I Had an Undiagnosed Illness For Five Months And It Sucked

I Had An Undiagnosed Illness For 5 Months And It Sucked

No one can make scrubs look sexy, especially cause you know, if you're in them you're probably sick

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This past week, as many college students do, I've gotten sick. It's not bad or anything; I'm a little nauseated, my head feels stuffy and my throat is a bit scratchy. I know most of the time when I get sick it'll last for a week at most, and then I'll be good as new again. Sure, I miss a couple swim practices or a day of school to sleep and let my body recover and reset, but my immune system and I are pretty good buds. However, every time I start to get sick now, I always worry I'm going to essentially become incapacitated for another five months like I did my sophomore year of high school.

The second semester of my sophomore year had started and I'm doing pretty alright. I'm thriving surviving in my first AP and college-level classes, and we just finished Christmas training on the swim team. I'm really starting to feel like I'm back in shape, and I'm excited to see how I do at the end of season meets this year. All of a sudden one day during practice I started feeling sick to my stomach. I got out of the pool and left early because it was probably just some stomach bug going around school I'd caught, and I'd be good as new the next day. Sadly, I was wrong.

We ended up meeting with a GI specialist, who was convinced it was just a virus running its course and I'd be feeling better any day. The days turned into weeks, and I wasn't really getting any sicker but I also wasn't improving at all. I was just sick, tired, and wanted to feel well enough to get in the pool again. I had put in so much work to have a great end to my season, and instead, I was watching it all waste away in front of me as I spent every moment I could curled up in the fetal position on my couch.

More testing got done, which led to more people still not knowing what the heck was wrong with me. It was an endless loop of frustration, doctors' appointments, and pills. It felt like so many different pills and "alternative treatments" that were supposed to help with issues in your GI tract. None of it was working. Eventually, my mom took me to an acupuncturist because frankly she didn't know what else to do, and it's not like that could make the situation any worse, right?

When we met with her I honestly didn't know what to expect, but that meeting potentially changed the rest of my life. This acupuncturist was the first person who suggested chronic appendicitis as a possibility, and honestly, my mom had a few doubts about it, but as more tests came back saying I was healthy, she started to reach out and eventually found a surgeon who agreed to do an appendectomy while I was undergoing another procedure.

The difference from when before I went under to after I woke up from surgery was like night and day. When I woke up, I was hungry for the first time in five months, and I almost cried because I was so glad it was finally over. I still had to heal, and then spent all of my junior year trying to get back to the level of swimmer I was before, and while I know I lost a lot of training, being sick for so long and making it through that taught me I can do just about anything, admittedly with one organ less now.

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs. In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm..

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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How To Practice Self-Care In College

Due dates. Finals. Papers. Here's some advice on how to not go completely crazy during these stressful four years.

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Being a senior in college, I know how stressful and demanding school can be. Here are a couple tips on how to stay mentally and physically healthy during these four hectic years of our lives.

Trade your morning coffee for a glass of water. 

Instead of turning on that keurig as soon as you wake up, grab a cold glass of water. I'm telling you, it really jump-starts your morning. Bring a water bottle to class and fill it up throughout the day, too. Obviously, I still drink coffee because I basically can't function without it, but make sure to incorporate a lot of water as well. I've found that I'm more focused and awake the more water that I drink.

Eat breakfast.

I usually start with a bowl of oatmeal filled with whatever you want – blueberries, walnuts, cinnamon, and honey are usually my go-to. It's crucial to eat breakfast because it gives you energy for the rest of the day. You're basically fasting for 8 hours (let's be real, it's probably less than that) through the night, so you're stomach is empty and ready to go as soon as you wake up. If you're tight on time, grab a protein bar. I personally like the Think Thin chocolate mint protein bar, it's plant based and tastes like a dessert, so win-win.

Practice yoga.

I know, people in the world write about how amazing yoga is in their blog, but it's true. I randomly decided to take yoga in college, and it honestly changed my whole outlook on it. It's both mentally and physically rewarding; it keeps you in shape while at the same time helping your mental health. I highly recommend taking a yoga class, or even just looking up some yoga poses on YouTube and practicing at home.

Meditate.

I recently downloaded an app called Simple Habit, and it reminds me every day at a certain time to mediate for 5 minutes. Just taking that small amount of time out of your busy day to clear your head makes such a huge impact on your mental health.

Read more.

Put down that 5,000-page biology book for a few minutes and read something actually enjoyable. Recently, I've been reading To All The Boys I've Loved Before because I'm 13 years old. I think it's important to take some time to read something for entertainment and your own pleasure rather than always reading books for school. Not only does reading improve your cognitive skills and widens your vocab and can help you relax.

Write in a journal. 

I've always had a journal since I was probably in elementary school. Although I don't use my Girl Tech password journal anymore, I still like to write in a journal sometimes just to get my thoughts on paper. It helps me to reflect on my day and make sense of everything. It's kind of like free therapy. Also, I think it would be cool to go back five, ten, even fifty years from now and read my old journals and see how my mind has changed over time.

I can admit that I wasn't the best at self-care when I first started college. It took me a while to figure out how important it is to take care of yourself in order to stay sane and be healthy. It's hard to prioritize our own health especially when we're used to prioritizing school, work and everything else in between. Just making a few small positive changes in your daily routine can make all the difference.

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