I’ve been meaning to write about this part of my life for a long time now, but I couldn’t find the right words for it. I avoided writing about anything because, well, I didn’t really have the energy or motivation for it.
So where do I start? Last August I developed a cough that usually only bothered me at night, but bothered me it did. There were nights when I could not sleep at all. Eventually the cough would happen throughout the day, when I went up a flight of stairs, or even when I would laugh too hard. Months went by, and I went to see multiple doctors who thought they were prescribing medicine that would help, but nothing worked. The only thing that offered temporary relief was an inhaler, but I could only use it so many times a day, and sometimes not even that would work. The cough was annoying, but like an idiot, I didn’t think it was that bad or that I should’ve gone to the emergency room during those nights when I couldn’t breathe.
In March, I went to Europe and had the time of my life. The cough was still going strong over there, and I remember quite clearing having a coughing fit on the top of the arc de triomphe. Good times, guys, good times. When I got back from my trip, I went back to work and felt okay, but later that day, I felt this tightness in chest that was just so uncomfortable. And in true Mari form, I ignored it. That night, I barely got an sleep, and the next morning, I called out from work and walked myself to the urgent care clinic by my house. They ran a few different tests on me and did a chest x-ray, which revealed that I had an abnormality in my lungs. I had to go the emergency room as soon as possible. An ambulance was called from the clinic, and as I sat there waiting for them to arrive, I called my mom, and she came running from home. When the ambulance arrived, they made me lie down on the gurney, even though I insisted that no really, I can walk on my own, but I had no choice, it was the ambulance policy *sigh*.
So I arrive at the hospital and they start asking all kinds of questions and doing all sorts of tests, drawing so much blood I was surprised I didn’t pass out. They couldn’t determine what was wrong with me that day, so I had to stay at the hospital for the night. Because I had just gotten back from Europe, they put me in a room on my own and placed me in isolation. Anyone who came to see me had to wear a face mask. I understood why they had to do it but quite frankly I found it a bit offensive, but whatever.
One night at the hospital turned into five. I spent Easter Sunday at the hospital. It was the weirdest Easter of my life. I was almost never alone though. I had many visitors and received so many phone calls; I felt so loved.
A bronchoscopy done on my lungs after five days in the hospital revealed that I had some weird thing called eosinophilic pneumonitis. Honestly to this day I still don’t know exactly what it was that I had (and I’m convinced my doctors don’t really know either, but I digress). I was prescribed prednisone, a very high dose of it too. I was supposed to be on it for 6 months, but I was absolutely miserable during the few months that I took it. I gained 15 pounds in just one month. I was angry and hungry all the time. I wanted to eat everything in sight, hence the weight gain, and was just so mean to my family that I’m surprised they’re still talking to me right now.
This all happened over the summer months. During this time, I wasn’t allowed to go back to work because the doctors believed that I got sick at the office, but when the symptoms and cough came back in August, they realized that it wasn’t the office. A few more weeks of steroids and a stronger inhaler did the trick. I haven’t had the cough in about a month now, and I no longer have to take the steroids; it’s been such a huge relief.
I’m back at work now and I’m trying to find myself again. Those months on short term disability leave really did a number on me, on my emotional and physical health. Fortunately I’ve lost all the weight that I gained thanks to a clean diet and exercise, but my self-confidence has just gone down the drain. I’m trying to find that again, that belief in myself and the happiness I always had within me, even if I didn’t always show it, which is why I put off writing this post for so long. These last few months have been long and taxing, but the year is almost over, and I’m hoping that I can put all these health issues behind me with it.
This ended up being a lot longer than I planned so if you’ve stuck with me and read it all I love you and I’m going to bake you banana bread someday.