When Your Body Betrays You

I just had the worst attack of pain that I’ve ever experienced. And I’m pretty sure it’s completely my fault. But it makes me damn angry.

Years ago, after I had my son, I started getting these attacks. My rib cage would start feeling off. Not quite painful, but tender, like the area was weak and something would break if I wasn’t careful. Then it would gradually turn painful, and steadily get worse until I was hugging myself, rocking back and forth and crying for relief. An attack would last anywhere from 5 to 9 hours and at its worst, I’d easily compare it to unmedicated childbirth. A normal person would have gone to the ER the first time it happened. But apparently I’m a weirdo and I inherited the stubbornness of my Irish and German ancestors.


After continuing to ignore my horrible attacks for 2 years, I finally saw a doctor and found out that my gallbladder had filled to bursting with gallstones. I was told that they’d never seen someone my age with so many, and that it needed to come out right away. I had a simple surgery to remove it, and I never had an attack again. One thing they couldn’t explain though, was why my pain spread out so much. Normally, when someone has a gallstone attack, they get pain on the right side of their ribs, right under the breast, and it stays there. For me it would start there, and then it felt like a flame that spread to the entirety of my rib cage. The whole thing was aflame and every doctor I spoke to couldn’t give me an answer as to why.

But this morning… This felt like one of my old 9 hour gallstone attacks, all condensed into 10 minutes of agony. Compared to what I’ve endured before, this was super fast, but so intense and so terrifying that it triggered a panic attack almost immediately. I texted my husband that something was seriously wrong and I was scared, and before he could even figure out if he should come home or not, it was calming down.

Since the doctors couldn’t explain it before, I had my own theory. I figured that with my back twisted and curved the way it is, my nerves must be all over the place. More sensitive than normal, damaged and easier to be hurt. I’ve worked myself too hard many times, causing bouts of pain that require me to take it easy.

And this week I think I did just that. I was extremely sick over the weekend with what my husband and I believe was food poisoning, and the violent force my body was put through from vomiting was intense. By the time it was over, my whole body ached, and I was left weak. And despite everyone around me telling me to take it easy, I woke up on Monday and went about my day as I normally do. My family is moving in a week, and there’s more to be packed and an entire apartment to be cleaned. The next few days was filled with lifting, scrubbing, running around like crazy and not nearly enough strength to handle it. But like I’ve said before, I’m no stranger to pain, and I’ve got things to do!

But I paid for it. And it’s this sort of thing that makes me mad. I’ve been trying so hard to go to the gym and work on myself. Not for vanity, but to lose weight to ease the burden it puts on me, and to strengthen the muscles in my core so that I can be stronger. So I can handle things normal people can without needing time to recover. Most people can handle some housework without needing a pain reliever and a heating pad. Or have a fun night out, without needing to recover for two days. Even just waking up without feeling like they were hit by a truck!

So for now, I’ve learned my lesson. I’m taking the day off to relax, ice my back and try to regain some strength. I’ve got a doctors appointment scheduled so we can figure out what I can do when I get stubborn again and work myself too hard. Because I will. No matter how many times it happens, it only going to happen again. No matter how hard I work to get stronger, it feels like I still pay for doing things that others do without a second thought. Maybe one day I will have lost some weight and gained some muscle and I’ll actually be as strong as I feel I should be. Maybe one day I’ll be able to clean the house without the need for recuperation. Maybe one day I can actually love my body instead of feeling like it is constantly betraying me.

Maybe one day.

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