I transformed from a fully functional, energetic, outgoing mom to a weak, fragile human being overnight. Simple tasks had now become an enormous burden. There was war brewing and my body had already signalled the alarm in order to prepare for battle. I was desperate for answers and would search the internet obsessively in hopes of finding any sort of clue applying to my symptoms. I speculated many conditions: Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Arthritis, to name a few.
By now, the family was fully aware of my struggle. I could detect fear and uncertainty in my children's faces each time they glanced at me. But my darling husband never once failed to remind me that I would somehow be okay. Unlike me, he never showed his panic; instead, he kept a calm composure and devoted much of his time to the family's needs including the household.
Thoughts of death entered my mind and I began to wonder if I was slipping. One day I had finally reached rock bottom. The pain was so surreal it actually paralized me for an abrupt moment. My limbs and neck became immobile while heavy brain fog took over and filled my head with enormous pressure; all throughout my body I felt as though currents of electricity were running wild; high squealing sounds pierced my ears and I shook with terror. No longer could I sit there and piece it together. I called my husband in a hurry and we headed to the ER attempting to give Western medicine yet another chance at a solution.
Once admitted at the hospital, I could only sit there in sheer panic as my mind processed the events that led up to this moment. How could I have gone from a life so enriched to such a dark place in a matter of a few months? Who was this monster that was ravaging my body from the inside out...?
We proceeded with the standard protocol: blood work, heart monitor, stress test, etc, followed by plenty of medical questions. My attempt at describing the symptoms left each physician more and more puzzled. It did not matter that my heart was now beating obnoxiously and irregularily. The buzzing in my head grew louder and the tingling turned into burning throughout my extremities. It was a frightful realization when my body would intermittently lose feeling. Yet in the eyes of my attendants, there was no conclusive evidence that something was wrong. I grew increasingly frustrated with the medical team regarding their non-chalant approach while my body's pain signals were increasing by the hour. Despite my pleading, they disregarded the need for any advanced medical testing or the urgency to call in a specialist simply becasue "I looked well." I was hopeful though, the blood work would shed some light on the situation and the doctors would have an answer for me. Still, I could not help feeling as though I were treading on a minefield, waiting for an explosion to wipe out my existence.
I spent the whole day with my hubby at the hospital running various tests. When the doc finally arrived with my results, I was prepared to welcome the diagnosis with open arms. "Mrs. Ponici," he began, "based on your test result, we can't seem to find anything out of the ordinary. So go home and try to get some rest. You're probably just stressed." With that, he grabbed his pad and wrote out what looked to be a prescription. "Here," he said, "take some T-3s as needed." After a gracious smile and a soft pat on my shoulder, he left me dazed and in utter disbelief.
In that moment, I broke. My eagerness to find a diagnosis backfired and instead, I was labelled as having an unspecified illness with a potential phsychiatric disorder. As the shock settled in, all I could think of was spending the rest of my life in agonizing pain. Thoughts of wheelchairs and painkillers crossed my mind. The future looked bleak.... I threw every special milestone of the future aside. No longer would I enjoy the simple pleasures of playing with my kids, enjoying my fitness routine, dancing to Michael Jackson tunes, or enjoying some bonding time with my hubby on our Harley Davidson. My goals and travelling ambitions were now an obscure thought. None of it mattered now. Everything dear to me exited my life and I was left in complete desolation with no one to help. For the first time ever, I welcomed death to relieve my immeasurable suffering.