I come from a hyper-stoic Polish family by way of Chicago. You. Do. Not. Complain. Period.
So decades of “potty problems” bred inattentiveness in class, crappy (NPI) grades and therefore a 3rd rate secondary education. That amounted to jobs I could manage as opposed to a career I aspired to. Friends were fleeting moments where I didn’t have to cancel and relationships were born out of much tolerance in silence on my part. Having parents also with GI issues (mother Chrons, father diverticulosis, both RIP); I’m between anger and sadness when I think what I might have been, had I been properly diagnosed (read: NOT psychiatric) at an early age. Having awareness and labels are the compromise with myself today, as half my life or more is behind me.
But the message here isn’t boo-hoo bust out the Puffs Plus for Lisa. It is to please, please speak up for yourself when you’re in pain..be that physical or emotional. Today we have the all-knowing Interweb to tie symptoms to possible outcomes, doctors who are specialists in their fields and the good graces of privatized insurance where you don’t have to wait 6+ months for appointments and testing. Be your own advocate. Print pages and talk to your parents, teachers, make your own appointments. Do anything but let your life literally and painfully pass you by. Once I understood that I had to be the one to do the asking, I started to see the test results that came with labels. A lump became hypothyroidism, scar tissue Chrons, MRI identified a degenerating L5. It’s an exhaustive process getting to the bottom of a deep pit of pain..take it one diagnosis at a time. And do not stop until you have answers…and a wellness plan…because you don’t have to suffer in silence.
Senior year of high school is supposed to be a wonderful time in every teenager's life. You are focused on graduating,...