Originally published June 28, 2018
“I just don’t feel good” — I have never openly spoke about this in detail…not in true detail, so please bear with me as I try to get this out.
I realized this past weekend that no one really knows what that means when I briefly, nonchalantly mention it to people in passing, “I get sick”. And that is mainly because it is something I’ve spent most of my life being ridiculously embarrassed by.
“Not feeling good” really is not even close to being the explanation of what happens to me when my body decides it’s time to rebel. There really is no “diagnoses” of what is wrong either so I tend to skip over the conversation due to the lack of true definition. That and the fact that everyone and their Mom instantly turn into an MD when I talk about it and start to try to place a diagnosis on me before even knowing the whole story.
Yes, I’ve done all of the testing. As a child and again as an adult. Still no answers. Everyone that has been involved have said the same thing… “You’re an anomaly” because nothing about the way my body works or processes things truly makes sense. But thankfully after years of trial and error, documentation, and testing as many things as I can come up with…it has improved drastically.
For over 10 years, I puked every morning…Or at least dry heaved until I was able to get stable enough to get a little food in my belly and “mind over matter” myself until the nausea would cease. Needless to say, mornings were never pleasant for me…ever.
And no I’m not just being dramatic, it was every morning. Ask my mom, my best friends, or past partners and they will tell you. This shit is real, and it’s really bad. Also, it’s seemed to get worse as I got older for some reason. The doctors always told me I would just have to deal, there is no medicine to help, it’s all diet related but even then, it’s a present part of my life that I have to deal with and be proactive about every single day.
When I was 26 I decided to take this shit into my own hands. Like I said before, I’ve gotten better but still not good.
I’d give anything to just be “normal”. To be able to take a flight somewhere without needing to arrive a day early to allow for recovery before attending an event or engaging in any activities.
Hell, to be able to take a flight in general without strategically having to plan meals, water intake, and sleep for days before and after so I don’t spend the entire flight time puking in the lavatory (which is the worst). To leave the house without reinforcements in my bag to help keep me stable, ya know just in case I don’t have access to real food for some reason. To saying no to invites to camp, or go to the lake, or on a road trip with new people for fear that my body will lose its shit and decide to rebel in the middle of it all and I turn into a helpless, fragile creature that needs Pedialyte, somewhere to puke, and some sleep…or an IV if it gets really bad.
Well, that happened to me this weekend and I couldn’t hide it from anyone.
I was so prepared too. I had the non-processed snacks. I had the high fat, high protein options. I got the liters of electrolyte water, I drank Pedialyte every night and morning. I stayed away from any alcohol. I got plenty of sleep. But it still wasn’t enough. Day 3, my body was like NOPE. You’re done. I was at a table with people whom I absolutely adore and who I would say know me pretty damn well, but they were about to get to know me a little bit better because when my sugar is that unstable, there is no going back.
I sat at the table staring into the distance. My friend Sam, who knows a little more about my weird issues noticed and kept asking if I was okay. I said yes, but the truth is, I wasn’t okay at all. I excused myself to the bathroom where I couldn’t get into the stall quick enough to proceed to puke up everything I had eaten in the mad dash to try and turn it all around at the last minute… an effort I failed at miserably.
Why am I telling you this?
Because I have never told you guys about this before and it was brought to my attention in a really really big way this weekend that I needed to explain more in detail because no one really knows about this side of me. Not truly at least.
When we got back to the hotel, someone in the lobby had ordered something with a seriously strong smell and I couldn’t get to my room fast enough. Ya know, so the vomiting could continue. So much fun, let me tell you. But I’m seriously the best puker ever. I never do it in inappropriate places and if I didn’t tell you it happened, you’d never know.
Well, sometimes it just ends at that, I can drink a little water after and go to sleep. Then I’ll sleep all night and wake up feeling weak, but functioning the next day and I can work with that to make it all okay.
Not this time.
This time after an hour of sleep, my body woke me up and in came the shakes, the dry heaving, and the waves of severe hot flashes mixed with cold sweats. This is not new, but it’s also nothing short of miserable. And at this point, there is really nothing I can do but let it run its course.
For those of you who are still reading, you’re amazing and I promise there is a massive point to this share. But I also wanted to note that yes, I COULD have go the hospital and they would have given me fluids and wanted to keep me for days because unless they have access to my records, they wouldn’t understand what was going on with me. I’ve been down this road so many times I know it very well.
Somewhere in the middle of my midnight situation the other night I heard the voice of my friend saying, “Just ask for help Jamie. You are not weak”… So I did. I reached out and asked for help. I texted a friend (Sam) that was staying with me and asked her to come back to the room and help me.
You see, when your sugar levels are SO out of whack it’s almost like you’re delusional. Like my emotions run high, nothing makes sense, I get angry and embarrassed and sad and scared. Angry with myself as if it’s all my fault or something.
But since I called Sam and asked her for help, the group of people she was hanging out with downstairs, who are all my people too, then knew how bad it was.
She came upstairs to me laying in the bed, in a ball, sobbing, shaking, unstable, with the trash can there as a puke bucket because I could no longer make the trip from the bed to the bathroom and sitting on the bathroom floor was killing my achy body at this point.
I was so embarrassed. But there I was. Nowhere to hide. This is part of my reality and here I was sharing it with someone who’s fairly new in my world…let alone, also one of my clients. Yikes, the emotions were high but her presence helped. She stepped into mommy-mode, called the airlines to change my flight and extended the hotel another night so I could spend the day nursing myself back to health the next day instead of forcing myself to get on a plane…which would not have been a pretty picture.
To wrap up the story, I was finally able to force feed myself a little food and by a little I mean literally ¼ of a small blueberry grain bar and about 4 sips of Pedialyte and settle my stomach and sugar enough to finally fall asleep. I woke up at 6am, repeated that routine and back to sleep. The day was spent in bed with fluids and fruit until I was finally able to eat a meal at 4pm. Which I promptly passed out directly after eating. So yes, basically when it gets that bad I typically need 1 full day to recover…that is if I don’t want the cycle to repeat itself later on in that same week. So I listen to my body and give it what it needs.
A few things happened as the night continued that has pushed me to share this with you.. Something I’ve been dancing around the best way to truly start talking about in the open more so here we are;
1- This doesn’t make me weak.
That strong girl you see that walks through a room shining so bright and so happy? I really am that girl at my core. This is just a part of my life that I have to deal with to. It’s just something I haven’t let you see, not on purpose either. It’s a part of what makes me so damn strong in the first place honestly. Because I have no choice.
2- People don’t know what they don’t know. And they certainly don’t know what you don’t share with them.
I thought people knew about this. Honest to God you guys, I thought that I had shared enough about it that you knew, that you knew how bad it can be. Until I was standing there looking it in the face, with a hotel filled with people who love me but truly didn’t know. That’s when I was smacked with the truth of how much I had downplayed the entire thing for..well, my entire life.
3- Feeling fragile doesn’t mean you ARE fragile.
That is a choice and it’s not one I’ve ever allowed to define me. The truth is, when my body is in the state it was in Sunday night, it IS fragile but that’s nothing I have control over at that point. So letting it ruin my mindset or bring in negative self-talk makes no sense at all.
4- People will love you if you let them.
I’m really bad a letting people in sometimes, for a number of reasons. But this weekend I’ve never felt so loved and taken care of. From the texts checking in, to knowing that there were people literally on standby ready at a moment’s notice to swoop me up and take me to the ER if I said that’s what I needed.
It’s all been pretty damn overwhelming to say the least but you know I believe the universe puts things in front of us when we need them most and this was one of those instances. It was a divine sign to quit worrying about the best way to talk about this, or the best way to explain it to you so you’ll understand, or how to write it without sounding like a weak fragile girl, or how to say it in a scientific way that people won’t question me.
The fact is, none of that is relevant anyway. These are facts. Actual things I have to deal with and have had to deal with for more than half of my life.
No I don’t puke every morning anymore. It’s actually a rare occasion these days but that is because I have found a specific way of living, eating, hydrating, working out, and resting that keeps my body happy and functioning. There are still hiccups every now and then though. And there are still situations that I have not mastered how to keep from disrupting me in such a terrible way (such as traveling) but I promise you I WILL figure it out. I will eventually find a solution for these things. Because I’m committed to figuring it out. I’ve gotten this far, so I know I can keep going. It just times time.
P.s. I know this was extremely long and for any of you who stuck around and read this entire thing, I love you. Foreal. You matter. Thank you so much.
P.s.s. I did not know Sam took this photo. And just looking at this photo makes me extremely uncomfortable. It’s vulnerable in every sense of the word. She took it because she knew I wanted to share about this at one point and thought it might help. Basically, she was being my Instagram husband, haha but foreal. I’m glad she did. It was a punch in the gut to look at when she sent it to me this morning honestly. But it was also a motivator at how important it was that I share this with you.