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    Community Voices
    Community Voices

    These are my precious furry companions. Do you have any fur companions that are your life?

    <p>These are my precious furry companions. Do you have any fur companions that are your life?</p>
    20 people are talking about this

    Being Diagnosed Late With Atypical Cystic Fibrosis and Having Trust Issues

    I have trust issues. And amazingly, they don’t stem from one too many “trust falls” gone wrong from my younger years (though maybe that contributed). My trust issues center around bigger things: trusting my body, trusting my doctors, and trusting… life. I was diagnosed with atypical cystic fibrosis (CF) one month and eight days before I turned 20. I had been complaining to doctors for as long as I can remember about having trouble breathing, being tired all the time, getting sick if I ate “normal” kid food, and of course, my bi-monthly “asthma attacks” that left me unable to talk, breathe, or swallow for up to a week. “It’s asthma,” my pediatrician would say. “She’ll grow out of it.” When my chronic digestive symptoms worsened around age 13, I was told to drink prune juice. When that didn’t work, it was medication. Nothing worked. My diet became more and more restricted to the five things I knew wouldn’t make me sick: lettuce, cucumbers, frozen strawberries, bananas, and protein powder. I got sicker and sicker, and it was clear that I wasn’t healthy. I started figure skating when I was 8 years old and quickly knew I had found my heart’s passion. I fell in love with it and trained to the best of my body’s ability — withholding from my coaches the pain it caused. I felt like figure skating seemed to wear me out and be a lot harder for me than for my training partners. Skating isn’t a sport that welcomes showing “weakness,” and since I was being told by all of my doctors I was “fine,” why would I say anything? After graduating high school, I moved and started training at an Olympic training center with renowned coaches from all over the world. I was living my dream—but trying to ignore the so-obvious fact that my body was breaking down. Just from my appearance, it was hard for anyone to ignore it — including my coaches. After only five months of professional training, I had a serious fall that took me off the ice and also led to my getting diagnosed with osteoporosis at only 18 years of age. I was terrified and heartbroken — being told I needed to stop skating because it was too risky for my bones was hard. I was no longer able to train or skate at all, so I moved home feeling utterly defeated. I knew something wasn’t right — everyone did — but I didn’t have any faith that doctors would finally be able to tell me what was wrong instead of just dismissing me as usual. Ironically, my saving grace came in the form of a lung infection — pseudomonas aeruginosa, to be exact. I woke up unable to speak or swallow, thinking my training-too-hard days were finally catching up with me — only to find out that my lungs were swimming with super-rare, hard-to-harbor bacteria. The urgent care doctor casually dealt me some medication and assured me I would be better in 10 days. Being the investigator — and skeptic — I am, I wasn’t convinced (or reassured), so I consulted “Dr. Google” to find out how in the world I came down with this rare infection. I learned that there are basically three conditions that can make you contract this bacteria — acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), cancer or cancer treatment, or cystic fibrosis. I knew I didn’t have AIDS and I had not had chemotherapy or radiation, so all that remained was cystic fibrosis. “There’s no way I have that,” I said to my mom. “That’s that ‘baby disease!’ They would’ve caught that.” I pulled up an article about CF, reading through the symptoms just in case. As I did, my heart sank and tears flooded my face as I realized that everything made sense. All the puzzle pieces fit together. How in the world had the doctors missed this? I returned to my pediatrician — now no longer content to accept her prune juice and prescriptions. “I want you to test me for cystic fibrosis. I think I have it,” I insisted. She ceased her note-taking and looked up at me blankly. “I think you might be right,” she replied. I was referred to my nearest cystic fibrosis center for evaluation and testing. By the time of my appointment, I had struggled to eat and was so weak I could hardly walk. When the doctor at the cystic fibrosis clinic walked into my room, she took one look at me and immediately sent me down to the emergency room to be admitted. I had a complete abdominal obstruction, pancreatitis, four different lung infections, liver disease, and kidney disease. A few days later, I was also diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. A little less than a year after that, I got my genetic test results and was told it’s not “typical” CF, but a rare variant of it instead — one that doctors and researchers know absolutely nothing about. All they knew from clinical observations is that those of us with this form of CF fare no better than others with CF… and sometimes we’re even more affected. My initial shock-turned-sort-of-relief after actually having a diagnosis was smashed once I was told, “We don’t know how to help you.” The fact that my condition was getting more severe every month didn’t help. I started having one obstruction every week. I upgraded to GoLytely as my drink of choice — until even that stopped working. I did everything I knew to do, and my efforts did help — but only to keep things at bay. Eventually, the things I tried weren’t even readily doing that. In 2019, I had surgery for an ileostomy, which improved my quality of life and health tremendously… but not before I experienced literally every complication you can possibly have with an ostomy. One complication still lingers — prolapse — a common symptom in both CF patients and those with Ehlers Danlos syndrome (EDS), which I was also diagnosed with in 2020. Living with both cystic fibrosis and Ehlers Danlos syndrome is hard for me. The two diseases so often conflict with one another (Imagine a chronic cough with a hole in your abdomen and weak connective tissue!), and I honestly struggle to deal with them both. Most days, I feel terrified of when the other shoe will drop. I know I have more surgeries ahead — some of which will be harder than the ones I’ve already had. It’s another terrifying thought. So how can you trust that everything will be OK when nothing has been OK in a long time? I honestly don’t know. And after a long time of trying to figure it out, I’m not trying anymore. Trust is a brutal battle — just like an organ shutting down or an insurance pre-authorization. Sometimes trying to find the answer to unanswerable questions — like how to trust with a disease — isn’t necessarily the answer we maybe should be trying to find. Sometimes the only way to figure out how to keep going is to step back and realize we have been going — day after day, month after month, year after year. And even when it’s our bodies that so often betray us, we may need to step back and acknowledge that our bodies have enabled us to keep going. Sick or not, CF or not, EDS or not, it keeps surviving. And that body? The one that’s been through what it’s been through and still keeps on? That’s something we can trust.

    Community Voices

    Just to introduce myself. I am a coloured pencil artist. I mainly draw nature. I’m also disabled. With a host of physical and some MH disabilities.

    <p>Just to introduce myself. I am a coloured pencil artist. I mainly draw nature. I’m also disabled. With a host of physical and some MH disabilities.</p>
    17 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    First Time Here, Share your Hope

    I was dxed in 1998 with Lupus, and soon followed Fibromyalgia and RA and Reynaud's and Sjogren's and that is plenty. I have severe Osteoporosis from decades of steroids before the newer meds came in. I suffer from daily, chronic pain. I have intense gastro issues and a colostomy. Just to get up in the morning can take 4 hours before I feel well enough to stay standing. I am a woman of faith. I still volunteer each week and I teach twice a week on line but each day it seems harder and harder. I am a visual artist and this helps me.

    I live in a state that wont allow medical marijuana. Its a state that frowns on pain meds and well, I suffer greatly for it. I still fight to be an active member of society but it grows harder. I am 64. Tell me, where do you find your hope? Or do you?

    7 people are talking about this
    Jane L Edwards

    Lessons Learned in 10 Years of Living With Chronic Illness

    Ten long years. 10 years of hoping I will improve. 10 years of taking serious medications with serious side effects. 10 years and somehow, I don’t feel I have progressed physically. I haven’t gotten “better,” but I am better at managing my condition and my life. It all started with a toothache and a tiredness that sleep could not cure. The removal of all my wisdom teeth, three rounds of antibiotics, and numerous visits to the dentist later, and I heard the words that I will never forget: “Something is wrong, and you need to urgently see your doctor.” Thanks to my fab dentist (who I’m still with now), that is what I did. But getting a correct diagnosis is not always as simple as seeing your doctor for some tests. And so, several weeks of visiting my GP and having blood tests led to an emergency stay for two weeks in the hospital. Then countless doctors and endless tests later, and I received a diagnosis: microscopic polyangiitis, but I was then later diagnosed with Wegener’s vasculitis. It wasn’t the outcome I had expected, but what was happening to me was still not clear. When one doctor questioned my symptoms and another doctor proved me right, I learned valuable lessons. Ultimately, you must look out for yourself and find experts you can trust. I have learned a lot in 10 years, and maybe I have progressed more than I think. I have a team that I trust, I have some stability with my health, and I have family and friends who understand that sometimes, my illness is too much for me, and I need to hide away. But overall, I have a new life — one that wasn’t planned and one that is restricted in some ways. However, it is a life filled with love and respect. The new version of my life is quite lovely, so I think I will keep it — medications and all. It’s called “chronic illness” for a reason. After my diagnosis, I thought I could battle through. I thought I would win. I thought I was invincible. Unfortunately, I couldn’t win, and I was so far from invincible. 10 years on, I am still battling and visiting hospitals monthly, but I am also still hopeful. I did not understand the words “chronic illness.” When a colleague asked me how I was managing, and I said my illness was still dragging on, his response floored me. He simply said, “Well, it is chronic.” It was such a straightforward comment, but it really hit home. Did I think my illness would just go away? Had I not believed that it would stay with me for the rest of my life? Had I just ignored reality? Am I still ignoring it? I try to forget that I have a severe illness. I try to “prove it wrong,” almost as though if I keep going, somebody will soon tell me it was all a joke and that I am OK. The COVID-19 pandemic changed my life. The last few years have been tough for us all. The COVID-19 pandemic changed many things. For me, it felt like a strange clinical trial — I got to remove all the travel and interactions with people and see what happens to an immunosuppressed person with an autoimmune disease. The lack of infections allowed me to drop my medication dose. It also allowed me to work alongside colleagues as equals and not as the only one who was not physically in the room. The pandemic meant I had the energy to be with my family. The world became as restricted as I have been, and it leveled the playing field. Not anymore, though. As the world becomes “normal” again, I become “abnormal” again, and the pressure to join in returns. I have had a number of common infections, and so my medication dose went back up. The large “clinical trial” that has been my life during COVID-19 has given me resounding answers to some of my problems. But solving these problems is not financially straightforward in the real world. Thank you for all the support. The past 10 years have been tough — full of knockouts and disappointment. But they have also been full of laughter, love, and special people. My family has been amazing. Even if we do lots of shouting some days, when it matters, we are a tight unit, and we deal with everything together. My family members are my strength, and I wish I could repay all the support, love, and kindness they have shown me. To the friends who came to the hospital with me or looked after the girls for me when they were little, thank you. To those who have listened to me cry even if it did not make much sense, thank you. My online friends deserve a “thank you” too. Since writing the book, the support from Instagram, Facebook and Twitter has been critical. Online friends, you may understand me. You are often awake at the same time as I am when I cannot sleep, and you may also know how scary and uncertain this disease can be. Thank you. To my boss and colleagues, thank you for all the encouragement and support, positive words, and understanding when I just couldn’t be in the room. You have been the most fantastic company for the last 10 years. George, the black Labrador and Burt, the cocker spaniel have helped me too. George and Burt, you will never know how much you have kept me moving. The movement has helped me avoid diabetes, brittle bones, weight struggles, and depression. Our walks help me both physically and mentally. This is what the future holds. Unfortunately, the medication that has given me some stability has now caused the doctors to think it has brought on ulcerative colitis, another autoimmune disease. This disease affects my bowel and brings more inflammation, more new investigations, more new medications, and yet another thing to learn to live with every day. But I will manage. The past 10 years of medications have caused osteoporosis in my back and hip, medication dependency, and weight changes. The fatigue is constant, and when I get to the end of a working day, I am lucky if I can speak to my family. I keep going, though. I am proud of how my family and I have all dealt with this life-changing diagnosis. I am proud of our resilience and ability to fight. I am also proud of how my children view this world with kindness, and I know that they will make a real difference as they turn into extraordinary young ladies. Vasculitis forced me to step back, look at my world, and focus my energy on the things that really matter. For now, I celebrate being alive, and I thank everyone who has helped me stay that way. It was not so long ago that a diagnosis of vasculitis was an immediate death sentence. I am grateful for the clinical advances and the care I have been given. Now can someone please invent a cure?

    Community Voices

    Regret of once again , overdoing it..

    We had a severe storm go through here Monday,, thankfully we didnt have any bad damage,, just three fence panels went down,, and huge branches and tree limbs all over the yard, front and back.. sooooo I went around for two days picking up all the branches and twigs, tried to protect my low back , pace myself,,, then today mowed the front yard,,, you know the literal straw that broke the camels back?? Well that was the last straw... I can hardly move now, my neck and shoulders are killing me , causing a big headache,, my back is weak, and low back is sooooooo weak.. I did take precautionary measures,, and post overdoing it measures,, I am not new to this game,, Ive been in chronic pain since 1980, and even before that,, have multiple arthritic conditions and autoimmune pain conditions, fibro,,, degenerative disc disease, scoliosis, severe osteoporosis, ect..... Im in my 60s,, . I have a question for those of you who have lived lives of chronic pain. Do any of y'all ever get so sick and tired of being cautious, of holding back from doing things, things you enjoy,, for me its working outside, being in the sun,, doing physical things.. So sometimes do any of y'all just say screw it and do more than you know you should,, knowing full well you will pay later?????????? Or is it just me????? I know I will get through this,, I will be miserable for anywhere from a few days, to a week or more... but sometimes I get so tired of holding back.

    2 people are talking about this
    Monika Sudakov

    When Endometriosis Meets Menopause: A Recipe for Disaster

    “The only thing predictable about menopause is its unpredictability. Factor in widespread misinformation, a lack of research, and the culture of shame around women’s bodies, and it’s no wonder women are unsure what to expect during the menopause transition and beyond.” – Dr. Jen Gunter Menopause is as unavoidable as puberty, a natural process our bodies undergo as part of the life cycle. Most doctors do not have accurate or thorough information to help guide people through menopause, and there is a communication gap among women where matters of menopause are concerned. Brief references to hot flashes, mood swings, and perhaps a flippant comment about sex being uncomfortable may be shared, but frankly, as a woman of a certain age, the discussions are few and far between. Where does endometriosis fit in with this discussion? One of the pervasive myths about endometriosis is that menopause cures it and that endometriosis can only exist in those who have reproductive capacity. While endometriosis is considered an inflammatory disease that is estrogen-dependent, this assertion is patently false. Not only can those with endometriosis continue to struggle with the condition post-menopause, people who have never had endometriosis can develop it post-menopause. Actual numbers are difficult to assess due to the persistent lack of research surrounding both endometriosis and menopause, but according to this research article by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the prevalence of postmenopausal endometriosis ranges from 2-5% of postmenopausal women. Considering the difficulty that exists in terms of recognizing symptoms and diagnosing endometriosis to begin with, this presents the post-menopausal individual with a seemingly insurmountable hurdle should they indeed develop endometriosis. So what might be driving post-menopausal endometriosis? The general theory is that peripheral estrogen production, meaning estrogen that isn’t being produced within the ovaries, can stimulate the growth of endometrial lesions. This type of estrogen continues to exist in varying levels among post-menopausal people. Layer on top of that the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which stimulates estrogen production, and this can re-activate or activate for the first time the production of endometriosis. Hormone replacement therapy is the gold standard for addressing the myriad symptoms associated with menopause. It can also help to stem the onset of bone density loss and osteoporosis, a common and potentially debilitating condition that can cause bone fragility and more frequent breakage. While most people tolerate HRT well with few to no side effects, some might be at a higher risk for estrogen-related diseases like endometriosis and certain types of cancers. Additionally, many of the symptoms associated with endometriosis such as gastrointestinal discomfort, bloating, constipation, pelvic floor dysfunction, urinary tract pain, and painful intercourse are common indicators of cancers that tend to affect post-menopausal women at higher rates. These include uterine, ovarian, and bladder cancers. This makes the diagnosis of endometriosis that much more complicated. Doctors are far more likely to order tests to rule out invasive potentially life-threatening cancers than they are to start with the diagnostic laparoscopy needed to identify endometriosis. While this makes sense based on our current medical system, it does mean a delay in or outright failure to diagnose endometriosis among post-menopausal people. So what can post-menopausal people do? First, those who have a history of endometriosis should have an in-depth discussion with their medical practitioners weighing the pros and cons of HRT usage. If they have had a hysterectomy, there is some indication that the recurrence of endometriosis might be less likely, however, that is not a definitive recommendation. And there is extensive literature suggesting the direct correlation of endometriosis to the development of malignant tumors at the site of the endometrial lesions. Therefore, HRT may be contraindicated in those with a history of endometriosis. Localized vaginal progesterone might be the best alternative for these individuals in managing their menopause symptoms. For those without any kind of history of endometriosis, the risk is relatively low, therefore the use of HRT in managing symptoms is not typically contraindicated. The bottom line? Just as with endometriosis that occurs amongst pre-menopausal people, if you have symptoms consistent with endometriosis, don’t let your doctor dismiss them. It may be life-saving to get an early diagnosis so as to curtail the potential development of cancer. Beyond that, however, there’s no reason that you should continue to live with debilitating symptoms consistent with endometriosis beyond menopause. Excision surgery is relatively safe for most post-menopausal people and can effectively address the majority of symptoms associated with post-menopausal onset endometriosis.

    Community Voices

    Useless new learning.

    I was reading an article about forms of child abandonment. It was during the Dr Spock era where babies were left to "cry it out & figure how to self soothe". Considering my age I fit along with the fact I started shaking, feeling overwhelmed, literally ill. At 2 weeks of age I was sent to the hospital with originally was thought (burns from a cigarette) from my mother. Those blisters began to spread, I was put in an isolation ward all by myself while nurses doctors tended me. No one was allowed to visit. I was told I was very sick. Dr. kept changing the formula my father would make and drop off. I was baptized in the hospital I have the records. They treated the blisters with genting violet, I began getting better. I went home at 5-6 weeks of age. This may explain why I always felt I could only rely-trust myself. I was an only child but even in groups I played by myself had to be coaxed into joining groups"kindergarten", hard time making friends. None of that made any sense as to why I felt a loner because in the first critical weeks of life I was left to my own resources except for somebody coming into hurt me or to feed me. It explains a lot about my life, and I'm just finding out about that now? Including the fact at 2 yrs of age I was sent to stay with my paternal grandparents to be fully potty trained at exactly 24 months which was accomplished in 2 weeks, explains even more. Why do I say useless learning? Most of my life is behind me I have some left at what point does new information become more hurtful and useless?
    Bastrop syndrome #
    Bone spurs #
    Fibromyalgia #
    Gerd #
    Hives angioedema#
    Hiatal hernia#
    Peripheral neuropathy#
    Pseudo gout#
    Raynaud's syndrome#
    Unstable lumbar spine#

    Community Voices

    Last spring, I was 23, and I was diagnosed with osteoporosis due to years of not prioritizing my mental or physical health. I was accepted into the doctorate program I am currently finishing my first year of, around this time. That june, I graduated with my masters. a good friend of mine offered to drive me home from the masters graduation party our cohort was throwing. that night someone I considered a dear friend of mine, who had met my family, who I trusted with vuneral parts of myself, sexually assaulted me.

    That summer I was diagnosed with bipolar, and have cycled through highs and lows the past year. i’ve been managing really well, and it’s been really hard. sometimes I feel like no one knows that i’m having such a hard time, and other times I feel like everyone is watching me struggle.

    As June approaches, a lot of memories are coming up. it’s been really hard. and i’ve been really sad. trying to be compassionate with myself on the journey. #BipolarDisorder #SexualAssault

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