The Sickening

Health-wise, these last few months have been pretty full-on for my partner and me.

The downward spiral began about two weeks after my daughter began daycare. I came home from work one day with sudden, intense stomach cramps which quickly developed into vomiting, diarrhea, fever and an excruciating headache. I felt like I was enduring the hangover of a lifetime, but I'd had nothing to drink.

I spent the next few days lying in bed in complete darkness, frozen packs of peas or beans pressed to my forehead and a puke bucket at my side. I was in too much pain to sleep, but I couldn't stand sound or light. Reading or watching TV was totally out of the question.

I began to recover after about two days of heinousness, but it was followed by a weakness I'd never experienced. I had to crawl to get myself a glass of water because walking made me feel like I was going to pass out.

Then came the twin head colds. We took shifts where one of us would lay on the couch and keep an eye on our daughter while the other napped in the bedroom. It endured for over a week, and my cough persisted for even longer.

As if that wasn't enough, my partner came home from a party a few weeks later, flinging open the front door and sprinting to the toilet to vomit. His heaving was so hardcore that I wanted to take him to the doctor immediately, only to realize a few hours later that I was feeling the same stomach cramping I'd experienced weeks earlier. I deduced that we'd picked up the same bug I'd had, although this time was thankfully less extreme for me.

I was well enough to take care of him, so I went to the pharmacy and bought every remedy the pharmacist recommended for stabilizing diarrhea, returning fluids to the body and of course, paracetamol for the headache that was again plaguing my own head.

Our daughter, thankfully, played right through the whole ordeal. We both recovered fairly quickly and resumed our busy lives.

My partner has Ankylosing Spondylitis, which is a gene-related auto-immune disease that most often affects the back, (although it can affect other organs like the eyes and heart). Following his bout of the flu, we noted that his back pain was far worse than normal, and that he was extremely fatigued after a normal day of teaching. His back pain started traveling around his body – to his knees, arms, elbows, neck and even the top of his skull. He couldn't pick up our daughter without wincing in pain, and I began to worry. I asked him to make an appointment to get his blood work checked.

A few days later the results came back showing he was indeed experiencing more body inflammation than normal. His doctor explained that people with his type of disease can suffer from a virus for much longer than a perfectly healthy person, and she suspected that it was still getting him down by antagonizing his normal symptoms. She recommended that he take prednisone for a short stint to give his body a chance to recover, a drug which I of course googled and panicked over. I supported him in the end, though, and he began the treatment.

Meanwhile, we found out I was pregnant. I am nearing 40 and I didn't want to wait any longer, so we tried and got pregnant almost immediately. We were overjoyed, but the happiness was a short-lived because my doctor revealed at my first echo that my pregnancy didn't look "viable" and appeared to be a blighted ovum. We went back the next week, and sure enough, the pregnancy was not developing properly. It was highly likely that I would miscarry.

Fast-forward to last Wednesday, when the miscarriage began during my morning shower. As I stared down at the definitiveness of the situation, I felt a mix of disappointment, intrigue and relief. I now knew, at least, that what we suspected was true, and I felt resolved in the fact that I could move on emotionally. It was intense for about three days before it finally began tapering off.

Today, I feel my body has completed what it needed to do. I will get a check up mid-August to make sure everything passed ok.

I feel fine emotionally. I know this sort of thing is very common, and there is no shame in talking about it. Miscarriages happen, although I realize mine happened in the best way it could have. I never saw a fetus or heard a heartbeat. We hadn't built up too much hope. That being said, I have a much better conception of what it would have been like had I been further along or if this were a recurring reality. My heart goes out to those women.

My partner is also wrapping up his prednisone treatment, and he is feeling leaps and bounds better. He can pick up our daughter again, which makes them both very happy.

I hope it lasts once he completes the treatment, but whatever happens, we'll deal.

Despite all this, we feel happy and very blessed. Our life together gets progressively more aligned in its daily operations, and I am finding joy in little things like watching my daughter play, trying a new vegan cake or curry recipe, and succeeding with projects at work. It's like I said in my post about being a dull writer in my contentedness: the very things I found so mundane a few years back are those very things that make me feel like I am in the exact right place at the exact right time. Having known the opposite feeling, which I would equate with hell on earth, I feel gratitude to witness a feeling of truly belonging to my very own life.

Practically speaking, we are making some shifts in my partner's diet and medical approach, seeking the second opinion of alternative health practitioners given his normal doctors – bless their pharmaceutical minds – can't do much more than feed him evermore toxic drugs. I am hell bent on helping him manage this disease better and live a long, healthy life, and I thank god that he is building his own enthusiasm by taking back control of his health.

And regarding future babies: we will try again, and I am not panicking about potential outcomes. I am not young anymore, and things could be tricky again. Regardless, I am focused on what I already have. I have faith that our lives will work out, and we just need to keep dreaming up what we want to be like right now and in the future.

I hope to share more with you about all the cooking and baking I am doing to assist us both in developing good health. I have been a health nut already for years, but still, I'm discovering a whole new world that is emotionally nourishing and truly delicious. 🙂

Thank you for reading!

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