Patient “Mac” was an active person. Before falling ill he enjoyed participating in in biathlons, scuba diving, and traveling. His symptoms began in October of 1996, after he traveled from Victoria Falls to the South of France and then to Cancun. Somewhere along the way, he contracted a virus and began feeling constantly fatigued.
As any patient will tell you, having a rare or undiagnosed illness is immensely difficult. Doctors don’t know how to help you, and there are very few resources available. It can be crushing. As you feel yourself fall apart every day, fighting for a diagnosis can become extremely discouraging.
I have been chronically ill for over seven years, and had chronic pain for four. Living in this state, exercise is not easy, I’m only 24 years old and close to diabetes. But no excuses, it’s time to take care of myself.
The first step in getting into the exercise habit is to find your reason, your main motive. Whether it’s for you to fit into that amazing dress, to be healthier, for your kids or partner, anything! If downloading “Pokemon Go” or another game will help to make getting out and about fun, do that! My reason is for my self-esteem, confidence, and my future.
When you stop and think about it, the human species is the ultimate variety pack. We embody a collection of physical features in a staggering array of combinations. In all their diverse glory, though, most people are dissatisfied with at least one of their features. Some want a smaller nose or a flatter stomach. Others want to be taller or to have bigger muscles. Some yearn for thick, luscious hair, while others dream of a movie star smile. Despite these insecurities, people generally go on living their lives.
Patient “Jennifer” was sick of it, just sick of being sick all the time. She had been from doctor to doctor, gone through several tests and prescription drugs. At one point, she was on 11 drugs at once and passed out at the wheel of her car–and still, no real diagnosis.
Good movies often set the bar real high for real life. Empire Records ruined the concept of the familial record store just a few years before they disappeared into obscurity. Casper ruined the concept of the perfect romance – like all boyfriends don’t turn out to be Devon Sawa in the end? And then there was The Goonies – setting the highest bar for adventure, and a story I will attempt to capture in my own life for the rest of it.
Starting in 2008/2009, Patient “Mahrta” started to feel pain on the right side of her face. Starting out as shooting pain pulsing behind her eyes, the pain would eventually travel to the side of her nose and to two of her bottom teeth. Everyday tasks such as brushing and flossing her teeth, washing her face and hair, putting on make-up, wind, and even sleeping in certain ways proved to be impossible because of the pain. At times, this pain would bring her to uncontrollable tears.
When patient “Lenard” was a medical student, he noticed a lesion on his shin that at first glance appeared to be dry skin. Unlike dry skin, though, this condition proved to be anything but temporary and persisted for months.
Growing up is weird. The clichéd phrase about women “having it all” sounds like an annoying way to market a new pink-hued tampon to women, but you do find the older you get that “having it all” becomes harder and harder.
Imagine the sun’s scalding rays beating down on your back. As you will your legs to continue moving, every step threatens to betray you. Rivers of sweat streak your skin, stinging your eyes. As the blinding daylight obscures your vision, your heart hammers in futility. Your body weakens, and you question your resolve to continue. After all, in this race, there is no finish line.