I’ve gotten into a circle of asking “why” lately.
As in, “Why the hell is this happening to me?”
I know. I know. It’s cliche.
But I just. I don’t get it. I don’t understand why this is happening to me.
I hate it so, so much.
Last night I did too much, and I was sitting in my car, and I still had to make the hour-and-a-half drive home from the area where I work, and I was in seriously excruciating pain, and it was just radiating throughout my right ribs, and I just wanted to die so, so much and all I could think was, “Why?”
Did I do something to deserve this? Was I an awful person at some point, and this was my punishment? Was I mean to someone and I didn’t realize it, and now I’m going through this as a result of that?
Am I paying for the sins of my youth? For all the stupid mistakes I made in my 20s?
Because if I am, I am truly, truly repentant.
People are always trying to find the good in this. I don’t blame them. I want to find good in evil too.
But I don’t see any good in this.
I play out crazy scenarios in my head where I start foundations and help millions of people with similar problems, but then I just think that even that is horrible because those people shouldn’t ever have to go through something like this. It is so, so awful.
Or, maybe I will sue the hospitals that have brushed me aside and ignored my cries for help and misdiagnosed me and I will get millions of dollars. But trust me, I would rather have my health any day of the week.
Last night, the pain was so horrible and I found myself thinking about driving off the road again, wishing I was dead. Praying for an end.
Someone actually told me recently that I shouldn’t kill myself, because if I commit suicide I’d go to hell and that would be worse than whatever I’m enduring now.
How horrible is that?
Do you think that’s true? I’m seriously in so much pain that I pray to die every day, and I can’t even kill myself because God would send me to hell to be tortured more? How awful is that?
Methodists don’t believe that. I used to attend a Methodist church, so I guess technically I don’t believe that either.
But I feel like I don’t know anything about God these days, so who knows.
Because what kind of God would allow this to happen to me? Or anyone? What kind of God would let someone suffer such horrible physical pain day after day after day? With no cause, no cure? No relief?
I had to fly to a business trip last week, and I looked out the plane at all the little houses on the ground, and all the cars on the road, and everything looked so tiny. And for the first time in my life I thought, “Maybe God isn’t really involved in all this. Maybe it’s all too much for Him. Maybe we are really just super selfish to believe that one creator could possibly be involved in all of our stupid little lives.”
I have to tell you, I feel pretty alone right now. Like I’m fighting this one without any help from up above.
And the idea that maybe I’m just a meaningless speck on this little blue planet is starting to make more and more sense.
I still pray before dinner. I still listen to Christian music.
I still want to believe so, so, so bad.
But I’m feeling pretty deserted at the moment.
And I just can’t understand why this is happening to me. Why this would happen to anyone.
First of all, although I don’t really feel like I should have to say this, I will say it anyway: I flat-out asked my doctor if this whole crazy pain in my right ribs was related to the fact that I eat delicious bread and he looked at me like I was insane, and said, “No.”
Next, I want you to know that I actually did try going to a chiropractor. I promise. He was full of crap. He took some X-rays of my spine and then tried to tell me that I had a pinched nerve in my back (even though the pain is in my front right ribs). And if only I came to see him three times a week for six months, I would probably get better. But then, three weeks later I had an MRI of my spine, which showed absolutely no pinched nerves at all. So basically, he took advantage of the fact that I really, really want to find a cure for my pain and then he tried to sell me snake oil.
Just to be sure though, I did ask my primary care doctor at the time if I should go to a chiropractor. He said he does actually recommend them for certain situations. This is not one of them.
The pain is in my front, right ribs. Not a joint, or my back. A chiropractor cannot help me.
Also, my gall bladder is already out.
Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way. Let’s see here.
I want you to imagine that you are in the worst pain of your whole life. Like, seriously, picture the very worst pain of your whole entire life. Got it? Ok, now imagine that you are enduring that for weeks and weeks on end. I know, it’s hard to conceptualize, but try to stay with me.
Ok, now think about that pain. Think about how horrible it feels. How after enduring it for weeks on end you would probably want to kill yourself. Ok, now picture enduring that same pain for six months. Now seven months.
Now imagine if you were in the midst of that horrible, horrible pain, and someone proclaimed that they knew exactly what you needed to do:
Simply stop eating bread!
Ya, it’s frustrating.
I want you to know that I spend every single waking moment of my free time researching every possible cure or treatment to what I’ve been diagnosed with (intercostal neuralgia).
I promise you that going gluten free is not on that list. No matter how many celebrities swear by it.
The unsolicited medical advice I’ve received since being sick has included:
“Acupuncture.” (Do you know what “acupuncture” is? It’s corrects imbalances in the flow of qi. Ya, so basically it’s “magic.”)
“Have you thought about giving up gluten?” (Yes. I really, really did. I did bunch of research about it before anyone even really knew I was sick. You can ask my boyfriend. I was convinced that this whole problem was caused by “bread” for about 72 hours. And then I realized it wasn’t. And so, because I feel like I’m dying all the time, the last thing I want to give up is one of the few pleasures I have left — pasta).
“Hypnosis.” (Look into my eyes. No.).
“You should get your gall bladder checked” (It’s already out).
“You should get B-12 injections.” (I’ve actually had every single vitamin level checked. Also, just so you know, I’ve been tested for lime disease, I’ve had my thyroid tested and I’ve also had my kidneys tested).
“You should see a chiropractor.” (Look, I know that sometimes when you wake up your back hurts and then you go see your chiropractor and everything is better, but that’s just not the situation I’m in here folks. This is not back pain. Or joint pain. It’s a deep bone pain in my front right ribs and a chiropractor cannot fix it. And if they tell you they can, then you should run in the other direction).
(I promise what you are to read actually happened) “I’ve heard that eating feces from a healthy person can make you better.” “But I don’t have a gastrointestinal problem.” ‘Ya, but I’ve heard that it just resets everything.” (How? No. Just no. I mean, how do you even determine who is qualified to be the healthy person? Wait. No. I’m not even going to entertain the idea that much).
Here’s the thing. While I do appreciate the fact that I’ve now been sick long enough for people to actually care enough to pull up Facebook and send me a random three-sentence message telling me about some medical miracle they’ve discovered, it’s not really what I need.
What I need is compassion. I need people to call me up and say, “How are you doing today? How is the pain?”
I need logistical help. As in, I need people to take me to the doctor and the grocery story and the gas station. I need people to help me go shopping for clothes.
I need people I can call at 3 a.m. when I’m in so much pain that I literally want to kill myself. I need people to send “Get Well” cards long after the allure of me first getting sick has worn off. And I need love.
I know it makes you feel better when you press send on those texts and emails telling me about your miracle medical cure. Like somehow you’re doing your part to make me better, and it was as simple as typing out a few sentences before bed.
But it makes me feel like you think this is somehow still my fault. Like, if I really wanted to get better, I would just do the random thing you were telling me about, because obviously that’s what you would do in my situation and then you would get better and then you wouldn’t have this issue.
But that’s not reality. Reality is I woke up one random day in February, I had horrible pain on my right side, and, it never went away. And the very same thing could happen to anybody at anytime. Even you. And all the gluten-free diets, and chiropractor appointments and healthy feces in the world wouldn’t make it go away.
The only thing that makes me feel better even a little bit better is hydrocodone, and sometimes even that doesn’t work.
Also, I promise you with all my heart that I spend literally every second of my free time researching my situation, and possible cures. I really, really promise.
So unless you’re a medical professional (Hi Heather!) please think twice before you hit send on that text, email, or Facebook message. And instead, consider giving me an actual phone call, or (gasp!) coming by for a visit.
Yesterday I was feeling really awful and laying in bed between doses of pain pills, making them stretch as long as possible because I’m getting to the end of my monthly supply and my boyfriend called, and I was in so much pain that I did something I very, very rarely do when he calls — I hit ignore.
And then, because he does not give up on me that easy, he called again 30 minutes later. And because I love him, I answered.
He was all, “How are you feeling?” And I was all, “Horrible.” And he asked, “How horrible?” And I said, “Well, pretty bad.” And then he asked, “Hmm, well so bad that you wouldn’t want me to come out for a visit?”
I perked up immediately because LOVE.
Within 90 minutes he was walking through the door. And he and I and my mom and my sister and my brother and I went out for pizza at basically the only pizza place in Byron. As is tradition, my family members brought our own topping and ordered tuna pizza, and although my boyfriend is a pretty good sport, he couldn’t quite bring himself to only eat tuna pizza for dinner, so he got a medium sausage pizza for himself.
Then, after dinner, he and I sat out on the back porch and he smoked a high-end cigar and I ate a Hostess cupcake and for a few minutes we got to pretend that we didn’t live two hours apart.
It was pretty wonderful.
A lot of people ask me what the future holds for my relationship with him now that the two of us live so far from each other. And, yes, it has been an adjustment to go from seeing each other every single day to seeing each other once a week, or once every other week.
For now, we are just taking it one day at a time.
We are blessed by the fact that we have always had an extremely strong phone connection, and so we’re able to chat on the phone 15 times a day without thinking about it, because we used to do that even when we lived 12 minutes apart.
I think, we are both sort of hoping that I have moved to my mom’s house to get better and that three months from now, I’ll magically be healed and then we can figure out what the future holds for us.
But I also think, in the back of our heads, we both know that might not happen. We both know I might never get better, and in fact I might just keep getting worse.
For now, the best we can do is take it one day at a time.
Because even though I don’t know what the future holds, I do know that I’ve never loved anyone as much as I love him. I do know that I’ve never been in a relationship as amazing as the relationship I’m in now. And, I do know that I’ve never felt a connection to another human being like the connection I feel to him.
I love him more than I can explain. And his unexpected visit yesterday was just what I needed.
So here’s to 15 phone calls a day, surprise visits and LOVE.