This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.
~Source: WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, Hamlet, act I, scene iii, lines 7880. Polonius is speaking to Laertes.
This quote is about self-respect.
This post is about self-respect.
I haven't felt well for months, probably since about mid-September. At first, it was a little annoying - my breath would catch every now and again, food would start to get stuck in my throat, I was tired more often than normal, my legs felt heavy, my back ached, ny hair seemed to be falling out an alarming rate, my skin was dry, red and flaky....minor things that I sort of felt I should just "get over". In September I was still in full running mode - 4 x a week and looking to go further.
All through October I struggled with running, I just didn't feel like running, it didn't make me feel good and would leave me feeling tired all the next day, sometimes with muscles aching more than I did when I first started. I didn't even have the energy to push farther and harder on the few times I felt like I wanted to try. My knee started to bother me, ranging from pain to minor aches. Then the first week of November I did my first 5K race, I pushed through it, even though it hurt physically and in the photos of me running, there are visible winces. After the race, I had a hard time walking for about 3 days and the pain would come and go, sometimes I could run, sometimes I could hardly walk. I rested, I iced, I took Advil, I pushed through - I wasn't sure what the right course of action was. Finally I learned I had torn a hamstring. A week's rest, two physio sessions and my knee/hamstring were good as new - I was lucky.
But the feeling of fatigue, achiness, breathing and other problems continued in varying degrees. I could have days where I felt fine and then days where I could hardly catch my breath and days that it felt like every single muscle in my body was screaming at me, days where concentrating on the simplest tasks was impossible and days where I was so tired, it was fight to just keep my eyes open all day. I would have days where I'd sleep 10-12 hours straight and wake up feeling like I hadn't slept in days. I know some of my friends and family thought it was in my head, maybe panic attacks or some other psychological problem.
I know I how I feel. I know what feels right and what doesn't. My normal might not necessarily be yours. I did see my Family Doctor during this time and she set up an appointment with a respitory specialist in February (this was back in December - gotta love the Ontario medical system!). By the first week of January I knew I couldn't wait that long and the respitory problems didn't address the other problems I am having.
Today I saw my endocrinologist. I love this woman. From the first appointment almost 10 years ago, she has never steered me wrong. She is both medically smart and people smart. She is compassionate and kind but tough and expects her patients do the work to get better. I usually see her twice a year, my last appointment was in November when I casually mentioned some of the issues to her. We tried a change in meds temporarily at that time, but it made no difference and some of the symptoms were so minor it was hard for me to even define them. As soon as she came out of her office and saw me today she said, "You don't look well, what's going on?"
I told her all the symptoms and the severity. She wrote everything down. She asked questions, she did an exam, she asked more questions. She went through my file, asked more questions.
Then she told me what she thinks it is and how we would treat it. Then she told me all the other things it might be and the tests required to rule them out.
She also told me all my bloodwork was normal - everything in the normal range and that on paper, I was perfectly healthy. My diabetes is better than optimal control. My thyroid appears to be functioning normally (with the level of meds I'm on). But she said, these are numbers are for about 90% of the population, there's always those people that fall within the numbers that aren't well. You're one of them. She said we just need to find out which of the numbers that looked right, weren't right for me.
So we're treating the horse right now, but going to look for the zebra, just in case. Either way, she said, "In a month - we'll have answers and if you're not already feeling better, we'll get you better." I'll let you know what the outcome is in a month or so...but none of the causes are life threatening or terribly serious - all are treatable and curable. I'm going to be fine.
So my whole point of telling you this....is that YOU know your body better than anyone. You know what your normal is. YOU know what feels right and what doesn't. Trust yourself, trust your instincts and respect yourself enough to take care of yourself and seek help.
I would not have let my spouse or my kids feel sick for three months and let them do nothing about it. Why did I think I wasn't worthy of the same self-respect or care?