Prior to my diagnosis in 2005, I began noticing things about my body that at the time I attributed to “getting older.” I was no longer able to open a milk lid without assistance. That favorite jar of olives was certainly out of the question. My grip just was not the same strong one I once remembered. Slowly other things began to pop up. My legs became weaker, numbness in my feet that at night, shot electric currents up my legs. I was not able to get into a bath without testing the water with my hands, as the sensors in my feet were so sensitive that hot and cold temperatures were mere torture.
What in the world was happening to me? It was though my whole motor function began to disappear overnight.
Not all of us feel the same exact sensations, but from what I hear from others who are suffering with Hepatitis C, these are fairly common in the diagnosis of this disease.
Just this past week I had the blessed opportunity to travel from Colorado to New York to appear on the 2nd opinion show. Knowing my personal body and the lack of stamina I experience on a daily basis, I was extremely worried to travel alone, let alone fly through various airports with connection flights. The mental fatigue we experience daily, along with the physical.... How on earth was I going to manage this?
Travel day came and was able to muster through security and check-in with no problem. Behind me, a woman asked “Ms Bossley, I have a wheel chair here to assist you to the gate.” It felt like this woman was on a loudspeaker announcing to the world I was disabled. Eyes from others gave me the once over to see what part of my body was “really” hurt. I could only image the thoughts they all were saying to themselves... “this woman doesn’t look like she is disabled.”
I sheepishly accepted the offer and the airport worker whisked me off to the gate. There I sat and waited for all those who back at check-in began getting to the same flight. My mind was getting cloudy as I sat there worried about the connection flight in Chicago. (I wonder if my flight was late getting there? How on earth am I going to make it? I may be stuck here alone in Chicago.) Lots of frightening thoughts over came me.
Long story short, filming of the show went wonderfully and although I was certainly exhausted from the days experience I packed up for the flight home. At the return flight gate, my muscles began cramping and it felt as though I had run a marathon. This time my connection was through Charlotte and there was a much older gentleman seated next to me who boarded with a cane. He certainly “looked” the part of handicap. His body was frail looking and his hand shook as guided his cane down the aisle.
We were about to land when the flight crew came up to me and said “Ms. Bossley, your wheelchair will be ready at the gate for you,” I expected them to then turn to the older gentleman next to me and advise him of his chair to be waiting for him., only nothing was said. We landed and all of us gathered our items, and I followed this man out to the terminal. Walking very slow and stopping to rest very frequently, I couldn’t take it anymore... How in the world in my good conscious could I seat myself into a wheelchair when this gentleman clearly visibly disabled walked? I motioned for the flight crew over to me where I politely gave up my assistance to my connection flight. The crew advised me the walk may be a long one and that if I was sure I wanted to give this up? Without hesitation I motioned for them to hurry and help this gentleman out.
You would have thought he won the lottery when they offered it to him. He waved me goodbye and off he went.
I was now managing my somewhat slow pace to the next gate. I arrived tired and very fatigued but there was no other way I would have wanted it.
We all are faced with this disease that has the stigma of we “look OK.” There are no outer signs showing that we are a mess inside of our bodies. Many of us have to struggle to continue to work because we have to. We pay dearly for our overexertion and stubborn attitude to accept help. I too struggle with the fact of seeing myself disabled. What we must learn to do is accept help when available, but yet give our bodies a little push from here and there.
Rest when and as much as we can. Eat properly to ensure the best health to our livers Get mild exercise to keep our bodies limber and mobile. Remember everyone has a story and everyone is battling something we may not be able to see. Don’t be judgmental of those we see who accept assistance. Don’t assume they are milking the system. They too may be totally embarrassed and ashamed they need this. Everyone just wants to live normal, happy, healthy lives.
"Not without a Fight!~HCV~ (c) Together WE are STRONG!