There is more than what meets the eye……..
Sometimes I feel like I am living a double life. On the outside, I am a hard working, active, service orientated, social human being. I finished my undergraduate career at Howard University with a 3.8 GPA, worked part time, was involved in many different organizations and was one of the Student Directors of Howard University’s Alternative Spring Break program. Currently, I am a first year Masters of Public Health student at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health. On the outside I am normal(or at least what I can consider normal lol).
…..but there is more than what meets the eye……I have hidden truths….
On the outside I don’t look sick. I attempt present myself in a way that shows strength; I never want to look weak. I attempt to hide my truths for fear that it will show weakness or that I will be judged based upon them. On the inside, sometimes I feel like a prisoner in my own body. I feel trapped in a constant battle of health conditions, taking a physical and emotional toll.
In October 2008 right after homecoming my freshman year at Howard, I had a cold just like any other Fall but this cold was different. This cold turned into a nightmare. It turned into weeks of hospital stays, days of not being able to function, every heart/lung/brain test there is, mulitple pills, and no answers. It turned into three years of not knowing what was wrong with my body.
Finally in January 2011 I had a Tilt Table Test done and was diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. Finally I had a diagnosis, I thought the stuggle was over. I was wrong. There is no cure for POTS and for me my treatment has been and still is trial and error. Most of the typical medications for POTS do not allievate my symptoms. Although I am function now with the help of IV hydration therapy and medication, there was a point where I was not functional. There have been points where I physically cannot get out of bed because of fatigue or because I would experience fainting/pre-syncope. My body is just working too hard. Although I am now functional, I am still symptomatic. I describe it as feeling as though I just got done running a few miles, only all the time. I constantly struggle with debilitating fatigue, rapid heart rate, blood pressure changes, lightheadedness, dizziness, shortness of breath, pain, graying out, fainting, and more. The intensity of the symptoms vary day to day and even hour to hour. Some things you take for granted like walking up the stairs, going grocery shopping, or even washing your hair, can all be a real struggle for me at times. Sometimes I feel like an old woman trapped in a 22 year old’s body. It is a constant battle.
I attempted to hide the real story, but I have realized that having this health problems doesn’t make me look weak. I attempted to hide the real story, but I am ready to share this story in the hopes that people will not only gain an understanding and possibly identify with my situations, but become informed about some of the issues going on in my life. This is a space for me to blog about my thoughts, feelings and daily struggles. It is also a space for others to learn about the issues at hand and become educated. I have realized I have the ability to empower myself and others. It is a space where others can share their stories and hidden truths.
I hope you enjoy My Hidden Truths.