I finally know what is wrong with me. After six months of fatigue, rapid heartbeat, arrhythmia, mood swings, and the agony of uncertainty, my disease has a name.
I'm happy that I know what's wrong with me, but I'm also sad, because now I have to say goodbye to "healthy me". I've had outstanding health until now, and I guess I've just assumed that if I take moderately good care of myself, nothing would ever go wrong with me. So goodbye to that. Goodbye to saying "none" when asked by doctors of any known conditions or current medications. Goodbye to being able to put anything into my body without knowing how it reacts with my medications. Goodbye to being placed in the healthiest, lowest-premium brackets for health and life insurance; thank goodness I have both, because getting either policy now would be ridiculously expensive or impossible.
I know I'm sounding melodramatic. As diseases go, I suppose I'm lucky. While not curable, it is at least manageable (though the choices aren't too pretty: lifetime medication that suppresses my immune system, surgery or swallow a radioactive pill that renders me toxic to humans for two weeks). There's even a tiny chance I could go into remission. Many, many others have it far, far worse.
Rather than wallow in self-pity, I'm going to take positive steps to live with my condition (a better word than disease!). First, I am saying goodbye to complacency. I can no longer take my well-being for granted and assume that my body can withstand the combined effects of genetics, environment, time and the choices I make. I need to be more vigilant about what I put into my body and how I treat it. Second, I am saying goodbye to stress. It turns out that stress can trigger the initial onset, flare-up or recurrence of this condition. I need to reduce my exposure to stressful situations and learn techniques to deal with it, or stress could, literally, kill me.
According to the bean counters at the insurance companies, I'll always be sick. And whether I go into remission or not, it will always be inside me. But I can still live like "healthy me". Who knows, after saying goodbye to some of my bad habits, I might even end up being healthier than when I was diagnosed!
This week's Sunday Scribblings theme is Goodbye. For more goodbyes, click here.
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