Dear buckets of stardust (I know have used this introduction before, but I just love it so much!),
I have a cold! Again! The most minor yet most aggravating of all illnesses. Cue the chain of obscenities flying from my mouth because I fucking hate colds. In a twisted way I find it humorous that on Friday I was txting my friend Chris who was sick with a cold. Saturday night I came down with mine. So, I think it’s safe to assume the fact that I merely read the words he wrote to me, “I have a cold,” was enough to infect me.
Earlier today I was whining via txt message to one of my other friends about how much I detest colds. My SMS rampage got me to consider the fact that despite my loathing towards the common cold, I am actually able to handle them significantly better than I used to. Keep in mind, due to having a slightly compromised immune system, I still catch pretty much anything that I come into contact with, and it still hits hard. This is especially terrifying when horrible strains of viruses are trending on Facebook convincing us all of a zombie apocalypse on the horizon. However, it was far worse when I was a child. Flashback time!
When I was a young warthog, I was not nearly as chronically ill as I am now. In fact, aside from severe seasonal allergies, a cat allergy, and my dreadful awkwardness, I was somewhat normal (you know, minus the whole constant abuse thing, but that’s a horse of a different color). Well, and that fact that I was extremely attractive…to viruses, that is. I got every single virus that went around, and while my siblings would get over them like most average humans, my sicknesses would seemingly last forever. No matter what we did to treat them, I wouldn’t get better, and I always seemed to suffer more than others. My siblings and most others added it up to me being dramatic. I was constantly made fun of and accused of faking my illnesses, when in fact I was often frustrated that I couldn’t go to school because I just wanted to be like everyone else rather than stuck in a bed for eternity like a feverish vampire.
At 16 I ended up collapsing in the middle of the night, then proceeded to vomit non stop for nearly a day straight. I couldn’t even drink a thimble full of water without promptly throwing up, so I was finally taken to the doctor. I still am unsure how I contracted the illness, but I came down with the Norovirus, a form of the flu predominantly found in infants. Spoiler alert: I was not an infant. I was hospitalized for a few days because it had made me so ill that I coded at my doctor’s office. It was the only time a code was called one me when I wasn’t going into anaphylactic shock, and the situation was altogether terrifying.
I believe that a large amount of my suffering when I was younger was specifically due to the fact that I was not aware that I had an autoimmune disease, and the thing is, you can’t exactly treat what you aren’t aware of. I wasn’t diagnosed with Celiac until I was 18, when I was thin as a skeleton, with deep sunken eyes and far too close to permanent hospitalization or death. Once I was diagnosed with the disease and learned more about it, it made sense that my immune system wasn’t the best at fighting infections. As I began to treat my body as a whole, rather than only the symptom of a weak immune system, slowly but surely I made my way back from looking and feeling like Jack Skellington himself.
Nowadays I still get colds quite easily, but it seems that overall I react a bit more normally than I did as a youngling. Of course, I will always be compromised, and I live every day with the fear that I might contract something that my body won’t be able to fight back. The thought has always terrorized me, and most likely will for the rest of my existence. It’s quite a killjoy, and this fear has made me somewhat of a germophobe, which some say is actually more harmful than useful. But when being overly clean isn’t the answer, but every exposure takes me over, what’s a sickly cluster of stardust to do?
I am immensely grateful that I have seen some improvement, so I suppose I should stop being such an asshole towards colds, and thank my body for leveling up over the years. But regardless, colds are still annoying and throw my life for a curve, which especially now is unneeded to say the least. I suppose all I can do is hope that my immune system continues to be on its way up despite so many other parts of my health getting worse. Maybe it’s a trade off, or maybe as my darling sister says, I truly am a real life Benjamin Button, aging in reverse.
Whatever the case, here’s to my life as well as yours, dear reader, forever climbing upwards.
Yesterday, is not quite what it could’ve been, as were most of all the days before.
But I swear today, with every breath I’m breathing in,
I’ll be trying to make it so much more.
*this song always gets me a bit teary. Sorry for the feels in advance.