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My Immune System Is Trying To Kill me

Mental Health and Trauma Blog | Noisy

Over 4 months ago I was diagnosed as autoimmune. Something that came as quite a shock considering how healthy I'd been up to that point. I've always had a brilliant immune system, so much so I'd brag about it (I guess this was karma). If I was unlucky, I'd get a cold once every few years. I'd never pick up bugs from others, my immune system worked perfectly. Until it didn't. On my 28th birthday I woke up feeling unwell. I didn't think too much of it, I put it down to a cold considering my birthday is in December. I didn't notice something was wrong until a few days later when I was significantly worse. It wasn't just a cold, and every covid test showed a negative result, so I decided to book an appointment with my GP. With the symptoms I was displaying, slight fever, fatigue, rashes on my body, and just a general feeling of 'being off', the doctor put it down to an infection somewhere in my body and prescribed me antibiotics. It usually takes a few days for antibiotics to work their magic but in that 72-hour period I deteriorated. I was noticeably losing weight and it was from more than just being off my food. I had another appointment with the GP, and he told me to finish the course, which I did, but I couldn't help having a little doubt about the diagnosis I was given. I'm not a medical professional but I did know something more than an infection was going on. A couple more days had passed, and I continued to get worse. I now had rashes on my body that wouldn't disappear when pressed. This, mixed with the suspected infection meant I was sent to A&E by 111 for suspected sepsis. I was so unwell, I was falling asleep in the waiting area, I struggled to keep my eyes open. I had bloods taken and they came back clean, no sign of an infection. I was surprised at the results, if there was no infection, what was causing the problems I had? I was assessed by a doctor who reiterated it was an infection, even though my blood tests said otherwise. I did question it, but they were sure it was the right diagnosis. I was given stronger antibiotics and then sent home. I still wasn't convinced that they were right, something felt off (this is why you should always listen to your gut instinct). Not even a week had passed when I found myself back in A&E. The rashes weren't improving, I felt the worst I ever had, and the antibiotics were useless, they seemed to make it worse. I spent 12 hours in there. I went in at around 6pm and was released at 6am the next morning. As bad it that sounds (and at times it was) there were some fantastic people in there which helped pass the time. I found myself falling asleep on a police officer at one point who was sat next to me, luckily he didn't mind. Although I knew it wasn't an infection and had an idea of what they were going to tell me when I was referred to a specialist, it was still devastating to hear. I was diagnosed as autoimmune. Right there and then my world was shattered into a million pieces. When I found out just how bad it was, I knew my veterinary career was over. It's safe to say, in true personality disorder style, I went off the rails for a month or so. I was filled with so much anger. Not only was the life I had planned taken away from me, but I was also struggling to manage with day to day life because of how unwell I was. Zipping up my jacket, putting my shoes on, things I did with ease every day previously were now a struggle. The medication I was on to help control my autoimmune disease made me feel even worse. I was in and out of hospital every few days and had multiple appointments with my GP, it was too much to deal with in such a short period of time. And if that wasn't bad enough, I wasn't able to lift weights. The only guaranteed way to keep my mental health stable was taken from me too. What an absolute shit show. But me being me, I had a word with myself and picked myself up. It wasn't a straightforward path to walk, and it still isn't. Getting back on track involved a lot of crying, daily, to begin with. The anger was still roaring inside, but I used it to relight the spark in me that wasn't burning so brightly anymore. I put all the negativity I felt into getting well enough to lift weights again. Rather than trying to supress or fix the bad feelings, I used them to take back control. And it worked. I still have bad days, I'm in and out of hospital and take so much medication that I'm essentially a walking chemist. But I can walk my dogs in the countryside again, I can train like I used to, I can laugh and smile like I once did. I accepted what was outside of my control and took charge of the things inside of it. Acceptance isn't easy but resistance is futile. Try to use my story and apply it to your own life. Change what you can and don't worry about what you can't. Do all you can and nobody can expect anything more. Whatever battle you're fighting right now, you'll get through it. You've got this. This, is the fight of your life. - Noisy


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