I feel like my last Life Update was really negative because that’s how I was feeling at the time, but it’s time for me to write another one to tell you the good and bad of what’s been going on in my life. It’s not all bad for once, although there are some bad things going on too. This is a really long update because it’s been four months since I’ve updated.
So the main thing that was making me extremely depressed was because I wasn’t working due to health issues and it made me feel horrible to have my boyfriend pay for things or to ask my parents for money. It was absolutely humiliating to come downstairs every day and not be able to eat a meal in my house without someone getting on me about getting a job, despite the fact that even getting down those stairs and back up again was so painful it would sap my energy for the day. I felt like nobody understood what I was going through and they’d rather see me practically kill myself and wear my body down even more just to make minimum wage at some crappy job. Despite the pain I was experiencing, I had a few interviews in which I didn’t get a job. Every time I’d see the signs of them turning me down, I’d go home and turn into a mess of tears and pity. I felt like I wasn’t employable because I was always honest about why I left my last job, and they didn’t want the liability of hiring someone with chronic pain who doesn’t have any strength.
Everything got even worse when my boyfriend lost his job. I had no hope and started talking to my mom about moving back in with her. I ended up losing my health insurance coverage.
One day I was shopping in a store that I always liked, and as I was walking out I noticed they were hiring for part time cashiers. Something clicked in my mind telling me I should apply there, and that night I filled out the application online and had a great feeling about it. I don’t know why, but I had this unshakeable feeling that everything was going to get better from here on out. I was hired a week later, making $8.50 an hour ($1.25 above minimum wage) on a 25-30 hour workweek. It’s not a lot of money by far, but it’s a lot better than sitting at home feeling sorry for myself. I explained my situation to my manager, and he told me I’d never be expected to lift something if it started to cause me pain. The only downside was that I was hired on as a seasonal employee, which only goes until the end of August.
I’ve been working there for less than 2 months and they’ve offered me a promotion despite missing work for health issues (that I’m going to discuss below.) I don’t dread going to work, and I feel secure in my job. I like the people I work with. It feels like a family there. I know every other job refers to their staff as a “family” and it’s usually the exact opposite where people are constantly trying to fuck over their coworkers, but it’s not like that here. At any other job I had, if I called off due to illness they’d treat me like garbage when I came back. When I come back to work here, everyone asks me if I’m okay and the managers let me work longer shifts so I don’t lose too much money. Being a cashier might not sound great to you, but I do love my job despite the annoying customers that retail employees learn to deal with over time.
I’m starting to notice that while I do have back pain, it’s not to the point where I can’t get out of bed or do anything for myself. I just try to take it easy and can’t lift anything or I’ll be right back where I started in bed. I think I’ve worked out which motions trigger my pain and I know how to avoid them now. The pain is actually manageable.
Because this is my life we’re talking about, not everything was going great. I started experiencing vaginal bleeding, nausea, intense pain, dizziness, lightheadedness, and the same pulling feeling I felt when I had my first ovarian cyst rupture. I let it go for 3 weeks before I couldn’t handle it any more. I ended up taking off work to go immediately to the emergency room to catch the cyst before it ruptured. Having my cyst rupture was the most painful experience I’ve ever felt. I’d rather drop dead than feel it again. I decided to go to a different hospital this time because the first one treated me like a 12 year old clueless about her first period, but this second hospital was amazing.
They actually spoke to me like an intelligent human being instead of a child. They validated my childfree lifestyle and didn’t once insinuate the pain was all in my head. They hooked me up to an IV drip of painkillers and wrote me a prescription for Oxycodone and nausea pills. They worked with urgency, making sure I wasn’t waiting too long. My wait time from entry until the moment I got something for pain at the other hospital was 14 hours. I was checked in and had multiple tests and examinations done at this hospital, and I was in and out in 5 hours. They apologized for the long wait times, which made me burst into laughter because the other hospital expected me to be in agony for 14 hours and never once apologized.
They told me my cysts are at bay and my ovaries look relatively normal, but my IUD was shifted out of place. It was ineffective and was causing me pain from being in the wrong spot. The second they told me my IUD was ineffective, I panicked and worried that I was pregnant because I’d had sex with my boyfriend without a condom after the symptoms started. I know some of you who might be reading this would be absolutely elated if you were told you were pregnant, but the moment the possibility crossed into my head I was already considering hurting myself because I can’t afford to pay for an abortion up front. When the tests came back and they said I wasn’t pregnant, I had to fight back tears because it was the biggest relief I could have imagined. They discharged me and gave me a note letting me have off of work the next day too, and all was well besides the fact that I still had a shifted IUD in my body. They couldn’t remove it there, but they gave me a phone number of a place that would take it out for me.
I called that place, and they treated me like an annoyance and told me it would be $350 just for the removal, not including the cost of the appointment itself. I hung up on her and called Planned Parenthood, where they told me the removal would be $75 flat, but they couldn’t get me in until July 5th. I was at the hospital on June 16th. I decided Planned Parenthood was my best bet and booked the appointment.
Then I got my hospital bill. $3500. That’s $700 an hour. It destroyed me. I got a phone call from someone at the hospital telling me that I might qualify for medical assistance, but at the very least they’d help me pay my bills if I qualify. I wasn’t eligible for medical assistance when I wasn’t working and couldn’t afford to go to the doctor to find the source of my pain, but now I’m eligible when I’m working. I’m never going to understand how they decide these things.
Then my mom went to the doctor and was told she has ulcerative colitis and can’t work at her job. She may lose her house. The medication they gave her is $950 a month, and they refuse to switch her to a cheaper medication or even let her meet with a doctor until August. She has to completely revamp her entire lifestyle just to live with a little bit less discomfort. She has to sell her prized belongings just to pay her mortgage. It breaks my heart to know that my mom is suffering so much and I can’t help her because I have my own stuff going on. I considered anonymously buying her belongings that she’s selling and spending the entirety of my paychecks for months so that I could surprise her by going to her house in the middle of the night to place her things, so that when she wakes up it’s all back. All the hard work she put into her home to the point where she could finally be proud of her own home since leaving my dad, and it’s all thrown away due to an invisible illness that people don’t understand.
I went home to a billion questions and accusations about why my mom “doesn’t just get disability and medical assistance” as if the state just hands it out like candy to everyone who asks. I call it an accusation because it seems to be shifting the blame from the unexpected illness to my mother for not being able to get on disability and other forms of welfare the second she’s diagnosed with something. It’s blaming her for her own misfortune instead of understanding that illness can happen at any time and disability is notoriously hard to get if you have ulcerative colitis. I’m sorry, but I’m tired of listening to the snide comments from someone who doesn’t know how things work. This person cites so many stories about how their coworkers get assistance, ignoring that their coworker and my mother (and myself) have completely different situations that don’t necessarily warrant being placed on assistance in the government’s eyes. It’s about as useful as telling someone with depression to “cheer up” or telling someone with cancer to “get better.”
Yesterday (July 5th) I went to Planned Parenthood to have my IUD removed. The first woman I spoke to was sweet and made conversation with me. She told me not to worry about the number on the scale because it’s “an old scale” and when I told her my weight didn’t bother me, we got onto a conversation about body positivity and I told her what my blog URL is. If you’re reading this, thank you so much for putting me at ease during my appointment. I was a nervous wreck before going in.
The woman that actually removed the IUD was a different story. She was a midwife who accused me of hypochondria and told me that my symptoms were “all in my head” because I knew about my Grandmother’s health issues.She made a billion accusations about me and my weight, eating habits, or how much soda I MUST consume because I’m overweight. Despite the fact that the hospitals performed ultrasounds on me to find my ovarian cysts. Despite the fact that my reproductive health problems started when I wasn’t even a point past being overweight according to the BMI scale. Yup. Must be in my head. It must all be because I’m a crazy fat chick. I told her that my symptoms appeared before my Grandma even died, and that I didn’t know the symptoms were the same until my parents told me much later. She waved it off and told me that I could still have “a healthy pregnancy and a healthy, normal baby” and when I told her I was childfree she scoffed it away. She then tried to tell me that there was no way I could know if my IUD slipped out of place, and I had to tell HER that I had just visited the hospital where they saw my slipped IUD on an ultrasound. All this information was in my chart, and she was notified of my situation before I even came in. I proceeded to ignore her body shaming, fatphobic, condescending attitude and just let her take the IUD out.
The actual removal was a million times easier than having it put in. She opened me up with a speculum, grasped the string with a tool, and pulled steadily while having me cough. It came right out and I didn’t even feel it. The only side effects I had were slight cramping and bleeding, but it ended a few hours later and I didn’t feel anything. The pain I was having is now gone. I started birth control pills last night and opted for the progestin only pills in an effort to avoid side effects.
A few hours after having my IUD removed I saw someone at the hospital about my medical assistance application, where I was treated like an idiot for not bringing in a specific set of paperwork that nobody ever told me to bring. They’re filing my application and now I just have to wait.
I decided to go back to red hair, which took 3 processes because my hair was colored black. I just needed a change. There’s been so much change in my life that I needed to revamp my appearance too.
Right now I’m doing a lot of waiting. Waiting for my promotion. Waiting to see how these pills work out. Waiting to see if my medical assistance claim is approved. Waiting to hear from my mom about how she’s doing. Waiting for my boyfriend to find a job. Waiting to feel normal again. Waiting for my life to stop fucking me over at every possible chance.