I’m used to my body not doing what I want it to and stopping me from living life the way I’d like but last weekend took the battle to another level.
My big project was due on Monday (already a week late thanks to a medical extension) and on Wednesday I started getting unusual pains across my pelvis. It wasn’t my usual kind of pain, it wasn’t as deep for one thing and was right across my tummy instead of the usual endo pain concentrated on my left. My appetite (already shaky) all but disappeared and I was exhausted just walking up the stairs. I wasn’t very worried until I started clotting. I haven’t had a period in four and a half years so clots really scared me. I kept going with the project. The bulk of it was done but I had to finish the introductory essay and tidy it all up. On Sunday I woke with a monster migraine and started throwing up. I had so much to do but knew I needed to rest. I sat at my computer for hour-long bursts before lying down for an hour or so with an ice pack on my head and a hot water bottle on my tummy. I don’t know how I did it but I finished the 5,000 word essay and tidied up the main 10,000 word calendar, even adding a bibliography and creating a cover page, contents and abbreviations. I didn’t eat at all and every sip of water seemed to come straight back up again.
On Monday I still felt like crap so I called in sick to work. A day in bed was not an option though. I got my mum to print off two copies of my project, I took them to get bound then I drove to uni to hand them in. I looked as bad as I felt, wearing a man’s Tshirt, loose combats (two sizes too big) and a hat that once belonged to an ex-boyfriend.
But I handed it in.
Never before have I been prouder of overcoming my body. I know that essay wasn’t up to my usual standard but I was happy with the main body and I know that I did the best I could under the circumstances. If I get a high mark it will be my proudest achievement. I felt like I was dying on Sunday, every part of me ached and longed for rest but my mind kept pushing forward little by little to get things done.
It doesn’t seem like much but when you have daily struggles with your body, a win like this feels great. I could have given in and slept, begged for another extension and been a nuisance but I was so close to the finishing line, I had to sprint those last few feet. That’s the only way I know how.
I could have given in when I got really ill. I didn’t have to go on to do a Masters. I don’t have to do a PhD. Why bother with all that stress and pressure? The deadlines and appraisals, the blood, sweat and tears. But not going after my dream (albeit an exceedingly dorky one) would be giving in to my condition and letting it win. I am a woman with endo and all the other delightful medical problems it brings but that is not all I am. I have hopes and dreams beyond just getting better. I want to have those initials after my name, I want to meet someone special, I want to own my own home, I want to look after my mum and, above all, I want to be happy with my life.
This week I won the battle with my body (an ongoing battle as I try to fight off a horrendous kidney infection) and its only fired me up to keep going with the war.