“Please test me…I’m pretty sure I’m dying of something”. It was 2009 and my husband was deployed for six months. I was beyond exhausted…I went to bed exhausted…woke up exhausted. I was certain that the blood panels from the base clinic would reveal some abnormalities that would require further testing. What came back instead was a completely normal blood panel, other than some indication of anemia. Great! I was just being dramatic. So taking a few iron pills will get me to feeling normal again?
By this time, I had had 4 children…a teenager, a pre-teen, and two toddlers. ‘Maybe that’s why I’m worn out?’. Not only did I think this to myself, it was suggested to me by a doctor every time I talked of my constant fatigue. My hair was falling out steadily, but I wasn’t concerned about it. I figured my body’s hormones were still out of whack after birthing baby #4 and trying to find their way back to normalcy. I was becoming an insomniac, but I attributed it to the stress of caring for four kids on my own in a foreign country. Vince had been deployed for four months, with another two to go. At the time, we were stationed in Germany and it was one of the harshest winters the country had known in years. I was constantly chauffeuring the kids to appointments and music lessons, in between our homeschool lessons. I had no support from my church or Vince’s shop…I was totally alone and feeling it. I thought my body was just tired because I was trying to be superwoman.
A few months later, Vince was back home and I was taking my steady dose of iron. Follow up appointments showed my blood tests to be normal, including my iron levels. “But I’m still tired!”. I was stressed about my weight, struggling with depression through a difficult marriage…it was far too easy to wave away any deeper health issues. I was practically encouraged by the base doctors to quit dwelling on my physical ailments when nothing abnormal was showing up in my blood tests. I listened to them and told myself that I needed to let go of stressors in my life. Some stressors I could manage, like letting go of toxic friendships. Some stressors, I could not. My daily life was stressing me out, but divorce wasn’t in the picture, and neither was running away from my kids. No…I needed to suck it up. Sleep more, eat better. Maybe if I exercise more consistently I’ll lose weight and find the mental Utopia that seemed to elude me despite my best efforts.
I didn’t realize that this year, 2009, was the year that I would later look back on and think, “That was the beginning of it all”. No…I’m not dying of anything lethal. But you’ll see in future segments that I’m ailing from things that are much more insidious…debilitating ailments that doctors refused to acknowledge and treat.
CJ Heath felt pretty okay until 2009. At that point, the long arduous journey to reclaiming her health began. She hopes that if any of her story resonates with you, that you’ll be helped and be on your own way to feeling healthy.