I'm using the Story-Time Tuesday format for this and each week I will be doing a giveaway for "A Different Kind of Medical Care" but Dr. Tina Marcantel.
You can read about this book by clicking here.
Giveaway Information: Enter to win a copy on this post today or you can purchase at that link. 10% discount code is 'healthy1'.
I will have Mr. Jenny select a random number from all the comments on this post. Feel free to enter any time before Monday.
Winner will be announced next Tuesday along with the continuing story. Autographed book will be mailed out on Wednesday!
PART ONE - IF GOOD HEALTH WAS EASY, EVERYBODY WOULD HAVE IT!
Yesterday wasn’t a good day. It was hard to raise my head off the pillow. It was hard to walk with my cement encased feet.
Today is a little better.
Tomorrow may be better still.
I hope so.
I’ve been doing this a long time.
I’ve been to at least fifty doctors in the past decade.
Only one has been able to help me.
That part of the story is important, but I want to begin with the doctors from long ago.
That’s when this story really began for me.
As a young mother in the early 1980’s, I could not believe that my level of exhaustion and chronic pain was ‘normal’, even with two very small children and two miscarriages behind me.
The constant diagnosis at all the physician’s offices I visited, though, was always the same.
Depression, depression, depression.
I heard it from suave doctors wearing trim white coats, rushed physicians barely making eye contact, and surly doctors who seemed to begrudge the 9 ½ minutes of time allotted to me. They all said the same thing, “It’s depression.”
In those years I was still a little in awe (and afraid of) doctors.
I would push hesitantly against their diagnosis. “So depression is what makes me so exhausted I have to lay on the floor to watch my children? Depression is what has caused me to miscarry so many times? Depression is what causes me to feel like I’m walking around in cement tennis shoes? Depression is what makes my bones and joints hurt so bad I want to scream or cry?”
“Depression,” they said.
I thought perhaps it was partly true…all those pregnancies in quick succession had worn me down.
So maybe it was depression causing all the health problems.
That’s what all the doctors said, so it must be true. Right?
My ‘prescription’ in those years was, “Lose a little weight, stay busy, think happy thoughts.”
I’ll be honest.
I didn’t think happy thoughts about those doctors and their medical advice. And the rest of the advice involved things I was already trying do, with limited success.
In the following years I had another child and another series of miscarriages, but I continued to try to think happy thoughts even while I cried with pain and exhaustion.
That same bumpy, unhappy path continued until late in the 1980’s when the current doctor came up with a new solution. “Obviously this is depression. Let me prescribe medication.”
Having been an extreme ‘sensitive’ to medication since my teen years, I was reluctant.
The doctor reassured me, “It will be fine. There are no side effects of this medicine…it’s called Prozac. Let’s think of it as a happy pill.”
For me, personally, it wasn’t a happy pill.
It made me anything but happy.
If my exhaustion, lethargy and constant pain were the side effects of depression up to that point, I’m not sure what level of personal hell the Prozac catapulted me to.
After just a few days of taking that medication, I became seriously, totally and completely unhinged. I was taking care of three small children and thinking about suicide all day. Every day. Twenty-four seven.
“Just keep taking the medication,”I was advised, “This is part of your body becoming accustomed to it. Oh, and here is a referral to a psychiatrist.”
The doctors didn’t swirl their fingers around their ears indicating, “Oh boy, here’s another crazy one,” but I suspect they might have when I left the room.
The medication continued to put me in an even worse place. A darker place. Combined with the tension and ugliness of a pretty awful marriage, I began to suspect it was true.
Maybe I really was crazy.
Maybe I was at fault for being in an abusive marriage.
Maybe my craziness was causing all the physical health stuff.
Whatever was causing it, I truly felt I had no place to exist in a world filled with happy, energetic, smiling families.
Maybe if I just worked harder at being ‘normal’, I would become ‘normal’.
But the lonely extremes of the suicidal feeling scared me. A lot. I quit taking the Prozac.
I still felt lousy some of the time, but at least my days were no longer accompanied by the perpetual loop, “maybe-this-would-be-the-best-way-to-kill-myself!” soundtrack.
The doctors failed to tell me that one of the side effects of anti-depressants can be INCREASED depression and suicidal tendencies.
Oopsie. No big deal, apparently.
In those pre-google days, what the doctor told me was the truth…and I never thought to question it.
Instead of questioning, I finally just tried to accept that feeling lousy was just the norm for me.
Every so often one pain or another would accelerate to the point that the doctors would do ‘exploratory’ surgeries trying to find the culprit.
They took out a few unnecessary internal organs on several occasions, but it never really helped.
I continued to feel like I was missing the world because of pain and exhaustion. Could all those other women truly be THAT peppy AND happy AND content?
I told myself I felt so awful because of all the pregnancies in such a short period of time.
I told myself if I kept pushing I would eventually come to the end of the tunnel of misery. I pushed harder against the feelings…unwilling to become a victim to them.
I was tough.
I was a survivor.
I was going to get everything done that I wanted to get done, damn it, and I was going to be happy doing it.
I was focused on finding my way through feeling terrible. But it was a long tunnel.
The oval of light at the end was a moving target.
Some days, weeks and months were good. Some moderate. Some were absolute hell.
But I trudged ahead…believing things would improve…believing my strength of will was all that was required for a happy ending.
PART TWO, TUESDAY, OCTOBER 30.
PLEASE READ BOOK GIVEAWAY INFORMATION AT THE TOP OF THIS POST.