Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Straw, meet camel

For three weeks now, I've been struggling to express my emotions to my readers, or my family and friends, or even just to myself. I've been on a roller coaster, from joy and relief to absolute despair. I'm at an utter loss, here, to try and express where I'm coming from. I've written and rewritten this post almost every day, and I haven't gotten any further. I hope this is my final draft.

Long story short, I'm now the proud owner of another medical diagnosis. During a routine physical exam last week, I brought up some areas of my health with which I had been struggling. My doctor immediately ordered a huge list of blood tests. This week, I got the diagnosis. At first, I laughed, because what the heck else was I supposed to do? But then I cried and I've pretty much been crying ever since.

It's just PCOS, guys. It's not even that big of a deal, really. More symptoms to manage, more medications to take, but not a super serious diagnosis, and certainly better than the alternatives. There's a certain sense of relief in this diagnosis, because it explains completely the issues that I've struggled with for years and years. I have an answer and a treatment, and armed with those things I should be able to recover. Maybe six months from now, I'll look and feel better than I ever have before.

So that’s the good news, and I’m honestly thrilled to have found this answer. Beneath that layer of happiness, though, I’m bewildered. How can another thing be wrong with me? How can more of my body be so broken? I don’t feel like I can manage this on top of my RA, which is still more out of control than I’d like. I haven’t even lived with RA for a year! I don’t know how to cope with the summer heat, I don’t know the warning signs for an impending flare, and I don’t know how to handle myself on those rough days when I still require a cane.

Why this? Why now, why ever, why me? This is another lifelong diagnosis, on top of asthma and RA. This requires a constant monitoring of symptoms and medication side effects. This feels like another blow, another kick while I’m down.

I'm frustrated with my broken self. Thrilled as I am to able to express myself freely, and walk, and talk and move (mostly), I feel more and more like I'm stuck in a defective body that will never work right, no matter how hard I try. This body will always be ugly, and it will always be faulty. It will never be what I wanted.

I'm mourning the loss of so many things. I'm not quite over the grief of losing what were once totally normal, healthy-looking joints. Sometimes, I still shed a tear for my early 20s, which were supposed to be filled with all the fun, silly things that newly-freed young adults do. I'm mourning my education, which has been completely derailed. Now, I have some new losses to grieve, and they are so tough to overcome. With PCOS comes a number of reproductive problems, as if I didn't have enough to worry about with the susceptibility to RA looming in my genetic code somewhere. I'm young now, it's true, but I feel that my body has already decided my reproductive future for me, and it didn't ask for my emotional input. To me, as a woman, this decision that my body has so firmly made is deeply, deeply hurtful. How can I recover after being dealt such a personal blow?

I hate the expression, "the straw that broke the camel's back," but after this recent diagnosis, I feel like nothing else is so appropriate. Coping with my RA has become routine. I've been managing my pain beautifully, staying positive, and enjoying every day. I've been so pleased with all my progress. Somehow, one relatively harmless diagnosis devastated all my progress, and left me miserable. I don't know what to do with myself, or how to feel better. Where do I go from here?

This is where I'm at right now. Please forgive me for my inability to communicate, or return phone calls, or answer e-mails. I'm trying to manage myself, but I can't quite handle it just yet. I'll find myself and my coping mechanisms again soon. I'm almost kind of positive.

(I am so sorry for this giant, ranty complaint. I'm frustrated with myself for this meltdown, and I'm wracked with guilt over the incredibly amount of ungratefulness and selfishness this post displays. It is what it is, though, and I needed to write. )


  1. Kathryn,

    First of all, I am so sorry for this new diagnosis. I know how painful this diagnosis can be as I was diagnosed with PCOS at 17. Metformin and birth control were prescribed. I was taking them like a champ but something just did not seem right. I sought out a 2nd opinion and was told I did not have PCOS. I sought out a third opinion and was told I did not have PCOS. Please seek out a second opinion on this diagnosis.

    If you do in fact have PCOS, never apologize for your thoughts or label them as ranting complaints. You have every right to be upset and you do need to be told you were robbed of your youth. I found when people solidified my feelings it helped me cope. It was the people that told me that I was lucky and to quit my rants that kept me down.

    I also think you have every right to talk to a certified professional that has expertise in the fields of chronic diseases. Getting all of the emotions out can help get the coping ball rolling. I know I am here for you if you would like to express feelings to.

    I am sorry you are going through all of this. It is not fair. It just isn't, plain and simple.


  2. It's ok to be angry. It's ok to be sad. It's not fair. Go through all your emotions and you will come up on top. It's when you deny your"rants" that you get in troubleb