Anyone who’s battled chronic pain or invisible illnesses knows the chorus too well: “But you don’t look sick!,” or “But you look so healthy!” The way people look and the way people feel can be vastly different. And none of us should ever feel that it’s appropriate for us to comment upon, criticize, and judge the conduct of others based on outward appearances.Read More
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For years, my pelvic pain prevented me from having the fun, spontaneous, gloriously cliché 20-something sex that my friends were enjoying. You know – the kind of sex that they gushed about at brunch. Sex that was breaking their hearts and exhilarating their sense of liberated womanhood and adulthood. Sex that their doctors were lecturing them about. I couldn’t have that kind of sex because my vagina (and vulva and back and thighs) were excruciatingly painful. That was my dirty little secret.Read More
Others’ judgment and treatment of me transformed my own beliefs about the legitimacy of my illness. I unintentionally invalidated my own body’s experience of pain, and I’d allowed those who chastised me for “taking advantage” to usurp my right to be treated decently outside the confines of my own home. In letting people like this dictate how I would care for myself while enduring unspeakable pain, I somehow lost ownership of my experience.Read More
I opened the driver door and was confronted with a wave of judgment and anger. The man yelled at me: “can’t you see we are still getting into our car? You’re not even disabled! You shouldn’t even be parking there!” I flushed with embarrassment and became shaky. And for the first time in my life, I yelled at someone in public. “You have no idea what you’re talking about. You know nothing about me!”Read More
More times than I can count, I’ve been asked: “How long did it take for you to start feeling better?” I met Sandy, my PT, when I was wheelchair-bound and in constant, horrific pain. So, I’m sharing this journal entry, written 15 days after meeting Sandy. And to answer the question: It took less than 15 days.Read More