It’s Not Lupus. Or Is It?

cute eye
Hello out there! I’m making up for lost blogging time with some progress reports. Lots of people have been asking about my health and how that’s going. I’d like to report that I started my business, rode off into the sunset, and lived happily ever after. And in a sense, I did. But health issues are a learning process. It’s kind of a journey. I feel like I’ve passed a big barrier in not letting them define my life and my future. But to be honest, I’m still figuring it all out.

welt
For the past few months, I’ve been having a sort of never-ending flareup. It started out like this. These welts. Really itchy welts. At first under my arms. But now pretty much everywhere. Sometimes it would be welts.

rash
Sometimes I would get these rashes. Kind of all over. Sometimes they feel like burns. But they’re not. I’m not really sure what they are.

octagonal
Sometimes they have interesting and artistic shapes.

clusterfuk
Sometimes they are clusters of red spots. Like this. Sometimes, they look more like clusters of mosquito bites. But in spots where you don’t really get mosquito bites.

mosquito bites
When I do get mosquito bites, they look more like this. Fluid filled weirdness. (NOTE:  This pic is old.  There are no mosquitoes right now.  It’s winter.  At least in Minnesota.)

Typically, a person might go to the doctor for things like this. And don’t get me wrong, I really like my doctor. And I think we have a good relationship. But I have a very LONG HISTORY of going to the doctor with my weird issues and SPENDING TONS OF MONEY on GETTING THE RUNAROUND. After a while, it becomes an intelligence test. You have to ask yourself some important questions. ‘Is this actually helping me?’ ‘Can I afford this?’ ‘Is this helping me to create a life that I want to live?’ I think the answers to these questions are different for different people. But ultimately, you have to choose the path that’s right for you.

eat more kale
My answer to all the above questions is a resounding no. It’s not helping me. I can’t afford it. And it’s not helping me to create a life I want to live. I feel like it might have been an acceptable path for an era where health insurance actually covered things. But times have changed. Dramatically. And ultimately, I have to be honest with myself. I’ve gotten very little help. I’ve been emotionally and physically abused. I’ve spent thousands and thousands of dollars on a wild goose chase. I’ve gotten no answers. And I’ve wasted hours and hours of my time. It’s not the foundation for a life I want to live. Every now and then, I’ll freak out about some scary symptom that comes up. A month or so ago, it was that I woke up in the middle of the night and barfed up a ball of bloody mucous. I went to the doctor. It turned out I had a bleeding ulcer. Kind of a rite of passage for a new entrepreneur. My blood tests showed that I tested positive again for a couple autoimmune screeners. Rheumatoid factor and ANA (anti-nuclear antibody). Honestly, my gut feeling is that I have lupus. I’ve had this gut feeling for years. Since six months after my toxic exposure. I kind of knew. I think most people know. But I went through years of people telling me it was all in my head. And trying to convince myself otherwise. Ultimately, I realized that this was doing more harm than good. I need to accept who I am. What I am. What I’m going through. I do not need to spend energy denying, trying to fit into other people’s boxes, being in some weird limbo because my test results aren’t consistent with other people’s expectations. It’s not helpful. It’s painful. It feels like a step backward. I’m frankly not capable of humoring the situation any longer. I’m a reasonable person. I’m well mannered. I’m agreeable. It’s really not me. It’s the situation. And this situation isn’t working for me. My doctor suggested that I go to see more specialists (a really expensive, really frustrating, really unfruitful endeavor). This prompted a meltdown where I told her I was never going to the doctor again. Kinda dramatic, I realize. But that’s where I’m at right now. And apparently, this is considered a normal reaction to this situation.

What’s the answer? This is a good question. And one that I’m still kind of processing…

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