Mourning My Former Self

In the end, everything will be okay. If it’s not okay, it’s not yet the end. Fernando Sabino

June 17,2017 The day my disease started.

The picture above was the day my whole world would change. I came home from work and told Matt I thought I was having a heart attack. We went to the ED and well, the rest is history.

I look at pictures of my former self and get very down. I see the smile I use to have and how no matter what was going on I'd find a joke in it or someway to turn frowns into smile. Now, I see swollen eyes, chapped lips, thin hair, and my body, well it's to the point I hate to even look at it.

I'm not the woman I use to be. I'm sad, I'm depressed, and so lonely. I have my husband and kids and they make a world of difference when they are here. But the honest truth is I only see them part time. Between Matt's job and the boys custody schedule I am alone more than not. I use to be so outgoing, talking and making friends with anyone and everyone. Now, I'm a more of a recluse than anything

I stay up all hours, either watching TV, or working on the computer. During the day it's pretty much the same thing. Sometimes I just sit and sob uncontrollably, my hands and face soaked with tears. The times Matt is home we talk a lot. He talks me through reasoning and helps me see things in a different perspective. It works for awhile, but when I'm alone all the demons come back and attack with vengeance. In the dark at 2am my brain rapid-fires all the stress and fear sitting inside of it and diminishes any amount of positivity and optimism I enjoy during daylight.

I look at pictures from before this disease took over my life and I miss that woman I use to be. We'd have bbqs all the time, always had people over. My blinds use to be open to let the sun in, now it hurts my eyes too much and I sit with dim lamps on. I use to have dinner ready when Matt got home, now he finds me laying on the couch loaded with pain medication. I use to go out with the boys on the weekend, shopping, and lunches. Now nothing.

There have been more days than not this past year when the pain and discomfort was so bad, I can't even remember what it was like to be well. It’s still hard to recall the times I lived without fear of a flare-up about shopping, attending parties or making plans with friends. These fears are all-consuming now. I question myself before I leave the house, do I have all the medications, nausea, pain, nerve, anxiety, enzymes. Then water, snack, pillow, or blanket sometimes.

I have been given the best option for my disease, to just remove the whole thing. Even with this,I am still left without hope most the time. But, even more than the fear, doubt and worry, and stress, I find what tortures me the most is the fading memory I have of who I use to be.

I remember I was up for anything, we were in the process of planning our next cruise. Matt and I had just gotten back from the Bahamas. I went snorkeling, walked around Nassau, laid on the beach with the sand on my feet and sun on my face.

May 2017 Nassau, Bahamas

I know the outgoing person I once was is still inside me, but she’s a bit harder to locate most days. Lucky for me and anyone else who lives with chronic illness, depression, and anxiety, night turns into day and that makes it a bit easier to navigate through my self destructive mind. It gets very hard, and some days I don’t bother with the positive, but most days I know I just have to.

Once I couldn't work anymore I felt so disappointed and embarrassed I was contributing to society. I want to go to bed and wake up feeling like I have a purpose. When my thoughts switched from graduating college, traveling, and finding my purpose in life, to just praying I wont have pain I realize I wish I had more time to prepare myself and my family. It's come to the point when asked about how I'm feeling I say fine, because everything else just sounds like a broken record.

Several times while writing this I have broken down. I know I'll never be the same, I'll never look the same, and saying goodbye to that hurts more than anyone can imagine. I'm incredibly grateful for the experiences my body has given me. It's my hope in the next couple months I'll be welcoming my new self, and I'll experience more than I could possibly think about. I'm going to be okay, it's just going to take time.

Thank you all for your support and love.

Sandra Kellas

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