Being a teenager is hard enough, but what if you have an embarrassing medical diagnosis?
I am a 17-year-old girl, living with chronic constipation. Yes, laugh all you want, because at first it does seem comical. I laughed when I first found out. To be honest, I was in complete denial at first, laughing it off for years, but that's when it got serious. I knew I had a problem, but I always hid it. It was too humiliating to just say to my father: "Dad, I can't use the bathroom." I felt like an elderly person, chugging prune juice, and having laxatives seemingly by the dozen, but why wouldn't anything solve my problem? "What is wrong with me?" I thought I was seriously dying.
As I was growing up, apparently this was always a problem, it was just never addressed. I just shook off all of my pain, until my freshman year in high school. I started having stomachaches persistently, the weird part being, they were only at nighttime, so everybody thought it was stress based-pain. As time went on, I was so used to having this weird pain, every night, even in the summer, proving it was not school stress.
One day, I felt rotten, and that is when I called it quits. I told my aunt about my symptoms, and she figured I should at least address this issue and get a doctor's opinion. She and I both believed it would be something common, but boy we were wrong. Hours in the urgent care clinic later, they discovered I had internal bleeding. They do not know how or what was causing it, so they sent me to the emergency room, at around 9:30 in the evening.
This was my first time in the emergency room, for something this severe. I was uneasy, in pain and drained. As the night went on, they kept me over night, for precaution of course, or so I thought. Little did I know they arranged tests to see if I had a tumor, or a severe ulcer bleed in my stomach. At this point, not one individual knew what was wrong with me.
About a week or so later, the doctor called me back to his office to go discuss what they thought was wrong. I was expecting the worst after this rough week, so I was ready for anything they were going to throw at me. They doctor said to me "Erin, it is something smaller than we ever expected. You have constipation." I kind of laughed that scare off, and got prescribed laxatives to the extreme.
As months went on, and the treatments did not work, the doctor thought it was all in my head. He thought my body was stressed, causing this issue, and he sent me to so many odd physical therapies in an effort to get my body stable. They clearly did not do anything, so he came to the decision to just give me anxiety pills, and that's when my dad finally said, "no." This was the last straw.
Flash-forward into my junior year. Here I am today, with a new doctor, no exact medical diagnosis for my problems and a surgery in place to get a catheter that delivers saline into my colon. I still don't understand why my body does what it does, and at this point I just need to keep the motivation that I have to keep moving.
For anybody who is trapped in my situation of not having a correct diagnosis, or just simply not having one, know there are people here for you! I am one, living with an invisible illness, and pushing my body forward to the next step obtainable for me. There is always hope, and you never should give that up. If you can't be exact with your physical state, or medical, always keep your mental one in check!