Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Letting Go

I've had to let go of a lot of things over the years.

The hardest though, was letting go of the sense of self that I had before Tourette's.  The person who I thought I was going to become didn't exist anymore.  I struggled to find a new sense of identity, a new understanding of who I was.

I have it now.

I am a person with Tourette Syndrome.  No, it doesn't define me.  But it explains who I am better than anything else can.  I am strong and stubborn.  I am not readily embarrassed.  I have an extremely high pain threshold.  I'm able to multi-task like a champ.  I have to work harder than a "normal" person for anything I want to achieve.

That part of me?  It doesn't need fixing.

When I go to a doctor the first thing they see is "Tourette Syndrome".  They then ask about medications for it and question my decision to be medication free.  They hear me ask them about remedies for severe muscle cramps and turn around and offer me tic meds instead.  They hear me list the homeopathic pills that control my migraines as well as prescription medications ever did and cut me off, asking, "But are you on any prescriptions?" 

They see this part of me as needing to be fixed.  If I'm ticcing, then clearly there is something wrong and I need medication.  Clearly, I want to not tic anymore.  Obviously, I want to just be "normal".

But this?  The ticcing and migraines and chronic pain and exhaustion and making a fool out of myself every time I go out into public?  That's who I am.  I've let go the person who I thought I would become (through a long grief process that took a lot of years to work through) and I'm happy with who I am.  I have a good life.  I don't need to "fix" something that isn't broken.

But in their endeavors to fix something that didn't need fixing in the first place, the doctors caused a condition that I had no business having in the first place.  Something, that without the pills I never would have had to live with.  They gave me metabolic syndrome.  Insulin resistance.

The pills made me gain weight and due to that weight gain and what the pills were doing to my body, my metabolism slowed down.  Now, it's hard for me to process carbohydrates and because of that my body has to produce more insulin, which raises my blood sugar and results in weight gain.

I never would have had to even know that, if it weren't for these doctor's and their "cures".  The doctors aren't the ones who suggested I get the blood draw to test for an insulin problem, I was.  I am the one who sought out and endocrinologist and I am the one who asked for these tests to be done.  How much longer would the doctors have waited before coming to this conclusion by themselves?  How long did I wait in silence, knowing something was wrong, but trusting the doctors?  How long did I gain weight knowing there was something not right, but not knowing what I could do about it?

This?  This I don't think I will be able to let go.

I'm certainly not ready to now. 

How do I move on from feeling betrayed by doctors who supposedly knew more about my condition than I did?  How do I move on knowing that no doctor will ever apologize for what they did to me?  No doctor will ever be held accountable for poisoning my body with prescription pills.  No doctor will even broach the subject with me.  They think that you should be happy if your tics are gone, even if you are overweight.  They think that it is better to be obese than it is to have Tourette Syndrome.  What kind of person would chose a disability over being thin?

But that isn't a choice I was given.  I was simply told to take the pills.  There was no discussion, nobody once said, "Maybe you should try something else if you're gaining this much weight."  Nobody even once said anything about my weight gain.

My general practitioner did this winter - I have borderline high blood pressure, but in a doctor's office it skyrockets to the point that you would think I were having a stroke.  I despise doctor's offices and I get stressed and anxious just thinking about it.  As my doctor and I were discussing this, she made the fatal error of saying if I lost weight it would probably help my blood pressure.

No shit.

As though I don't care about my weight.  As if I eat myself into oblivion every night.  As if I binge and don't exercise and don't care about how I look or feel.  When the truth of the matter is, I eat the same amount as any person.  I don't exercise as much as I should, but how many college students do?  Off of the pills that were dulling my senses and making me tired I exercise way more now.  I was being as healthy as I knew how to be and doing everything I knew how to do, it just didn't work.

And she had the gall to act like my weight was a revelation.  As if just pointing it out would solve my problems.

I don't get what the deal with doctors is.  They'll discuss anything candidly with you until it comes to your weight.  No wonder we have an obesity epidemic in this country.  If your doctor won't discuss it with you and bring it up, than maybe it isn't really a problem.  My doctor acted ashamed that she had to talk to me about being overweight, as though it were a taboo subject that she didn't want to broach.  That shouldn't be how it is.

If they're so ready to find a "fix" for my tics (something I maintain needs no fixing), then shouldn't they be just as ready to help me find a fix for my weight?

I'm angry and frustrated.  I'm so mad that this is my fight now and I wasn't the one who put me in this position to begin with.  I was 15 and clinically depressed, of course I was going to take whatever pills the doctors and my parents told me to take.  When I was 17 and they put me on migraine preventatives, even though I knew the pills were making me gain weight I was terrified to stop taking them.  I was terrified of the migraines I would get without the meds.  But you know what?  I'm on homeopathic supplements and doing fine.

I wasn't capable of making those decisions for myself at that point in time.  And the people who were making those decisions made the wrong ones.  Yet, somehow, it is my job to fix it.

So, no.  I'm not ready to let go yet.