2015 was the year that my body gave up on me. I had secretly been battling with bulimia and suicidal thoughts since the 6th grade. I never saw a problem with the way I looked until society made it apparent that I just wasn't "normal". I was bullied and teased relentlessly until I decided I would do something about my weight. I tried everything, diet pills, diet teas fasting, exercising excessively and eventually I settled with laxatives, binging and purging.
I felt it was the cheapest and the easiest option to hide from my family.
I had always been a bright student, but with so much of my focus shifting to weight loss and the ongoing bullying, my school work began to suffer, which in turn made me feel depressed.
Nothing was going right, I was binging and purging almost five times a day and yet I was gaining weight, some of my teeth began to deteriorate, my hair was falling out and I would constantly lash out at my family.
Fast forward to 2015, I had one of my teeth removed, my family still unaware of my eating disorder and depression. During a routine visit to the clinic in April, it was discovered that my blood pressure was too high. The doctor then instructed me to go to Room X to collect my medication... I felt so embarrassed when I walked in as it was filled mostly with senior citizens. I felt like everyone was judging me... I sat quietly in the corner when all of a sudden, I felt this excrutiating pain in my face - my started locking. I battled with whether I should run back to the doctor and tell her what was happening, but eventually I decided against it as it was too late, I convinced myself.
I got home, told my grandmother what had happened, I could see the worried look in her eyes, but I assured her that it "wasn't a big deal". "Its probably just a combination of exhaustion and flu" I said. Weeks went by and I had very little energy, my appetite was completely gone, in fact, I was disgusted by the mere sight of food. I slept most of the time and it felt as if my ability to communicate was fading too.
My grandmother decided that I should go see a doctor as my jaw had started locking again, I couldn't even open my mouth to yawn without it resulting in the most dreadful pain. It was windy that day, my mother had accompanied me. It was my turn to explain to the doctor what my problem was, he asked me a couple of questions and concluded that I had tetanus. I had no clue what that was, but I was relieved to finally know what was wrong with me. As soon as I got home, I did some research on the internet. I was mortified!
I read somewhere that tetanus kills you after a couple of days and with the way I was feeling, I felt that my days were coming to an end. I cried every night, alone in my dark room, I prayed for the first time in my life... I prayed for death as I couldn't take the physical and emotional pain anymore.
Several days went by and by this time I was a zombie. My eyesight was fading, my hearing was poor, my throat and mouth was full of sores, I was coughing up bloody mucous and bleeding through my nose and it became increasingly difficult for me to walk just a few steps without my joints aching, my heart beating abnormally fast and I was experiencing shortness of breath.
The last thing I remember at that point is seeing my dad standing over me, yelling my name and me telling myself, in my head that "I am dying, its okay".
I had just had an epileptic fit.
I remember going in and out of consciousness, wondering why I was inside of a car, laying on my mom's lap and then being wheeled around in a wheelchair surrounded by nurses and doctors.
I was asked a couple of questions but I couldn't answer any of them. The sad part was, I could hear myself answering them in my head, but words just couldn't escape my mouth. I was trapped in my own body.
The hospital stay was terrifying. I saw a dead bodies next to me almost everyday, patients who had also been battling mental illnesses who would scream and bang on the walls throughout the day. After a few days, my doctor told me my diagnosis.
I had chronic kidney disease and had to begin dialysis immediately.
I was devastated. The moment he left, I dashed for the bathroom and cried my eyes out, once again praying for death.
My family came to visit me later that day and the doctor explained that, since I did not meet the requirements for dialysis in a government hospital (space was limited and there was a weight and bmi limit) I had to get on medical aid so I could seek treatment at a private one.
I started dialysis in August, it was one of, if not the most horrible experiences of my life.
But, after weeks of treatment I started noticing a difference. My eye sight was getting better, my hearing was back, I was communicating more clearly (it had come to a point where I was unable to read or write my own anymore) my appetite was slowly making a comeback too and my jaw stopped locking.
I was discharged just a few days before my birthday (September 4th ).
Its been two years now and although I am grateful to have survived this horrid disease. I can't really say my life has changed for the better. I still feel trapped. I have gained over 15 kg's since I started dialysis and my depression has become increasingly bad. This isn't the life I wanted for myself, I should be taking care of my grandmother and mother, not the other way around. I should be travelling the world, creating art and taking care of animals in need. I could be doing so much with my life right now, but my body just will not allow it.
I have been advised by my nephrologist to lose weight, he has said that although it won't "cure" my failing kidneys, it will improve my health immensely.
However, my willpower has hindered me from following through.
It is also financially impossible at times as I am unable to work due to the having to spend Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays confined to a bed for four hours.
Dialysis is NOT easy, it is physically, mentally and financially draining. I have been in and out of different hospitals these past two years trying to fix my fistula/graft (I have a graft now that a wonderful doctor managed to fix in January of this year). All of this has taken a huge tol on my family and I. I blame myself everyday for putting myself in this predicament. If only I had loved myself enough, if only I didn't take such desperate measures to try and lose weight... If only I was never born.
I have so many things I would like to achieve in life. Firstly, my health, I need to lose weight and strengthen my bones/joints (which are always aching and sore due to dialysis and obesity). Secondly, I would like to get a reliable, roadworthy car that would not only help me get to ALL my dialysis appointments (I've had to miss a few) every week, it would also help me get supplies for the business that I have always wanted to start (I draw, paint and bake. I would like to do something that involves creativity using my hands). I also hope to fix my teeth which were ruined due to my eating disorder. And laslty, I just want to be able to help animals. Throughout my most depressing of days, I have always been able to muster a little bit of happiness by spending time with animals, I don't know why, but they always have a positive effect on my mental wellbeing... Its almost therapeutic.
All in all, I just want to be happy and healthy. I want to make my mother and grandmother proud and for them to know that their time and effort haven't gone to waste.
I cannot tackle all of this on my own and right now, it is important that I find permanent transportation to take me to dialysis three times a week. I can't find a reliable driver as they are expensive and their cars aren't roadworthy. I have a lisence that I obtained before I got sick. Having my own car would help me IMMENSELY as I would be able take myself to dialysis without the worry about skipping treatment and having to fork out extra money to fix the driver's car on top of their monthly payment. So. I plead that you help where you can. I would be really grateful.