My Journey

Overwhelmed.

The feeling I get when I receive emails like this from my readers, is quite overwhelming.
How can my little Australian rants about illness, sadness and life touch so many of you?

When I am having a horrible day of symptoms,
when I feel like I have nobody in my corner helping me fight,
you remind me that I am far from alone.

(I have asked permission from both readers for this to be published)

Thank you for bringing joy to my darker days.
Just another reminder that we are not alone.

Feedback.

TLC.

Indisposed and Undiagnosed has quietly had an overnight renovation.
We now have a cute little logo, and a site that is much easier to navigate your way through.
To experience the full effect of the changes, please take a peek on a laptop or computer!

I would like to thank my followers for your endless support and love.
I have received many emails (through my current darkest of times) describing me to be the voice for those who are unheard, hurting and also lost in illness of all kinds.

A Chronic Illness blog must shine a light on the positives and negatives.
In order to spread awareness, we must share an accurate account of our good and bad ordeals. They may be terrifying to write and read, they may also be incredibly depressing, but they are spreading awareness.

We are here, we are fighting, we are waiting, we want to be heard.

I am appreciative of your concern over my wellbeing, every comment I receive, every email I read.
I hope you continue to follow me on my journey.

May there be brighter days ahead for all of us

C, x

THIS is what Chronic Illness looks like.

You all obviously know about the irritating assumption that we are not sick, because we don’t LOOK sick.

People associate illness with common physical effects like pale skin, an agonised facial expression, weight loss, tubes coming out of our noses, a tumor or wound that is VISIBLE.

What does Chronic Illness look like?
What do our symptoms look like?

N O T H I N G.
They are I N V I S I B L E.
They cannot be seen, but are very much REAL.

So, lets set the story straight once and for all.
THIS is the face of Chronic Illness:

This is what Chronic Illness looks like.

Nauseous – Dizzy – Nerve Pain – Neck Pain – Stomach cramps.

I really encourage you to take a similar photo of yourself, and post it with the title “THIS is what Chronic Illness looks like“.

Tag me in it – reblog me – don’t steal this page and mark it as your own!

You don’t have to show your face if you would like to maintain privacy. Get creative!

Be the face for Chronic Illness, and,

help spread awareness for our cause!

Thank YOU.

I never imagined this blog to be anything more than a personal emotional release.

Just quickly – I’ve added a new Page to my Home Page. It is titled “Contact“. The title does the page justice. It should’ve been there from the beginning! You can now send me Topic Suggestions, Feedback and Personal Messages at anytime!

I am not entirely sure why so many of you are following me (almost 650 to be exact).

But, thank you.

Growth.

If you are stuck at home like I am most days, and are struggling to find something productive to do that doesn’t require a lot of energy – grow a plant.

You can start from scratch or you can purchase a baby bulb that has just begun its growth cycle.

Two years ago, on my twentyfirst birthday a girl I was studying with bought me a Pony Tail Palm Tree.

When I first got him, he was very small and only had three leaves poking from his root.
I neglected him.
I kept him in my bedroom, away from sunlight and rarely watered him. He began to shrivel, and two years later he was merely a tiny squishy root barely emerged from the dirt.

During my bedridden state of illness, I noticed the lack-of plant on my desk, and asked my Dad if he would help me move the plant outside into new soil.
My Dad frowned and said “I don’t think we can revive this one, Cass“.
But I held hope that we could.
A week after Replant Day

I sat outside in a blanket and watched Dad replant him.
On days of strength, I watered him.
I moved him into the sun.
I gave him plant food.

Eight months later, the change is incredible.
He can now go for days without water, and thrives off of sunlight.

Seven Months Later

You don’t have to plant a garden – there are plants that are easy maintenance. It gives you something else to focus on, and gets you outside for even five minutes of the day.
It is also beautiful to watch the life cycle!

During Chronic Illness, you must treat your body as if you are growing the most beautiful sacred plant. It will start off fragile, small and colourless.

It takes some time, and with other plants it takes longer. Some plants will go backwards; growing weaker before they grow stronger, where as others immediately thrive from a little love and attention.

Once you neglect your plant entirely, it will wither, as will your body.

But if you keep watering it, tend to the roots, and always make sure the petals and leaves are full of colour and are never curling; your plant will gain strength and grow.

The Bible of Blogs.

The end of Mental Health Awareness Month is almost here, and so many of you have been asking me the question, “can you recommend a blog for me to follow for sufferers of…?”
So, this blog is all about my Bible Of Blogs for Sufferers of Mental, Chronic or Invisible Illnesses.

I encourage you to do the same,
as I am sure we have all come across different blogs that we favour.

In light of doing this, we will be:
– spreading awareness of our illnesses
– guiding new and old bloggers to the right people for help, guidance and understanding.
– uniting to help each other’s pages grow

I have spent a few days, in between illness, searching through all close-to-600 followers. I also had a Followers Malfunction, where WordPress told me I was not following anyone/then suddenly was following/then wasn’t again, so MY APOLOGIES for any notifications you may have received!

I have read, and read, and read your posts.
Let me tell you that what I came across made me laugh, brought me to tears, and left me with that “this person understands” feeling.
I wish I could put links to all of your blogs here, but as that is near impossible, I have chosen as many as my brain would allow me to for today.

I hope this is somewhat of a help.
If you feel up to it, create a list of your own.
We can really make a difference and spread awareness if we unite.

C, x.

THE BIBLE OF BLOGS:
Mine of course! (hehe)

See the Follow Button up above!

CHRONIC ILLNESS/INVISIBLE ILLNESSES:
https://undiagnosedwarrior.wordpress.com
https://nosuperhero.wordpress.com
Nikki, and Heather, both provide blog entries about their rollercoaster ride with their Chronic Illnesses. They are both more than happy to reach out to those suffering, and provide help where they can.

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com
Rowena is an all-rounder. She has knowledge in many topics/areas, and is also a sufferer of Chronic Illness. She is a mother to children suffering with Chronic Illness also. She definitely gives a great outlook on suffering from a parental point of view.

itspotsable.wordpress.com
https://chronicallysarahlynn.wordpress.com
https://livingasapotsie.wordpress.com
Rebekah, and Sarah, run blogs about their journey through living with POTS. Rachel, is newly diagnosed, and has just begun writing about her journey. All three writers are extremely talented and have wonderful insight into symptoms, relief techniques and what it is like living with Chronic Illness.

https://rhosynmd.wordpress.com/
Rhosyn blog writes entries about the ups and downs and everything in between when dealing with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

http://megaspecial.me
Vix writes about her journey living with Multiple Sclerosis. This woman’s drive for life, whilst suffering every single day, is incredibly inspirational and definitely worth a read.

https://gutttedgirl.wordpress.com/
Rebecca has a blog dedicated to her journey through living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Incredibly insightful and easily relatable blog for fellow sufferers out there!

https://thegloriousgut.wordpress.com/
http://thankheavens.com.au/
Really simple, yummy recipes for those suffering from IBS, or who are struggling for Gluten Free meal ideas!

http://carrotsinmycarryon.com
Kate’s posts are written about her ‘food issues’ and struggles with a Borderline Eating Disorder. She will make you laugh, and cry. She is extremely down-to-earth and honest about her day-to-day struggles.


DEPRESSION&ANXIETY:
wemustbebroken.com
Paul runs a fantastic blog about Mental Health where you can submit pieces of your own, read through poetic stories and even reach out to a community of people who are suffering all the same.

https://zoerising.wordpress.com/
Zoe writes an inspiring blog about a wide range of topics which include her struggles in dealing with; gender, race, politics, love, abuse and identity.

http://dimdaze.com
Don writes a very honest blog about his days suffering from Bipolar, Anxiety and Depression. He is absolutely lovely and is willing to offer his time to chat to fellow sufferers.


TO PREOCCUPY THOUGHTS:
https://dickyjloweman.wordpress.com/
https://thecoryclark.wordpress.com/
These extremely talented men write the most beautiful poetry you will ever read.
I promise, if you need a distraction, their pages are definitely it.

Nominated for the Very Inspiring Blog Award.

I am so overwhelmed with gratitude to my followers who think of me as inspirational. To Nicole, thank you for the nomination.

I am busy working on a piece for my good friend Paul’s series “Coping: this is who we are”. The piece is based on my struggle with Depression, Anxiety and Illness. Paul runs the page Dear Hope, (see link below) for people suffering from Mental Illnesses. He is a great advocate for our cause. I am honoured to have been asked to write a piece for his site, and cannot wait for you all to read it!!! (be patient, hehe)

RULES:
Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
Add the logo to your post.
Nominate ten (10) bloggers you admire and inform them of the nomination.
I nominate..

(Paul) http://wemustbebroken.com

http://itspotsable.wordpress.com

http://recoverychannel.wordpress.com

http://sandycademy.wordpress.com

http://zoerising.wordpress.com

http://dimdaze.com

http://carrotsinmycarryon.com

http://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com

http://routinedreamer.com

http://chronicallysarahlynn.wordpress.com

Celebratory Vlog!

Indisposed & Undiagnosed hit 500 Followers!
I cannot explain how appreciative I am of all of your feedback, words of strength and guidance. I have made a few close friends, and have been inspired to write again.
And in celebration of this, I made my first Thank You Vlog.
Excuse my shyness.
Screens are much easier to hide behind.

Keep reading, writing & spreading positivity X

Diagnosis Part One.

I’m not sure about you, but I have dreamt of this day for a long time now. The moment when the doctor sits you down, rests one hand on your leg and puts his sympathetic facial expression on and says, ‘We finally have an answer. You have…’

They have an action plan for you, maybe some medication to ease the symptoms and you are opened to a community of fellow sufferers.
In the back of my mind, I never thought this day would come. That I would rott here for the rest of my life with these symptoms, wasting money on specialists and medication and never be myself again.

Today, I received a call from one of my Gastroenterologists. I can tell you that I was not expecting a call this early, or for her to begin our conversation with ‘we finally have an answer. You have… a severe case of…’

Gastroparesis.

(Gastroparesis:
– partial stomach paralysis when digesting food.
– longterm chronic condition with no cure
– symptoms usually include: chronic nausea, loss of appetite, bloating, stomach pain, body aches, heartburn.
– Leads to rapid weight loss and malnutrition, depression, anxiety and a range of other great symptoms
– usually found in people with Diabetes, Autonomic Neuropathy, Neurological Conditions and damage to the vagus nerve)

I said nothing.
‘It’s unfortunately rare for someone your age to get this, and this severe…’
My heart sunk.
‘Young people just don’t get this out of the blue… We have spoken about it and think your body has a virus that has unfortunately caused it… It could be causing your other symptoms. The drug we prescribe for sufferers is Motilium but we have already trialled this on you and it showed no success…’
I tuned out at this point.
A rare condition – of course.
You keep coming back to this mystery ‘virus’ that nobody can seem to locate, or name.
It doesn’t explain the dizziness, or maybe it does.
There is no cure.
You have already tried the prescribed drugs for management with no success.

You have already changed your diet.
We are still stuck in limbo.

I cried – pretty hard.
She assured me that we would keep trying.
She encouraged me to speak to my Doctor tonight, and that this wasn’t an overall “bad result”. In order to properly treat it, we must find try to find the underlying cause.
I unfortunately have to wait a few weeks to see my Gastroenterologist, because he is booked out.
We wanted an answer, and now we have… half of one.
Not even half… A quarter, maybe.

The rest of the conversation was a blur.
I thought I would be happier with a name, but I’m quite the opposite.
You search for so long, you lose everything you had; all to receive a partial diagnosis of something rare that is yet to be helped/cured medically?
I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to say.
I have so many questions.
Am I happy that it has a name?
Sad that it is rare and hard to manage (in my case)?
Relieved that I am not crazy?
Upset that they still think there is an Invisible Virus behind it?
Where do I go from here? Neurologist? New doctor? New specialist?
What treatments do I take/trial?
How do I improve?
Will I ever eat normally again?
Will I ever put on weight, or will it keep decreasing?
How do I stop the nausea, the unbearable pain?
What the hell is making me so dizzy?
How on earth did I get this?
I am twenty-two.
How should I really feel?

The uncertainty, the loneliness, the disappointment.
Today feels like the beginning,  all over again.

Friendship in the face of Chronic Illness.

One thing that my Invisible/Chronic Illness has allowed me to see, is the world in a new perspective. My life is no longer about the petty problems I faced years ago, and the superficial crap. In spite of all of the symptoms and pain I must face each day, my time and energy is now purely spent on keeping my stress levels at a bare minimum, managing my symptoms and surrounding myself with supportive and understanding people.

Chronic/Invisible Illness is a funny subject. Once you announce that you are suffering, (or they hear along the grapevine) you are suddenly bombarded by people contacting you.

I refer to them as the Prodders, as they literally begin mentally/emotionally prodding you; questioning, encouraging, pushing, reminding, assisting, annoying, hating, etc.

I have put them into a relationship wheel will that comprises of four categories:

Permanent Prodder:
The friends who never really left to begin with.
They:
– contact you frequently
– try to understand your symptoms
– send positive encouragement
– convince you to keep fighting
– are loyal regardless of the situation
– offer to assist in any way possible
– pay you visits voluntarily
– preoccupy you when they know you need it
– don’t pass judgement
(They are the Keepers, and I can safely say that I only have four of them in my life)

Reappearing Prodder:
The ones who you haven’t spoken to in five years, and send you a message to let you know that they are suddenly thinking of you and are there for you. They are usually 85% of your Facebook friends. Look, I appreciate hearing from anyone, but with some people in this category, I often wonder if they really care? Or if it is just an act of kindness out of guilt. They contact you in case the illness gets the better of you, and they simply need to clear their conscience of all that happened in the past. If it is someone you had a falling out with/drifted from, Illness makes you realise how petty it all was to begin with, and I would like to think that this would be the perfect chance to make amends.
I don’t have to feel guilty anymore because I messaged her saying, “I hope you are okay”, “So sorry to hear of your struggles”, “I’m here if you need anything”.
But are you really there for me? Or will I most likely never hear from you again?

Occasional Prodder:
The ones who contact you with a message that makes you question why you were friends with them to begin with. They are the ones you went to school with, spent every day at work with for a few years, the friends you usually had the most fun with. They are usually the ones who send you the half-hearted messages – the memes, random photos, rants about their ‘oh-so-big’ problems in life. They whinge about their fulltime job, or going out every weekend and being ‘oh-so-tired’. They have all of the time in the world to speak about themselves, but not at one point do they ask you how you have been/how you are/if they can be of any assistance. It’s too much of an effort for them. And don’t bother trying to talk about yourself, because I’ve tried that, and somehow they revert the conversation back to themselves.

Disappearing Prodder:
In my case, I’ve had a few of these. One in particular. We spoke every day at a routine time. They understood me in a way that nobody else could.
They are the ones who swore that they would be there through anything. The ones you have probably helped more times than you can count. They probably know you are sick and have been along for most of the ride, and then suddenly, you don’t hear from them anymore. It’s as though your illness has hit them all at once, and it is more pressure for them, than it is for you. They can’t find thirty seconds in their day to reach out to you, and they most certainly don’t have the patience to listen to you talk about your illness or feelings anymore. They can’t put aside any differences you may have, and simply be there anymore. They don’t know how to handle it, and disappear.

If you don’t know if your friend is alive or not; if you don’t remember the last time you heard from them; if you know they are going through a rough time, NOW is probably the time to send that message or make that call. Its not hard. I don’t need you to be here every day.

I don’t need you to feed me, dress me, take me anywhere (unless you offer). I don’t want to have an entire conversation based on my feelings and symptoms. All I’m asking for here is a little consideration and support.

If you can’t be there for me at my worst point, and if you don’t think I’m worth staying in contact with simply because I am ill, then why should I want anything to do with you?
Whether I’m ill or not?

Because, I have a very big heart.

I struggle to find a balance between forgiving people and realising how much they have hurt me by choosing to leave.  I find myself “settling” and allowing these people to crawl back into my life – instead of telling them that what they have done is NOT okay.
You should be there for someone if they are strapped into a rollercoaster like this one!

I truly hope that something awful like this illness doesn’t creep up and surprise you one day, because you will unfortunately be faced with the same problems as I am. Unlike you, I am the type of person who will probably still offer you support and guidance. Shame on me, hey?

This illness is 90% a burden, and 10% a blessing, because it has taught me to grow up, to see how small the problems I used to face really were, and to realise who my true supporters are.

To quote the finest Miss Monroe:
I’m selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I’m out of control, and at times hard to handle. But, if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.