I dropped to my knees one night and I cried out, “Lord, use me.” HE has. I’m a voice for people with chronic illnesses and autoimmune diseases.
My will proves that determination trumps shortcomings. My constant gratitude proves being thankful for what you’ve been given rather than lost can turn a smile into a frown, pain into understanding, frustration into action, immobility into bonding time and poverty into appreciation for the little things.
On the outside, without my cane, I look just like YOU. On the inside I am a warrior fighting for every day. I have an invisible illness (igg4-rd) and so may someone else you know may have one of the more than 100other autoimmune diseases like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or sarcoidosis. So please look beyond the surface.
Years ago I decided my pain must have a purpose. And, I’ve made it my mission to use it to the benefit of others rather than allowing it to use me up. Two days ago, a writer at Bustle solicited stories about chronic pain. I opted to share mine. This article, published online today is the result:
I keep very few secrets about my life. Why? Because I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve done or been through in my life, even if some of it required forgiveness of me or by me. I believe truth is freedom. Yet I saw the #metoo movement swell online and I was reluctant to participate.
I wasn’t hesitant because I haven’t been both sexually harassed and assaulted in my life. I have. But, I’ve never talked about either publicly.
I thought sharing it gave power to an abuser. I thought it would open me up to criticism or make others view me as weak, loose, a complainer, or merely a victim. However, speaking up is not about the abuser. It’s about let other know it’s possible to heal, overcome and succeed despite the bad intentions of someone else.
I will reveal specific details of my story if I think they will help someone else. For now, I’ll raise awareness of these crimes by simply saying it happened to me too.
I didn’t write my memoir to get rich or famous although I’d hoped for success. I bared my soul in Misdiagnosed: The Search For Dr. House so that others might know the frustration and fear of not knowing what’s wrong with you, the relief of finding the answer and the pain, loneliness and triumphs of living with a chronic illness. Others are now hearing my message and understanding the struggle; that’s a great accomplishment.
New Amazon Customer Review
5.0 out of 5 stars
Journey for a diagnosis
ByPamela S. Waymanon October 13, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is very interesting. A must read if you have had a medical mystery disease. Nika is slowly deteriorating and spends much time and money looking for a cure or at least a diagnosis of her illness.
I’m not a rich woman at all, at least in a monetary sense. I’ve worked hard for more than two decades and earned more than most but I’ve also shelled out the vast majority of my cash to stay alive. Medical bills due to my autoimmune disease, igg4, sapped my account more than once. Yet, I’ve consistently come up with enough money every week to keep the candy basket on my desk full.
Sometimes, my co-workers contribute to the candy fund. But, the task of picking up the treats usually falls to me. Despite this, getting something that provides my colleagues with a little piece of happiness each day has been my joy. At times it’s given me a reason to get out of bed when I don’t want to in order to fill my “responsibility.” It has motivated me to walk further and get stronger.
Last week, as my mental and physical exhaustion reached a point when I couldn’t make another candy run I was given a gift. The candy in the picture was dropped off to my co-workers/ friends. Money was also left to pay for the next batch of sweets too.
No, I’m not a rich woman when it comes to money but I am when it comes to love and support.
20 years have gone by as quickly as a wave in the ocean. I drifted into the world of TV to help a friend and ended up wading my way through nearly every position that exists. After keeping myself afloat in the business by being a jack of all trades, I finally found my calling as a writer.
I wanted the world to hear my voice through words. So, I expressed myself through my stories, show segments and specials. For two decades, I recorded and relayed information on nearly every major world event for one company. Today, as I arrived home my 20 year statue was waiting.
I don’t have another 20 years of snowstorms, missed holidays and long days of breaking news coverage in me. This is not because I’m not physically up to the task. I don’t want to miss out on the other parts of my life anymore. I also have more to say that won’t fit in a 20 second voiceover.
Yet, I look back on my career with fondness and I wonder what’s next for me? How will I make my mark on the world next and make a difference? I ask myself this a lot and as soon as I have the answer I will wade into my next 20 year adventure.
Remission doesn’t stop the pain from the prior damage from my autoimmune disease from occasionally threatening my Independence. Saturday, I could barely move. Swelling in the vertebrae in the top of my spine near the end of my neck made it difficult to move, threatening my planned birthday trip with my “stepson.” Every movement sent an electrical shock through my spine and across my shoulders. My limbs tingled and my head was throbbed. But, I refused to let my condition stop me. I swallowed pain meds every four hours, iced, took a nap and I rose for our drive to Pennsylvania nearly three hours off schedule. But, I was present.
I couldn’t do any of the rides at Kalahari the first day. However, I could float in an inner tube beside my family. Then, I watched from a chair as they climbed stairs to go on ride after ride. I was embarrassed and depressed that I was sidelined. So, just before we decided to head to our room for the night I dragged my badly battered body up five flights of stairs to a raft ride. The whole way I wished there was an elevator or some other way for a disabled person like me to get to the top of the stairs but I made it. We laughed, we screamed and we made a new memory; that was worth the pain that kept me up until nearly five in the morning.
It will take me days to recover from just walking, climbing, swimming and doing basic things with my loved ones. I am frail. But, I am also fierce and unflinching. I determined not to fail myself or my family. And, my faith tells me I won’t. So, tomorrow I rest and today I live.