become progressively weakened on a severe level while still young, it's not normal. I only expect that kind of thing to happen around 90 years of age! When you encounter a serious illness at a young age, everyone knows that the timing is off. It's never a good time to be ill, but during youth it is ruthless and without compassion that you've not yet been given a chance to fulfill your dreams. Nothing in life prepares us for this backward circumstance. That is part of the awful trauma of falling so ill at a young age, it's not supposed to happen. So, the email she had sent me did tug at my heart.

It doesn't really matter what kind of illness it can be cancer, MS, or Addison's disease, you will be knocked off course in life. If you have been unfortunate to fall very ill before a diagnosis is made, then you will be especially traumatized because every aspect of your life is impacted.

Getting an early diagnosis with any serious health condition is imperative to your life, overall. Getting that early diagnosis means that you get to start treatment BEFORE the disease or illness puts on the dark cloak and starts to pull you under. Getting an early diagnosis means you are so fortunate to escape all of the terrible changes that occur when you cannot lift your head off of a pillow due to the body starting to fail. For some people, the diagnosis comes too late. After being in contact with other people with Addison's on a very personal level, I have seen this fact much too often. Addison's disease is not something to toy with.

If you have suffered tremendously from a prolonged delay in being diagnosed with Addison's disease or any kind of Adrenal Insufficiency, then be prepared for a potentially bumpy recovery. You might feel immediately better after you are put on medications, but it might take a bit longer for you to physically feel markedly better. Beyond that, you might be emotionally, financially and mentally exhausted.

My Addison's experience forced me to change everything about my life. I mean everything. I would have never wanted to make those changes, if I were given a choice. Due to the severity of my condition, my choices were extremely limited. My broad existence in life with untold options suddenly became very narrow. However, today the small tunnel has greatly widened again, and I am thankful for many of those forced alterations to my life because everything did become more brilliant and meaningful.

For those of you who are going through painful times of change because of your disease, don't give up. There might not seem to be brighter days in front of you, but those bright days are only hidden by temporary storm clouds. Eventually, the light will peek through and you'll soon find yourself standing in the sun again and it won't hurt as much. Until that day comes, you might have to create your own sunshine. Every little moment that is a blessing is to be your distraction...make it your distraction. This will help you get through the worst. Changing your focus is not easy, but it will surely make you a changed person, and I bet you will like the "new" you, even with the Addison's label and all the ugliness it might entail.

I wish the world were full of perfect doctors and perfect minds who run the perfect tests before it nearly becomes too late, but that's not the norm for most people with this disease. Hindsight is definitely 20/20, but if you've never heard of this disease, then you cannot help the doctors do their job. It's that simple. Your disease is usually a needle in a haystack.

Part of my difficulty from having Addison's was my deep sense of guilt. I felt as if my entire family's stable existence had been altered because of me. Well, it had been. But, the guilt was something that took a long while to push away, and it still can come creeping back with a vengeance. My family also suffered deep emotional turmoil from my illness. All of us were trying to find our way into a new kind of existence. And, we did.

Fortunately, I was given more second chances than I can say. My second chances have been a repeated blessing. Some people have one chance and that's all they get. Life is not fair and it doesn't always make much sense.

So, once you have a diagnosis, fight back by doing all you can to take charge of your life and to redirect it. If you were one of those who were completely knocked off course, then begin the very tough task of trying to get back on course. But, it will be different and the old course may be completely wiped off the map. You will be different. Life will be different. But, I am also here to say, in many ways, life can be much better.

My oldest daughter and me, this past weekend for beach day
in Galveston for my 43rd birthday. I was 33 when I coded from
Addison's disease. My life is challenging, but amazing.
My youngest daughter and me, also this past weekend. I am full of
blessed moments such as these. Every good day is a treasure.
My tiny, tiny daughter, Stefie, who is nearly 21, playing football
on the beach with her sweetheart.
My oldest daughter, Heather, who is 23, is playing with my
dog, Howdy. Heather is nearly six foot tall, she takes after
her daddy, so you can really see how high Howdy can
go in his game of "jump and catch."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comment will be posted soon after - having to moderate comments because of some SPAM getting through. So, post your comment, like usual, and I will publish it as soon as possible. blog readers often give me inspiration for subsequent blog posts, so I thank you in advance! Thanks for reading this blog; I'll enjoy reading your comments.