Tag Archive | Medicine

So, you think we don’t need as much medicine as we take.

Content note: Suicide, medical talk, dysphoria, ablism

Let me tell you about my medical conditions.

1. I have a propensity for esophageal ulcers. I was born with a deformity. The valve from my stomach to my esophagus doesn’t close all the way. On top of that, I have a sliding hiatal hernia. That means the top part of my stomach will sometimes slide up into my esophagus. I have frequent heartburn and acid reflux. Left untreated, I will end up in the hospital or dead. For this, I need antacids.

2. I have hormonal gender dysphoria. Without treatment, my mental state gets so bad that I can’t stand it, and get extremely suicidal. Without treatment, I would kill myself. I came close a couple of times. The knife was on my wrist. I need anti-androgens and estrogen. ( I need additionaltreatment for genital based gender dysphoria, but I can handle that without killing myself for now.)

3. I have migraine headaches that can last 4 to 8 hours and be so debilitating that all I can do is curl up in a ball in a dark quiet room. I need painkillers to treat this. (and I can’t take too many because of the digestive system problems)

4. I have chronic pain from joints, nerves, and muscles. Some days I can’t even get out of the bed to get food. I usually don’t bother taking pain killers, because they are minimally effective, and irritate my acid reflux. I also don’t want them to become less effective for migraines. But I will take painkillers for this when absolutely necessary.

5. I have asthma. Without treatment when I was younger, I would be dead.

6. I have various allergies. Some of these are severe. Without treatment, I would die. For this, I need anti-histamines.

You think we’re taking too many medicines? I have friends with diabetes that need insulin. Friends with PTSD, anxiety disorders, depression, and other medical conditions that they need treatment  for. Do you want us to stop taking the medicines that are keeping us alive?

further effects of hrt

as for the last one, content warning: explicit, tmi

  • Physical
    • No longer able to get fully erect (YAY)
    • My testicles have shrunk to about half the size (volume) they were previously
    • Mini-boobs!!!
    • I’m tired all the goddamn time.
    • and yes, I’m still getting used to enhanced sense of smell
  • Emotional
    • Mood swings have subsided
    • The emotional heaviness that I have felt for so long has lifted
      • This doesn’t mean that I don’t get sad or emotional or have suicidal thoughts, but I can better deal with them.
      • I’ve never felt more clarity, or more motivated in my life.

Please consider donating so I continue to get HRT. I would hate to have to go off of it. I would stay on these drugs for the mental effects alone. I’m really hurting financially right now, so whatever you can spare would be appreciated.

 

Young, Sick, and Invisible

A good friend of mine, Ania Bula (@DearAnia), wrote a book that needs some attention. The following is guest post written by her, starting with an excerpt from the book.

Now I’ll let her speak:

Over the course of the several weeks, what should have been just a hip sprain got progressively worse. Soon my whole right leg was on fire with never ending pain. Every step made me feel as though my tibia would shatter beneath me. I swear that I could feel the pressure fractures forming.  In the mornings, my body was so stiff that even the lightest pressure was pain. At night, falling asleep was a difficult process, as I tried to find the least painful position. When my leg started losing feeling and giving out beneath me, I realized I couldn’t ignore it by assuming that this was all just a normal “sprain”. I realized that the symptoms indicated something more severe and that I should have it checked out.

With the loss of feeling and support in the limb, not to mention the jumps in pain, I wondered about the possibility of a pinched nerve, a blood clot, or something else. I even had it suggested that I might have bone tuberculosis. This last one was somewhat plausible as a relative had been suffering from TB when I had visited family in Poland, and other people in our community were possible “healthy” carriers. I finally decided to go see a doctor to discuss my worries.

Even at this point, I was no stranger to pain. I had had mysterious joint pain for as long as I can remember. They were especially common in high school. I can clearly remember several occasions where I spent a few days to up to a week limping. On multiple occasions I brought it up with my parents, only to be told that all I had to do was lose weight. On the few occasions when I managed to get an appointment with a doctor, often the appointment involved a parent asking the doctor to tell me about how all my issues would be solved if I lost weight.

Eventually, it didn’t even need my parent’s presence to get that response. It was firmly ingrained in doctor’s minds that any complaint that could be explained away as being the result of fat, should be. The closest I came to being taken seriously was when my doctor diagnosed me with Putello syndrome. I often wonder how much pain I could have saved myself, how much of my eventual disability I could have saved myself from had I pushed past the preconceptions set up by my parents. It is easy to get caught in the trap of what would have been, of blame, and self-hate. So why didn’t I push past it? Why didn’t I self-advocate and demand that I be taken seriously? Because to some extent not being taken seriously by doctors, being told that I was overreacting was conditioned early.

This is a small part of a story of pain that would last more than 7 years, to this very day. A story of not being believed, or being ridiculed and assumed to be lying, of learning how to make doctors believe me, and of learning to cope with an invisible disability. It is a story that I hope will serve as a lesson to skeptics everywhere about why a good healthcare system matters. About why pushers of alternative meds are nothing more than con artists preying on the weak and the desperate. About what it is like to live with an invisible disability in our society.

Living with a chronic illness poses a series of unique challenges. When your disability isn’t written across your body for the world to see, there is a constant need to validate your need for self-care.  There is also something more isolating about not being able to readily identify other people who are going through the same thing you are. When you walk down the street, you can’t know just from looking if someone else out there knows what it is like to feel your pain. It can be very lonely.

Chronic illness is an invitation for everyone to comment: either with regards to a cause, a treatment, or otherwise. Suddenly, everyone’s aunt is an expert and everyone’s fad diet a cure. You wade through a constant stream of ignorance and lies, in a desperate attempt to find peace and a stop to pain. In my years living with both disorders I have been faith healed, poked, prodded, stuffed with powders and magic potions, and now is my opportunity to tell everyone about it.

There are only 37 hours left for the IndieGoGo fundraiser to make this book a reality. You can donate here: http://igg.me/at/sickskeptic/x/2469352

Once the time runs out, I will still be accepting donations to the project through my blog at www.aniasworkinprogress.com

All the funds will help go to promotion, advertising, and publishing costs.

Also welcome are people’s stories and comments, and any help with promotion.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

and back to me for a minute. Go and check this out. This is one of the things skepticism should be doing.

Further adventures in medical treatment.

This time, I remembered to remove my toenail polish.

So I went to the orthopedist. Just got back in fact, and I’m having a cup of tea. I hate having to lie on medical forms. Gender M. All already printed out in bold black ink before I even got the form. How fucking presumptuous for them to assume that my gender is male. How would they know?  At least I didn’t get sirred constantly like I did at the clinic the other day. So I played the part of the good young man. Fuckers. I wouldn’t have had that much of a problem if it had been sex on the form. I haven’t undergone any HRT or surgery so my sex is still unambiguously male.

Anyway, they said the cause of my ankle problem is the fact that I have been working as a line cook for several years and having flat feet. So, I’ll have to stay off of it for a few more days, use the medicine, and I will have to Ice my ankle nightly for the rest of my life. They have also given me some special insoles. I say given, but selling them to me for $35 isn’t exactly a gift. Anyway, this drastically limits the kind of shoes I can wear, so I might as well get used to wearing Mens shoes for the rest of my life. Yay. :( So I guess that you could call me semi-able bodied.

One other thing. Why do they need to know your race? I mean, seriously, why is that a question on the form? Is there an actual medical reason that an orthopedist would need to know that information?

voting on crutches is gonna be fun tomorrow./sarcasm

Adventures in Medical Treatment.

Well. So.

Um.

Yeah, I have an ankle injury, not going into specifics, but I had to go over to the doctor straight from work. Then there’s that awkward moment when you realize that you are still wearing “Wined Up” (dark red) toenail polish, even though you are presenting male. So you realize that you are going to have to show them your ankle. Well, I avoided the questioning looks by just pulling my sock down to where it just covered the toenails without taking it off. Win. Still completely stealth. No one knows.

I’m in an air cast and have to use crutches for now. They are sending me to a specialist.  Not being able to work for a few days is going to wreak havoc on my budget, not to mention that I haven’t met my deductible this year so far, so all this treatment is coming out of my pocket. Yay for emptying out the little funds I had set aside for Girl Stuff. :(