The Day My Heart Broke (Literally)

“I’d be careful if I were you, you are walking on a dangerous path” my boss says.

I sit stunned. I stay quiet.

It’s been a hard year, for everyone, I get it. People are tired of hearing this, but it has been especially brutal for healthcare workers like me. Being asked to do 4 different jobs at a time- my normal job, plus 3 COVID jobs- it’s been dragging me down.

Over the last few weeks, I developed chest pain. I had a feeling something wasn’t right (besides my lady problems) these past few months, but when these chest pains right around my heart began- I knew I couldn’t stay quiet much longer.

I set up an appointment with my boss.

I tell her I’m overwhelmed. She asks my solution. I ask if we can rearrange/reassign some of my responsibilities to individuals who don’t have as much.

Then she says it.

“I’d be careful if I were you, you are walking on a dangerous path. Comparing yourself to others. Saying you have more to do than them. We all have a lot to do because of COVID. Your other coworkers have done this before, complaining about having more work than others, and I’ve watched their mental health go bad”.

I’m stunned. Doesn’t she understand that is exactly why I’m here? My mental health (and physical health) has already been impacted.

“Just breathe” she says.

I walk to the bathroom. Cry my eyes out. I don’t believe it. Two years ago I applied to over 600 jobs. All for this. I never expected to be treated like this.

Amongst this I manage to text “Prince Player”. I can see he is trying to care, but, it feels off. Not genuine.

That night my chest hurts again. Bad. I grip it. And lean on my couch. I have to go to my doctor. Something isn’t right. But where do I have time? I have a full clinic the next day. I pray to God for a way. The next morning I wake up, the nurse from the clinic I was assigned to calls early and says clinic is cancelled for the day. This never happens and I thank God. I call my doctor’s office and they get me in right away.

I wait in the exam room for the doctor. I go during lunch so it’s rather busy, I wait 25 minutes which is unusual. All throughout, I’m nervous. I’m hoping doctor will tell me it’s allergies or something- but, I just know it won’t be. I never had a pain like this.

“Shaz what happened?” doctor comes in looking concerned.

“I uh. I’ve been having chest pains. Around my heart” I say looking down.

Doctor nods still looking concerned. “Let me take your blood pressure and pulse” he says.

“Blood pressure normal. Shaz…your pulse is extremely high” he says. I nod.

He pats my back looking sad. “We have to do an EKG.” My eyes widen.

“It will help us see what’s happening. I’ll be right back. In the meantime, you need to display this part of your chest and this part of your chest so we can put the EKG stickers” he says pointing.

Oh great. Wrong day to wear the lace bra.

He comes in a few minutes later. He sticks on the EKG stickers and waits for the results. He shakes his head, “Shaz, your heart rate is very high…”

I chuckle lightly. “I’ll live right?”

Every time I see him, I always think I have something I don’t and he laughs saying- “You’ll live”.

This time was different, he stayed quiet.

“Um doctor?”

He looks away “I don’t know. I’ll be right back”.

My jaw drops.

He comes back with a print out of my EKG. He sits down and goes over it with me. “Shaz. You have an irregular heartbeat. It’s dangerous. What’s wrong? Are you stressed too much?”

I tear up. Boss. Job. “Prince Player”. Lady problems. Mom. Dad. Brother. Dog.

I nod my head.

“You are very healthy. You are in good shape, good BMI, you exercise, you don’t smoke or do drugs. You are not someone that should be having this problem. So we have to find out why. I’m going to send you downstairs to the urgent care, they will do a blood test so we can rule out any heart enzyme issues or infections that can be causing this. Depending on what those say, we will proceed with more tests.

For now, you know this is serious. I am prescribing a medication for you to take everyday for the next 3 months to help stabilize your heart rate and chest pains”.

I stare at him. I feel like I’m going to pass out.

Doctor stops talking. “Are you ok?” he asks. I nod.

He pats my back again. “Start the medication tonight. I will call you tomorrow to check on you”.

I get dressed and walk into the urgent care. They have a wait too. Now might be a good time to text “Prince Player” my usual hello text.

Finally it’s my turn. The urgent care doesn’t have baby needles and I got rolling veins and I wasn’t super happy about the blood draw. It is what it is.

I drive to the pharmacy to pick up my new meds. They say it will take them half an hour to fill. Now would be a good time to call my parents.

I sit in the parking lot. I close my eyes. Tears running down my cheeks.

Will I be like my friend’s mom who passed away suddenly from heart attack in her 40s? Will I be like my dad who had a stroke without even knowing? Will I be like-

My mom’s blowing up my phone. I can’t deal with anything right now. It’s time to call them and them.

I call my dad first. “Hey Shaz! You are early today!” he says.

“Uh yea dad..um, my clinic was cancelled” I say.

“You should have told me. Stock prices were good today. Would have had you buy one if I knew you were free” I smile lightly. My dad has been teaching me about stocks and it’s making us bond.

“I uh. Had to go to the doctor dad…” I say.

“The doctor? Why?”

I sit for a minute.

“Oh hello baby. You are a good girl. Very good girl. I am talking to your sister” I hear my dog panting through the phone and my dad playing with her. I want to laugh, but I can’t. “Go ahead Shaz. Why’d you go to the doctor?”

My eyes well up. “I’ve been having chest pains dad.”

“Oh…” he says. “Ok and? What did the doctor say?” my dad is surprisingly calm about this.

I tell him the whole story.

“Hm. Well let’s wait until all the results come back right. We can’t worry ourselves more that we already are about this. And for the love of God Shaz, will you take it easy on yourself and RELAX this weekend?”

I smile. “Yea dad”.

“Drive carefully. Text me when you get home”

I hang up. Time for my mother.

Oh she isn’t having it. “You had this for weeks and you didn’t tell us??”

Well then, she and my dad must have switched places. She is usually the calm one and he usually panics.

“Shaz. You wanna come home? Take FMLA leave and come home” she says.

I roll my eyes. “Tell this to my boss”. She sighs. “It’s not funny Shaz. It’s serious”.

Yea I know. I go and pick up my meds.

“Is this your first time taking this medication?” the pharmacist asks.

I nod. “Ok. Take this once a day, same time every day. You may have side effects like dizziness, but do not stop taking them” she says.

I drive home. This sucks.

When I get home all my friends I updated about this are blowing up my phone. I have to nap, I only slept 3 hours the night before due to my chest pain.

As I am closing my eyes, I see a text come in from Prince Player. I just know it isn’t good.

Don’t do it.

Don’t do it.

Don’t do it.

I grab my phone. Oh my lord it is a long message…

My iWatch notifies me my heart rate is too high. I shouldn’t.

I skim the text.

“Second thoughts”

“I wasn’t looking to get back with you I just…”

“I don’t know what to do”

Oh no. Over the last month I really tried to show him how much he means to me and how I wasn’t giving up…but if he is, what was the point? Part of loving him, is letting him go if he wants to be gone.

I text back. I tell him I’m good whichever way he goes.

I can’t compete with his other priorities in his life anymore. I tried.

My heart can’t do it anymore 😦

He doesn’t respond. In the evening I watch Shark Tank and go to bed.

I have a dream that one of “Prince Players” exes is texting him. And when it comes to choosing between us, he chooses her. And then he calls me. I am hearing it ringing and ringing and ringing…

When I wake up and realize it was just a dream and in my real waking life my doctor is calling me.

“Hello?” I say half asleep.

“Shaz. It’s doctor. Your blood results came back. They are good. No enzymes or infections” he says.

Well hey that is great.

“Obviously. We need to figure out what’s going on. Rule out other stuff before we conclude that it’s stress. In the meantime take your medication, I will see you in one week to rerun the EKG and order some more tests. No stress, please” he says.

I sigh.

“How are you feeling on the medication? Any side effects?” he asks.

“No I’m just really tired” I say.

“That will happen unfortunately. Since the medication slows down your heart rate, it happens. I will keep checking in”.

When we hang up, I think about the dream I just had. I remember telling “Prince Player” about one of my other anxiety dreams a few months ago and he said something cute like, “well thank goodness dreams don’t come true” then.

I go back to sleep. The next time I wake up is when my brother calls.

“How’s your heart?” he asks sadly.

Sigh. Didn’t he hear. My heart is broken.

to be continued

xoxo. S.

P.S- If you haven’t watched the new documentary “Dancing With the Devil” by my favorite artist, I highly recommend ❤

Lady Problems

continued from How Will I Know

One of the first traumatic experiences in my life was getting my period. You know those rare stories you hear about girls that have awful cramps and vomiting at the “time of the month”? Nice to meet you, I am Shaz and I am one of them.

Since I was 10 years old, I’d miss two days of school a month because of this thing. Weddings, birthday parties, family events, awards ceremonies also. It was awful. I remember one time I heard my aunts say “lord please don’t let Shaz be on her period this day!”

I feel bad for my mom, dad, and brother who had to support me during these times. Whether it was listening to the awful howling of me in pain, leaving work and having to pick me up from school early, or running to the store to get me more pads because my heavy bleeding made me go through all the ones we had.

It was rough. “I feel bad for you…not us” my mom said before my procedure. “All that pain you went through and are going through now, it’s not about us at all”.

When I was 18 and in college, my parents finally agreed to put me on birth control pills. Of all the things they were liberal about, they were conservative when it came to reproductive health. The adjustment took a year and it was rough, but after that first year- I was vomit free. And I only got periods 4 times a year!! HALLELUJAH. I still got mild cramps, but they were rarely severe or included vomiting and plus I didn’t get many periods. No more missing school, work, or special events. It was awesome.

Everything was going great until what happened last year. Last year, my pills totally started to fail. Not only when it came to period symptoms, but period timing. I thought cramps were bad, well I guess I didn’t realize there was something worse- 6 week long periods!!!

You know what happens next. This happened a few times, I found out I have PCOS and Endometriosis that contributed to all these symptoms, I had a breakup and had a cyst that ruptured, we tried another pill that worked miraculously for almost a year and that also became ineffective and my wonderful specialist Dr. Davis finally convinced me to get the IUD.

So that brings us to about two weeks ago:

Two weeks ago it’s the day before my IUD procedure (yes I’m calling it procedure because due to my two conditions it was high risk for me). I have gone another weekend with Prince Player not texting or calling. We were supposed to talk a few days before my procedure so we can decide when he can visit. Obviously, it wouldn’t be good for him to come while I am recovering. So no calls no texts.

Until the day before. Player says he is stressed, but wants to be here for me during this time. This is incredibly sweet and so unlike him. I love it…

On the afternoon of, he texts me right before. He reminds me I got this and says he wishes he could be there for me to take care of me. It’s really sweet.

When I get to Dr. Davis’s office, I sit in the procedure room. This is very different that the exam room. They play nice pop music and stuff and the lighting is different. I just need to get this over it, why is Dr. Davis taking so long?

After 12 minutes, Dr. Davis enters.

“Oh good. Let’s do this Dr. Davis. You’re gonna make this as painless as possible for me right?”

Dr. Davis looks me dead in the eye. “Let me get Nurse Karina for you so you can squeeze her hand”.

He leaves to grab her.

WHAT THE EF. THAT IS NOT A GOOD SIGN!!! Plus I cannot stand Nurse Karina!!!

Karina and Dr. Davis walk in. Ugh.

“Shaz. You know Nurse Karina. She is tough and you are tough so this will go good”

Jesus. Mary. And Joseph.

“K Karina. Let’s do this” I say holding out my hand. She smiles under her mask and holds my hand with both of her gloved hands.

“Cough Shaz” Dr. Davis says.

“Cough? Ok” I do a light cough. And I feel that piece of whatever it is pop right inside me!!!

“OH MY GOD” I say through clenched teeth and squeezing the hell out of Karina’s hand.

“Just breathe honey” Karina says.

I hold my stomach. I can’t feel the lower half of my body.

“You did great” Dr. Davis says smiling after the procedure. “Thank you Karina” he says.

Karina leaves. I get up slowly.

I look at him with tearful eyes.

“It will be ok Shaz. Hopefully this will help” Dr. Davis said.

“I am about to start throwing up right now” I say.

“Let me leave. I will be back in 5 minutes to check on you. I’ll send Karina too” Dr. Davis says.

I take off my mask and puke a little in the trashcan. Thank god I’m vaccinated. I wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing this if I wasn’t.

I lay back down on the procedure table. I text Prince Player.

He texts back right away. He is so sweet.

Karina walks in when I’m taking a drowsy selfie for Prince Player.

“Here is some water for you” she says smiling.

“Karina, listen that ain’t gonna help. I will throw up more. I don’t feel good” I say.

“Do you have a low pain tolerance?” she asks.

THIS PERSON. OMG. WHAT???

“I have more pain tolerance than the average woman. But I have Endo and PCOS that gives me a lot of pain” I say for the 100th time. She reminds me of the nurses in school who didn’t believe me when I was complaining of menstrual cramps.

She nods “Drink the water though”.

Ok yea whatever.

She leaves and I try my best to get up.

Oh my Jesus this hurts like hell. I clutch the exam room table and lean on it like I’m doing a plank standing.

Dr. Davis walks in.

“Good you’re standing” Dr. Davis says.

I stare at him with my mask dangling down the side of my ear. I prop it back on.

“Don’t you see what I just did?” I ask.

I point to my vomit.

He nods. “Feel better?”

He got me there. “A little bit…” I say. “Hey do you have drugs?”

“If you’d like I can give you some narcotics” he says.

“You should” I say.

“Ok but it would knock you out…” he says.

“Fine then don’t” I say.

Dr. Davis laughs. “You’ll be sore for just a bit. Take 3 ibuprofen every 6 hours” he says.

Oh lovely. My last dose was only 1.5 hours prior, so I have 5.5 hours to go.

“In the meantime walk around a bit, it may help” Dr. Davis says leaving.

Oh my Jesus. What is wrong with people.

I walk around a bit and drink the water Karina gave me.

I vomit 5 times. I walk to the nurse’s station.

“Karina can you get the doctor please?” I ask.

“He is doing a exam for another patient” I say.

“Ok please tell him I threw up 5 times” I say.

Karina looks in shock (she should have listened to me) and nods.

Dr. Davis walks back in.

“So how do you feel now?”

“I’ll admit I feel a teensy bit better after vomiting all that out. But I can’t feel the lower half of my body. It hurts so bad. I think I will call my Uber soon, I have to lay down”.

Dr. Davis nods. “Ok. I told you about your recovery. Now about sex. You may start having sex within 24 hours”.

I smirk. “Believe me. That will not be happening”

“Next week though maybe” Dr. Davis says.

I raise an eyebrow. Well then.

“You know how to reach me. Call me if anything happens. I need to see you soon to check that it’s in place and do an ultrasound. You can schedule that appointment when you’re feeling better” Dr. Davis says.

I nod. My Uber arrives.

I planned my outfit so well. I kept my dress on the entire time, and I didn’t put my leggings back on because the lower half of my body hurt too much. I had tall boots on too so I wasn’t too cold in the 30 degree Chicago weather that day.

The Uber ride is so uncomfortable with the tremendous pain. I want to puke again. I pray in my head to help me hold it until I get home. Somehow I make it through the 18 minutes. For once I am happy it is not a chatty driver. It is a driver going at good speed to get me home, not evening knowing my situation which I thank god for.

When I get home I realized I see I soaked my giant maxi pad. I feel like I just birthed a baby.

I throw up twice again.

I change into a new maxi pad and a nightie. Again the nightie will ensure my body is not crushed.

I just want to go to sleep but I’m hungry. I order what my parents used to get me when I had bad cramps and vomiting. Chicken McNuggets with honey, fries, and Apple juice. After eating that I feel so much better.

Thank goodness for Uber and Uber Eats honestly. If this was the olden days, I would have needed a lot of friends to support me through this time.

After eating I sleep. I feel crampy again when I wake up, and again have soaked my maxi pad. Good news is it is time to take my second dose of meds. I do so and sit down on a step stool for a while, sitting in that position makes me hurt less. Throughout the night and days in recovery I do it when I feel crampy. My friends who have had babies tell them I’m reminding them of postpartum.

Prince Player is amazing, checking on me through the night and next few days. I send him selfies and my progress, he tells me I’m cute and is just so supportive. He is finally there for me when I need him the most.

It’s hard when he vanishes. Or when he says he will call or text but doesn’t. But I try not to get anxious about it. I know anxiety will slow down my recovery time, and I know where my player sits in my heart. If I don’t have one in his, that is just a problem for another day.

Right now, I’m getting through my lady problems. It’s been about a week and a half since the procedure now and I’m feeling a lot better. I think as the doctor said, this will help a lot and I can catch a break real soon.

xoxo. S.

One Year

Yesterday would have been mine and so and so’s one year anniversary. Oh how close we were. If he had just, waited, say 3 months.

I didn’t really bat an eyelash. Maybe because when I was looking at the May portion of my calendar over the past week to plan for upcoming projects- I noticed a heart around that date and was sad then. But not too sad. Maybe because I thought about it then is why I didn’t think about it yesterday.

Last year around this time was so good. We couldn’t keep our eyes or hands off of each other. We met every single day. Breakfast & dinner every day. We’d read books to each other. We’d sing to each other. We’d even make fun of each other as we taught each other our native languages and would mispronounce each other’s words terribly. He loved me more than I loved him. I thought it was… meant to be.

But it wasn’t :/ Yet, I’m not terribly sad anymore. I attribute some of my peace to fasting.

Oh how different Ramadan is this year. No him. No family. No friends.

I wish he and I could have remained civil.

But he was so mean in his departure, and he knew it.

It just wasn’t supposed to be like this 😦 I had so much to say. And so much I still wanted to do with him. Sad.

Every Ramadan I experience a miracle. Whether it’s in relationship, my home, or my career.  I’m doubtful this year,

but we will see.

xoxo. S.

My Heart is Hurting Part 2

I still feel the same. Why does it hurt so bad. I think about my other heartaches.

“Prince Player”. “Heart”. “Scientist”. My fiancee.

It gives me comfort that the biggest heartache wasn’t him, it was “Prince Player”. I stop smiling when I realize how long it took me to get over Prince Player. And when I realize how much closer this one and I were.

It doesn’t matter that I have been hurt before. And some were worse then this. This wound is still fresh, and thus hurts a lot more at the moment.

Where did I go wrong. I continue to think this. As I help a patient. As I mitigate COVID-19 policies. As I work my butt off in this pandemic.

It’s so hard.

All the memories, they appear like a movie in my head.

Often times when I lay in bed I glance at the empty space next to me. I do it because he used to spend a lot of time there.

Sometimes, I’ll wake up in the middle of the night. With a cramp or feeling too cold and having to adjust the temperature. I’ll want to look over to see him sleeping, but then again I instantly remember. 

I think about all the fun times.

Us going shopping on weekends.

Our little after work dates with our favorite take out at my house or our favorite bar where we became regulars.

Our sleepovers. 

Singing country music together.

Watching romantic comedies.

Him telling me seeing me is always the highlight of his week.

Just the way he made me feel.

And then one day, he didn’t feel that way anymore.

Today I spoke to “Prince Player”. He didn’t respond to me a few months ago when I told him I was sick and hasn’t said a word since then. I told him today that it made me sad.

“I’m doing me” he says.

I sigh. I’m still there for my friends in emergency when I’m doing me 😦

My health is better now at least. The treatment the doctor put me on has fixed almost all of the issues my PCOS caused over the last few months.

I have also lost half the weight I gained during the time I was sick. I have a hard time losing weight so the fact that I was able to shed these pounds despite all the stress I had makes me feel really proud of myself. I am technically at a very healthy weight now but I am planning to lose the rest just to be back at what I was before.

img_9979I don’t know about everything else 😦 One day my heart won’t hurt anymore. I know it. And one day this pandemic will be over so I and all the other essential workers can breathe ❤

xoxo. S.

My Heart Is Hurting and Other Musings of a Healthcare Worker During this Time

Dear reader,

It’s like we blinked- and everything changed.

After my health emergency, I took some rest, took some time to grieve my breakup and went to see my parents and stayed with them for a week. I’m glad I hugged them tight when I left because now I don’t know when I can see them again.

When I came back I interviewed with a company in Texas for a new job. I don’t like it here in Chicago anymore. I have nothing left here 😦 The interview went well and I was excited at the opportunity of moving to Dallas.

But the next week, everything changed. I’d like to remind everyone I am an infectious disease specialist for a living.

My boss texted me late Sunday night, said we had our first few cases of COVID-19 in our area and she had to go help our communicable disease department full time. And that I was in charge of our program. Oh my god. 26 year old me, telling everyone what to do. I managed, but that was nothing. The cases were rising and my boss boss’s called a few days later. She wanted me to be the Operations Chief of our health emergency center at the health department headquarters. While stay at home orders were placed, and more and more of my friends got to work from home, I kept showing up every day. And I’m still continuing to see my patients.

My days are starting earlier, and ending later. Limited personal protective equipment. My co-worker friends have all been reassigned. We are running around and always on our toes.

I come home to nothing. No family, no partner.

I’m so exhausted I usually fall asleep without eating dinner. I am trying to stop this as I felt extreme fatigue from doing this.

The hiring manager for the position I interviewed for said they are canceling the position due to COVID-19.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I was supposed to move back to Texas. Be closer to my family. Be in a job that respected me more. Close this chapter of my hometown that was never really there for me as much as I was for it.

My mind goes in circles of my past. This happens when I get stressed. I think about all the bad things that ever happened to me.

It’s hard. I didn’t even fully finish grieving over “him” or my medical emergency. Every weekend, even though I’m still working, when I feel alone- I have half of a heart to text him. To check on him, to tell him I still care. And then I ask myself if I’m crazy.

That person hurt me!

“Why did you have to go” I ask myself maybe 10 times a day in my head.

When I get moments to relax, I try to read, bake, or FaceTime my family and friends. They constantly remind me of the good. One being that I just got promoted temporarily where I currently am. I’m finally doing what I dreamed of. I’m making new friends. I’m learning new things. So maybe, this is where I am meant to be.

Even though it’s stressful.

Even though everything happening is unpredictable.

My heart. It is hurting for myself. For the many other healthcare workers and essential workers waking up every day facing what everyone is hiding from. For the ill. For those who have lost their loved ones to this virus. For those who are missing special events in their life due to this. For those who have had to alter the way they work & live drastically.

And especially, for those who feel alone.

May god make this easier on us all ❤

xoxo. S.

 

If you can top this terrible week, we need to start a support group

Warning: This post is for mature audiences. It discusses serious relationships and health issues. If you have any type of judgement, please, find another blog post to read. I am choosing to share this because one time a reader said “I like how you help women feel like they are not alone” and I stand by it.  

It was a long three weeks. Waking up from naps and good night’s sleep were hard. The moment my eyes opened, I would stare at the empty space next to me. I thought about the body that used to lay there. On one particular day, I woke up crying, and cried for 15 minutes. Thank goodness I hadn’t done my makeup for work yet- otherwise I would have been late.

It was getting unbearable. I needed to talk to him. I wanted to know why he left, why he started pursuing other options if he really did have “so much going on in his life”. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, I needed an answer.

So last weekend, I text him.

“We should talk” I say.

He reads it immediately. But takes a while to respond. I expected that.

“What’s up?” he asks.

I take a deep breath. “I respect you breaking up with me and not leading me on. I respect your kind words when you broke up with me. But I do not respect you not being honest about why you left, and I am torn.”

“I’m sorry Shaz” he responds.

My eyes widen. “So you did lie?” I ask.

“Can’t say I did” he says.

“Help me understand. One evening, you tell me that you are breaking up with me because you have a lot on going on- and the next morning, I see you pursuing other girls” I say.

I wait. In deep anxiety. Finally I have called him out, and I need to know what he will say.

“I do have a lot going on in my life, and I don’t spend a lot of time pursuing other people” he says.

Deep breath.

“Then why do it?” I ask.

And then he says what makes my entire world shatter. Something I never expected from him.

“Guys still have needs I guess” he says.

I FEEL GUTTED.

GUTTED.

It starts.

“Are you serious?” I ask.

“…” is his response.

“Was I not meeting your *needs*?” I ask.

“I didn’t think it would be fair to you” he said.

Converting a relationship into a hook up only thing?

Yea no. Of course it wouldn’t be.

“You know, I wish you just told me that” I said.

“I mean would you?” he asks.

I’m confused. “Would I what? Just hook up?” I ask.

“Yea” he says.

“You do realize that’s how it began right. That’s what I wanted. You were the one that started spending the night. And texting me. And taking me out. And calling me your girlfriend. And I began to like you the way you liked me” I said.

“Well would you do it now?” he asks.

I couldn’t believe what I agreed to do next. It was against everything I stood for. But I was trying to prove something to him. I was trying to prove to him that I can be just as emotionless as him.

And instead.

I let him win again. I prove him right. I couldn’t handle it.

He stays a mere 10 minutes.

After he leaves I feel sick to my stomach. He looked so good. He took the break up so well. Went to the gym and everything. I decide I will do the same. I go to the gym and do a very rigorous work out.

I decide I’ll buy healthy groceries too. On the way to the grocery store I feel a bad stomach ache. Like I’m going to vomit. I make a crucial driving mistake. My heart races when I get into the parking lot of the grocery store. I quickly grab my groceries and drive carefully home.

At home, I make myself something to eat thinking it will calm me down. But only a few minutes later, I am hurled over the bathroom toilet. Puking. I can also feel myself bleeding.

My dad calls.

“Are you sick?” he asks.

“I think so. My stomach hurts and I’m puking” I say.

My dad talks me through it and asks me to go to the ER. “Omg no” I say.

“Well have about if we ask your brother to come over? I think you are having anxiety. If you can’t talk to your mom or I- talk to him” he says.

“No” I say.

My dad talks me through it. I don’t listen to him on going to the ER or urgent care. We agree I will go to bed (it’s 9:00) and I’ll call my doctor in the morning.

I wake up at 5:00 in the morning. Still it pain, still bleeding, still vomiting.

I wait the few hours for my doctor’s office to open. And call the specialist, the one that works with the PCOS.

“Hi there…I am experiencing severe abdominal pain and I really really need to come in” I say to the nurse.

I hate these nurses. “Okay that would be your primary care doctor. Not us, your gynecologist”.

“No listen to me. This started after I had relations yesterday. It is severe pelvic pain” I say trying not to cry even more.

“Oh…ok. In that case. We have a 3:00 available” mean nurse says.

“Thank you” I say in a *glad you finally listened* tone.

I drive to work crying. When I get in I tell the associates I’ll be leaving early. I tell my boss too. And then I tell my fellow co-worker.

“Omg Shaz, do you need to talk?” she asks.

“Maybe later” I say.

I do my work and finally the time comes.

I wait in the doctor’s office and am roomed rather quickly. And doctor comes in rather quickly. He is not my usual OB/Gyne. But he was, a godsend.

“Tell me what happened” he says.

I tell him everything. And he listens. As a person, not as a doctor.

“Has this happened before?” he asks.

I nod. “It has but…it would go away within like an hour. It would also be mild. This is severe and going on for a day” I say crying.

He hands me a Kleenex, “I am sorry you are so sad. And I am sorry you are in pain” he says with genuine care in his eyes.

“Let’s do a pelvic ultrasound” he says.

Oh shit that uncomfortable thing. “I’d hate to that and not find anything. We’ve done it before and it hasn’t showed anything” I say.

“I’d hate to not to do it and you have something” he says.

Fair.

So I go into the uncomfortable room. Undress. And the kind radiologist does it.

She says the same thing “tell me what happened”. I tell her too and she is understanding.

“We will make this as comfortable as possible for you. My job isn’t to hurt to you” she says.

And my god, she does make it comfortable. It only pinched a little.

“I hope you feel better” she says when we finish.

I smile.

I go back in to my room and wait for the doctor.

He comes back and sits down. I take a deep breath.

“You have some cysts. About 5 of them. And it looks like one of them ruptured…” he says.

My eyes well up. “Did it happen because of what I did with my former partner” I ask.

He passes me the Kleenex again. “Most likely. It could have also been that exercise you did too. You said you went to spin class?”

I nod.

“It could have been either. Don’t blame yourself. Women with PCOS get cysts” he says kindly.

I sigh. It’s almost like a sign from God I should never see “him” again. Like a punishment. Like-

“I want you to get some bed rest. Stay hydrated, get in as much electrolytes as you can. 3 Advils every 6 hours and stay away from carbs until the cysts go away which is 7-10 days” doctor says.

I nod. He explains we will be changing my PCOS treatment as well as it appears the treatment I was on was causing bad side effects. We discuss options and I choose one that I feel will be best.

“Anything else I can answer for you?” doctor asks.

I shake my head. “I hope you feel better” he says smiling.

I thank him and get on my way. This time when I drive, I thank God for good doctors and good healthcare. There are some things I am thankful for.

I call my parents when I get home. They are very caring. I order Red Lobster from Uber eats as shrimp is okay for me to eat. It’s comforting, but doesn’t take the pain away. I wonder if I should call a sick day then, or wait until morning. I decide morning. There may be a chance I can go into work.

But I get up at 5 again in pain. I decide not. I wait two hours and text my boss. She tells me to feel better.

My first sick day. 10 months without a sick day and here I am. I rest, I read, I shower, and I pray. I drink plenty of soup and drink lots of Gatorade. I finish crying whatever tears I had left of my situation.

I come back to work the next day in full swing. No tears. Pain yes, but I keep taking Advil.

I’m really lucky to have co-workers that care and parents that care as they kept me going. Friends and former partner- disappointing. But I know one day, I will find a good community and partner again.

Until then.

❤ S

On Highs and Lows: In Sickness and Relationships (Part 2)

continued from On Highs and Lows: In Sickness and Relationships

“We have the results from your bloodwork and it is showing you have PCOS. We are sending a new prescription to your pharmacy. Please pick it up and start it ASAP. We want to see you in three months to see if your hormone levels have improved”. 

I hang up and cry my eyes out. On my 26th birthday.

PCOS.

What will my chances of having a kid look like now? How much more weight will I gain and how much more ugly will I feel? This explains why I gained weight despite working out everyday and eating well. This explains the never ending periods.

I call my mother.

She sighs. “I knew it. Don’t worry Shaz, we will conquer this. Sometimes, it can go away” she says.

She tells my dad and he grabs the phone. “Happy birthday. Don’t worry honey. You will beat it. Hey at least we know now. You could have gone forever without knowing”.

I sigh.

I tell my boyfriend. He has no idea what it is nor the time to understand.

I get on my flight and can’t rest thinking what my future with this condition will look like. I think of stories I heard of women with PCOS. Infertility. Diabetes. Cancer. Are all conditions some of them got.

My parents hug me when I get home. They explain to my brother as he watched me be ill over the past few months but like everyone else- didn’t know why. He pats my shoulder.

We cut my birthday cake and celebrate what was my most successful year of life. All of  us hide the negative news we got that day.

A few days later, I come back to Chicago. I celebrate a warm, cozy and fun New Year’s with my boyfriend. It was so good I really did think this year would be good.

But the next week, when we go out and he doesn’t want to discuss my diagnosis- or really anything about my life, I question it.

I start the treatment and it has me feeling all kinds of sick. Makes me feel like an insomniac and drowsy at work- friends offer to drive me home because it’s that bad. In the midst of that, I get the lovely break up text from “him”.

The first week, I feel numb. I pray my heart out for peace.

Last week, I felt hopeful. I finally took the Christmas tree down and threw his things away.

This week. This week I am feeling up and down. Like I want to believe everything that happened this year God made happen for a reason. I pray for the strength and courage to put this behind me.

I remind myself not to blame myself. That what “he” did tells me nothing about me, and everything about him.

Just like the last break up. I move a little slower in the morning, walk in a few minutes later to work, and play country music non-stop.

This too shall pass.

xoxo. S.

On Highs and Lows: In Sickness and Relationships

I stare at my phone.

“Hey Shaz, I think we should break up. I have a lot going on in my life right now and I just can’t give you the kind of attention that you deserve. I think you are a great person who deserves everything in the world.”

A break up over text? Cute.

How did this happen.

We were doing so well. 10 months of dating. 10 years of knowing each other. And it ended. Just like that.

I text back but he doesn’t respond. Doesn’t even want to discuss.

I find out from social media the next day he is already pursuing other options. Well, so much for “a lot going on” in his life huh.

I stare at the ceiling.

I reflect on the last few months of my life.

Almost a year ago, I moved back to my hometown and started my big girl job. I met him only two weeks later. We were inseparable from the day of our first date. The first month we were together, we hung out every single day. The next month as he shifted his career and began to get busy and I started traveling a lot for work, we wrote each other love letters.

Our dates were fun. The movie we went to see. The concert we went to see. The fesitval we went to. The restaurants we went to. Going downtown for one of my friend’s housewarming party and introducing him to all my friends.

I was gaining weight rapidly. Although he didn’t notice, I did. I put on almost 15 pounds in just a few months. “What are you talking about sweetheart?” he always said when I complained about this significant change.

“Ooo maybe it’s because we are in a relationship! Couples gain weight in relationships!” he said rushing over to my scale.

“Look babe! I gained 4 pounds!” he said trying to make me feel better.

I laughed sadly. 15 pounds is not something I ever gained in a matter of few months. I exercise every single day and I eat right.

During that, I had a period that lasted 1 MONTH. It was during then our troubles began. I felt anemic and weak and emotional- he didn’t know what to do.

“Go see a doctor!” he said.

With my work and travel schedule it was hard, I found a lady doctor that sees patients on Saturdays. She did a scan and exam that found no abnormalities. “Probably endometriosis” she says. “Your cramps lead me to believe that. There’s no treamtnet for that though, except a few birth control options. Think about the one you feel is best for you”.

I sit puzzled. “Ok but what about my weight gain and irregular period? What caused that?”

“I don’t know. You’ll have to ask your primary care doctor about that” she says.

I go home and tell him the news. He claims he will read about the condition, but never does. My parents are out of the country, and two weeks after that was a big event in my family. So I wait three weeks to tell them.

And they are not happy. “Get a second opinion Shaz. Ask around, ask people you know, ask people you work with- you work in a community health center! Ask them is they know someone that specializes in women’s health” my dad says.

I roll my eyes. It is so hard to find a provider and one that matches your schedule. But he keeps asking me every day when I call home, so finally- I share with my closest co-workers, and one of them recommends me the lady doctor she and her daughter have been going to for many years. I call them and make an appointment for a month later. With my travel schedule and work schedule, that is when I felt I had time.

“Jeez. It’s a month from now?” my dad asks.

“Yep” I say. I feel bad but I feel bad taking off work.

Until.

I get a period that last 6 WEEKS.

I call the new lady doctor’s office.

“Hi there. You know how I said I can only come in a month from now?  Ok well. I am having an emergency. I’ll take your next appointment” I say in panic.

“Ok, how about Thursday at noon?” the receptionist asks.

“Sure” I say. I look at my calendar, only three days away.

I march into my boss’s office.

“I need sick leave next Thursday. Kelly will see my patients” I say.

“Ok” she says without even giving it a second thought.

I nod. I check with Kelly too if it’s ok, “Of course. Priorities Shaz. Go find out what’s wrong”.

While I wait for the lady doctor’s appointment, I make an emergency appointment with my primary care doctor who always does same day appointments for patients who need it.

“I don’t know what to do. I should have came sooner but I took the work of what this specialist I said saw about my conditions just being endometriosis-” I begin telling him.

“Ok first of all. I am almost positive this is a hormone imbalance. We have to do a laprascopy to diagnose endometriosis. Second of all, we need to stop this bleeding. You are already anemic and this bleeding for 6 weeks- I am very concerned for you” he writes me a prescription for a medicine to stop the bleeding and tells me to let him know what the lady doctor says. I nod.

I start the medication and boyfriend is comforting, making sure I take the medicine with food and what not. But the medication makes things worse. It makes the bleeding even heavier and painful!

Finally, I have the appointment with the lady doctor. Just a week before my birthday.

I wait almost an hour to see her.

Finally she comes in. She looks at my chart. Looks concerned.

“How much weight did you gain exactly?”

“15 pounds” I say.

“Have you ever been tested for hormone imbalance? Polycysitc Ovarian Syndrome? (PCOS)?” I shake my head.

“Let’s test for that. In the meantime, stay away from gluten and dairy. Because of you do have it those foods can trigger it” I nod.

The medical assistant comes and draws 5 VIALS of blood while I am already losing blood. I skip lunch because I did not estimate this much wait for the doctor and thus didn’t request this many hours of sick time.

So I go to work feeling faint and hungry. I finish our year end report.

I go home and tell boyfriend. He doesn’t know what to say.

The week goes by and we go to celebrate my birthday early as I’m travelling the day of my actual birthday. It doesn’t go that well. The next day, on my actual birthday, I am running my errands before my flight when I get a phone call.

The words out of the woman’s mouth make me want to pass out in the Kohl’s fitting room I’m standing in.

continued in On Highs and Lows: In Sickness and Relationships (Part 2)

Slowing Down (Breakups Hurt Part 2)

So it was hard continuing my life after “him”. Sure, there was a lot of things I din’t like about him as mentioned in my last post. But do we really ever meet a flawless person to be our life partner? No. And that is why I was sad after he left. My body and mind slowed down.

Walking in a few minutes later to work each day. Writing him a letter he could care less about every other day. Running on the treadmill longer. Read a 100 horoscopes, looking for an answer. I probably consumed more Mariano’s gelato than my body will allow.

And it just kept getting worse.

“You most likely have endometriosis” my doctor said.

“I have accepted a new position, and you will be getting my clinic & project” my coworker said (I already have my own projects and clinic I run).

“Chicago is experiencing an early Winter” the weatherman said as it snowed 5 inches on Halloween. I dimg_7498on’t have covered parking :/

“I’ve been thinking, I need to focus on school” the new guy I started seeing said after our amazing night together.

GASP.

STOP.

There’s just so much I can handle. By myself.

Sigh. I am being slow, and will allow myself to be slow until I can pick up the pace again.

xoxo. S.

All Is Well

Dear readers,

I am so sorry to have left you! It was not my intention obviously, but some amazing things happened after my last post. Only a few days after that post- I was offered a full time position in the health department in the same little suburbs I grew up in Illinois 🙂 Sooo I was busy hopping on a plane and making the big move back!

I was also busy the past 4 months learning skills for the job. I am a senior health specialist and currently working on reducing three infectious illnesses in my assigned county.

I never thought the storm would end. But alas, it has and I have my rainbow now.

I even re-united with a past flame! That’s not going as well as I wanted to, but, who knows what could happen. I will let time figure it out like it did with my job and getting over my fiancee.

After 4 months of saving up, I have finally finished furnishing my cozy apartment. I am really grateful to God, my family, and my friends for helping me through this tough year.

What have you been up to reader?? I’m glad to be back!

xoxo. S.

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