You can’t see the inside of me

Day 16, Thursday: Something difficult about your “lot in life” and how you’re working to overcome it.

This one is challenging. I am fortunate to have had a very well-balanced and “easy” life. I grew up in a traditional family home, the youngest of three, and my parents are still together. I have been able to experience all sorts of educational opportunities. I went to a private Catholic school from K-8, went to a public high school in suburbia of Minneapolis, and was able to attend a small public liberal arts college in middle of nowhere, Morris, MN. My parents were able to let me explore many different creative passions and activities. I have been fortunate to never have any serious struggle with finding and maintaining work, and while money is tight, I can always make do or can rely on family to help me in a pinch. I have four adorable nieces and nephews and another on the way. I love my job and am able to take time off without having to worry.

So what is my “lot in life”?

Well, ever since I have been a little girl, I have always told my parents that when they created me, they each gave me the worst of their genes. And as the saying goes, “two wrongs don’t make a right.”  Now, I am not sick with some crazy illness. But imagine the ailments your parents have, and imagine getting nearly all of them. That is how I have felt most of my life.

Growing up, I was a sick kid. I got every ailment and illness one can  think of. I had strep several times, I have had the chicken pox and its adult version, shingles. I had severe mono when I was 12. Ever since then, every time I get exhausted, my glands become swollen and it is my indication I need rest.

I was also one of the first diagnosed cases for a condition called eosinophilic esophagitis. Your eosinophill cells kick in when your body is fighting off inflammation or infection. They are your back up/last resort immune system cells. When they flare up in my throat, food gets stuck/lodged in my esophagus. If I cannot get it to come up, aka making myself throw up, or stretching enough to let it go down, then the doctors have to complete a procedure. While I have been to the ER many times for this, thankfully I never had to have the procedure done. My pediatrician gastroenterologist used to bring my labs and tests to the Mayo clinc as research. Now it is more commonly diagnosed, but growing up I was always the guinea pig — trying new medicines in order to keep it under control.

Additionally, my parents both gave me their bad vision genes. And by bad, I mean terrible. Legally blind without lenses — extreme near-sightedness. As of right now, I can never have 20/20 vision, even with corrective lenses. As for my teeth, we often point fingers on whose terrible teeth I have. The only one in my family to need braces, I am missing two adult teeth, and I have lost track of how many cavities I have had. Granted that last part is partially my fault, but it was always a mystery to my dentist as to why I would get decay even though I never drink pop or eat a lot of candy etc. Last summer, I think I discovered why: I have a pretty serious case of Vitamin D deficiency. This means my body cannot break down Vitamin D properly and therefore, I hadn’t been absorbing calcium correctly either. Calcium needs Vitamin D to absorb properly. Our bones, need calcium and Vitamin D to be strong. Sounds like a connection to me.

I bruise super easily. And I think my blood flow is weak. When I need to get blood drawn, it takes forever. And my friends always make fun of how many bruises I have on my body in any given day. Doctors were once worried I might have an immune deficiency, simply because it doesn’t take much for me to get infections and illness. Maybe my eosinophill cells are in overdrive.

In college I had to have para-ovarian cysts removed. Not cancerous or anything like that. But when they opened me up, they had more than they bargained for. They thought there would be one, turns out, I had half a dozen. Oh and I still have one that comes and goes. I just live with the pain when it is there.

My mother also gave me migraines. Those are fun. Not.

So how am I overcoming this? Well, it isn’t something you can really “overcome” but more of something you learn to deal and live with. For one, most people don’t realize how terrible my vision is because I wear contacts nearly all the time. 1) I see astronomically better with contacts and 2) my glasses are very thick. There is no way to hide my lack of vision if I wear my glasses. Even with my contacts, the best distance vision I can have is 20/40. And on top of that I, I have cataracts in both eyes, and always have floaters in my line of vision. And glares are frequent. I am often faced with the situation in which I simply cannot read something. This happens most often at fast food places that I have to read menus. There are ways around it… like asking if they have a print menu, or asking for their recommendations. If you are with me and I am taking a while to decide, that might be why.

As for my teeth, eventually I will have to have dental implants. Eosinophilic esophagitis? I take a daily medicine to keep inflammation down. My Vitamin D deficiency? I take 500% daily to keep the symptoms at bay. Cysts? Well I guess if they get bad enough, I might need another surgery.

Health care is expensive, and when you have my “lot in life” you almost always owe some doctor money. Nothing is cheap and with a high-deductible insurance plan, it all adds up quickly. So while I am fortunate enough to not have too many other financial worries, I have to spend buckets more on health care costs every year to stay healthy. It’s just a fact of MY life, and I make do just fine.

What is something you struggle with in life? Do you refer it to your “lot in life”?

Posted in Blog Every Day in May, Life, Struggles
One comment on “You can’t see the inside of me
  1. […] I realized it has been a while. I have been busy, planning events and worrying endlessly about my tooth. It is time for one implant. That happens tomorrow. While I look forward to the pain being gone, I […]

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