Why I'm Flaunting My Bruises From My Medical Treatments


Flashback to a warm summer night in May, the night before my wedding. I was a nervous wreck. Not because I was having cold feet or second thoughts, but because I wanted everything to be perfect. My best friends were in the basement with my aunt and mother helping to prep the wedding flowers, my wedding dress was being hung on the door so it wouldn’t get wrinkled, and my dad was working on creating the best father-daughter dance song.

Everything was looking perfect, except me.

Here I was, the night before my wedding, with an IV pole in my left hand and a needle to put in my stomach in my right hand. I needed to give myself as much medication as possible to make it through my wedding day. I looked in the mirror with frustration. Sure, I could hide these things from everyone at the wedding, everything except the bruises on my arms. I didn’t want anyone at the wedding to see the bruises because I didn’t want to be asked the inevitable, “How’d you get those bruises?” I didn’t want to tell them that I had sepsis from my port, then a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) line to treat the sepsis, and eventually got a blood clot and had to give myself shots for weeks to be cured. I especially didn’t want to tell them all of that on the greatest day of my life.

The port was supposed to be my saving grace. I was finally able to get saline infusions to treat my dysautonomia whenever I needed to! But, it failed on me, and now I had something to show for it. I called the photographer right away to beg him to edit my bruises out of each and every photo. I didn’t want to be reminded of it. He promised he would and I finally breathed a sigh of relief. Things were going to be perfect. I covered my arms with as much make-up as I could without looking orange and enjoyed my wedding.

I got the photos a few weeks after the wedding. Sure enough, there it was. A nice round bruise in almost every picture. I was heartbroken. I didn’t want to share these photos with anyone because it was just going to make me relive all the hospital treatments all over again. Even if it looked small or unnoticeable, I saw it. I never want to look sick or look like I have something wrong because I try way too hard to convince myself that I’m not. But, it’s not true. I am sick, but I am a warrior. I have spent my life hiding from my multiple illnesses because I care too much of what people think of me. I don’t want to be known as weak or a failure at life. I am the opposite of that. I push through everything that comes my way because I want to make the best of this life I have been given. And I do!

A bride and groom on their wedding day, the bride showing her bruise on her arm.

This weekend, I had pictures taken of my new little family. I have been blessed with a beautiful baby girl and want to remember every moment of it. Because I have had a blood clot in the past, I have to take the shots all over again after labor. This time, I’m not afraid to show the bruise on my arm. I didn’t even mention it to the photographer. I want to flaunt the bruise. I want everyone to know that I made it through a tough pregnancy, I made it through a tough labor, and I am excelling through motherhood because I am strong and I am brave. I will not let my illnesses take over my life. I get to live my life to the fullest with my beautiful family. I have never felt better and I couldn’t be happier.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Dysautonomia

woman writing in her journal

Why I Write About My Journey With Dysautonomia

I was only 14 when my journey with chronic illness began. High school is a time of many transitions, and I could never fully process what I was going through. Maybe that was a defense mechanism or maybe my brain literally could not come to terms with what my body had experienced, but either way, I [...]
A blonde woman sitting in subway train and looking at window.

When I Realized My 'Body Quirks' Were Symptoms of a Chronic Illness

I used to love long, hot showers, the steam filling up my bathroom and coating everything in a sticky dew. I always knew, though, that I had to be careful – that if I stayed in there too long I would feel that familiar nausea, that lightheaded feeling that forced me out of the shower [...]
watercolor painting of a woman with flowers around her face

20 Ways to Make the Most of Bad Flare Days

When you have chronic illness, bad days and flare-ups are inevitable. Fortunately, there are ways to still make them a little more bearable. We asked our Dysautonomia Support Network members to share some of the ways they make the most of their bad days or flare-ups, in the hopes of inspiring others with dysautonomia or other [...]

When Friends Push You to Have 'Just One Drink' Despite Your Illness

That familiar question every time I go to a party, bar or gathering… “Why aren’t you drinking?” My simple answer is usually, “I can’t because I have a heart condition.” This answer isn’t exactly the full truth but it usually gets people off my back. It’s not the full truth because technically my heart is [...]