March is Rare Ailment Awareness Month and like most, a few years back, I would not have known this or have taken time to consider this, but now I do.
Five years ago I was fine. Each day I slapped on that extra wide fake smile and told myself that life was ‘fine, fine, fine’. All areas of my life, relationships, work and health were as they should be; all grand and busy and consuming and oppressive and well …. pointless. Maybe my body had had enough, maybe it just takes that long to register that you are not happy but after ten years of living in Ireland my body shut down as I became homeless, fiance-less, friendless, jobless and childless. It all happened so suddenly that I did not really understand the gravitas this would have on the rest of my life.
I moved back to the UK and in with my Parents and after about a year I was able to slap that smile back on my face with a demanding Spa Managers job, expensive swanky flat in Chelsea, a place on a degree course and a new man – life was grand, busy and pointless once again.
I had solved all problems but one. The new home, new friends, new job and man kept me busy consuming most of my time. I was up 6am to midnight between working and studying. In addition to these demands and deadlines I attempted to learn French, took ballet and yoga lessons, went to parties on weekends, drank expensive wine and began an unhealthy obsession with social media.
Three years ago this June I bent over at work in excruciating pain. I ignored it. We had an extremely high profile soon-to-be Grammy award winning singer visiting each week alongside journalists, socialites and Chelsea FC Wives and Girlfriends. It was my sole responsibility to ensure everyone left happy, money rang through the tills and the staff didn’t kill each other. I was too busy for pain so I continued on. July 2013 I was convinced I had some strange stomach ‘thing’ as my diet consisted of frothy coffees, half a pot of hummus and 2 Marlborough Menthols as I rarely got the chance to smoke during working hours and I worked through lunch. As a reward I would go to a michelin starred restaurant on Thursdays and order steak and drink wine – life was good. September 2013 and the pain was so great I collapsed several times and thought for sure my appendix was going to burst. In October Chelsea & Westminister sent me home with a request for an ultrasound for a pelvic cyst. In December I moved out of the flat, had lost my job and had left my course. I had not slept for two months and was experiencing sleep deprived schizophrenic episodes.
What began next is what I refer to as Undiagnosis
an ailment worse than any other.
Undiagnosis leaves you scared, confused, anxious, tired, frustrated, pained and hopeless. It brings with it depression, lethargy, mania, insomnia and fear. Undiagnosis can last for several years with you bouncing from GP to Consultant to Specialist to Mental Health Team. Undiagnosis can also be fatal.
My Undiagnosis is a confusion between wether I have Endometriosis or PMDD. Endometriosis is a condition where tissue from the womb lining appear outside of the uterus and attaches itself onto other areas and organs causing pain. Pre Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder is a hormonal disruption occurring before menstruation that causes severe pain and extreme feelings of hopelessness. The only problem with both prognosis’ is that I have ammenorhea; I do not menstruate.
Only laparoscopy can confirm wether I have endometriosis or not, until then I have Undiagnosis.
March is the month where sufferers try to show others the rare ailments that affect them on a daily basis and hope that you understand a little better where we are coming from when we cancel at the last minute due to pain or forget birthdays or haven’t called in a while.
Personally, I use it to remember that Undiagnosis could happen to anyone and I know this, as it happened to me, so I use it for strength. I use this month to show that I battle with something few people experience or know about and that despite this I can remain positive and happy and love life whatever the circumstances.
Whatever the month I continue to support all ailments and all women experiencing any chronic symptoms including PMDD, Endometriosis & MS