“When was the last time you remember feeling good?” I stared at the words on the questionnaire, my clusterfuck thoughts couldn’t show an example. I continued through the survey answering with ease, describing symptom after symptom of the problems doctors couldn’t fix. This questionnaire was my last hope.
For as long as I can remember, I have felt tired. I loved sleep like it was my purpose in life. On days I didn’t have school, I would sleep in as long as I could. When I finally dragged my buns out of bed, hair stuck to the drool on my face, still completely exhausted, my Father told me I won the sleeping contest. I felt that tiredness was just normal.
When I began playing ice hockey at nineteen years old, my exhaustion worsened. I told my doctor I couldn’t keep up with the rest of the girls. I couldn’t breathe. I was so tired, I could barely think. During class, all I would think about was which couch I would pass out on in the student lounge when my afternoon break finally hit.
My doctor referred me to see an Ears, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor and an Endocrinologist. The ENT, a short, pushy older man who interrupted me throughout the entire appointment, said everything was fine, even though my tonsils were huge and continually inflamed. I never went back to him. The Endocrinologist took my blood and when the results came back, she explained that my levels were ‘a little off’ and if I wanted, I could go on Synthroid to boost my Thyroid functioning. I asked if it would help me have energy. She said, “It could.” So off I went with a little slip to take to the pharmacy. I took these tiny white pills for months and they did not change my energy level. I was still completely exhausted. I took a break from doctors and pushed on through, accepting tiredness as normal once again.
I avoided doctors for as long as I could until things got worse.
In less than two months, two very important relationships in my life completely changed. I broke up with my girlfriend of two years after realizing I was in love with a close friend of mine—a guy—after only dating women for the past six years. The confusion of these feelings swirled around in my brain. How can I like a guy? I’m supposed to be a lesbian. Do I even know how to be with a guy? Although my confusion kept me up at night, I knew I could not turn my back on my own feelings. I had to go with it. A week or two prior to my breakup with my girlfriend, he had broken up with his girlfriend. We were each fully aware of the problems in each other’s relationships and we understood. We were there for each other. We began a secret romance—not wanting to hurt our exes by allowing them to see us together so soon. It came as a surprise to me when I found out he had secretly started seeing her again just a couple of weeks after their breakup. I was devastated. I felt betrayed. Not only was I so angry with him for doing this to me, but I felt angry at myself for not realizing this sooner.
It was at that point that my health problems worsened. I felt like absolute garbage. I did not want to get out of bed. I went back to the doctor—this time a gynecologist who shrugged and told me ‘well, you are twenty-five,’ when I asked about dryness. I was treated for bacteria vaginosis and urinary tract infections with antibiotics and gels, but these problems just came back. I tried a new ENT who suggested having my tonsils and uvula removed, with a trimming of my palate because of sleep apnea, even though I did not fit the typical overweight profile. After waking up from a surgery in utter pain, I was given more antibiotics and a shitty diet of popsicles and spaghetti o’s—not the best idea for healing after a surgery, which is why I continued to get worse.
Everything I did drained my energy. Work was so exhausting that I began avoiding co-workers. I walked around in a brain fog where I even forgot meetings that I had written down on my schedule. Frustrated with these medical doctors, I tried a more holistic one, who put me on the Candida Diet to cleanse my system of harmful bacteria. I remember Christmas dinner at my parents’ house and I was unable to eat the delicious honey ham because it was cooked in orange juice and brown sugar. This diet was restrictive to the point where I could not even eat fruit because of the sugar content. I ate oatmeal for breakfast, alternated chicken salads with hard-boiled egg salads for lunch, and ate meat and steamed veggies for dinner. I felt starved. My stress level was at an all-time high and each subsequent trip to this doctor left me even more hopeless. At one point, she had me get a neck scan to check my thyroid for lumps. She told me one of the sides showed a nine centimeter nodule that we needed to check in a couple of months because at ten centimeters, you need a biopsy. She even said that this would probably happen. I could no longer go to a doctor who did not believe in the improvement of my situation.
By then, many months had passed and I had a new boyfriend, who was sweet and supportive and even attended doctor appointments with me. This time was the most stressful in my life and I am grateful that he was there for me because I don’t know if I would have made it out alive without him. It is actually because of him that I came in contact with the person who helped me. An Intuitive Nutritionist. Within a week of working with her, I felt energy. “When was the last time you remember feeling good?” I look at the questionnaire today and I have a completely different answer. I remember feeling good right now. In this moment.